Here are the books I read in February 2018:
An American Marriage (2018) by Tayari Jones
A young black couple faces unforeseen strains on their new marriage.
This was my Book of the Month pick for February and it was fantastic. I loved that it switched between characters’ perspectives—changing the reader’s perspective as well—and challenges ethical mores.
I like going into books not knowing much, so I don’t want to give spoilers. Most of the blurbs I’ve seen for this book tell you it’s main concerns, but I thought the author did a beautiful job misdirecting in the beginning, so I don’t want to take away from that. It’s so good and goes deep into problems disproportionately affecting black American families.
This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare (2017) by Gabourey Sidibe
Memoir by Oscar nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe.
This book was hilarious, even as it was heartbreaking. I absolutely loved Gabourey Sidibe’s voice and sharp wit. She covers her difficult childhood, her struggles with depression, and she claps back at the racists and fat shamers. She does a wonderful job calling out other’s assumptions. I also found the details her path to becoming an actress fascinating.
I picked this one up as a Book of the Month extra on recommendation from a friend in my IRL book club.
Selected Poems of Langston Hughes (1959) by Langston Hughes
A collection of poems chosen by the author, spanning his entire career.
I’ve always loved reading Hughes’s poems in school or in anthologies, but didn’t have any of his collections. Eliza memorized a few of his poems for her English class, so I was encouraged to start with this book with selections over the course of his work so I can pick which books of poetry to read from there. Some of them are light and funny, but the ones that center on racism are so powerful. Starting on his memoir now.
The Big Sea: An Autobiography (American Century Series) (1940) by Langston Hughes
The first of Langston Hughes’s two autobiographies.
The extent of his travel was really fascinating: growing up in the Midwest, staying with his dad on a ranch in Mexico, his time working on a ship and going to African ports, working in restaurants in Paris, getting stranded in Italy, going to a HBU in DC, and working during the Harlem Renaissance.
I loved his prose, his observations on race and respectability politics, the backstory on some of his poems, and his descriptions of people in these places, but the treatment of women and girls in many of these places was very disturbing. Trigger warnings.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (2017) by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Eddo-Lodge examines structural racism in British society and shares about the emotional exhaustion that comes from white people denying black people’s experiences with racism.
The book is an excellent introduction to white privilege. I highly recommend it even if you are familiar with these topics, as it gives great tools for anti-racism tough conversations.
I appreciated reading an overview of the history of racial injustice in Britain (I have only read about the US and a bit about the rest of the Americas).
Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics (2016) by Jason Porath
An animator had a game going with colleagues where they’d come up with women from history and myths who would be the least likely to get the animated princess treatment. Then he rolled with it with stories about them, including animated princes style illustrations.
The author had a great sense of humor and did an excellent job not whitewashing these stories and including ambiguity when needed. I love that these include trigger warnings and maturity ratings, so Eliza (12) can choose what stories she’s ready for. It’s a great introduction to these stories and I’ll be digging into the book’s bibliography to learn more. This was a Galentines gift from my friend Emily and it was an excellent one.
I’m glad to have finished up with this series! I found it delightful.
I also finished reading The Knight’s Code: A Training Guide (LEGO NEXO KNIGHTS) (2016) by John Derevlany to Jonas, which he picked out at a book fair.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Make sure to put a big SPOILERS warning in your comment to warn others if you have ‘em.
Reading anything good lately?
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