The Bloggers in the Attic || How reading diversely changed us and its importance

DCDiverseRead-RA

Hello, followers of the chain. At least, I hope if you got there it’s because of the chain, the discussion chain.
Luck assisted me again, because I’m still in Abruzzo and I’ll probably depart next Sunday morning. But nothing is sure. So yep, I’m still publishing the post thanks to my phone hotspot.
I’m so glad it’s keeping on and not leaving me in the middle of the nothing.

Anyway, for other details, please consult the information’s I’ll leave down here. As the opening post of the discussion, I’ll host the general presentation and the list of the participants.

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The Bloggers in the Attic is a discussion chain. And what is a discussion chain? Well, it’s pretty simple and with few steps.

Me and other bloggers united together to discuss a common topic, covering the whole arc of August, and sharing our unique perspective. I created the initiative with the wish to create a discussion space that could explore a normal topic for different part of the world.

The rules to participate are pretty simple. So, if you ever wish to take part in the future discussion, please just comment under this post. Every topic will be discussed bi-monthly, so the next round will be up in October. There’s plenty of time to join in, but the best option is always to enter early. Also, take a look to the group banner

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Here’s a link to all the participants. Right now their post are still unpublished, so I’ll update the current blog link with the discussion post, when time comes. But for now, you could totally go and give them a follow and your support! On the right side of their names, you can find:

14th – Camilla @Reader in the Attic (aka me)

16th – Dany @Ambivert Words

19th – Sage @Sage’s Shelves

21st – Isabelle @Bookwyrm Bites

23rd– Bec  @Bec and Books

28th– Hanna @Hanna Lucy

30th – Rain @Bookdragonism

On Twitter, do not forget to check the general tag of #DiscussionAttic and #DAAugust for our monthly topic.

The discussion theme of the month is about diversity, but especially: how reading more diversely has changed our perspective and why it’s important.
Mind that post will be both ownvoices for bloggers with marginalized identities, so please remain respectful while reading the chain.

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Here we are, with a very important issue between my blogger hands. Let’s see… it’s time to list down a bit who I’m.
I’m Italian, but this doesn’t impact that much my reading experience, aside from getting irritated as stereotypes, very irritated at terrible ignorant mash up of what non-Italian writer perceive as Italian, and very angry at terrible romanticized stories of mafia. But that’s not something that can be called discrimination. Definitely not. At best it’s upsetting ignorance.
Slightly disconnected from this topic, it’s always worth to write down: Italians are white. In case some Italian diaspora is reading this and thinking about going “Italians are POC”. No, they aren’t, unless they are actual POC who also are Italians.
Claiming the contrary is extremely offensive for everything Italians POC face in my country.

moving i see you GIF by Cheezburger

THAT’S ME WATCHING YOU AS YOU TRY “ITALIAN ARE POC”

To return back to my presentation: I’m epileptic, and I’m pretty sure I also suffer from anxiety and depression. I’m suspecting of being neurodivergent too in other terms, but sadly I cannot get an official diagnosis.
Also, I’m asexual and aromantic, but I’m very tempted to add another definition to myself because, in the last year, my desire for a platonic relationship became more persistent and important in my life. As much as me realizing that I’m aesthetically and platonically attracted to multiple genders.

That’s pretty much all of it, unless life will give me some other surprise.

If I look back at all my reads, searching for how diverse reads impacted my life and how I perceived myself… here’s a twist to the discussion, because no book helped me.
Yes, you’re hearing that right. And I’m not 100% sure how this can be positive or negative.

It remained stuck inside me, hearing all those people talking about all the important novels that helped them. I have this image of me, that cannot cherish the experience with them, be there and say: yes, me too! I totally understand!
I do get the importance of seeing someone like us crossing the pages of a book during their adventure, but I cannot say that the emotion reaches the deep of my heart.

I’m probably a reader anomaly. You will see me screaming from a roof: representation matters! You will see me fight against whoever pronounce the anti-diversity sentence we all know by now. Yet, you won’t see me reaching out, for example, to an asexual book. Or a novel with an asexual/aromantic protagonist.
I’m happy to read the blurb of a book, think: oh, that’s very cool. And so, I’ll add it to my whilst or to my cart, and I’ll purchase it.
I’m not actively searching to read for my own representation, mostly because I always felt like I could understand characters and stories, empathize with them, even with the white allocishet main protagonist of the situation. This doesn’t apply to everyone for sure and it’s in their right to reclaim proper representation and to uplift authors that are part of who they are.

Let’s state a “fun” example of my reading experience. In Radio Silence, we have Aled. He’s on the asexual spectrum, more precisely he’s demi. I thought I was going to relate to him, because we’re were almost on the same page. I understood him and followed his story, but it was Frances, the other protagonist, that I related more too.

confused what are you doing GIF

ME AT THE END OF THE BOOK BECAUSE I WAS IN WTF MODE

It makes me feel like a fraud sometimes. When I see all these amazing diverse readers and bloggers promote their favourite representative read, and I’ve nothing to say “Look at this amazing character”. Literally, nothing. I do have others main protagonist, but none of them is part of my identity.
I remember when during the pride month, two people asked me for asexual spectrum book recommendation, and I felt totally useless when I couldn’t give them any useful title I read myself.
So, yes, my fault that I don’t actively search for my own representation, but also I don’t feel that present strong need to do so.

If I think of my epilepsy, I know my case is not as hard as others. I know people that struggle much more and I never felt in the need to cope deeply with what epilepsy implied for my social life. On another side I cannot deny it would totally be cathartic to read an experience similar to mine.

So, no! Books didn’t help my own case. Sometimes helped me understand other’s people reality and feelings. If you’re someone that can’t relate to POC characters (you know, this is the case for many white readers and let’s not pretend it’s not a reality) … sorry, but that’s a big ball of bullshit. You’re probably pretty much wrapped into privilege and lack of empathy.

But since I’m not here to talk about this, let’s go back to the main discussion. As I wrote, I rarely felt the need to check out novels with my same representation and I was unable most of the time to give proper recommendation.
I felt like a sort of betrayal towards… I don’t even know who and what.

The positive part for me is that I managed to explore myself thanks to: writing and book twitter.
Writing helped me pour down on digital pages, with virtual words, all that I felt. It was strange, because when I read my old writing I can clearly find the use of “asexual”, explicitly written. It was also described in offensive ways, because at the time I was still wrapped inside heteronormativity. But the point is: I KNEW! I knew something was up, if I can say that.

hilarious kermit the frog GIF

IMAGINE WRITING LIKE THIS. SOOOO RELAXING. YET IT SAVED ME.

Projecting myself onto my own character was the best thing I ever did. Sure, such characters need to be edited just like my words, but it’s something that helped me moving towards self-discovery, acceptance, expressing myself of my max.

Yet, none of it could have been possible without the book twitter. While the books themselves didn’t help me out like they did with other people, the folks that read the novels, promoted them… they helped me.
Entering the book twitter was kind of a shock. I was pretty much ignorant, I joined right at the time of Carve the Mark discussion, a ton of information’s arrived directly in my face with a slap. It was a lot, but also the best thing that happened to me.

I started to see all those queer folks around me. I read their tweets, what they had to say and still has. The more the did, the more I felt drawn towards the queer community. Everything moved on its own. It was like a road, not fast or slow to cross, opened in front of me. Then I started to walk in it, and step by step I healed to who I’m for real.
It’s not a complete path. Just recently I added to definition of aromantic, and as I wrote at the start it’s probable that other are coming.

The presence of real people, even if virtual, helped me. Their confidence helped me. Seeing them, all around, fighting for who they are and being understand towards each other in their common queerness… it was beautiful and pushed me towards research something I never thought about me.
A thing that the Italian queer and feminist community could never give. That’s fact. They’re mote busy fighting each other and thinking that half of modern-day feminism vocabulary and queer definition come from Tumblr. But that’s another discourse.

Anyway, I think we’re reaching the end of my discussion post. When the theme won, I passed a moment in which I was pretty near from retiring and skip the month. I was unsure on where to go with such discourse and how I was going to contribute to the diverse panorama.
I wrote something in the end. I don’t know how much my thoughts can help the discussion or support someone, but if even one person found something relatable, I probably archived something.

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HOW READING DIVERSE CHANGED YOUR EXPERIENCE? DO YOU RELATE TO SOMETHING IN MY EXPERIENCE? WHICH BOOKS REPRESENTED YOU BETTER?

 

6 thoughts on “The Bloggers in the Attic || How reading diversely changed us and its importance

  1. Thanks for a great start to the discussion chain!

    I actually really appreciate this post because it moved away from the typical discussion points – rep is important because people need to see themselves – and spoke of how that’s not necessarily a deep-and-meaningful concept for some people. I doubt you’re the only person to feel this way; kinda fraudulent, because there was no massive epiphany moment when reading your own diversity.

    It has really made me think about how I consider diverse reading in my own situation and how I’ll approach this discussion in my own post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, I’m glad you like it!

      I admit I was a bit scared to write it down, because even here people are more than eager to jump on the train of “see? representation ins’t such a big deal”, just to let their worst side go free.

      But I think , in the end, it got handled in a good way. I hope you will have fun with your turn 🙂

      Like

  2. I have the privilege of having a lot of characters to identify with, I will say that when I was young though Anne of Green Gables was the first one I really identified with, a redhead who was a reader and a dreamer and got into trouble haha. But I loved your discussion post, and I think we could just use more and more books that show off more diversity, we’re very slowly getting there….very slowly

    Liked by 1 person

    • I mean, there’re quite a lot of books with diversity, but sure we can’t stop now because we’re just scraping the surface.
      I noticed how, pretty usually, people who aren’t into book twitter or some side of it, read books with diversity but fail to actually aknowledge it!
      This happens a lot in adult fantasy. It’s a shame, really

      Like

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