As a teenager, I read sporadically. But when I found something that caught my imagination I became absorbed. I always tried to like cool books; the books that were all about finding yourself but funnily enough I couldn’t identify with the narrator most of the time. As a child I had a few favourite books but I won’t write about them here because I think this post could easily end up an ode to Plop the owl.
I also was going to avoid writing about graphic novels and zines, but I put Moomins and Culture Slut in anyway because I enjoy them. I managed to keep non-fiction out of here. I might write about inspirational journals at another point. But that subject often tumbles into a description of my learning journey.
This first book my adult brain loved was One Hundred Years of Solitude. Though it was a cautious love at first. I was a little bit infatuated with South America at the time and the town of Macondo seemed very vivid in my mind. It took me a few reads to understand the family tree and I still got confused, but there are small details of the story that enchanted me. One Hundred Years of Solitude was the first story I was able to make mine, in my head I imagined the serigraphs of Eyvind Earle and the scent of a showery summer evening.
I took a few quick snapshots of my Gabriel García Márquez shrine. It is more of a Macondo shrine because I loved the atmosphere in One Hundred Years of Solitude. The flowers and assorted bric-a-brac remind me of the magic and lushness of Macondo. And I’ve always had a feeling of “home” when I read Gabriel García Márquez.
The Moomins are latecomers to my favourites. I remember seeing them when I was a child and thinking they were fun, but when I revisited them decades later I realised there were clever storylines and an acknowledgement of darker moods. I particularly like elements of melancholy and anxiety that appear, and some occasional social commentary.
I also really love Ibsen plays. Hedda Gabler is my favourite, but I also love The Wild Duck and An Enemy of the People. I don’t want to say I relate to Hedda Gabler because I know that can sound depressing and/or morbid. But I can relate to some of the things she says and does. As someone that often feels undervalued, Hedda Gabler shines like a beacon to me. Whenever I read or watch Hedda Gabbler I feel a silent scream in my chest, which I always felt she experienced too.
Zines were a big part of my life in my twenties. Over the past five years I have not bought as many I used to – this is mainly due to my only trying to buy things I need phases that happen yearly. I am my happiest when I’m rummaging through a box of zines. The first personal zines I remember reading were Culture Slut and Telegram, and slightly later Your Pretty Face is Going Straight to Hell. I do read a lot of political zines and pamphlets, but the personal zines are my favourites. I just remember reading personal zines and getting excited that I could make one and that people may like to read about my life! I love reading about other people.
You can view two issues of Culture Slut at the Queer Zine Archive. Here they are: