6 BOOKS I’M THANKFUL FOR | xreadingsolacex [CC]


Hello you gorgeous individuals, it’s Kav
here and today I’m going to be sharing with you all six books that I am
thankful for. So first of all, a huge thank you to my best friend Andrew for
filming again, he’s back here. And essentially, I know that Thanksgiving is
a holiday that sucks because of what it is based on, so this is not necessarily
a Thanksgiving-centric video, it is a video basically about the holiday season
and the spirit of positivity and thanks that comes with it that I’m a big fan of. And because of that, I thought that this would be a good time to share some books that I’m
thankful for and put a more positive spin on a not-so-positive-holiday. For the recprd, it is raining outside so I’m sorry if it’s
loud by any means, but I will have captions included in this video
in case you’re having trouble hearing. And I think that’s all for the intro, so let’s
just jump right into the video. Coming in at number six is none
other than I Wish You All the Best by my good friend Mason Deaver. I Wish You All the Best is a young adult novel that is coming out in May of 2019 and it is
about a non-binary teen, Ben de Backer, who basically is not accepted by their
parents after they come out as non-binary, so they end up moving in with
their sister. It’s kind of a coming-of-age story about Ben’s journey
and Ben coming to terms with their identity, and it also includes a very
adorable romance with a bi interest of color, Nathan, who is also on the cover
of this book. I first read this book in early 2017 when Mason asked me to do a
beta-read for them, and it is a book that has meant so much to me for a number of
reasons. First of all, Mason is doing amazing work for trans and non-binary
authors in the book community and I don’t think they understand what their work
means to so many authors who are aspiring and so many readers who are
going to be reading this book and seeing their identity for the first time. And I’ve also gotten a
chance to read one of Mason’s other manuscripts that I can’t really say too
much on, but it is just as moving and groundbreaking as I Wish You All the
Best and I think that that is something so huge and I’m just so proud of Mason. As someone who has been a part of their process in creating this book – to
actually hold it in my hands after I read a google doc version of it in 2017
and got to send them an email with all my thoughts – to see it as a book that is
going to be published is just huge and I’m so proud of them and I’m so proud of
what they are doing for the community and for trans and non-binary authors and
readers who are going to be seeing themselves in this work for the first
time and who are going to have the courage to write their own stories. I think that
is something so incredible and I think that is a book that is truly,
truly groundbreaking as Becky Albertalli herself says on the cover which she
blurbed. So this is incredibly amazing, I’m so
excited for it to come out and it’s one that I highly recommend everyone put on
their TBR for 2019. And now, at number five is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens
Agenda by the very same Becky Albertalli. Simon vs. the Homo Aapiens
Agenda is a book that has been the talk of the community for months now, but in
case you have been living under a rock – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a
story about Simon Spier, who is a closeted gay teen who essentially
engages in an email exchange with a fellow closeted gay teen and the emails
fall into the hands of the wrong person who basically blackmails Simon to get
him to help him with the girl he likes in exchange for keeping his emails quiet, and this is a coming-of-age story about queerness and about Simon’s life story
and Simon’s journey as well. Like I Wish You All the Best, Simon vs. the Homo
Sapiens Agenda is one that is incredibly groundbreaking because it is one of the
first books about a gay teen that has gotten so much buzz in recent times and
it actually has a movie adaptation made of it which it says right up here – Love,
Simon – which, again, was a huge movie that was loved by not even just book readers
but by just movie watchers and so many people, so this is a book that has done
so much in terms of queer literature. Becky Albertalli is another author who
is really paving the way for queer literature and literature about
marginalized communities and she does it in such a respectful way to people
from the community which I think is just so incredible, she really puts in the
time and effort to get the representation right and to also
construct a realistic teen story that features teens that feel like you and I.
They feel like genuine teens, they feel like genuine people and I think that
that’s another huge powerful thing about her work because a lot of times, if
you’re writing a teen story from an adult perspective, it can come off not
really representative of what teens are like, but she does that so well and she
really writes his journey being gay and being young so authentically and it has
paved the way for so many other authors to do that and so many readers to see
themselves in that light and I think that it is a book that a lot of people are
thankful for for what it has done for the community and for the growth of
literature in the future. And now, at number four I have The Miseducstion of
Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth which, if you follow me on any social media, you
have heard me raving about this for months now. The Miseducation of Cameron
Post is also a book that was recently turned into a movie in August, but it did
not have as widespread a release as Love, Simon unfortunately, but I did have the
opportunity to see it and I absolutely loved it with my whole entire heart, but
you might be wondering what this book is about. The Miseducation of Cameron
Post is a coming-of-age story about a lesbian girl named Cameron Post. The first half of this book really takes you on her
journey coming to terms with being a lesbian/discovering her identity. And the
the second half of the book is when her identity is outed because this takes
place in, I think, the 1970s or 80s in a rural town, so it is not a time when
being a lesbian is accepted and being anything other than straight is accepted.
So once her identity is outed and once people discover her identity, she is sent
to conversion therapy and she is sent to a conversion camp, and the second half of
the book takes you through that journey. And again, The Miseducation of Cameron
Post is a book that has been groundbreaking for lesbian literature
because there are so few books that feature lesbian main characters
especially by gay authors. As a lesbian teen, this is the first book I read with
someone of my identity. I read it soon after I came to terms with the fact that
I myself am a lesbian and I think that this is just a book that came in my life
at the right time. Because though I have not had as difficult a journey as
Cameron and as people who have been forced to go through conversion therapy
and I would never claim to have that same experience, I have had my own
difficulties in terms of queerness and in terms of coming to terms with my
identity and this book really came into my hands at the right time and taught me
to accept my identity and taught me to love myself and love the fact that I love
girls, and I think that it is so powerful for a variety of reasons because it’s just
powerful for anyone who has not been accepted for who they are and I think it
teaches you that other people can be shitty and you just have to learn to
live with that. Despite the fact that it deals with such heartbreaking stuff – and
obviously if any of that is something that will trigger you, I don’t recommend
you read this book or watch the movie because you should never put yourself in
a situation where you’re consuming content that could be harmful to you – but
I think that despite the heavy content it deals with, it has an ultimately
hopeful ending and it has an ultimately hopeful message about Cameron, about
being queer, and just about accepting yourself and being a teen who lives
in a society that doesn’t accept you, so I think that’s something that’s just so
powerful, to turn something dark into something ultimately hopeful and I think
that the author does that very well and she actually just had her next novel
*announced* which is coming, I think, in 2021 and I am so, so hyped for it because it
is basically an adult murder mystery that is completely sapphic and queer, so I
am really hyped for that and really hyped to see where she continues to go because
she has done a brilliant job so far. In third place I have More Happy Than
Not by Adam Silvera which, again, if you have followed me for
any amount of time now you should know that this book means the world and more
to me. And like these other authors, Adam is someone who has done groundbreaking
work in creating more space in our community for queer literature. More
Happy Than Not is a story about a gay Puerto-Rican teen, Aaron Soto, who basically doesn’t know he’s gay when the book starts and he goes through a lot of pain
and heartbreak in discovering that about himself. This is a book that means so
much to me in a variety of ways, but again, this is a book that I want to
give a trigger warning for because it deals very heavily with themes of suicide
and violence and just dark themes – this is not a book that is happy or easy to
read by any means and I don’t want anyone to go in thinking it is. It
definitely deals with triggering content, but again, Adam is someone who
has done that in such an authentic way. Adam himself is gay and Puerto-Rican so
that is ownvoices representation and his representation of suicide in this
book is the one that has been the most authentic for me as someone who is a
suicide attempt survivor and that’s why this book means so much to me. It is the
only book that has ever truly captured my experience with mental illness and
mental health. It means the world to me in that sense which is something that I
have been open about before because I think that more people need to know that
whereas these books are dark and they can be hard to read, for some people who
have been through those experiences, reading that is what you need to heal. And I think that this book is another one that came to me at the right time – it
came to me right after I got out of intensive treatment. I read it and it
basically healed me. It came to me at the right time, it came to me at a time when
I needed it, when I needed to see someone else who had gone through
something similar to me. Again, like Cam Post, I think that this is a book that
despite how dark it is and how painful it could be to read at times, it has
an ultimately hopeful message. Some people might disagree with me who’ve
read the book, but for me, as someone who’s been through some similar experiences – again, not to the extent that Aaron has because he grows up in a poor
neighborhood and he has different difficulties than I’ve dealt with and I
wouldn’t want to claim that I’ve had the same experience as him when I haven’t in
many ways, I am more fortunate than him in many ways – but as someone who has had
a similar experience I find that the ending of this book is exactly what I
needed and I think the title just says it all “More Happy Than Not” and I think
that that theme of happiness is one that’s just so important to me in my
life and that has been such a big part of my life. And again, Adam Silvera is
just doing amazing groundbreaking work in terms of breeding a space for queer
literature, for literature featuring queer people of color, for literature
dealing with mental illness which he has done in his other books and they all
mean so much to me, but this is the one that is closest to my heart. And at
number two, I’m sure you all have been waiting for me to talk about this book,
it is none other than When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. Again, if you’ve
followed me for any amount of time you have heard me talk about this book at
least five times, if not more. (that’s, um, very understated) When Dimple Met Rishi is the first time I have ever seen a person who looks like me on the cover of a book,
a person with a name like me on the title of the book, and two main
characters who come from the same heritage as me as the main characters of
the book by an author who comes from the same country as me. If you haven’t been
represented correctly in your life, you know what that can mean to you because
it is a feeling of pure warmth and pure support and a feeling of being seen that
you have never had before that you feel when you see yourself in a book for
the first time and that is what this book did to me and that is what it is to
me and I think it is what is the reason that I fight so hard for representation
now. For those of you who don’t know what this book is about, When Dimple Met Rishi
is a YA rom-com about two teens, Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel, who are basically set
up for an arranged marriage that Rishi knows about but Dimple does not because
Dimple is very ‘I want to stay away from the stereotypes of my culture, I want to
live my own life, I want to go to college I want to pursue a stem career, and I
just want to be a strong, passionate woman’ – not to say that you can’t be a
strong, passionate woman if you are in tune with your culture, but for Dimple
that is the path she wants, while Rishi is much more ‘I need to do what I need to do
for my family, I need to be the perfect child for my parents’ and he puts a lot
of pressure on himself in that sense, so he’s for this arranged marriage, and they
have the most iconic meet-cute of all- time that then takes them on a whirlwind
of romance that I just adored. Something Sandhya has said before about the reason why she writes these rom-coms is because marginalized people deserve to see
themselves in the same cute, fluffy stories. Our stories are not all
heartbreak, and whereas those books are important, the issue books are important,
it’s also important to show that our lives are not just pain, they’re not just
heartbreak. They can be cute, they can be messy, they can be fun, and I think that’s
what this book really does. It just takes two Indian-American teens and it puts them through a fun journey that does have more serious parts to it – it does have
serious aspects to it because I think that anytime you’re writing something
about teens there are coming-of-age aspects to it that deal with identity
and such and you can’t avoid that when you’re writing YA because it is a
very big part of a teen’s life, but at its core, it is a rom-com and it’s important
to show people who look like me in a world like that. This book is very
unapologetic in how it utilizes Indian culture. Sandhya does not apologize for
being Indian, she doesn’t try to make her characters appear white, she doesn’t try to
make them act white to make this book blend in – she lets them be
unapologetically Indian and she does it in such a beautiful way where she has a
character like Dimple who more criticizes the issues that come with
Indian culture because all cultures have issues and I would not negate that, but
she also has Rishi who celebrates the great parts of being Indian and, again,
Indian-ness has amazing parts to it and she puts them together and has them have
these conversations and this dialogue that ultimately highlights both the
positives and negatives of my culture and she uses this heritage.
She uses Dimple and Rishi’s culture as an integral part in their journey
because it is. Something that often happens when people try to write books
featuring characters of color as the main character is they don’t actually
put their culture in – they have a brown character, but they don’t have an Indian
character, they don’t have a Mexican character, they have a brown character – and there is a difference because there is more to being a person of color than
just the skin color aspect that comes along with it. It is also the culture, it
is the heritage, it is the upbringing, it is the lifestyle, it is all intertwined
in their experiences and Sandhya does that in such a beautiful way that
resonates with Indian-American readers and also resonates with non-Indian-American readers. It can be a great read for someone who doesn’t come from this
culture to read it and to see a perspective different than their own and
she continues to do that in her future books and they all mean so much to me,
but When Dimple Met Rishi is the one that started it for me. It’s the one that
started why I’m fighting so hard to representation because this is the book
that taught me the power of representation. It is the first book where
an author wrote something and said ‘I see you and your story is important and your
story matters’ and I would not be pursuing writing if it wasn’t for
authors like Sandhya who had paved the way for me going forward because I would
not have had the bravery. Growing up I always wrote manuscripts with white main
characters because I thought that’s all the world wanted and Sandhya showed me
that that’s not true and I could never give her enough thanks for that. And now,
at number one, it is none other than The Shadowhunter Chronicles by the one and
only Cassandra Clare. Again, if you know anything about me it should not be a
surprise that this is number one. (stop laughing at me-i’m laughing because it’s so obvious to me)
As Andrew can attest, I have loved The Shadowhunter Chronicles since I was in
middle school. (yeahh) The Shadowhunter Chronicles are the books that got me
into reading. I was twelve when I picked up City of Bones and I went to a crappy
middle school (yeah…little bit) and I was in a crappy environment. These books were my escape – they gave me a world outside of my crappy reality to look into and to delve
into – and that was the first time I had really
seen the power of literature because I had always loved reading. I come from a
line of readers in my family, so reading has always been a part of my life, but
Cassandra Clare showed me the power of reading. She showed me the power of
entering a world that is different than your own as an escape even if for only
an hour or two, it is a powerful escape when everything around you is darkness.
And I think this goes back to the fact that sometimes books really do come to
you at the right time – because who knows if I had read this book two years
later or one year earlier if it would have had the same impact on me – but the
time I read it was the time I needed it. And because of that, these books are
books that will stay with me forever, they are my favorite books in the world.
They mean everything to me, they have changed my world. I discovered booktube
because of City of Bones and booktube is such a big part of my life, so that
happened for me because I picked up this Cassandra Clare book and so much of my
path and my journey in life would not be how it is today if I hadn’t picked up
that stupid book with that shirtless boy on the cover when I was twelve. (when you
thought you were a heterosexual) And another huge thing that stays with me in terms of
Cassandra Clare’s work is that though she doesn’t need to because she is such
a famous author and she has a famous series, she still fights to represent
underrepresented identities. And people have different views on the
representation in her books, some people don’t like them and that’s
valid you don’t have to like them, no one’s going to make you like them, I’m
not going to judge you because you can determine what works for you. But for me,
as someone who considers the fight for representation a core part of my role in
the book community, I think that my favorite author making that an important
part of her journey is so important to me.
Magnus and Alec were two of the first queer characters I ever read in
literature. And for so many people that was the first because City of Bones came
out in 2007 when queer literature was not a thing. It was not a thing and Alec
was one of the first canonically gay characters
that was part of the main cast of a book series. And that is huge. And she’s
continued to make strides to accurately represent the world around us. Like in
The Infernal Devices, one of the three main characters is a disabled
Chinese-British character and that is big. Jem Carstairs is my favorite
literary character of all-time. And she’s continued to do that so heavily in her
latest series The Dark Artifices – which is also just a really good series and Queen of Air and Darkness comes out really soon and I’m not prepared, but that’s a
separate issue for a separate day – and that means a lot to me because Cassandra
Clare’s work, again, it’s why I’m a reader, it’s why I’m a writer. She is my
inspiration. She is the woman who has basically paved my path in life and that
sounds kind of overdramatic, but it really is true because I would not be
filming this video here or, more accurately, forcing my best friend to
film this video for you all had I not picked up that one book when I
was twelve. That is something that will stay with me forever and she is someone who
will stay with me forever. I don’t think I will ever stop supporting her. I don’t
think I ever can because her books are my favorite things in the world, they
mean everything and more to me. That’s all I can say about that – they are
everything to me. That was a fun and emotional video. But I think that what
this really shows is the power of literature, the power of when some sort
of media comes into your hands because the timing does matter – certain books
that come to you at certain times in your life can stay with you forever and
I think that’s what these books really mean to me – they came to me when I needed them and that means a lot to me. And of course, this video does not encompass all
the books I’m thankful for – if I was to film a video about every single book I’m
thankful for, it would probably be my entire bookshelf (and we don’t have three
weeks…we don’t have three weeks no), but I think that these authors and authors in
general and even aspiring authors like me and you – or maybe not you, but me – need to know that our words have power and their words have power. I remember a few
days ago on twitter I saw some people just comforting authors and reminding
them that in this season where top ten lists are coming out – if your book isn’t
on it, it doesn’t mean your book is bad because it did mean something to a reader. That’s what I really wanted to focus on for this video because we can curate those top
ten lists, we can look at the New York Times Bestseller list, but those are
much more numbers focused – not to discredit them because they are
important things, they are cool things, I mean being a New York Times bestselling
author is huge and amazing and I don’t want to discredit that – but the real
power of literature is in the reader who sees the magic of the words and that’s
what I wanted to focus on in this video – the magic of these words, the magic of
these authors who have woven tales that are gonna stay with me for the entirety
of my life. And obviously I want to give a huge thank you to them for being brave
enough to write these stories because all of these stories would not have been
accepted a few years ago. They were brave enough to be groundbreaking and to break
the norm of the community we exist in and to write books that many others
don’t have the courage to write, and I understand that, I sympathize with that
as someone who is still fighting for the courage to write my own story. But it is
authors like these who give me the strength to do it. It is authors like these who inspire me to keep making booktube videos that
discuss representation, that discuss the importance of making sure every
reader can walk into a bookstore and find not one not two but five books with
characters who look like them, who feel like them, who think like them. It is
authors like these who inspire me to sit down at my goddamn laptop and start
writing on that google doc. (ohmygod preach) It is authors like these who inspire
readers like me and that is very important to me and I think it’s
important for me to showcase that. So thank you to those authors – thank you for
being brave enough, not just to these six authors who of course a huge thanks to
them because they are groundbreaking, but thank you to all the authors who are
brave enough to sit down and to open that google doc and to write that
manuscript because it changes the world for a teen like me. And on that mushy and
sappy note, I think that’s all for this video. Thank you all so much for watching.
I hope you enjoyed this video – if you did, please give it a like and subscribe
because that stuff makes me happy. And go ahead and comment down below and tell me some of the books that you are thankful for – what’s the book that got
you into reading or the book that changed your life because I’d love to
hear. And as usual, all of my social media and my goodreads will be in the description
below so you can follow me anywhere else if you’d like. Thank you all so much for
watching. I hope you’re having a lovely day or night wherever you are. Please remember
that you are beautiful and you deserve the world, and I will see you soon for a
brand new video. Goodbye!

19 thoughts on “6 BOOKS I’M THANKFUL FOR | xreadingsolacex [CC]

  1. Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda is definately a book that I am thankful for as well. My brother is Gay so by reading Simons story, I was able to undrstand what he was able to feel when he was not accepted into society when he first came out. Loved this video idea, they all sound like such good books!

  2. that sweater is so gorg on you, kav! I love all of the positivity in this video, I can't wait to read Mason's book next year!

  3. the series that got me into reading is the trashy House Of Night series which was also the first book series where I saw a queer main character (Damien, my son). So I am incredibly thankful for those books. But I'm thankful for If I Tell You (surprise, surprise) because honestly it was the book that made me realize that even if I identify as biromantic I am homosexual. I still need to read a book with a biromantic main character. And I still need to read a book with a biromantic homosexual character.
    and about the books you're thankful for: I am shook. I was not expecting at all. THE SURPRISE!!! I still need to read The Miseducation Of Cameron Post and I Wish You All The Best (MAY. CAN'T. COME. SOON. ENOUGH) and obviously read the rest of the Shadowhunter Chronicles.

  4. i love the spirit of this video so much! your little chat at the end had me tearing up omg. i am SO unbelievably excited for i wish you all the best– i don't think i've ever been this excited for a debut before!

  5. KAV this is such an amazing video???? i love u and ur thoughts and also this whole video has such an incredible aesthetic and i love it <33

  6. I can't wait for I Wish You All the Best, Mason is AMAZING!
    Loved this!
    Also MORE HAPPY THAN NOT IN OUR HEARTS <3 <3
    I'm so happy you have When Dimple met Rishi!
    pretends to be shocked when TSC is mentioned and I'm so happy that CC keeps fighting for diversity! <3 <3

  7. I am so thankful for Sandhya Menon for writing about characters I can relate to! and Cassandra Clare is my favorite author as well and her books mean so much to me

  8. For me I also love TSC, I picked up in middle school too, but towards the end and it has honestly helped so much thru HS. Like I wish I could meet CC and tell her how much her world of characters has helped.

    Not just as a Bi Indian girl but even just in some things I have had to go through. I have struggled so much through out HS with things I can and cannot control but Cassie’s books were always the best escape. Her books are actually one of the reasons I want to go to College and go into a helping profession, Ik that may sound dumb but it’s cuz of those characters I learnt how much it means to have someone to be there and to help you through the dark times; fiction or non-fiction.

  9. This is such a sweet, meaningful video. I'm always so impressed by your transparency. You can really tell how much each of these stories means to you.

    Also, I'm loving the rain sounds in the background. So soothing!

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