Lisa @theannotatedshelf



Human Being. Found the answer to life, the universe and everything but forgot to write it down. Now humanity will perish. I apologize in advance.

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People in these kind of posts often like to say that we need to find our voice. We treat our voice as something that was lost rather than something that was oppressed, silenced and molded into something that doesn't even resemble our own thoughts. I refuse to say that I grew up and finally found my voice to talk about the inequality and discrimination women of all ages from all over the world have to fight. My voice was never lost. I just didn't use it. And even now I still don't use it enough. Sometimes I am scared. Sometimes I am too tired. Sometimes I just don't feel like starting yet another argument that will leave me angry and frustrated. 
Both women and men in my life have torn me down. Telling me that I am not a true woman. I am too manly. I wear loose clothes. I have short hair. If I wear more makeup than a little eyeliner I look like a fucking clown because I don't know how to use it. However, these physical parts are rarely the basis for people telling me that I am not a real woman.

It's my sexuality. For me, gender is irrelevant when it comes to love. Man or woman? I want to be with a human being. But not being straight comes with a big set of stereotypes. Butch. Closet lesbian. Secretly trans. I have to listen to all of it. And these stereotypes change the way people talk to me about 'experiences a woman has' as if I am not fully a woman because I am not straight and don't have long shiny hair. I am a failure as a woman because I have not slept with a man and only with women. How could I truly empathize with women if I haven't had the same experiences they had?

This is what #speakupphotochallenge is about. Organized by @theopenbookshelf  it is an initiative to talk about our personal experiences as women and men in a world ruled by sexism and prejudice. It is not only talking about ourselves. It is about listening to others. This is my story. This is my voice among so many others who are doing the same thing today. 
This is what my voice has to say today:

Stereotypes are choking me every day. My sexuality apparently defines my gender. Gender may not matter in the person that I love but my gender matters to me.

People in these kind of posts often like to say ...

"They tell us we always have the option of hiding. But if that's true, why do they always find us?" Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

It is no secret that the majority of LGBTQ+ community still lives in fear of persecution. Even in countries where being gay is no longer a death sentence enforced by the government that death sentence still comes metaphorically and all too often literally. Life is a constant stage of exhaustion and relentless fights. In some cases people literally flee to find acceptance in another country that supposedly welcomes them with an open mind. 
But queer refugees face one problem above all: to prove their queerness to the governments that accept their refugee status. But how can anyone evaluate whether someone is actually gay or not? How would you know someone is actually a woman born in the body of a man if the only thing that an official sees and hears is a man and his words? 
So what happens if a gay man has to flee his country because he is gay but the authorities don't believe him? Or what happens if someone 'exploits' the queer refugee system by pretending to be gay? 
The answer of the government is rooted in stereotypes. From tattoos to manner of speech and movements. In order to ensure that a queer refugee is actually who they say they are we are resorting to outdated images of the LGBTQ+ community that we have been fighting against all our lives. 
But how can this idea of queer refugees be successful without resorting to these dehumanizing measures all the while ensuring that people exploit the system to get an entry into a country? 
It's a difficult question to answer. How can one judge others without knowing them? It is almost ironic when you think about it. One leaves their country because they were discovered and when they seek asylum they have to come out of hiding and are possibly even told that they are not queer enough.

#queerrefugees #bookstagram #bookstabaddies #lgbt #loveislove  #refugeeswelcome #protest #booklover #reading #bookaddict #unhaul #bookshelf #bookpile #livre #libro #bücher #本 #booksofinstagram #bookstack #shelfie

"They tell us we always have the option of hiding. ...

"Philosophers describe me as "the predetermined course of events" [...] One thing I ask-please stop condemning me or giving me credit for how, when and where we meet. That is not up to me; it has never been up to me. I just show up when it is time-and that moment will always arrive. So yes, you were born to die. But in between, you are meant to live. If we run into each other prematurely, it's not because of my negligence. And often not because of yours. Your world controls me; I do not control you. I am Destiny." A Land Of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi
It is not every day that you come across a book with an abstract narrator, so when I heard that 'A Land Of Permanent Goodbyes' is a YA novel narrated by destiny I was curious. But at the same time very wary as the choice of narrating a refugee story from the perspective of destiny seemed not only strange but dangerous.
When I asked you today what you think destiny is and whether it is different from fate most of you answered that both basically describe the same thing: an inevitable event that you cannot change, something that is positive and will often give your life a red thread to guide you.
But if we go by this definition, then for me, the choice of destiny seems wrong to narrate the  hardships refugees have to endure. Is it destiny that Tareq looses the people who are closest to him? Is it destiny that he has to flee Syria? Is it his destiny to endure so much pain and despair? Does the use of destiny as a narrator and metaphor in this story simplify the reasons  behind the war and the refugee crisis by reducing it to a mere whim of uncontrollable events that were inevitable?

QOTD: Do you think that destiny plays a role in war and the life of a refugee? What is your definition of destiny and fate?

#bookstagram #bookphotography #diverseauthors #diversereads #autumnisforasia #bookaddict #booklove #bibliophile #refugeestories #refugeecrisis #atiaabawi #diversebooks #destiny #unitedbookstagram #ireadya #yabooks

"Philosophers describe me as "the predetermined course of events" [...] ...

"The ones who aren't able to acknowledge their own selves are bound to fail." Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

I am frustrated with a lot of things in our society. The lack of equality, the persistance of racism, the mistreatment of refugees, the rise of right wing supporters in my country, the general ignorance of people and their lack of interest in trying to get rid of it. My first response after someone makes a racist, sexist or generally  prejudiced comment is sarcastic. I am not a particularly patient person and I am very blunt. I use sarcasm to point out these prejudices and stereotypes by taking the person's own logic and exagerating it to the point that they (hopefully) realize their mistake.

But here is the thing...there are two sides to this. When I use sarcasm to point out white people's ignorance for the lives of people of color, I can address persistant and repetitive thought patterns in our society today; but at the same time I use these stereotypes that have harmed millions of people.

This is what happened in my last post. I criticized white images of Asia. The ignorance towards the fact that there is more to Asia than India and China. The stereotypes that have existed for decades and centuries. I did it in a sarcastic way that was supposed to be humorous. 
But people were offended. Understandably so. I may have a deep appreciation for Asia...but I am still white.I am privileged. Having been raised in Germany, I have been aware of this privilege since birth. In fact, one of the first things you learn is our history, more specifically the Holocaust. The awareness of my privilege and the consequences of it have been a part of my life for as long as I can think. 
But awareness alone doesn't mean that I cannot harm people. And I did. My sarcasm has hurt some people and offended them. It may not have been my intention but it happened nonetheless. And I am truly sorry for that. It was my own ignorance as well as arrogance that led me to believe everyone would understand my intention.

It is not easy to be called racist when you consider yourself a liberal but all I can do is acknowledge my own mistake and learn from this.

"The ones who aren't able to acknowledge their own selves ...


Library (n.) a place of refuge for books and readers alike, where any reader can just pick up any book they like, read it and bring it back for other people to to enjoy. 
At least, that's what libraries were in the past. Nowadays, we love to talk about  libraries in a different way.

Library (n.) commonly referred to as 'personal library', the word library refers to the hoarding of books. Not all of them have to be liked be the owner. In fact, it doesn't even matter if said owner hasn't read them; they merely have to believe that they need these books (see capitalism, marketing). It is an accumulation of books that are only read by one person. Said owner does not let go of their copies as they believe other readers might never give them back or worse, destroy the book if they borrowed it (see irrational fear, distrust). As such, the term library has become a manifestation, yes, even a justification for a reader's dream to have a huge collection of books even though it has nothing to do with the actual word itself.

QOTD: How do you feel about people using the word library to refer to their book collection? Do you think it makes sense to keep books that you don't like?

I personally own about a hundred books (yes, the books you saw in the last couple of photos aren't just mine...they belong to four different people) I used to have a lot more until I never saw any kind of reason to keep most of the books that I'll never read anyways. For me, it's kind of normal to read a book. Like it. Know that I won't reread it and give it to someone who might enjoy it. The last couple of months I have talked to a lot of people who keep books they didn't actually enjoy. One reason is emotional attachment. A reason I can understand with all of my heart. Another is keeping it because it looks nice on a shelf  or even on bookstagram photos, especially when these books are popular. Popular books are recognizable and make it easier for a potential follower to hit the follow button...but...if you don't like the book...what's the use of having it on your shelf or on your bookstagram? Isn't it only a waste of paper then? 

WHAT IS A LIBRARY? Library (n.) a place of refuge ...

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies? A mirror of oneself? Someone who thinks like you?
What is friendship dependent on?  Trust...opening up to someone...spending time together? .
What makes friendships so important? And why is it sometimes easier to talk to a stranger rather than a close friend? Is there a spectrum if different kinds of friends?
So what is friendship? And how do they last? I feel like friendship is quite difficult to define because it is so complex...but can you really call someone a friend if you don't completely know the meaning of the word?

#friendship #watercolor #bookstagram #art #booklover #bibliophile #ilovebooks #words #qotd #booksofinstagram #bookstabaddies #livre #libro #bücherliebe #freundschaft #love #family

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two ...

"Adopt. There was a similar term in Chinese, yet Deming hadn't thought of his time with Peter and Kay to be anything but vaguely temporary, like the stay with Yi Gong had been vaguely temporary. Even the name Daniel Wilkinson seemed like an outfit he would put on for an unspecified period of time, until he returned to his real name and home planet. Where that real home was, however, was no longer certain." The Leavers by Lisa Ko
The Leavers is a vivid portrayal of a boy abandoned by his Chinese mother in the US and the challenges Deming has to face being raised by white adoptive parents. .
"In the city he had been just another kid. He had never known how exhausting it was to be conspicious." As a victim of racist bigotry and his emotional chaos following his cultural displacement, Deming Guo's story is one of identity. Of finding oneself. Struggling with his two identities, the one he was born with and the one he adopted, he never feels like he can truly make the people around him happy. His is a hopeful journey of trying to find his mother in order to find himself or at least the part that is missing. 
The Leavers is such a stunning narrative of identity, cultural displacement, inhumane immigration and adoption laws. I would highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in these subject matters.

#bookstagram #comingofage #immigration #ireadya #literaryfiction #china #reading #readingchallenge #music #guitar #booknerd #bookhaul #bookstack #bibliophile  #bookreview #forgottenvoicesofliterature

"Adopt. There was a similar term in Chinese, yet Deming ...

the fear of an author to write a realistic female character

But do not fret! After decades of research, scientists have finally developed a way to at least contain some symptoms. 
They include beta blockers for complex personalities, small doses of vitamins to inhibit any sexual desire and cocyut oil to ensure long hair that falls onto their well rounded breasts that beg to be touched by a man.

Renowned writers such as Haruki Murakami have already benefitted from our effort! 
You can find them next to the Wonderwoman Warrior Queen  juice and Manic Pixie Dream Girl pills in your local pharmacy.💊 Get rid of your misogyny and stereotypes for only 7,42€!
To help the effort of our scientists to further fight the symptoms of this phobia, we would like to encourage each and everyone of you to tell us what symptoms we are missing. 
Thank you for your cooperation.

#bookstagram #sarcasm #diversereads #instabooks #booksofinstagram #sunday #booklove #bookhaul  #bibliophile #satire #feminism #fetish #livre #libro #本 #bücherliebe #reading #ireadya #femaleauthors #booknerd

FEMINOPHOBIA (n.) the fear of an author to write a ...

"My mother was taught the ch'an concept of happiness, which was to find satisfaction in small things. I was taught to appreciate the fresh air in the morning, the colour of leaves turning red in autumn and the water's smoothness when I soaked my hands in the basin." Empress Orchid by Anchee Min

QOTD: What is a small thing you find happiness in?

For me, it's when sunlight filters through green leaves. The colors and the sound of leaves rustling in the wind. I could lie on my back for ours just doing that. 
#bookstagram #china #asia #chinalit #diversereads #diversebooks #ancheemin #history #happiness #lovelife #watercolor #artwork #ink #art #bookstabaddies #unitedbookstagram #bibliophiles

"My mother was taught the ch'an concept of happiness, which ...

When I asked you all about what you think about utopia, most of you said something about acceptance and kindness. People treating each other as equals. So how would we achieve something like that if we still have such a dominant class system? Racial discrimination? As well as gender inequality? Where does kindness and compassion come from? 
What I loved about Wild Swans is that it gave suchan interesting insight on Mao's policies during the 50s to the 70s. Considering the unrest and desire for change among the peasants who were disenchanted and angry because of the corrupted ruling upper class, it is no surprise that Mao was able to gain so much power so fast. He did start to create a kind of utopia that is quite similar to Thomas Moore's Utopia. From the introduction of uniforms to the strict banning of alcohol. But Mao went even further. His wasn't an agenda of trying to undermine any kind of desire. In fact, his desire for power was the driving force that led to the death of tens of millions of people. Instead of keeping society at a non developing stagnant level, Mao wanted to turn China into a military superpower. So he started squeezing out every bit of grain to export Russia and Eastern Europe to buy technology and  equipment for the military. He had a dream, and he didn't mind that tens of millions of people would die of starvation because of it. He knew they would die before he even started the Great Leap Forward in 1958/61. He didn't care. 'Having only tree leaves to eat? So what, educate the peasant to eat less.' Considering that his revolution was considered a peasant revolution the irony of peasants dying is just more than cruel. He knew that for all his projects to take off, half of China may well have to die. This famine wasn't because of him being bad at running the economy, it was simple: he exported food to gain military power. And because the great propaganda and censorship, not to mention the difficult communication throughout China made it a lot easier to contain the information of the death of millions of people. 
What started out as a utopic dream for the people to live in equality turned into a nightmare.

#bookstagram #china #asia

When I asked you all about what you think about ...

Utopia. What are your thoughts when you think about it? If you had to create a country based on utopian ideals...what would these ideals be? Do you think they could be realistic? If not, why do we like to ponder about the possibility of utopia?
#bookstagram #bookaddict #bibliophile #chinalit #jungchang #communism #asianlit #reading #unitedbookstagram #booknerdigans #dream #photooftheday #creativity #readingchallenge #diversebooks #diversereads #utopia #politics #forgottenvoicesofliterature

Utopia. What are your thoughts when you think about it? ...

What does #womenintranslation actually mean? Or #booksintranslation in general? .
This month has been full of posts talking about how few books are translated and how we should focus more on reading translated literature. The simple answer is yes.

But what kind of perspective do we actually take when we read translated books? Do we take our home country perspective and therefore translations into our mother tongue? No, we talk from the international 'English/American' perspective. From what I see here on instagram, even people who come from China, Japan or Brazil take translated works as works that have been translated into English. 
While I understand the need to talk about translated works, I can't help but think that a lot of the time we often  push away the languages we grew up with because we are communicating on an international medium. 
QOTD: Do you think our discourse on bookstagram has too much focus on the 'English/American' perspective? Are we loosing some interesting aspects especially when we talk about translated books?

#bookstagram #translation #languagebarrier
#manga #diversereads #本 #livre #libro #bücherliebe #diversebooks #bookstabaddies #unitedbookstagram #forgottenvoicesofliterature #bookish #reader #reading #asianlit #readingchallenge

What does #womenintranslation actually mean? Or #booksintranslation in general? . ...

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