I love reading. It really is one of my favorite hobbies. However, I have this really bad habit of not reading new material. I have a yearly cycle of rereading old favorites. I reread the Harry Potter series at least once a year (and watch the movies of course). I reread the Abhorsen series. I reread Good Omens. I reread Lamb. I reread the Twilight series (don’t judge me, okay?). I reread the Bloodlines series. I will add a new Christopher Moore book to the rotation if I find it on sale at the bookstore. I added a new Abhorsen book to the series when it came out. Every once in a while, a new book pops up. Friends got me Cary Ewles’ As You Wish about the making of The Princess Bride movie and it has found a place in the rotation. I don’t branch out from my rotation much though.
In late December, I decided that I would read 1 new fiction and 1 new non-fiction book each month in 2017. New to me at least. Many might think that is a huge undertaking but I like to read. And I tend to read fast. 2 new books along with one or two favorites seemed very possible to me. After all, I read the entire Morganville Vampires series (15 novels) in about 8-9 weeks a couple years ago.
The trick to the reading is that I have to have a story that is very interesting. I have to have compelling characters and realistic dialog. And I have to be hooked by chapter 3. I have to have an invested interest to be able to dig in.
I struggled with this particular task in January. I not only did not finish my 2 chosen January titles, but I didn’t read anything else either. Granted, I was sick off and on all month. And I have blog posts to write when I could be reading instead. That should not have really inhibited my urge to pick up the dang books!
I picked out Tyler Oakley’s Binge as my first non-fiction book of 2017. Tyler Oakley is a YouTube star and I have been a huge fan of his for years. I discovered the Trevor Project through him and make annual donations in his name for his birthday. I found other YouTubers because of him. His support of LGBTQ+ youth makes me misty-eyed and I just freaking love his “I’m an open book” personality. He is loud and slightly obnoxious and hyper and I wouldn’t want him any other way.
I wanted to get Binge when it came out 2015 but I tend to avoid new releases. I have an issue with hard back books. I’m not your high-society type book lover. I don’t worship the book. I worship the story. So I don’t care if my pages are dog-eared, if there are water spots on the cover, or if the binding is broken by opening the dang thing. I want to read it, not look at it! So hard cover books are a waste of money for me. Give me the paperback and let me save $25 please. When Binge came out, I didn’t even look to see if it was in paperback. I knew I’d find it eventually.
I found it in late December at WalMart. I immediately grabbed it, the only copy my eyes could spy, and felt joy in my discovery. I have finally finished it, a little over a week outside of January, and the joy is still there.
This book… wow. I knew there’d be some inside information dropped like any other memoir but damn. This book is definitely not for children. Or squeamish adults. I only mind people being vulgar when children are in the vicinity so I have no issue with the content of the book in that regard. However, I most definitely will not be loaning this book out to the kids.
Tyler speaks very frankly about his messy childhood, his parents’ divorce, his strained relationship with his father, and his love of his family. He is very open about being gay, his sex drive, and numerous one-night-stands. He discusses past relationships, including one where he was a victim of domestic violence. He talks about his past experience with contemplating suicide, leading to his personal discovery of the Trevor Project. He details how internet fame has shaped him, for good and for bad. Raw honesty broken up with gay jokes. I expected nothing less.
In all, the book is a whirlwind. Some chapters are absolutely silly (being Beyonce for a day?!). Some chapters are funny (dishing the dirt on his parents and step-parents). Some are serious (the abusive relationship story). It isn’t 100% chronological but is quite linear story-telling. The chapters were stories in themselves. They were focused, endearing, self-deprecating in the right way, and engaging. I knew Tyler was a good storyteller from YouTube. I had no idea he would translate it so well into the written form.
So why did it take me 40+ days to finish this 300-ish page book? I started out with the intention of reading this during my lunch breaks at work. I’d planned to read the fiction book I’d picked up on the nights I lay in the tub. I figured I’d hit 1-2 chapters a day and be done with Binge just about as the month ended. However, the book left the realm of “appropriate for work” pretty dang quick. I traded Binge for An Abundance of Katherines, my fiction book for January. I would read Binge at home, safe from one of my older co-workers accidentally flipping through my book and her eyes landing on the line “Daddy wants dick.” I don’t know how I would recover from that.
With a new plan in place, I figured I’d have Binge read by mid-January at the latest. And then I didn’t lay in the tub for rest of the month. Between being sick, working longer hours due to some temporary quality issues, and attempting to go to sleep earlier at night, the motivation/time to spend a quality hour or two in the tub each week was gone. I contented myself with reading for 5 minutes or so each night while I let my Rimmel Lash Accelerator dry. I still had almost 100 pages left at the end of the month. *sigh*
I took a vacation day this week when Kid 1 had 2 of her wisdom teeth cut out. We were at the hospital for 6 hours. I finally finished Binge while we were there. I was sad that the stories had come to an end but I felt this immense amount of relief to have finally finished a task I set for myself.
I highly recommend this book to anyone that doesn’t have an issue with gay people, doesn’t mind vulgar language every 5th word, and wants a back-stage look at YouTube creators. ❤
I am currently on the hunt for my next non-fiction book. I think I will stick to memoirs but should probably avoid YouTubers so that I can read them at work without worrying about my co-workers fainting.
I’d like to read the memoir of someone that:
- is currently living,
- has done outreach into marginalized communities (LGBTQ+, POC, immigrants, etc.), and
- is relevant in pop culture.
I’m not sold on those 3 characteristics but I tend to like those best. I just want to read about someone that I see frequently that is making a positive mark on the world.
I’d like to avoid memoirs that are:
- written before I was born,
- heavy on religious themes, and
- primarily about how someone made money.
I don’t want proselytizing and I’m not interested in pyramid schemes or yacht parties.
Do you have a good recommendation for a memoir I might read?