5 star reviews, activism, Being a Librarian, Blog Tour, historical fiction, race relations, Racism

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Thank you @randomhouse #partner for my gifted copy of this classic novel.⁣

Did you realize that this book was 50 years old?  ⁣

“Fifty years of young black girls learning that even the greatest voice among them was once muted by pain, fear, and insecurity.⁣

Fifty years of young black girls finding out in these pages that trauma forced upon them in their youth didn’t have to stifle their dreams for a grand future.⁣

Fifty years of Random House publicly acknowledging that the stories of black American women matter, are worthy of their moment in print, and can change the world when shared widely with all readers, respectfully, and authentically.⁣”

Sharing with us her grandmother’s wisdom and her brother Bailey’s cunning wit, Dr. Angelou gave so many of us exactly what we needed: context for the historical injustices meted out by an oppressive society; firm examples that beauty is not for the mainstream to determine, but is rather found in all a person has to offer, in her talent and smarts more than her pretty face and long legs. And she powerfully bestowed on us an unflinching reminder that we can overcome any obstacle and let our lights shine.” ~ Porscha Burke, editor at Random House⁣

It’s been years since I read this book and I am looking forward to a re-read.  ⁣

Do you re-read books?  Have you read this book?  ⁣

5 star reviews, Book reviews, homosexuality, Racism

Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

5/5 stars

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I struggled with the writing style at first.  The dialogue is not separate from the paragraphs and there are no quotation marks, so sometimes, especially in the beginning, when there is a lot of talking, it was confusing as to who was speaking.  But, I stuck it out and I am glad that I did.

Niru is growing up in a wealthy suburb of Washington, DC.  He goes to a private school, he is a track team star, he has a great best friend and he was accepted to Harvard early admission.  And he’s gay.  His father is from Nigeria where being homosexual is punishable by 14 years in prison.

Speak No Evil is about more than homosexuality, however, it’s also about being a black man in America in 2018.  We still have a very long way to go in terms of viewing everyone equally.  We need to all work at that and this book is a step in that direction.

There is a lot in this book.  A lot of relevant material that made me think, that made me see things through a different perspective, that made me realize the emotional ramifications of religiously inspired traditions or politically charged rhetoric.  I think this is an important book and one that anyone interested in understanding how a different ethnic group views America and how their experience is different due to the color of their skin, should read this book.

 

5 star reviews, Book reviews, contemporary fiction, Racism

American Marriage by Tayari Jones

5/5 stars

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I LOVED this book!  This book is an emotional rollercoaster that takes you deep into someone else’s life and someone else’s love story.  It is so beautifully written and interwoven.  The characters are so well developed that I felt like they were real. The story explores issues of race, love, marriage, fidelity, class, family and the prison system in an honest, raw but beautiful way. I highly recommend this book.

Roy grew up in a poor Louisiana town, but in a family with a lot of integrity and good values. Celestial and Andre were childhood friends in an upper-middle class Atlanta suburb. Roy works hard to get out of Louisiana and make a different life for himself. He and Celestial meet and fall in love and get married. A year and a half into their marriage, Roy is accused of a crime that Celestial knows he didn’t commit because she was with him the whole time, but Roy is convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Celestial stands by his side, until she falls in love with someone else. It all happens so beautifully, so organically and you really can not blame Celestial at all.

I felt so many things while reading this book.  I fell in love with Roy and I wanted him to be ok.  I wanted to drink wine and shop in Celeste’s shop and I wanted her sense of style.  I wanted to be friends with these characters.  And I wanted to go down South.

One of the things that I found so remarkable was that the setting of this story is so vivid that I felt like I was there in a way that I don’t remember ever having experienced with another book.  It made me reminisce about vacations to South Carolina and Georgia and start thinking more about places I want to visit with Jason when the girls are no longer traveling with us.

Something odd about me :: if I read a book where the husband is a jerk, I sort of unconsciously start to think all men are jerks and it definitely has an effect on my marriage (my poor husband!).  But when I read a book like this, where the man is so loving and so kind and I fall a little bit in love with him myself, I end up falling more in love with my husband too.  Odd, yes, probably.  But this is a good one to fall more in love with men!!

 

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