If you're here, you're probably wondering something very specific: who am I, and why the hell should I listen to her talk about the books she's reading? And that would be fair. In reality, I'm just another privileged white woman putting thoughts out, albeit one with a very cool wife, two cats, and an undercut. (Does an undercut give me bonus points?) But I've had a love of reading ever since I was small that shaped me into who I am. Maybe it's shaped who you are, too. So let me tell you a little about me, and you can decide if you'd like to stay a while.
I grew up in rural America, to one of those families. You know the ones. Religious, pillars of the community, everything a perfect porcelain figure until you look just a little too hard. As your eyes focus, the details begin to sharpen and you see a crack, then maybe a piece or two being held up by a thimble or a piece of wood. And since I was the weird, quiet one of the three daughters, I often escaped into books and music to keep myself afloat. I'd make up stories of far-off, exciting places (like boarding school, 😅) and write myself into exciting stories of super spy-kids, elves, or other unimaginable wonder.
I started writing more than reading through college. I got into Dungeons & Dragons, and wrote Lord of the Rings self-insertion fanfic with my friends across AIM (this is actually how I met my wife. I was roleplaying an elf, and she was a wizard. When I met her for the first time in person, years later, she didn't know who I was at first and said only, in a bewildered voice, "elf?" It was love, I tell you.) She and I still have a Pathfinder group with some of our old AIM friends, and we still write together as a way to unwind.
We're nerds, is what I'm trying to say.
After grad school, I went into work for academia, music education non-profits, and my own voice and piano studio. Then, in 2019-2020, I had a slow-burning mental breakdown. I'd been treated for all kinds of mental issues (Bipolar II, Panic, Anxiety) and I wasn't getting the help I needed. I had to stop working and focus on recovery. With the whole world already shut down from Covid, it seemed a fair enough excuse.
Now it's 2022, and I just turned 37. I was re-diagnosed with ADHD, Anxiety, and C-PTSD last year (and put on medication that actually works.) I am in the process of figuring myself out, with all of my wrinkles and quirks, for the first time, and discovering that I might actually like who I am. And in the wake of that, I decided that I had found so much happiness in literature, why not try to use it as a therapeutic tool? Something to help me process the world, to process through trauma and react to the broken characters within the hallowed pages of my novels. Maybe I could find joy in something for once.
In the midst of that, I decided to turn away from the straight, white, male author. There is nothing wrong with having privilege, of course. I have a ton of it. But I wanted to hear from people who had something to say that maybe didn't have as easy of a time finding a platform. I wanted to know about the BIPOC community, my newly-found queer community. Women, femme, and NB-presenting people. In a way, I was astonished, and yet not astonished at all to discover just what magnificent writers we've been shelving in favor of Stephen King and George R.R. Martin.
So that's it, really. I want to use my voice (such that it is) to give them a voice. I recently read a Stephen King novel (The Shining) and I may review that for funsies at some point. I love Ben Aaronovitch. In fact, I'll really be talking about any book that I read. Henry James is on my short list, because I want to read Turn of the Screw before I watch The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix. But mostly what I've been reading lately are other authors, and I'm better for it.
I should note that I read a lot of horror literature due to a defiant love of a genre that had me convinced I was going to hell for liking R.L. Stine at the age of twelve. I find that there is a cross-section between horror and those who have the experience of being Othered, as I suspect I'll talk about over and over again, from my first discussion to the immortal The Haunting of Hill House. You can absolutely expect me to nerd out on the spoopy stories.
In any case, have fun, welcome, and happy reading! Continue at your peril.