Hello, new people! There are a lot of you, and in the midst of some newfound popularity because of my Hugo nomination as Fan Writer, I thought I would say hello and let you know what it is I do around here in a context that doesn’t involve me devolving into all-caps and GIFs, because that’s largely how I’ve reacted since finding out I was nominated.
Anyway, I’m Mark Oshiro! Since August 2009, I’ve been running what largely amounts to a daily book club with one twist: I choose books to read that I know absolutely nothing about. I do not allow spoilers in my comments so that I can experience the books I read without any information about content, plot twists, characterization, etc. (That is why there is gibberish all over the comments; spoilers can be posted as long as they are cyphered with rot13.com.) I often do video commissions along with posts. All my Mark Reads videos are on YouTube, and all my Mark Watches videos are on Dropbox. You can commission me to read things within the guidelines right here!
To settle any confusion, I also run a sister site called Mark Watches, where I do the exact same thing as Mark Reads but with full runs of television shows! The rules are the same, the format is the same, but the content is all television. On top of that, when I started this project, I was working for a site called Buzznet, so Mark Reads Twilight and Mark Reads Harry Potter both still live on those sites.
One of the things I love about what I do is the fact that we have a very active community here. We use rot13 so that people can follow along and discover a book/show on their own. People post their own theories! SpectralBovine, Kickpuncher, enigmaticagentscully, arctic_hare, and quite a few other commenters routinely upstage me with their OWN reviews, images, GIFs, reactions, and general shenanigans. I highly suggest reading the comments for your favorite chapters/episodes, as you’ll discover things you never even thought of.
Over in the right sidebar (or under the menu bar of “Past Books,” you’ll see a long list of books, kind of like this:
To date, I’ve read over 50 books in the Mark Reads format. I have a whole lot more to go! I’m currently working my way through Tamora Pierce’s Tortall universe, as well as Mira Grant’s/Seanan McGuire’s Newsflesh trilogy. On Mark Watches, I am covering The West Wing and Friday Night Lights for the very first time!
Now, I realize I’ve got a LOT of posts for a newbie to sift through. (There are nearly a thousand alone on Mark Watches!) So, I thought I would link to some of my favorite and most popular posts for certain series!
I often do this thing where I write a review in what is referred to as an “alternative review” style. This means my brain does this thing, comes up with some bizarre idea, and I run with it. My final Harry Potter post wasn’t the first of the style, but it’s my favorite review written in the “play” format. I brought those back when I was reading The Lord of the Rings:
My favorite series to cover for Mark Reads has definitely been His Dark Materials.
During the end of The Amber Spyglass, I was compelled to do something that I’d done during my read of Harry Potter: open up about my life. My posts always exist between an academic critical analysis and a deeply emotional response to literature. This is one of the least silly posts I’ve ever written, and it concerns my journey to atheism and how a single thing (like marzipan for Mary) can bring a person to disbelief. And heads up: there’s a massive trigger warning for that post. It discusses homophobia, abuse, neglect, and suicide very frankly. This post is also from 2011, so it’s not eligible for consideration. I just like it a lot.
Even though I’m currently doing them, I’m really proud of my very first post about Alanna: The First Adventure. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading Tamora Pierce’s work, and lord, I was so unprepared.
So, I didn’t know how much I’d grow to love Mira Grant’s Newsflesh world, so I think the best example of this is my review for that chapter of Feed.
Over on Mark Watches, I ventured through Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel for the first time, and I’m particularly proud of some things I wrote for that:
I implore you to check the sites out! I’ve had a blast doing this for the last three-and-a-half years, and I’m honored to be nominated for a Hugo. Check out the FAQ for information about the site and the rules, and feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Tumblr for more information if need be!
Mark (Who Does Stuff)