LGBT YA Read in 2016

LGBT YA Read in 2016

Hello wonderful humans! Today I am sharing 10 YA books I read in 2016 with you and how I felt about them. Let me know what you thought of these books if you have read them, and give me your suggestions for what else I should read.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan: This was truly a refreshing read for me and one of my favorites I read in 2016. I have read a few books where the voices of different gay men throughout history have been utilized to show their different perspectives, relationships and experiences, and this one does it for a YA audience. On top of the voices from different gay men in history, the two main characters Harry and Craig set out to take part in a 32-hour kissing marathon. I loved reading about their thoughts before and during the event, as well as how the event made an impact on everyone watching. There is one story-line with a trans man that is worth noting, which I enjoyed as well. Based on a true story, this book is heartwarming in all the right ways.

Far From You by Tess Sharpe: This really ended up being a hidden gem for me this year. While it was a slow read at first, I was really engrossed by the main character Sophie’s many layers. Throughout the novel, she deals with drug addiction, a permanent physical disability, grief in the loss of her best friend and lover, complicated relationships with her friends and family, and the realities of being bisexual—all wrapped up in a mystery.

Adaptation and Inheritance by Malinda Lo: I picked up this duology because I had previously read Ash by the same author, and because I appreciate the work that Malinda Lo does in general. This series starts off with the main character Reese and her crush David coming back from a debate event when birds start hurling into airplanes, causing them to drive home. They end up getting into a car crash where they wake up in a military hospital with little information about what happened.

Crazy things ensue, and there is also a love triangle thrown in with Reese and a girl named Amber. But don’t worry! This love triangle is the least annoying love triangle I have read, and polyamory is explored more in the second book. These books hit a lot of themes that I really enjoy, and I always love books with strong bisexual women. The second book is less action-packed, exploring more extensively into the science-fiction thought experiment of alien and human interaction, but I really enjoyed that as well. This is the series I wish I had as a teenager.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera: I have mixed feelings about this book. I think Adam Silvera has a wonderful voice and I liked the first part of the book a lot. I generally liked the characters and the setting, but I ultimately don’t think this plot was for me. I read this book right after the horrible shooting at Pulse in Orlando, and I know that if I read this book when I was younger I would have been discouraged as well. I am sure some people will find this book really helpful, but it was not for me.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley: This was a very enjoyable read for me. Solomon is a gay agoraphobic teenager who is befriended by Lisa, a girl who is looking to help someone in order for her to write a college essay to get her into a good psychology program. I thought that this book really humanized agoraphobia and anxiety, and the characters were interesting and complex on top of that. This was one of the top books I read in 2016.

Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan: The main character Leila is an Iranian-American student at a private high school who develops a crush on the new girl, Saskia, but is afraid to come out to her conservative family. Leila is a great character—she is sarcastic and funny and she deals with the intersections of race and class and religion in her life in a very relatable way. Throughout the novel a lot of her expectations about the people around her surprise her, and overall, this is an enjoyable, intelligent and much needed read for so many people.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills: This was one of my favorite YA books I read in 2016. I am always skeptical of stories about trans people written by non-trans people, so I went in with a critical eye. But I think overall, this was a pleasant and interesting read, and one that has a trans man as the main character which doesn’t happen often. The story is about Gabe, a High School senior who loves music and starts a community radio show called “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.” He is friends with some interesting characters, and he garners a fanbase really early on in his show because of his personal connection to his music. I ended up really liking the premise and the execution.

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King: This was another book I picked up because so many people seemed to love it, even though I was trying to read outside of the coming-out story genre. I love the idea of the book—that the main character Astrid confides in the passengers in the planes flying above her because she can’t confide in anyone in her life. I can personally relate to that feeling of watching the sky, wanting to confide in someone. Again, I enjoyed the side characters, and although bizarre, I liked the tension in her familial relationships.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: Recently I have been trying to read outside of the coming-out story genre, but I picked this up because so many people seem to love it. I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular, but I ended up enjoying reading it reasonably well. I am not sure how I feel about every aspect of this book, but in general it was enjoyable, although not entirely memorable for me personally. I remember that I really liked the side characters and that overall, the story kept me guessing, so it was worth a read in the end.

george-by-alex-ginoBonus: George by Alex Gino: This is not a YA novel, but I think that if you regularly read LGBT+ YA, you might be interested in this book. This is a middle grade novel about a young trans girl who is dealing with coming out, centered around her wanting to play the character Charlotte in her school play of Charlotte’s Web. I love that the main character is referred to with she/her/hers pronouns throughout the book, which is wonderfully gender-affirming for any young trans girl reading this novel, and educational for anyone else. This would make a great gift for any young reader in your life.

Happy 2017!

Hello internet!

Happy 2017! New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day is one of my favorite times of the year. When I was growing up we used to collect a bunch of candles onto the coffee table and light them all as a welcome to the New Year. New Year’s has always been a nice family celebration for me. Sometimes we would watch movies, and sometimes we would watch the ball drop. Last year I was with my family so we also lit off sparklers and fireworks to the delight of my niece. This year I watched anime and consumed delicious gluten free Mr. Mochi Ice Cream, something I missed from the days where I ate gluten.

My 2017 started off on a wonderful note. I found my knit hat that I made a few years ago at a diner that I often go to with my girlfriend. They kept it there on their coat rack for at least a few weeks, and I was excited to find it. I honestly thought that it had fallen behind the coach or was somewhere in my apartment and I hadn’t realized I lost it. It was a great surprise!

erins-barry

It seems as if I haven’t written New Year’s Resolutions on my blog since 2015 began. I believe I did alright with a lot of my resolutions in 2015, which was the year of love for me, but I don’t think I had any concrete resolutions for 2016. As bad as 2016 was collectively for all of us, 2016 was also something sneakily wonderful for me personally. I have a few resolutions for 2017.

  1. I want to get less sleep. This one may seem odd, but I do tend to oversleep if I have the time to do so. I am aiming for a solid 8 hours of sleep every night. This means that I need to set an alarm, even when I don’t have anything to do the next day.
  2. I want to drink more water and less caffeine. I also really need to eat in the morning. I think this sometimes is correlated with me oversleeping, so this is connected to my first goal.
  3. I want to get off of social media and the internet before going to bed and read instead. This one seems like the hardest goal that I have this year. Generally this means that if I am just endlessly scrolling online, I want to get off and do something else. This also means that I need to read more of my physical books rather than ebooks. I think this will also help with me setting a schedule for sleep.
  4. I want to stretch every day for at least 10 minutes. This is pretty basic, but I think this will be nice to do when I wake up to help me set a good sleeping/waking schedule.
  5. Lastly, I want to listen to more music. The New Year always makes me reflect on the music I have loved throughout the year, and it’s something I really love. This year I have gotten more into Japanese music, and I want to continue exploring that wonderful part of the world.

Happy New Year!

 

A Sheldina Christmas

Hello Internet!

It’s been awhile. For most of 2016 I was in a massive knitting slump. I didn’t want to knit anything, and I never found the time or inspiration to pick it up. Amidst that feeling, I did end up knitting my niece another stuffed animal Sheldon for Christmas. I knit one for her before, and I knit the pattern again for a craft swap as well. And while I didn’t get any pictures before sending it off in a classic holiday rush, here are a few picture my mom sent me after she received the package.

I have knit this pattern twice before, but this time I had more of a grasp on how to knit in the round (the first time I knit Sheldon by Ruth Homrighaus was my first time knitting with DPNs! Oh how things have changed!) and I figured out how to knit the shell and attachment panel together according to the pattern (yay!) instead of knitting an icord and stitching it on after stitching the shell and attachment panel together first. I actually really love how this worked out, and I want to try it out on some of my own designs in the future (I am thinking about using this technique for Little Toastie).

little-toastie

I used the pattern Santa Hat–50823 by Brooke Higgins to add a Christmas-y touch. I sewed on some elastic re-purposed from an extra unusable fitted sheet to fit to Sheldon’s head. I made a pom-pom with my (fairly) new pom-pom makers from Lion Brand. I took off the biggest circle to make the size that I wanted, and I went to a blog called Myrtle and Eunice for a tutorial on how to use them.

The last touch I made was to put a crochet flower on the shell. Since I only have very basic knowledge of how to crochet, I found a video tutorial to follow. I used a size G crochet hook, and I just stitched the yellow center onto the shell directly. Here is the video:

 

This year my Christmas tree was decorated with Dr. Scarf as the tree topper, a pattern called Oatmeal the Snowman by Rachel Borello Carroll. I also had some bird ornaments I knit from handspun yarn, a pattern called Bluebird of Happiness by Sara Elizabeth Kellner. I think the tree really cheered up the room!

tree-2016

Now, believe it or not, I am off to knit another Sheldon for my girlfriend—this time in brown to look more like a snapping turtle because we recently encountered one on a walk! Happy Holidays!

Yarn Haul WEBS Tent Sale 2016

Have you been to the WEBS tent sale or to WEBS? Have you used any of this yarn? Let me know down in the comments! Subscribe on youtube for future videos!

Last Year’s Video: Webs Tent Sale Haul http://bit.ly/1tdciby

Last Video: What Should I Knit and What’s in My Knitting Notions Case? http://bit.ly/1Uv1MSv

WEBS: http://bit.ly/1tdbBPu

Yarn in this Video:
Boston Mix in Eggplant: http://bit.ly/1UaDOQD
Plymouth Yarn Stained Glazz in Yellow Colors: http://bit.ly/1TWNBvy
Sirdar Click Chunky with Wool in Heath: http://bit.ly/1Ob2Let
Wildwood Yarns Webster in Dark Brown: http://bit.ly/1ZsPqyG
Tahki Yarns Calypso in Sunflowers: http://bit.ly/1UmZfKk

Mustard Cukes from Barberic Farm in Shelburne MA
http://www.farmfresh.org/food/farm.php?farm=3711

What’s in my Knitting Notions Case?

What’s in my Knitting Notions Case?

Give me shawl suggestions to knit with this beautiful speckled yarn!

Yarn from The Lemonade Shop: http://etsy.me/1YgZudx
Listing for Toxic Oreo in the Sparkle Base: http://bit.ly/1TOdavj

Previous Video: http://bit.ly/1VPO8zg

Birch Leaf Shawl by Susan Gutperl: http://bit.ly/1NnNshW
Yarn from Kangaroo Dyer in Alpaca and Silk Laceweight in the Tapestry Colorway: http://bit.ly/1Wi1MeH

Shawl Mentioned: The Doodler by Stephen West
Project Page: http://bit.ly/24sgG3q
Pattern: http://bit.ly/1Tc2rI2
Yarn: Hedgehog Fibre Skinny Singles in Tulp, Graphite, and Where’s My Bike

Little Toastie: http://bit.ly/1SF2fSa

Jimmy Beans Wool Beanie Bag Subscription (not Knitpicks, oops!): http://tinyurl.com/gvocmcw

Lena Brown Designs: http://bit.ly/1NnMIJD
Tree of Life Knitting Needle Case: http://etsy.me/1SXCT5F

Katrinkles: http://bit.ly/1TOdA4O
Whale Knitting Needle Gauge: http://etsy.me/23Ayrv1

Stephen West Mystery KAL Shawls

Stephen West Mystery KAL Shawls

Every year I try to participate in the mystery shawl knit-a-long hosted by Stephen West. For the past three years I have become increasingly excited about the mystery of it all, as well as the amount of knitters also participating to share in the process. It’s been really fun to pick out what yarn to use as well as what colors, all without knowing what the finished product will look like. I have enjoyed the process of knitting all of these shawls as well—I find that Stephen West’s patterns are very pleasant to knit.

I recently decided to take some pictures of the shawls together, and I ended up taking some selfies as well on this warm and windy beach! I would also love to hear your experiences with Stephen West’s Mystery Shawl KALs in the comments! Happy knitting.

Color Craving: http://bit.ly/1O8khKH

Project Page: http://bit.ly/26IFZQT

Color Craving 4

Exploration Station: http://bit.ly/24gK4go

Project Page: http://bit.ly/1WB0gTC

Exploration Station 1

The Doodler: http://bit.ly/1Tc2rI2

Project Page: http://bit.ly/24sgG3q

The Doodler Shawl 1

All three together!

Stephen West Shawl's 1

The Doodler, Little Toastie, and April’s Beanie Bag

The Doodler, Little Toastie, and April’s Beanie Bag

Bookshelf Tour: https://youtu.be/rM2xGD8v1lg

Shawl: The Doodler by Stephen West
Project Page: http://bit.ly/24sgG3q
Pattern: http://bit.ly/1Tc2rI2
Yarn: Hedgehog Fibre Skinny Singles in Tulp, Graphite, and Where’s My Bike

Little Toastie: http://bit.ly/1SF2fSa

Jimmy Beans Wool Beanie Bag Subscription: http://tinyurl.com/gvocmcw
Included:
Crystal Palace Mochi Plus in 604 Bodega Bay
Crystal Palace Allegro Aran in 9028 Tandoori
Crystal Palace Sausalito in 8451 Harvest
Crystal Palace Panda Silk in 3001 Pearl Blue
Crystal Palace 3092 Night Sky
Soak in Celebration
Knitter’s Pride Needle Gauge