gushing about books. [transcript]

Am I even doing this correctly?

Hi! So welcome to my Youtube channel! So a lot of my friends and people who know me have been talking about pushing me to get a Youtube channel because I hate typing. I write for work and then I write as a hobby, and so writing blogs on top of that about my hobbies is just kinda exhausting and it’s a lot easier to give content in video form, but I hate editing videos so I’m gonna try to do this in one shot.

But yes! So here I am. I’m gonna talk about all of my hobbies on a Youtube channel which is so weird to me to hear my voice and see my face talking about things! But, you know, I like books and I like tarot, lockpicking, languages, and traveling and all these different things and I want to concentrate it all into one. If you like it, you like it, and if you don’t, then sucks.

But I wanted to make my first video about books because I’m an avid reader and I’ve always been an avid reader and books are my favorite things in the whole wide world. ALSO I see a lot of BookTubers who review books and recommend them and they suck. And it feels like they’ve been bribed into telling you this book is gonna be so great and then it SUCKS so I’m gonna give you hardcore “This is what’s good” because I’m unbought and unbossed.

So I made a list of my favorite categories and tell you which books apply to which categories and about those books.

Currently I am reading Who Fears Death by Dr. Nnedi Okorafor. She is the author of the Binti Trilogy as well which is kinda afro-futuristic science fiction about an African girl hanging out with aliens in space and this one is more fantasy. It is inspired by the war in Sudan, the genocide in which Arab men would assault (if you get what I mean) black African women to kill out families through reproduction (hint hint). The protagonist Onyesonwu is the product of this ASSAULT and her rapist father is a sorcerer which means she is magical as well and she’s gonna kill him. Just girl things. It’s a really good book. I love it so far, I just started reading it yesterday. It talks about girlhood and life. It’s very black and very African and I highly recommend it. I hear there’s gonna be love. There’s no romance so far but like I said, just started it yesterday. I recommend Binti as well. I read that last year. So YEAH.

My favorite nonfiction books–I have two. I don’t have a print copy of one, only on my kindle. It is called The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. It tells the story of a girl, Lia Lee, she is a Hmong refugee who moves to the US. Because of cultural differences, differences in understanding of the human body and medicine and also linguistic problems between the Hmong language and English, she struggled to be treated for epilepsy. It is a medical anthropology book about her life, Hmong culture, and how these things ultimately culminated in Lia being in a coma. It is medical, anthropological, it is cultural, it is linguistic, it is historical and it tells you the entire story from both sides so you can see how everyone dropped the ball to treat this girl.
Tied with that is Surpassing Certainty by Janet Mock. I also read her first book but I don’t have it with me. I like it because it really is about how Janet grew into her own with love and I love Janet. She’s so well spoken and it teaches you more about trans life and things I as a cis person wouldn’t know. Girl really had it goin on. She found her dream internship, the love of her life. I love her.

And honorable mention to Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage & Manners by Therese Oneill. It is a nonfiction book about all of those all of those Victorian era novels and movies but it tells you the hardcore things about periods, sex, marriage, how everything smelled like shit all the time because they didn’t have working plumbing. Just weird things that aren’t included in books and movies but are real life.
NEXT category is my favorite satire/comedy–Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk. I didn’t intend to, I just grabbed it off the shelf. It seemed interesting, but essentially it is a book about world domination through sex toys. Part of it is a parody of Fifty Shades of Grey but it’s not. It’s about a girl who works at a law firm and she runs into this guy, a billionaire, super rich, super handsome, that makes sex toys. They get a little trist going on… then world domination. Yeah. I do not recommend if you are under 18. It is interesting, bizarre. Not much romance, it starts and stops and weird shit happens so not romance-focused but kinda romantic because of their trist but related to sex toys?? It’s a weird book but I loved it. Don’t wanna give any spoilers but if you read, tell me what you thought. Just gonna put that aside.

My favorite historical novel is Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. It tells the story of Vladimir Tepes, who is Vlad the Impaler, and he is the inspiration for Dracula. So this girl finds these letters from her father who has letters from someone else, and it’s about studying and chasing after Dracula as a historian. But it’s all fiction, through letters and articles and *encyclopedia pages so it’s rooted in history and you get to see what thinks were like during the Soviet Union with the block and you get to learn about architecture and history and Europe but through historical letters? It’s weird, and dense, so if you don’t like dense books, I don’t recommend. It is great, but it is DENSE. *proceeds to literally repeat myself for a bit*

So my favorite young adult novel, I have two, I couldn’t decide and I have neither of them with me BTW, is Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet by Joanne Proulx. I’m still waiting for other books to come out but it’s been my favorite for such a long time. It tells the story of Luke, a stoner boy who suddenly gets this power to predict people’s deaths. (Or rather, he just feels them and knows. He can’t just predict left and right.) One day he gets high, knows that his friend is gonna die at this time at this second in this way and then it happens. He freaks out, and everyone is hounding him, his friends abandon him, his family is afraid of him, and he falls in love with his dead friend’s girlfriend. It’s an interesting book about coming of age and weird shit and falling in love. (???? Horrible transition.)

The following story is Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera. It tells the story of Juliet, a chubby latina lesbian from the Bronx who wants to be a writer and takes an internship with this super famous feminist white lady writer. So she goes to the whitest of white Seattle and learns about polyamory and feminism and the human body and not being ashamed of who you are. There’s some love going on. It’s a cute coming of age book. There is no moment where I was like UGH. I would walk and read, have run into signs and mailboxes and poles because I couldn’t look away.

My favorite series–(1) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. The story of Dmitri and Rose is so great. I didn’t read the following series about the alchemists but it’s cute. Super inappropriate. Don’t fall in love with your teacher, kids. I liked that it had a kickass girl protagonist and intensity. Dmitri as vampire was a total asshole but what can you do? (2) The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen tells the story of women at the turn of the century 1899-1900s. What it’s like being a lady, marrying for money but you’re in love. Different ways we expect women to be and they don’t fit into the mold. Lots of stuff happening so I can’t describe but so good. (3) Inkworld Series by Cornelia Funke. Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath. Really interesting, because I just picked it off the shelf but the idea of immersing yourself in the books… Such a great concept. Loved it. Mmmhmm.

Favorite collections–It is a collection of short stories, novellas, and poems by Edgar Allan Poe. I’ve loved him since I first started reading him. He gave me my love for the written word. I don’t think I’d ever love any other author as much as him. I’ve read the stories 8 billion times. The Cask of Amontillado is my favorite in the whole wide world. It’s funny, it’s dark, creepy, weird. Everything you want. Poems are bizarre, depressing, MM. It’s the Barnes & Noble copy with silver-lined pages. I also have Dante’s Divine Comedy though it’s lined with gold. Runner up is Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin. I love James Baldwin, his short stories are spiritual experience. If you don’t know anything about him, I encourage you to. He’s the bomb and it’s black history month.

My favorite author aside from Edgar Allan Poe, it would be Neil Gaiman. American Gods, Coraline, and Neverwhere are some of the best books I’ve ever read. They’re weird, you don’t know what to expect. I recommend all three of them. If you don’t want love stories, that’s fine. If you want developed characters, concise in a short time, yes. It’s weird, it’s dark, it’s creepy. Yeah. Coraline is the only book that was turned into a movie that didn’t upset me. I love the movie as much as, if not more, than the book. YEAH. I have some of his other books that I have but haven’t read but so far, he’s been my favorite.

Next–favorite non-series. Standalone novel. I chose the Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven. Don’t have that with me either. Tells the story of this kid Charlie and his best friend gets possessed by a demon who is trying to destroy the world. Charlie has no skills whatsoever that will help him save his friend but he tries anyway. So he and this pretty biracial girl that he has a crush on but he can’t do anything, she’s an assassin trained for this moment, they go to hell to save his best friend and stop the end of the world. Really weird, half the things I don’t get, so interesting and trippy and the first book that I’d read where people actually travel to Hell. So it was kinda like WTF. WTF. wtf. It’s just so weird, wild ride.

Favorite book that has a series that I did not read the subsequent books–(1) Fall of a Kingdom by Hilari Bell. It has a series that I have not read, Farsala Trilogy. First book was really good, and I just never got around to reading the others. Never really wanted to. Then (2) Warrior by Marie Brennan. It’s really unknown, I haven’t see a lot of people talk about it. Someone was just giving the book away so I took it. I loved it. It was cute and intense and it was my first real book with girl badass assassins and it tells the story of a girl who wants to become a master sorcerer, and you have to get rid of your spirit and she didn’t do it, so she has to go kill a part of her soul that manifests as a super awesome assassin. Now they gotta go kill each other. Can you imagine killing yourself but yourself is an assassin? Dude. I’ll probably re-read that and continue with the series since it was interesting.

Next is favorite French books. So if you didn’t know, I’m literate in French. I can speak French depending on how I feel that day. I read a lot of French books to stay up on things. I go to France a lot so speaking French is kinda sorta helpful. So favorite books–(1) Petit Pays by Gaël Faye. It tells the story of a young boy. His father is a white Frenchman and his mother is a Tutsi refugee from Rwanda and they live in Burundi. He is coming of age at a time when ethnic tensions between Tutsis and Hutus are mounting and it culminates in the Rwandan genocide. So he’s not in Rwanda when it happens but the fallout of the genocide spills into Burundi and he’s a part of it but not apart of it. He has a cushiony life. He’s wealthy and not in Rwanda but the tensions spill over and it affects how he grows up and his friends. It is fiction, really good book, IDK if you can find it in English. It probably would be. It’s a big deal.

(2) Then, L’attentat, The Attack by Yasmina Khadra. It tells the story of a guy, he’s a famous accomplished surgeon in Tel Aviv, Israel. He is Palestinian and he is working at the hospital, doing surgeries, and gets a call that there was a suicide attack. There are bodies everywhere. People need emergency surgery. He’s trying to treat them but some of them don’t wanna be treated by him because he’s Palestinian. They don’t want life-saving treatment because of his ethnicity. He’s like, deal with it, I’m a surgeon. Then he finds out that the perpetrator of the attack is his wife. He’s blindsided, his wife is dead, he’s being questioned and interrogated by the police. He has no idea, he’s mourning the love of his life while simultaneously not knowing much about her. And the fallout, the anti-Palestinian sentiments rise because of it and he’s tied to it but he’s not, trying to figure out why his wife did it and didn’t tell him. He thought she was out visiting her grandmother. Definitely in English if you wanna read it.

Now, my favorite Japanese books. I studied a lot of Japanese literature so I have a LOT. Some I read in Japanese, some in English. (1) I am a Cat by Natsume Soseki. His book is about a cat, he’s ugly, he’s discarded and abandoned and he moves in with this family (that doesn’t really want them there). He just observes human natures, hobbies. It’s a commentary about humanity and how weird they are from the perspective of a cat. He watches how one guy lies all the time, one is insecure about his knowledge. The day-to-day of the humans. It’s pretty long. There are three parts. It goes on and on, pretty dense, but interesting and you don’t have to read it all in one go. He is probably the most famous Japanese writer. He’s won like 8 million awards. His most famous book is Kokoro, also a favorite. It’s learning about what’s hidden beneath the surface of your heart and the guilt that we take to the grave. If you want something shorter, he has 10 Nights’ Dream, a collection of stories of 10 nights of dreams. This stuff is more dark, gloomy, and Gothic and more crux of Japanese literature in a nutshell. So if you want something shorter than I Am A Cat and Kokoro, I recommend reading. Even just one of the dreams. My favorite is #2 with the kid on his back.

(2) I also love Yoshimoto Banana. She is the most famous woman writer from Japan. A lot of her stuff is woman-centric. My favorite Asleep. There are others, she has ton. A lot of it is translated so you can read it in English. Asleep tells three stories about sleep as healing and bringing people together and different stories of women. That’s all I gotta say about that. Highly recommend. Love her. She’s great. Mm.

(3) THEN the last on this list is Yukio Mishima. Mishima is the most bizarre Japanese writer I’ve ever read in my life. My favorite book by him is Confessions of a Mask. (This is his biography, not that book.) It tells the story of a kid who gets off on like, homoerotic fixation with men being tortured. So he gets turned on by it but he knows he’s not supposed to like it. So how does he blend into society when he has this dark, disturbing love by watching men being tortured? Turns out a lot of it was autobiographical. Mishima was very fixated with homoeroticism and torture. People think he may have been gay or bisexual, but he was definitely fixated on torture and suffering on the male form. So he was a little weird then he tried to plot a coup against the Japanese government. He committed harikiri/seppuku/ritual Japanese suicide in a government building with his followers. It was debacle. Shamed a lot of people. So intense. So YEAH.

Now you know all of my book stories.

I’m gonna do another video about comics and graphic novels. If you like this, or want more book tags, I think I’m gonna start recording book reviews. Prepare for one of Who Fears Death. I think another video I’m gonna do is a lockpicking tutorial, hair tutorial, a makeup tutorial / skincare tutorial (I put on makeup for you). I’m gonna put all the book links in the descriptions so lemme know what you think!