how I choose what to read…

Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai, vol. 4 by Fujisaki Miyako (auth.) & Nakamura Shungiku (ill.) -- a light novel

Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai, Vol. 4 by Fujisaki Miyako (auth.) & Nakamura Shungiku (ill.)  (light novel)

Usagi Otoko, Tora Otoko by Honma Akira (drama CD version)

Usagi Otoko, Tora Otoko by Honma Akira (drama CD version)

…or watch or listen to…

Perhaps I’m a moody person. At the very least, I read BL by mood. Sweet love stories one day, hot pounding BDSM stories the next, and then a day of all animal-ears. Once I get in a groove that fits the day’s mood, I’ll tear through every story that fits with it.

In my recommended-BL posts, I’ll be serving up yaoi the same way. Whether it’s the stories I love and recommend or those I wouldn’t touch again with a ten-foot pole, I’ll typically be delivering them in clusters, in the form of top 10’s or mood lists of one kind or another.

What kinds of BL moods do I find myself in, and therefore consume, and therefore recommend? Honestly, when it comes down to it I’ll read/watch/listen to just about any BL I can get my hands on. However, I do avoid three types: shotacon, tragedy, and relentless cruelty. Shotacon (sex with young boys) is just creepy, while tragedy and relentless cruelty leave me feeling crappy. For hours. Or days. Fortunately, not that much shotacon has been translated into English, people who post manga with tragedy are usually kind enough to tag them so I can avoid them, and there isn’t much truly relentless cruelty in yaoi. Even if it’s frustratingly unrealistically resolved (sigh), the cruelty is usually transformed or overcome at some point. Otherwise, who’d want to read it? In any case, other than those three caveats, pretty much anything BL goes.

Rutta to Kodama by Fujitani Youko (a manga)

Rutta to Kodama by Fujitani Youko (manga)

Still, what yaoi I want today depends entirely on my state of mind, and I’ve been reading BL long enough now that I do have mood lists floating around in my head — go-to clusters of BL for wherever state of mind. Yeah, I do a lot of re-reading, because no matter how quickly the publishers publish and the scanlators scanlate, I read more and faster. Sigh.

NightS by Yoneda Kou (manga)

NightS by Yoneda Kou (manga)

However, it’s pretty easy to incorporate new stories, since many of my mood lists are simply mangakas’ names, and I pick up their new works as they come out. After all, you can count on Yoneda Kou to fit a slightly dark and twisted mood that’s still romantic, while Nekota Yonezou will (generally) give you lighter schoolboy fare. But overall, my mood lists tend to be generated by some form of the mix-and-match criteria below:

the ingredients

Hoshi no Yoru ni Furete by Tori Maia (manga)

Hoshi no Yoru ni Furete by Tori Maia (manga)

So, the mood lists in my head grow out of four (rather obvious) bits:

1. Emotional mood — what will the story make me feel? Where on the gentle-to-intense emotional spectrum does it fall? Am I up to facing noncon today, or do I need something without that darkness?

2. Content/genre mood — yesterday I read a bunch of schoolboy stories. I’m tired of them. Today I could really go for some yakuza dating salarymen. Or I’ve O.D.’d on slice of life, and I want some supernatural action (yeah, in all senses of the word).

3. Mangaka mood — sometimes I crave a particular art style or that individual flavor of a specific mangaka or author. And I’ll read all her best hits over again in one day (or night, and then there’s no sleep for me).

4. Format mood — watching the TV, reading on my iPad, listening to drama CDs — I tend to cycle through them.

Seito Kaichou ni Chuukoku  by Monchi Kaori (anime version)

Seito Kaichou ni Chuukoku by Monchi Kaori (anime version)

It’s simple and straightforward, but I think the point is that any given day I tend to want to experience a cluster of similar stories. That’s how I think about and read yaoi, so that’s how I want to try to share it with you. It does mean that some stories will be recommended multiple times on various lists, but I’ll try not to kill you with repeats.

I hope this format will help you find what you’re looking for when you want it. Do let me know what you think!

4 thoughts on “how I choose what to read…

    • Okay, so I ran away from real life, hunkered down, and read Stranger. Yeah — great start! Better than her other stuff, too. I think I’ve seen a Western listed before, but this is the 1st yaoi Western I remember reading. Pretty jarring change of scenery. Very cool.

      I wonder if it’ll ever be finished, though. The opening scanlator pg. for ch. 2 said it’d been a yr. since they’d done ch. 1.


      • It definitely is better and by far more interesting. Stranger is also my first yaoi western – I never knew there were ones! I was overly thrilled when i stumbled upon it and so disappointed that only 2 chapters so far are scanlated. The art is so beautiful and Fran and Toto are sooooooooo good looking! (Toto is also adorable, at least in my eyes)

        I hope it does get finished…but a lot of times scanlators drop projects when theylre aren’t enough people interested in them D:


  1. No, I haven’t, but I’ll definitely check it out!

    What’s crazy about these pictures is that I consider almost all of them favorites of mine, but none of them actually ended up on my top 25 manga list. I mean, how did that happen?


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