Tag Archives: Reading Recommendation

Tabletop Worlds and the Books They Spawn

The Cover of The Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that I’m both a Game Master1 (GM) and a player of Tabletop Role Playing Games (TTRPG), specifically Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (D&D) and Pathfinder 1st edition. But there’s a whole plethora of TTRPGs out there that aren’t D&D2, such as Shadowrun, Powered by the Apocalypse, Vampire the Masquerade, Deadlands, Honey Heist, Call of Cthulhu, and so so many more3.

I could go into excruciating detail on how each of these systems differs. I could wax poetic about how shared experiences at the table help form lasting friendships away from it. I could regale you with tales of the shenanigans that my library D&D group is getting up to trying to solve a murder mystery/stop a devilish pact4 while being entirely too chaotic for their own good5. Ask in the comments if you want some details, and I’ll see if the party is willing to share.

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November Reading Challenge

November Reading Challenge: Read A Book by an LGBTQIA2S+ Author

Our reading challenge for November is to read a book by an author who identifies as LGBTQIA2S+. Whether you’re reading outside your identity or within it, it’s always a good time to read books from marginalized voices. But lately it seems particularly apropos to highlight queer authors (I’ll use that as an umbrella term for simplicity’s sake). It’s hard not to be concerned about the storm brewing below our border; book bans (or more accurately, attempts at them) are on the rise, the target of which is largely books with queer themes (and books that deal with race—doubly so if a book contains both, such as George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue). PEN America compiled a detailed report earlier this year investigating these attempts at censorship, for those who would like to learn more. Across the pond we’ve also seen an alarming uptick in transphobic rhetoric, a sort of transphobe-mania gripping the UK, famously spurred on by She Who Must Not Be Named.  

Books can be tools for exploring the human condition, tools for advocacy and for empathy, for validation and support—and also, just for fun. In June, Vogue asked “Is this the golden age of queer literature?” While the answer is basically “not really”, it’s still certainly a better literary landscape than in the past. Queer authors have always existed in all genres, though not as openly (or as mainstream) as today. We’ll go over some of these genres paired with some recommendations! 

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Type Talk: Fanfiction

Welcome to the last post in this series created in honour of VPL’s ongoing Reading Challenge and this year’s Summer Reading Club. Today I wanted to talk about fanfiction! The name itself is basically self-explanatory, but for clarity’s sake: it’s fiction inspired by someone else’s source material. This can be anything under the sun, including movies, tv shows, video games, books, other fanfiction, art, and even people (which is a subgenre known as RPF, or Real Person Fiction) and can feature bands, celebrities, historical figures, and more.

Fanfiction is not just about written works, either. It belongs to the broader category of fanworks, which include fanart, fan videos, fan music, etc.

Sometimes, fanfiction’s connection to the source material is clear and obvious. Other times, were it not for the names of the characters, you might never know what original work inspired it.

You may be wondering how legal this is, and the answer is…complicated. It depends on the source material’s copyright restrictions, how relaxed the original creators are about derivative works (see Anne Rice, who was famously ruthless about it), and whether any profit is being made off it (short answer: no profit means it’s usually fine).

Here’s an article on that aspect of fanfiction, as well as how it relates to censorship and free speech, if you’re interested in learning more.

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