What you’ll find here
I’m queer and interested in reading about queer characters, and I’m very interested in self-development. So the mix of books I read is roughly 69% queer fiction, 30% nonfiction, and the occasional (1% or less) non-queer fiction.
Here’s a short snapshot of the kind of reviews you’ll find on Jalyn Reads:
- Novels with queer characters
- Nonfiction (especially in the personal development category)
- The occasional webcomic (also with queer characters)
- Obscure/not mainstream books you probably haven’t heard of
What you’ll find in the archives
I started this book back in 2012, when I was a very different person. From 2012-2014, you can find a mix of a lot of different fiction genres, plus a blend of popular and obscure, new and old. Speculative fiction was my favorite (fantasy, scifi, and other stuff I described as “made up and slightly on the impossible side”), and you can find a lot of dystopian (which was a trend at the time). You’ll also find a LOT of reviews from that era – at one point I published 4 reviews a week.
In 2014, my reviews changed slightly – not in terms of genre (although the proportion of dystopian read went way down), but in strictness of morality. I became extremely religious, and picked books (and judged them) by how well they upheld the fundamentalist Christian belief system. The amount of books I read also went down, because that was the year I graduated high school and started college.
In the time between August 2015 and May 2017, I took a break from reviewing books and I went through a lot of personal changes. And now I’m back to reviewing, with a focus on queer books, authors (and characters) of color, and a healthy dose of nonfiction.
A short history of Jalyn Reads
I started this blog because (1) I read a lot of books, and (2) I had Thoughts about them. Jalyn Reads was officially somewhere I could tell people which books were good and which weren’t, but I really just wanted a place to put all my book thoughts.
2014 was an eventful year. I initiated the “Book Grading System,” which gave books an “appropriateness rating” based on swearing, character morality, violence, and other stuff. (Random fact: The report card design was based off one of my mother’s old elementary school report cards. I don’t even know why she still had that.)
I also went to college that fall and made some changes. Mainly beginning to review nonfiction (although I didn’t read a lot of it) and focusing on quality over quantity.
Someone thought it would be a good idea to work 4 jobs and take 19 credit hours of classes. Not my brightest moment. Book reviewing – and book reading – got put on hold.
I finally graduated college and discovered I actually had time to read again. So I decided it was a good time to revive Jalyn Reads. Of course, there were changes. I changed during my two-year unintentional hiatus, so naturally my reading tastes did, too. You can read the entire changes post here, but the highlight is that I updated the kinds of books I’ll be reading from here on out:
- More nonfiction, especially self-help/personal development stuff
- Everything is queer and feminist – I’m prioritizing books with queer characters and feminist messages
I also started listing books’ trigger warnings and being more picky about things like sexual assault, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry.
I’m 21 years old, biromantic, asexual, and agender (I use xi/xir pronouns). I’ve loved reading since I discovered The Boxcar Children at age 6, and by the time I was 16 I’d read my way through two libraries and was working on a third. At my peak, I read almost 200 books in one year.
College threw me for a loop, with both a ridiculous class/work schedule that gave me no time to read and a massive bout of depression that gave me no desire to read. But now that I’m graduated, I’ve started to recover interest in old passions – like reading.
I live in Indiana with my fiance and several friends in a big house we fondly refer to as the “hippie commune.” When I’m not at work or cooking for the totally ridiculous amount of people who live here, you can probably find me reading (obviously), organizing something, or working on novel number eight. Other interests include budgeting, fashion, rebelling against capitalism, and flirting with cute girls.
One of the items on my bucket list is “Review 1,000 books,” and that’s my current goal. I’m currently at a little over 400, so I’ve got a ways to go. But I hope you’ll stick around for the journey!