Let’s get right to it.
Last weekend, I went to Book Riot Live 2016, a celebration of books and readers. While there was a much talk of favorite titles, writers and reader life in general, one topic of conversation kept popping up: The recent election of a racist, misogynist, xenophobic, homophobic man who has no political experience and an uncomfortable habit of groping women without their consent.
America’s Latest Fuck-up (as this past election season will hereby be known as) has drained me. But my weekend in New York left me inspired. I heard from authors, activists and community members who have been fighting the good fight for years, and realized that nothing has really changed.
— (・・。)ゞ (@Dani_Lacey) November 13, 2016
Yes, we’ve been on the right track under the Obama administration, but that’s because many people put in many hours of work to get us there. Even if Hillary had won the election, there would still be work left to do.
If anything, this election has knocked me out of my apathy. It’s time for me to do my part. Last year I wrote a post on what I learned after attending 2015’s Book Riot Live. This year, I’ve decided to share three little things Book Riot Live has inspired me to do:
1. Support journalism
My relationship with journalism is complicated. To begin with, I studied journalism at one of the nation’s best J-schools. (IMO, this doesn’t mean much. I might as well have studied telegraphy with the nation’s best telegraph school.) I entered the field because I wanted to have a say in the types of stories being told about women and people of color.
Then the job market tanked, jobs disappeared and I found myself unemployed. I’ve since reformed myself as a content producer in the private sector, but I kept the ideals of journalism. That its role is to inform, to pursue the truth, to ask hard questions and to hold government officials accountable when they break the public trust.
Cable news networks have always been terrible journalists, but recently they’ve been appalling. I already abstain from watching or paying for these networks, but it’s time to do more. This year, I plan to support journalists doing actual journalism, by making holiday gifts to St. Louis Public Radio and ProPublica.
Rioters are readers. We need to read what our local journalists report and pay them for reporting it. It’s the very least we can do.
2. Get local
This was two-fold. There was an AMAZING moment during the Book Riot Podcast recording, where the room got to hear directly from an entrepreneur trying to open a bookstore in the Bronx. Her efforts have become more urgent following the news that Barnes & Noble have decided to close the only remaining bookstore in the neighborhood.
St. Louis has its issues. Some of which even made national headlines. But despite what I said last year, there are bookstores aplenty here. Local independent shops, as well as national chains. And, I’ve been pretty shitty at supporting them. What can I say? Amazon enables my bad purchasing habits.
Still, it wouldn’t take much for me to visit an independent shop more than what I do. Left Bank Books has done a great deal to support the Black Lives Matter movement, including creating their own BLM reading list, providing community members with BLM yard signs and standing up to customers who disagree with the statement. You know what? Color me impressed, Left Bank Books. You supported me, so I’m gonna support you.
Beyond book shopping, this election has inspired me to be more politically active as well. I’ve already donated at the national level to the ACLU, and was surprised to learn they had offices at the state level. I’ve got my list of politicians, initiatives and organizations to keep in contact with, and plan to give that oversized Oompa Loompa hell for the next four years.
— (・・。)ゞ (@Dani_Lacey) November 12, 2016
3. Give to my library
Shameful secret: Despite my love for libraries and librarians, I’m the WORST library patron. I visit irregularly, often owe large fines and have never supported an direct fundraising effort. THE WORST!
I have no excuses.
Hearing from the panel of librarians on Sunday made me realize how important their work is. I also realized how easy it would be for me to support what they do. Keep my card current. Pay my fines. Attend an event. Use the library’s resources. These actions help to enrich my life and, in turn, validates their work and helps build a case to continue these services.
Do better, self. Do better.
Look, I love Book Riot. I love the community of readers. I love the thoughtful and purposeful efforts of the staff and contributors to produce diverse and inclusive content. I love that they host this crazy live event where we all can come face-to-face and support each other. And I’m so glad I had them to commiserate with last weekend.
Thanks, Rioters. Until next year, here’s to good books and political progress.