Twenty-Twenty-Through: December ’22 Roundup

Obligatory I can’t believe it’s the end of the year! end of year post! Once more, dear friends, it’s been a weird and wild ride. There has been plenty of lows in 2022, but there have also been plenty of highs:

Exciting Things I Achieved this year:

  • Handed in my PhD!! At time of writing this I’m still waiting on results, so examiner feedback will officially be a problem for 2023 Alex. But the biggest share of the work is done.
  • Got two short stories published (hilariously, within about a month of each other, even though that’s not the timeline on which they were written)! You can read ‘Legs’ and ‘Coast Roads’ for free online.
  • Ran an independent writing workshop! I put together eight sessions for a local queer organisation and introduced a small group of interested students to the ins and outs of different aspects of writing. Because we secured a grant, I got paid for my time and we were able to offer this workshop for free. All going to plan, a collection of the attendees’ short stories will be going to print next year!
  • Helped run a queer book club at my uni! I kicked things off with three months of fun, discussion-worthy novels and got everyone (well, the dedicated few who consistently turned up—you guys rock) to read Loveless, One Last Stop, and Cemetery Boys.

And hey, I’ve been writing:

All in all, I hope to say that things are looking up, and that there will be many exciting things to share here in the coming twelve months. I hope the same is true for all of you, and I hope that you all managed to get some sort of rest in that strange liminal space between Christmas and New Year.

On the blog

Queer YA Spotlight: Where You Left Us squeezing in one last spotlight post for the year, showcasing Rhiannon Wilde’s gothic-ish tale of two sisters figuring out a family mystery (and their own issues).

The Best Books I Read in 2022 – from fun rom-coms to funky sci-fi, check out my favourite novels from the past trip around the sun! These are always really fun posts to curate, so I hope you all enjoy them.

The Best Anime I Watched in 2022 – from hobby shows to fantasy adventures to… uh… very serious yakuza dramas… here are my favourite anime series from this year.

On AniFem

Girls Doing Stuff: Agency and Motivation in Girls’ Hobby Shows – chill hobby series make up some of my favourite anime, but was it about them that appeals to me so deeply? Read to find out!

Sex Ed 120% Part 1 and Part 2 – a podcast chat about an under-the-radar edutainment manga that aims to address the gaps in Japan’s sex ed curriculum with humour and surprising inclusivity.

And don’t forget Patreon!

For my Tricky Tricksters tier and up, I’m pushing past my nerves and posting excerpts of the new creative project I’m working on! This month, you get to meet Protagonist #3 of The Doorways Book, and finally get a first peek at one of these titular mysterious, magical doorways.

Things to Enjoy on the Internet

In superhero stories, “saving the world” often means making sure the world does not get changed. While this stems from the serialised format that kicked the genre off—resetting the story at the end of the episode/comic book so they can be enjoyed in any order—this has the knock-on effect of making modern superheroes into conservative figures who keep the status quo in place, while attempts at social change or questioning power structures are marked as villainous.

T’is the season to be horrified by the oppressive terrors of patriarchal systems and gendered violence! Here, Maggie compares the original Black Christmas against its 2019 remake/reboot and how the latter updates and plays on the core themes. Pairs nicely with This Ends at Prom‘s podcast episode on the same topic!

“If I Was Born as a Girl…” Transfeminine Desire in Stop!! Hibari-kun – a retrospective on a goofy 1980s rom-com that quite accidentally became a queer icon by virtue of treating its “boy dressed as a girl” heroine with compassion and respect.

Does Toradora! Hold Up Today? – short answer: yes! Long answer: this romcom gets much of its staying power from its strong characters and its focus on their growth.

Please Start Reading Books for What They Are – an evergreen post imploring reviewers—whether professional or personal—to take the genre and demographic context of a work into consideration and to meet the novel where it lives. i.e. maybe don’t complain that the plot of a children’s book feels uncomplicated or that a romance has a neat, happy ending.

Making Up and Making Waves: How Tropical-Rouge! PreCure Rewrote Narratives of Femininity and Fairy Tales – magical girls, cosmetics, and the fairy princess aesthetic have long gone hand in hand, but Ayumi Shinozaki argues here that 2021’s Pretty Cure instalment takes a refreshing approach to these topics.

Answerman: What Happened to Shoujo Anime? – shifting market niches and the notion that girls “grow out of” animation are among the reasons that we’re seeing fewer shoujo adaptations, even though this demographic retains a hungry audience.

Revisiting the Popularity and Cultural Context of Vampire Knight – take a blood-splattered, lace-clad walk down memory lane to the distant year of 2008, and see why this gothic shoujo melodrama serves as a perfect time capsule of the fantasies being sold to teen girls at the time.

I know I posted a Tom Cardy song a couple of months ago, and I really don’t like to double up, but the dreadful truth is I’ve had this one on loop in my brain since the start of December. Please enjoy a very silly and deeply compelling tale of the Old West.

And that’s all for now, and all for the year! I’ll see you all very soon for yet more adventures. Stay safe out there, one and all.



Filed under Monthly Roundups

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