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Pride Month 2017 - Why Representation is Important

Hello everyone! How fitting it is that this year's anniversary of same-sex marriage being legalized in the U.S. falls on Monday, one of my posting days! (And if you didn't know that it was the two-year anniversary, well I guess you know now!) Last year I made a list of some good books with LGBTQ representation, and I will include a list at the end of this post, but to shake things up a bit I thought I'd quickly discuss why representation is important in the media, specifically in books. After all, this is a mainly bookish blog.

(If you would like to view last year's post, click here.)

First of all, what is representation? Well, it's exactly what it sounds like. It's the inclusion of people with sexualities and/or genders outside of heterosexuality and the gender binary. It's having a gay character or a trans* character and showing readers that, "hey, LGBTQ people do exist" and "hey, not being cisgender or 'straight' is okay".

(There's also the whole issue about good and bad representation, but that deserves a whole other post on it's own. I'll get to it another day.)

Representation can make all the difference to a reader whose community of people around them is not accepting or not as open-minded. It can finally make a reader become comfortable and okay with who they are, or at least make them safer in what might seem a not-safe world.

One thing that I think most readers can agree with is that something that makes a good book is being relatable. And for those in the LGBTQ community, being able to identify themselves in these characters is everything. Representation is great and important for readers of all ages but I know that it is also extremely important for representation to be present in kid and young adult books. For younger readers who, like I mentioned before, might feel trapped or unsafe or possibly unsure or swayed by what their peers might say, or are just beginning to explore their gender and sexuality.

In addition to these points, representation can raise awareness. After all, books can make things come alive, from stories set hundreds of years ago to what-if stories of the future. Because books hold this incredible power to actualize and establish the seriousness and reality of events, it is so incredibly important for LGBTQ representation (as with any representation for minorities) to be present.

And, sure, maybe you knew that it's okay to be a part of the LGBTQ community, or you're an ally rather than a member. But one of the ideas behind the significance of representation is that it's normalizing being LGBTQ. The idea is that, the more representation that the LGBTQ community receives in the media, the less uncomfortable and foreign these identities will seem to people. And I really don't know any other way to say this except for that being LGBTQ is normal and perfectly okay.

In the end, representation matters because the LGBTQ community is a part of life. And if these movies and shows and books that we're enjoying are supposed to show us the truths about life, then why should the LGBTQ community be excluded from it? After being hidden for so long and only relatively recently coming into the realities of more and more people, it's important for the LGBTQ community to not just be another political issue or "thing" that's just "there". It's important for the LGBTQ community to get proper representation and to be heard.

(Here's that list of books that I promised! I'm only going to include ones I've read, which unfortunately isn't a lot. Not to mention the fact that I know I'm forgetting a good amount. Includes books with any LGBTQ content. SLIGHT SPOILER WARNING!)

  • Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
  • Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Gavin
  • Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
  • Rumble by Ellen Hopkins
  • How Many Letters Are in Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  • In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
    • (NOTE: Representation very small, although I do believe it normalizes being gay a good bit.)

And that's the end of this post! I know that Pride Month's ending but I'm glad I was able to sneak this post in. If you have any recommendations for me I would be thrilled to hear them! Happy Pride Month, everyone!


This Month's Popular Posts

Summer 2017 Challenge - Reading Popular YA Books

This summer I am challenging myself to read some popular young adult books. Why would I do this? And why would this even be a challenge? Well, if you know me or have paid attention to the types of books I read through the blog or bookstagram, you would know that I typically don't like the popular young adult or teen books.

The books that are popular these days tend to lean towards the fantasy or dystopian genre. Series such as Harry Potter or Divergent or The Mortal Instruments are examples of these fantasy/dystopian popular books. And, personally, I'm not as interested in these genres. Other popular books include those with romance in them, and I've never been too fond of these books as well. For instance, The Fault in Our Stars? Eh, not much of a fan.

And, sure: Having different preferences in books is perfectly okay. I just thought that it might be a good idea to read some of these books because I am completely lost when going on bookstagram. What's a shadowhunter?…

June 2017 Reflection

Even though I didn't really do much of anything for the blog or bookstagram this month, I still decided that I should write a monthly reflection for this month. After all, these reflections are supposed to help me grow and improve the blog and our bookstagram, so why should I skip one just so I could ignore my faults and mistakes?

If you didn't already know, I make these monthly reflections to reflect on Reading is Inevitable's progress on the blog and bookstagram and also discuss plans and hopes for the next month. If you would like to see more, be sure to check out the monthly reflections label.

Looking Back Into JuneThe Blog Remember how I said that I didn't do well this past month? Well, this is just another warning. So be warned. For June, pageviews dropped to an even lower number than they were in May, decreasing by an unfortunate but expected 45%. I also failed to post at all until the 19th of June. 
Bookstagram While we did lose followers as a result of our ina…

Reading a Letter from 2016 Me

Back in early June of 2016 (June 3rd, 2016, to be exact), I wrote a letter to "future" me on my hopes and dreams for Reading is Inevitable, not only including the blog but also the bookstagram. Now that it's been over a year and "future me" is now "present me", it was time to open up the letter and see how much Reading is Inevitable has grown!

To read my letter, read the text below.

Dear Julia,

How is the blog? I am sure that it is not exactly what you have wanted for the blog at this point. Running a blog is tough! Oh, don’t forget to write that post on what you have learned so far, blah blah blah. Although, if you decided to follow schedule, you should have already written it. If not, you’re late!

Anyway, moving on, I suppose I should write down some of my wishes and hopes for the blog at this point. I hope that we have a new design (not too fond of the current one…?), or at least that it’s a bit more colorful or bright. I hope that Emily has more …

Navigating Bookstagram - Stories & Tips From a Small(er?) Account - Monthly Challenges

Today I'm sharing with you another installment of the Navigating Bookstagram series! (Yay!) Something that you've probably seen around bookstagram by now are the monthly challenges that some bookstagramers hold every month. (That's why they're called monthly challenges....) Monthly challenges can be really helpful, especially when you're just starting out as a bookstagrammer.

A monthly challenge is basically a list of picture prompts for you to continue throughout the month. Some prompts are based on a holiday that might occur on that day (ex. red, white, and blue on the United States' Independence Day). Prompts can be specific or vague, leaving room for interpretation. (Although some bookstagrammers do have explanation of prompts available in their captions or on other platforms such as blogs.)

Most prompts are posted by the bookstagramer(s) hosting them in the form of pictures on Instagram, so that you and other participating bookstagrammers can post them be…