Gist: There are all types of mothers around us: church mothers, surrogate mothers, adopted mothers and biological mothers. This story set in a contemporary African American community in Southern California, and revolves around a young girl named Nadia Turner. The story doesn’t stay stuck on her, but it includes her community and how she evolves to a young woman in spite of betrayal, pain and suffering.
Best Lines: “In a way, subtle racism was worse because it made you feel crazy. You were always left wondering, was that actually racist? Had you just imagined it?”
“A tragic woman hooks into an ain’t-shit man, or worse, lets him hook into her.”
Recommend: Absolutely! It is a beautifully-written, sad story of a town not unlike one we may know or have heard of. The book felt real, the characters were interesting and I was invested. I probably should have read this faster than I did, but alas, I’m just glad to have added this book to my “DONE” pile.
I’m very happy to say that in 2015 I’ve been successfully starting books and finishing them. Back around 3 years ago when I first decided to go back to school, I wanted earnestly to keep my book reading hobby. I found out that wish wasn’t in the stars after my first semester of an accelerated pre-req program in Speech Language Pathology. I could barely keep my room clean, let alone be distracted enough to start and keep reading non-assigned material. I’ve been done with school now for 15 months. Finally got my swagger back. 🙂
Here’s my list of 2015 including my rating scale and comments as necessary.
Just Mercyby Bryan Stevenson- 4/5 stars (via Audible). Non-fiction book about an African-American attorney who defends the indigent children and adults who’ve been damned to death row. Highly recommended.
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer- 2.5/5 stars (via Audible). I was trying something new with this book (sci-fi), an assignment from the Twitter book club (Ninjas Be Reading BC). It’s a new-age Cinderella story about a girl who’s half cyborg and half human. The premise drew me in, but after about Chapter 12 I just got bored. The action was too slow and I wasn’t invested in the characters anymore. I don’t know how I survived the 26 chapters that followed, but I live to write about it
32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter- 3/5 stars (via Audible). This fiction book came recommended by a friend. It is the recount of a young woman’s life through her eyes. Her early childhood stories really drew me in, however somewhere in her young-adult retelling, things became too hard to believe. I had a hard time finishing the book, and the ending didn’t redeem itself.
South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami- 3/5 stars (via Audible). Yet another recommendation from a friend, who boasts this is his favorite author. It’s hard to describe what exactly this book is about. There is a protagonist, a man…there is an internal struggle he has about his life. I could connect with many thoughts, much of the angst, and I felt the “realness” of the character. I wished there was more complexity to some of the other characters, but overall I thought it was a solid book. Murakami is claimed to be the master of metaphors and realism. I would recommend looking into his repertoire.
The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke by Suze Orman (Audible) I’m all those things and I’m trying to get my money right. Not trying, getting it.
All About Love (New Visions)by bell hooks. This book has been like the Bible to me this year; hard to get through because I have to stop and process what I’ve read. I have “Amen” moments after every 2 pages and I read the book equipped with a pen or highlighter. Working it chunk by chunk.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (iBooks). This book came recommended by one of the hosts of Books on the Nightstand, one of the podcasts I occasionally listen to. It came with the promise that my life would be changed when I finished, so I’ll keep you updated when I finish reading.
Getting Rid of It by Betsey & Warren Talbot (Audible). I purchased this on a sale and it has pushed me to de-clutter my paperwork and even consider downsizing my books. It is the “To-Do” project for the month and I’ve been taking baby steps (more like crawling, actually). I like this book because it’s a straight-forward read and they give you homework at the end (i.e., “weekend projects” and the like). If you want to learn how to make your space more enjoyable, if you’re on the verge of a move and don’t want to lug stuff to your next place, this is a great investment.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- I think I’m about halfway through this book. I pick it up every now and again and admire the art on the cover, just not pressed to finish it.
Shout-out to Audible for helping me get through books this year! I realized I was spending so much time traveling between sites (at least 45 minutes) and getting 45 minutes of “listening” time 3-4 times a week adds up! Reading A Little Life on my iPad is probably the hardest thing to do, and I mostly pick that book up when I travel. I’m okay with that; having a “travel on a plane book, while I’m in the car book, and bedside book.” I didn’t have a goal this year for a magic number of books to read, but I would definitely like to add at least 2 more fiction titles to the list. I’m also becoming more adventurous and trying to read titles/authors I normally wouldn’t. That is truly one of the joys of book clubs, something that I miss dearly.
For the book readers, how do you stay connected to book communities? Do you have the need to read with others or what others are reading?
There were so many people who demanded to know the place of your beginnings, the place where you stored your dreaming, they were dangerous, those people, the ones who did not earn their keep with you. They were potential killers or thieves.
And believe me, a good piece of chicken can make anybody believe in the existence of God.
– The Absolutely True Diary of Part Time Indian
“Now, comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short. We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.”
It’s June, soon to be the first official day of summer which means more down-time for leisure reading. So far this year I can’t recall anything I’ve read that blew my mind…but I’ve been reading consistently even in the midst of tying up my Spring semester which makes me very happy. Now that it’s the summer before I begin Grad school, I will be reading like I’m getting paid for it.
Here’s what I’ve read so far this year (that I can remember):
1. Paper Dollhouse by Dr. Lisa Masterson (full review here)
Gist: Wonderful, moving writing from a Black woman that hails from Louisiana to make it as an obstetrician and gynecologist. You may know her from the Emmy Award-winning TV show The Doctors.
Recommend: Yes, I enjoyed her writing style– I didn’t feel like she was this stuffy person I couldn’t relate to. It never feels like she’s overwhelming you with details or information. It’s a must-read if you’re looking for inspiration.
2. Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones
Genre: Fiction but based on the true story of the Atlanta murders of the late 1970’s-early 1980’s.
Gist: “Leaving Atlanta tells the story of classmates Tasha Baxter, Rodney Green and Octavia Harrison during their fifth-grade year at Oglethorpe Elementary in Atlanta.” (read the rest of the review from We Turn the Page).
Recommend: Yes, not her best book (in my opinion). Worth a read.
3. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
Gist: If you’ve never read anything by Sedaris, you should treat yourself to comedic gold. He usually employs his personal family history to write really funny stories, in this book, he also includes some touching stories.
Recommend: Yes. The only problem that I have with Sedaris’ books is that they are good ‘in-the-moment’ books (which are usually collections of short stories), but they are not very memorable. Outside of 1 or 2 stories, I can only remember moments, nothing really sticks with me once the book is done.
4. Daughters by asha bandele
Gist: A touching story told from both a mother’s and daughter’s mother’s point of view about her young daughter who is the victim of senseless violence in the grimy streets of New York.
Recommend: Yes, had some gold moments. Made me consider all the things my mother sacrificed for me. How it’s easy to judge her, but maybe not fairly since I’m not a mom yet.
5. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Genre: Classic/Political Satire
Gist: Animals on Manor Farm decide to form a coup to run the farm on their own. It’s all done on the premise that animals are smart enough produce and provide for themselves, but eventually Orwell explores what happens when too much power is given to one animal group.
Recommend: Yes! It wasn’t a stuffy book like I first imagined, it’s a simple read which I’m sure is filled with more gems and criticism than my fast reading could pick up.
6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Genre: Young adult fiction
Gist: A young boy, Junior, is in a dilemma. He lives on an Indian reservation but has dreams of going further than his current situation allows. Why is he a part-time Indian? Read the book and find out.
Recommend: Yes. It’s witty, raw and truthfully sad at times. Junior is also a sketch artist, and his cartoons are strewn about the pages.
7. A Taste of Reality by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Gist: Among other things going wrong in her life, a black woman battles discrimination in her white-dominated corporate job, and decides to fight against it.
Recommend: Meh. I didn’t find her writing to be AMAZING, but it was tolerable. Maybe I will give another one of her books a shot, she has plenty to choose from.
8. Mandingo by SIDI (don’t judge me!)
Genre: Urban erotica
Gist: An African student studying at Columbia University looses his father and therefore funding for school so he has to get side job. Guess what that is? You so smart!
Recommend: No. I was bored and desperate to read any book.
9. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Genre: Fiction short-stories
Gist: A collection of stories about immigrants, specifically (East) Indian transplants and their American children. Most of the stories are entities of their own but there are some that are intertwined. They are very engaging and powerful portraits of Indian culture and the American culture shock, which include love, loss and changes. You might be more familiar with Ms. Lahiri’s work The Namesake, which was also turned into a movie.
Recommend: Yes, very moving writer and I look forward to more of her work.
Currently Reading: 50 Shades of Grey by EL James. I caved in to all the hypes, and got the trilogy for free. So if you’re interested in reading, let me know. I can forward that to you in PDF Format, yo!
Anything memorable you’ve read this year so far? Do share…
I started writing short book reviews back on my old blog, and since I´m a bonafide bookworm, decided I´ll keep the spirit of reading alive. I have 2 more weeks left in Costa Rica, and intend on reading at least two more books before I leave.
Gist: This book can be considered historical fiction, the center of the action revolves around a true event. The Vel´ d´Hiv´was the 1942 round-up of Jewish families that occured in France. It´s considered Paris´little dirty secret because the round-up was done by French police under German orders. The story is two-fold; it follows a little girl named Sarah, and a woman named Julia and how their lives are intertwined.
Best Line: ¨Not tonight. Not now. Amelie was over. Was she, though? Was she really? I had to admit I was not sure. But for now, I did not want to know. I did not want to see…. Closing my eyes. Wasn´t that the typical French attitude, ¨closing your eyes¨on your husbands wanderings?¨
Recommend: Yes, it was a fast and entertaining read. I was enlightened about the tragic event and the people affected, but I wasn´t too moved by the prose or author´s style. I was expecting a little bit more from the reviews I had heard.