Ultimately, vampires are paradoxes. They are both alive and dead, human and the Other, desirable and monstrous. And who in society understands paradox better than a teenager?
Processing mortality is a daunting task—but it is important that we learn to digest its impact and grow more comfortable with it as a natural part of life. As this is easier said than done, consuming different forms of media that focus on death and dying is arguably one way of beginning to acquaint ourselves with these eventualities.
Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series has irrevocably proved that yes, Asian girls can have their own storylines and yes, they do in fact have personalities. Sometimes, however, media representation – particularly when it’s one of the only outlets that appears to properly reflect your identity – can be a little too influential.
It was puzzling. Even as I read other works of fiction and academic writing, ‘The Coconut Children’ stood out even more to me. I began to see that my obsession for the book came from a need to continuously re-experience the narrative, because it was the first book in mainstream Australian fiction I had read where I could see myself and my history being reflected.
Throughout history, figures in the Gospels have developed their myth, their constant shapeshifting ultimately leading to the deconstruction of their reality. Irish author Colm Tóibín, for instance, challenges the traditional perception of Virgin Mary, the Blessed Mother of God, in The Testament of Mary.
The fact of the matter is, most books we read (in English-speaking countries, at least) are by white authors. And if you are like me in the sense that you live for magic, swords, and dragons—in other words, fantasy—you will predominantly be transported into worlds inspired by European mythology and folklore whenever you pick up a new book. Which is completely fine… some of the time.
“Victor Mott is perchance the worst salesman to ever exist. And yet, he’s perfect.”
“If you’re struggling to acclimatise to the new ways of university life … I promise this book is worth the read.”
“Remarkable Creatures is remarkable itself for the way Chevalier weaves a fine portrait of the characters, landscapes, social norms and expectations (particularly with regards to women’s lives) of that period of English history. It is noteworthy that almost all the characters in the book are real, historical people who were alive in that period.”
“When it feels like I can’t change anything in the outside world, it is sometimes easier to sit down with … some familiar feminist writing.”