Also because books.
I mean, when I buy a book new, I often research it a little, I buy from recs lists, I maybe know the author already, and I have some idea what I'm getting. Or, you know, I run out of book and pick up something with a nice cover. Either works sometimes.
But these 500ish books I inherited... looking them up hasn't been very helpful. Somehow people reviewing old books don't feel the need to mention the underage noncon parts. Trigger warnings like woah, yet never mentioned. And whatever the reviewers are looking for in a book, star rating does nothing helpful either, because wildly not matching my opinions thus far. So what am I left with? Reading one at random and hoping. And thus far? That has been stressful, and intermittently ugly.
But when I decide a thing, like that a whole author's work is just blah so far so I may as well send a foot of books away at once, well that's stressful too. Because what if secretly six inches down the stack there's a book that would change my life? You never know.
And never mind that a bare handful of these things meet my basic reading criteria in the first place - the ones by women I have mostly read already, some of them thirty years ago. The ones about women are... rare, and frequently poorly labelled. The epic and blatant sexism is really difficult to get away from if I'm going to read those decades. There's so many stacks of books where they don't even make sense because women are just moved around like dolls, be the girlfriend now, ignore all the reasons not to, who knows how women think? Ugh. Or women are there to think about babies. Or the basic failure of imagination that is projecting tens of thousands of years into the future while preserving the systemic sexism of stereotyped media of the 1950s, ignoring even the reality of the 40s which they ought to have known about, and writing well into later decades. The simple assumption that doctors are men and nurses are women? How do they even get stuck thinking that, let alone deciding it's true of a future so far away it's multiples of humanity's entire written record out?
And the racism... jeez, the basic difference in assumptions about what's polite, or how you talk about humans. It boggles the mind. The times the writer is apparently trying to be nice about someone they've known a really long time, but all they're telling the ages is they were a little colored woman servant... I mean typing that feels wrong, but they were clearly sad of them and trying to be nice about them. So do you adjust your brain filters? It leaves a feeling like tripping over the steps every time. And then there's the times people are trying to be helpful and positive but they just end up with stereotypes like strong blacks or subtle orientals.
The basic idea that people are people are people, all of them just as much people as the straight white male manly man protagonist, well, that's ... that's advanced stuff, apparently.
So then I think, how about I skip the sixties. How about I leave the seventies alone for a while. The eighties can keep. Possibly I could just leave the books be until I've read some things I actually like for a bit. That would be nice.
... and then I get all anxious, because who knows, I might be skipping something important!
I know I'm making progress. I know I've sent away entire bags full of books, shelf feet at a time. I know I am keeping books that will be an interesting collection to refer back to in the future.
... it's just making me really anxious, because what if?
And maybe upwards.
I mean, considering some of the stuff I've read lately, TV and film tie-ins from the 90s onwards are looking like literature, because already they have characters I could like and some borders on the situations they'll put them in that on the whole I can live with.
xposted from Dreamwidth here. comments. Reply there