Bout Of Books August 2014: Goals

Bout of Books 11

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team


So, I will be partcipating for the first time in the Bout of Books this year! My friend Jenn over at Booksessed has been participating in this forever and she finally roped me into doing it! It’s a really neat idea, because there’s no pressure involved and it’s completely for fun. You set your own goals as to how many books you’d like to read, how many pages, absolutely whatever, and you can adjust your goals as necessary. It’s entirely for the purpose of having fun and networking with other readers and book bloggers. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a “book blogger” per se, but I do blog about books, so maybe I fit some form of the definition, even if it isn’t the main intention of my blog.

As such! These are the goals that I intend to meet by the end of the week, and I will be posting updates as the week goes along.

My Goals

1. Read at least 2 books this week.

2. The books that I read have to be beginning to end, so that the experience will be new for me, and not just finishing stuff I wasn’t that interested in in the first place.

3. Spend at least an hour a day reading.

4. Write update posts on how the book is going, what I think, etc.

The Books I’m Planning To Read

So, I’m not entirely sure what books I’m going to be reading, but I have an idea. As both of the books I’m planning on reading are eBooks, I can’t really post a picture of my “book stack,” but I will show off the cover art for both.

I’m a big fan of Christopher Rice and Eric Shaw Quinn’s internet radio show, The Dinner Party Show. I’ve been following the show since it first premiered, and have an organized list of all their podcasts in my music library. One of my favorite things to do is listen to podcasts while doing other things, like cleaning my room, washing dishes, playing  video games, working out, etc. I especially like long shows that are an hour or longer, because I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to change things (that’s part of why I don’t like listening to music while I’m doing other things, I get bored too easily and have to keep stopping and changing). The Dinner Party Show is hilarious and great fun, and I’m a huge fan of both the co-hosts (although psst! I secretly like Eric the most, but don’t tell Christopher, he’d get jealous if he knew).

Say UncleA Density Of Souls

However! Even though I have followed both of these guys’ careers and web presence, as I’ve not only been mentioned on their show about five or so times now (hearing your name pass through the lips of a New York Times bestselling author never stops being exciting) but actually had legitimate conversations with them about writing, life, and what have you, I’ve actually never read any of their books! I do, however, own both of their first novels, Eric’s novel Say Uncle and Christopher’s novel A Density of Souls respectively. One is a witty look at the life of a gay man who gains custody of his nephew and his fight to keep him, and the other is a suspenseful thriller about a group of young people from New Orleans.

As modern equality struggles and thrillers are both genres that I haven’t had much experience in, I think these two books would be a great way to spend the week, if I can manage to get myself to read them, because I am such a pokey reader. However, no matter what, if I have fun and enjoy reading, then I’m really a winner! So I encourage anyone reading to participate in the Bout of Books, and if you’d like updates from me, stay tuned to the blog, as I’ll do update posts throughout the week. Happy reading!

A New Direction

Why, it’s that time again! Wow, how refreshing it is to just write. I’ve come to a realization that like myself, my blog must also change, fluctuate, and perhaps go from extreme to extreme. I’d like to get back to the style that I started with, just talking about my life and journalling. Ultimately, when I looked back on this blog I want to see the story of my life, not some pompous criticisim of everything that floats my way. I honestly don’t have very many beliefs that are set in stone, I’m a fluid person, I change, I go from one extreme to another, I’m constantly becoming new.

I want this blog to be a positive place again; not an angry, judgemental corner of the internet where everyone is either heralded as genius or spoken of in scatching, harsh words. People are people, and there are layers to everyone; I believe very little of what I say, I put myself into the part because it’s easier to write when you have a direction.

So, I’m going to try and make this blog a little more like myself. And I’m going to try to be honest. Sometimes I believe one thing very strongly in the moment, but I almost always reevalutate my thoughts and beliefs soon after. This blog needs to be a place of positivty, a place of honesty and truth, and a place that ultimately benefits me: not a body of work, collected in a robotic manner and presented coldly, but a place of warmth and truth and love.

And I think that’s all I’m going to post right now. I want to take a shower and accomplish things and have my day be productive, and that way I can do something in this blog that’s better and uplifting.

Pride and Prejudice

The gay community.

Where to begin? For most of my life, I’ve had a pretty negative view of the gay community as a whole. This isn’t because I have a problem with people who are gay (obviously), but I have always felt that they’ve misrepresented themselves. Gay pride parades were the biggest thing to elude me. I couldn’t understand how a group of mature people could behave in such a ridiculous way.

The gay community is comprised of human beings, just like every other community. I have to believe that most of these human beings are sensible to some degree, and that plenty of them are intellectuals. So why do they parade down the streets of San Fransisco in assless chaps and biker hats, holding a leash attached to men crawling before them dressed in leather with a collar around their neck? This may be an overdramatization, but I have a feeling it isn’t.

But my point here is that the image of gay pride that circulates is one of shirtless men in leather pants, trouncing down the streets and behaving like whores. The image the gay community in general portrays isn’t one of dignity, self-respect, and a desire to be recognized as equal to everyone else, but one of promiscuity, perversion, and a quest to be accepted, regardless of how freakish their antics may be. And that is ridiculous. If you don’t want to be called a perverted community, don’t act like one.

I am gay. This is not a personality trait per se, it’s simply a part of who I am. Straight men (I’m only using men in this example because most of my experience has been with males) are just as much defined by their heterosexuality as we are by our homosexuality, when you get to the truth of it. The gay community presents itself as being just that: gay. Nothing more. Not people with opinions on subject other than sexuality, not human beings who feel every emotion that every other human being feels, not people who ponder the mysteries of the unvierse, just gay people. It’s the only aspect of ourselves that we a community show. Gay pride parades are really only benefitial to the people the parades are focused on. How many homophobic people would go to a gay pride parade, and walk away a changed person? If the image gay pride parades presents is EXACTLY the image of gay people that homophobes fear and dislike, I’m thinking not many.

Gay men are almost entirely defined by sexuality, and that’s wrong. As a community, homosexuals seem to have a problem seperating the personal from the sexual. If you’re gay, your entire identity as a person isn’t made up of that one fact. A good example of this is the “classifications” gay men have for themselves, based entirely on pornography: twinks, bears, etc. And there are twink and bear conventions, if you can believe it. Now, a pornography convention is fine, but I get the feeling that the people who go to these conventions don’t consider it a porn convention, they just consider it a gathering of people who consider themselves bears and twinks. The core of your personality should be “human being,” not “bear”, “twink,” or anything else.

Sexuality is a huge part of being human. Sexuality dominates a whole area of your life as a person, and that’s okay. But it’s important to understand that being a person isn’t just about being sexual. I am gay, and I am indeed a sexual person. I also enjoy swimming, playing trading card games, reading fantasy novels and manga, listening to music from many genres, playing video games, Greek food, and I like cats. I also have anxiety problems, I struggle with panic attacks, I have obsessive compulsive disorder, I believe in God but I think organized religion causes more problems that it solves. See? I am a person with many facets, opinions, and feelings, and I present myself as such. Sure, I like sex just as much as EVERY OTHER HUMAN BEING IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. It doesn’t define my entire character.

These are the matters in which I find the gay community to be at fault. There are many other matters, however, in which gay men and women are needlessly blamed and persecuted.

Many people, including some in the gay community, feel that gay men who are flamboyant present a negative image of their community. While I see the logic behind this, it’s still very wrong. Gay men are flamboyant because they are, not because they choose to be. I was a flamboyant child, and now I am a grown person with a good head on my shoulders, but I still love being whimsical and childlike, it makes me feel free and happy. So gay men speak with a lisp, so what? You can’t expect gay men to act exactly the way straight men do, because it’s not a matter of “They’re both men so they should act the same way.” Gay men really are a whole different breed of man than straight men. We don’t act the same because we’re not the same. While being gay means that you are a person who happens to be attracted to members of the same gender, it doesn’t mean that you’re exactly like every heterosexual man, just as no two people are alike. Certain behaviors, like flamboyance, are more common within the gay community, just as certain behaviors, like a love of sports, are more common within the straight community. Over time these examples have become stereotypes, and of course not every gay man is flamboyant and not every straight man loves sports, but these are two behaviors that are prevalant within their respective communities, and not because either of them are wrong. It’s not wrong for a straight man to play football, and it’s not wrong for a gay man to play football. It’s not wrong for a gay man to be articulate, dramatic, and a musical theatre performer, and it’s not wrong for a straight man to be articulate, dramatic, and a musical theatre performer. Straight men actually suffer from almost as many stereotypes as gay men do.

The message I want to get across to everyone today is that to be human is to be human. Some humans are attracted to men, and some are attracted to women. Some are attracted to both. All of this is just fine, and natural. If anyone disagrees, take a good look at homosexuality throughout the course of history; it isn’t something new, it’s been around since the times of the ancient civilizations and well before. It happens within nature. Homosexuality is natural. This is something our society has yet to fully understand, but as a community we have to peacefully and reasonably help them to. Presenting ourselves as being defined by our sexuality isn’t going to help.

The answer to just about every social problem is to calmly and rationally think about it, discuss it, and find truth. Things are not so black and white as society would have you believe. In many cases, problems in society are merely misunderstandings, perpetuated by people who want control, and this most definitely includes the religious community. In a democracy there is compromise. The campaigns against what some perceive to be immorality are unnecessary and formed out of spite and ignorance, but you can only add fuel to the fires of their movement by presenting yourself as one-dimensional and perpetuating the stereotypes that drive their efforts. In the end, society only has hope when people are willing to be reasonable, and most importantly when a situation is approached with a necessary amount of objectivity, but a greater amount of compassion, and love for those who share this journey of life with you, and who live in the same human body you do. We really are all in this together, and discord among family only serves to break it apart; humanity can only progress when it comes together with a common goal, and my hope is that that common goal can be peace.