2016: Reflections and Resolutions


Disclaimer: Several existential crises about attaching meaning to arbitrary cycles of time occurred during the drafting of this post. 

Ahem, okay. 2016. Trashfire year, to say the least. However, there’s some good stuff once you wade through the garbage, and I’m taking the time to be grateful for the little things. 2016 is the year I joined the book community on the internet, and it still amazes me to know that there’s people out there that read, breathe, and revere books the way I do (and some even more). I made some fantastic friends, some of whom I got to know in real life, and all of whom have been absolute hearts (you know who you are). I discovered so many social justice warrior gems who inspire me everyday with their outspokenness and general badassery. I also discovered that my drug of choice is participating in readathons and reading challenges, regardless of how well I do in them. It is the year I started blogging about books, albeit sporadically, and also the year I realized the purpose of this blog. All of these things give me the warm fuzzies, and I’m taking this moment to be grateful for that. 

I’ve learnt several things about myself as a reader this year, and I’m choosing to use those things to shape my reading as we enter the next year. 2017 is going to come with a hell a lot of challenges as it is, and I’d like to make sure I keep chipping away at making my happy place a worthwhile place. 

In terms of numbers, this year has been a success. I’ll be ringing in the New Year with my 228th book, which is the most I’ve read any year ever (last year I read 53, I think). I’ll be setting a goal of 250 books next year, which I think is pretty doable. I’m woefully behind on updating my spreadsheets and the running list on my blog, but I have finally completed all my social obligations  so those should get done soon. 

I’ve talked before about wanting to read mindfully, and this is something I’d like to continue working on. While high numbers are an adrenaline rush, I’d like to be really absorb and sit with what I’m reading, and be able to look at my reading material critically.

As for reading challenges, I’m narrowing those down to a chosen few. I’ve learned that I prefer readathons, especially ones like Dewey’s where I can go full blown introvert and hole up with my books and the bookternet, so after having dabbled in a bunch of reading challenges this past year, in 2017 I will be doing the following: 

As mentioned earlier, I’m joining the wonderful Kerry in hosting Social Justice Book Club, and it’s been so great working on the behind-the-scenes stuff with her. We’re actively working on making this a meaningful experience for all our participants. We’re also working on selecting books that cover social justice intersectionally, which I’m super stoked about. The intention is to continue learning and using that knowledge to do good, and I’m working on these intentions being reflected in actual, actionable steps. 

I have several things I want to work on with blogging, and I’m trying to remember that I’m still brand new to this, so taking it slow is key. I do not want blogging to be an aversive experience, so I’m going to take a couple of things at a time and work on them. Manageable goals are less stressful, especially since there’s so many other uncertain variables in my personal life.  

I’d like to work on an actual posting schedule. It’ll help with accountability, generating content, and writing more reviews. It’ll also motivate me to chalk out time to work on these posts, rather than scramble in the wee hours of the morning in sweaty panic because that’s just unnecessary. 

Another thing I’ll be working on this year is to write better reviews. This means having something meaningful to say besides just gushing about books I love, because I think it’ll just generally help improve my writing, so two birds, one stone. I’m also going to use this as practice to critically analyze books- plot, writing style, character development, etc.- and generally have more nuanced content. 

Of course, as I’ve said earlier, the purpose of this blog is to support and promote marginalized voices. I think a part of this is also being able to discuss problematic rep. While I’ve been part of a fair number of these discussions on twitter, I think using the blog for this is equally crucial, especially since there’s very few POC/LGBTQIA+/disabled bloggers, and we need to keep having these conversations about inclusivity and representation if we hope to make a dent in publishing. 

I’d like to take this moment to thank you guys- friends, readers- for having stuck with me all through 2016. I don’t think there’s words that will adequately describe what this community means to me. It’s changed my life. I’m looking forward to all of the wonderful things you will be doing in 2017, and I will be cheering you on all the way.

Let’s kick 2017’s ass.




#DAReadathon TBR

I have several issues with the lack of diversity in the world of Harry Potter, especially with the kind of crap JKR has been putting us through this year. But I think you’ve known me long enough to know I can’t resist a readathon, especially one that is focused on promoting diverse books. I’ve been mulling over my reading goals for 2017, and it only seems fitting to kick it off with a readathon highlighting diverse books, organized by an awesome blogger. The details are right here, and I’m excited to be repping team Slytherin!


Aentee has given us eight awesome prompts, and I’ve picked one book each in order to rack up some sweet house points:




I haven’t read a lot of books repping ace characters, and it is totally for lack of trying. I’m making more of an effort and have found quite a few titles, so I’m reading one that has been recommended to me the most from all corners of the interwebz. 






It’s safe to say that I’ve discovered plenty of gaps in my reading, so many that I’m not actually sure I’ll get to all of them in my life, but I’ll be damned if I don’t keep trying. So for this category, I’ve picked this highly acclaimed title which hits both titles by Non-US/European authors and features lesbian characters. 





This book has been sitting on my shelf for months; I only bought it because the premise sounded interesting. A quick scroll through Goodreads indicated that this is highly acclaimed, so I’m using this readathon as an excuse to crack this beauty open. 






You guys, my body is so ready for this movie. I can’t explain what it means to see women of colour nerds on screen. It is going to be glorious, and you bet your bottom dollar I need to read the book before I go see it on screen. 





I keep picking this book up and I’m never in the right mood to read it, but I’m thinking having a print copy will help me this time. I know it’s a slow burn and there’s a ton of world building, but I have mad respect for the author and I’d really like to finally be hooked along with the rest of you. 




It’s really simple, my library hold finally came through, and I need to read it because the holds list is a mile long. Also, I’ve heard so many good things and I’m having serious FOMO. THAT COVER IS EVERYTHING. *heart eyes for days*





This book has been recommended to me by both Naz and Bina, which made it the perfect pick for this prompt. I’m knee deep in my need for intersectional feminist works, so this automatically made the list for that as well.





Right, those are my picks. Looking for more options? Allow me to direct you to Naz’s blog, where he gives us more than 60 awesome options for the readathon prompts. Excited to see everyone’s picks, and looking forward to start off the year reading fantastically inclusive books! 







Social Justice Book Club: We’re Moving To Slack!


It’s official! The Social Justice Book Club is moving into Slack as of January 2017. Our hope is that this new platform will foster stronger, more on-going discussion, a simpler sharing of links, and reduce the possibility of trolling in the conversation.

Because so many of you said you’d not yet used Slack, we’ve put together a basic tutorial of the platform, how it works, and how we plan to use it. But first, a video! If you’re completely and totally new to Slack, this is an awesome place to start

How Slack Works

Think of Slack as the most robust chatroom you’ve ever seen. You can DM other participants directly, or engage with the larger group in themed “chatrooms.” Conversations are easily searchable, and yes, there are gifs.

Slack can be viewed as a website, mobile app (for iOS or Android), and Mac desktop app. Notifications can be customized to your liking, and there’s a “Snooze Mode” available if you want to set yourself away to focus, sleep, or, you know, read the book.

How We’ll Use It

We’ve got a few basic channels set up to start:

  • #general: General conversation about anything that strikes your fancy and may be relevant to the club/other club members. Kerry and I will also use this channel for overall group announcements, as all incoming members will be in this channel.
  • #introductions: Introduce yourself! Share your blog, social media channels, Litsy username, whatever you’re comfortable with. As new members join, they can introduce themselves and view existing members in the chat history.
  • #random: Exactly what it sounds like: totally random things. Some great YouTube video you saw, or an awesome plugin for Slack, or what you had for lunch. You know, random things.
  • #recommendations: We know you all know about as many social-justice themed books as we do… if not more. Use this channel to toss out recommendations, discuss possible books to add to the club’s list, etc. You can always use the Google form as well, but we thought this might be easier & more centralized for all to see and comment on.

Then there will be a designated channel for each month’s read. By separating the individual book discussions, members interested in, say, the January book but not the March book can join the app without being bothered by notifications for conversations they don’t plan to participate in. The channel for January is called, appropriately, #hopeinthedark.

It’s worth noting that while we can add you to a channel, you can always remove yourself from any channel you don’t want to join. You control your Slack experience, from channels to notifications to snoozed settings.

How the Club Will Operate

In order to be sure to continue to spread the word about the club, sign-ups will be open for each round. In order to keep things simple, we will be keeping sign-ups on Kerry’s blog, but you can always always get in touch with either of us anywhere on social media to let us know you want to participate. Members who sign-up for a specific book will be added to the book-appropriate channel (and new members added to the club-level channels). We still hope that members will share photos and thoughts on their respective social channels (don’t forget the hashtag, #SJBookClub), but that Slack’s conversation model will foster more real-time discussion.

Where appropriate/applicable, Kerry and I will share additional book content (author interviews, suggested reading lists, etc.) on our blogs (and link to these in the Slack). We hope members with blogs will review the book(s) read and share links to those reviews in the Slack platform, though reviews are not required to participate in any way. To wrap up the month, we’ll collect the reviews, relevant media pieces, articles of note, etc. in a wrap-up post on our blogs and share the link in Slack.

Don’t forget, our January 2017 pick is Hope In The Dark by Rebecca Solnit. There’s still plenty of time to buy or borrow the book in your preferred format, so you can head over to Kerry’s blog to sign up and we’ll see you over on Slack!