Whoops, I’m behind on TTT again, so we’re going to get a quick double-dose of some July topics I missed.
First up is a topic all about books set outside, and in the process of finding books for it, it quickly became clear that I need to read more settings that aren’t so Euro-centric. I suppose I could have included some awesome fantasies such as Middle Eastern-esque The Wrath and the Dawn, but I wanted to use real locations, and I already made the graphics, so…
Sure, the first three books are all part of the same trilogy and the fourth book mostly takes place in New York, but whatever, I wanted multiple books for Canada. I recently read (and quite enjoyed, despite all the PAIN) Exit, Pursued by a Bear and was quite happy to see that it takes place in Canada.
Um, yeah, I read a lot of books set in Australia, apparently. Not as many as set in the US, obviously, but I was a bit surprised by the number. Of course, how could I resist with so many great Australian authors, like the fabulous Melina Marchetta, Justine Larbalestier, Jaclyn Moriarty, and Ellie Marney. The really great thing is that this is a nice mixture of books – so, far all the Marchetta and Moriarty books I’ve read have been contemporary books, my favorite Larbalestier trilogy is paranormal, and Marney wrote an amazing Sherlock Holmes-retelling that I need to read the last book of (I have it, I just need to make time to reread the first two books and then enjoy it!) It’s great because I feel like so many over-seas books are more contemporary-bent, but obviously that’s a stereotype that has no founding and I honestly don’t even know why I think that.
Australian books also have a bit of a special place in my heart right now because my sister is studying abroad there – she doesn’t come back until Thanksgiving, and that is just too long and too far away – but at least I have Australian books to enjoy in the meantime, right?
This looks like a lot, but I’m kind of surprised this isn’t bigger – just like so many people seem to think that have an accent makes you sophisticated, plenty others seem to think that setting books in England makes them sophisticated as well, or at least it can feel that way sometimes. I’m guilty, though, because I can enjoy this Brit-set books just as much as the next person.
Of course, J.K. Rowling has a big presence on this list, and it’s nice when the foreign settings are written by people who actually live in these places. It’s easier to forget about the UK setting in Harry Potter since they spend most of their time isolated at Hogwarts, but I really get a sense of the setting in her other books, like Casual Vacancy and the Cormoran Strike series. The Skulduggery Pleasant books take place in Dublin, an area of the United Kingdom that can get ignored in favor of classier British locales, and the Casson Family and Gemma Doyle brings us back to those locales. I think it’s easy to set things in the UK since it’s so similar to the US but also its own place.
Like I said, though, I need more books set in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and some other less-popular countries and places. Maybe, if this topic comes around again, I’ll have more countries to show off?
And now for the second topic – things I’ve wanted to do or learn more about after reading about them in awesome books!
1 // Immigration Reform
I’ve always thought that the US, as a country of opportunity and the so-called American dream, should welcome everyone with open arms, but I’ve also had the privilege to not have to think about immigration very much. It’s books like this, people like Diane Guerrero, who remind me that I shouldn’t ignore the issues simply because they don’t apply to me – it makes me want to get out there and change the way our country approaches immigration, especially in light of people like the terrifying Donald Trump.
2 // Transgender and Transsexual Issues
This book made it obvious how little I know about trans issues when protagonist Amanda identified herself as transsexual. Yet again, as a cisgendered girl, I’ve had the privilege of not needing to know the difference between transsexual and transgender in order to know who I am. This book was so enlightening, but it was also enlightening in the sense that there’s so much more to learn.
3 // Global Warming
Global warming has long been an important issue that I care about, but in the general sense that I’d like the world to thrive for many, many generations to come and I like trees and other natural beauties. I discovered this book when I was trying to find children’s books about fish, but this is so much more than a children’s book that deals with global warming and tells children what they can do and why it all matters. I want to find more books like this that can teach everyone, not just adults, and I want to make a difference as well, even if it’s just as small a thing as not eating fish that are endangered.
4 // A Winter’s Tale
I know the general stories of some of the better-known Shakespeare plays, but I didn’t know anything about A Winter’s Tale before I read this retelling. I wanted until after I had read it to check out the original. I’m glad to see that this tale improved upon the original, especially when it came to the female roles and such. I wanted to find out more about this tale and I would love to have more girl-friendly retellings like this.
5 // Lady Jane Grey
As a big fan of Tudor-era England, I know a little about Lady Jane Grey, but other than the fact that she was queen for just a week or so and then was executed, that’s about all the information that stuck with me. After reading (and while, I suppose), I wanted to learn more about the real Lady Jane, especially the more personal elements of her life.
6 // Childhood Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is an area of mental health I need to learn more about in general, but after reading this story about a teenager who was diagnosed with it as a child, I’m especially interested in learning more about this disorder when children get it. As a future teacher and some who has anxiety issues of her own, I’m really interested in learning more about mental illness during childhood.
7 // Loads of Literary People
This story had plenty of interesting literary people, both characters and authors, and from the ones I already knew to ones I knew little to nothing about, I wanted to learn a bit more to get some context. Also, now I want more stories like this that combine literature and more modern things, such as text messages.
8 // Hawaiian History
Most of this book takes place during 1860s Hawaii (I think? either that or 1850s/1870s), which has some different historical happenings, such as the final years of Hawaiian royalty. This was a fun book in general, but just reading about the history reminded me that there are so many different areas of history that I know little to nothing about, and I would definitely like to change all that.
9 // Rape Culture
I know a lot about the horrors and sad reality about rape culture, but this awesome book reminded me that there’s always more to learn and that there’s so much we need to do to begin to fix our broken society. It also makes me want to find more nonfiction books like this.
10 // Allie Brosh
I heard a little bit about this book before I finally read it, but I didn’t know much about Allie Brosh and her online writings. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to learn more about her, someone who seems like such a normal person (because she is) but also struggles with a horrible thing like depression.
Well, that’s it for catching up – let’s see how long I stay on track before I need to do another one of these compilation posts…