My Week in Books // 1-20-21

I think, as Americans, we are all approaching this day with some apprehension. I am praying that we do not have a repeat of what happened last week, and that we can come together to move peacefully into a Biden/Harris administration. Without sticking my head in the sand, I have also had to intentionally turn of the news and limit my time on social media because it just isn’t a healthy place for me to be mentally. I’m hopeful that with the Inauguration finally here, things will get better.

How about you? How are you doing? Please remember to take care of yourself – first and foremost! It’s important and however that looks for you is the right way to do it!

Last Week’s Reads:

*** Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu

Owusu’s coming-of-age memoir is intense! It’s deeply nuanced and the layers of the topics she dives into pulled at my heart strings. There are parts of her story that are quite sad and must have been difficult to navigate as a young child, but it was also those experiences that made her into this incredibly independent, and very strong, women.

Owusu writes eloquently and makes the experiences feel personal, even though I’ve never been in any of the same situations. I loved how she related her life’s events metaphorically to earthquakes; it was a connection that really made sense to me. Owusu covers an a lot of topics – racism, colorism, stuggles with her relationship with her mother and stepmother, grief and the loss of her father, the Armenian genocide, mental health, etc – as well as a lot of locations around the world – Tanzania, London, Rome, New York, Uganda, etc – that was quite fascinating.

This is a memoir, but it also a cultural and historical journey. I loved every bit of it!

*** Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

First, I absolutely understand that this is a satirical novel that takes on themes of racism, microagressions (specifically those that occur in the workplace), and the challenges a black man faces in an all-white business culture. However, the satire was a little over the top for me at times and detracted from some real opportunities for the author.

Despite being a compulsive read, it felt about 50-100 pages too long. As I continued with the story, I slowly grew to dislike all the characters, leaving me feeling let down by the end. I will say Askaripour kept me reading and I was thrown for a loop at the very end, but overall, this one just didn’t work that well for me.

*** Little Weirds by Jenny Slate

Little Weirds was…weird. Part memoir, part musing…some short, some long. I really don’t know how to classify it and I really don’t know what I read. I don’t think any of these stories will stick with me, but it was a quick read that I breezed right through.

*** Good Apple: Tales of a Southern Evangelical in New York by Elizabeth Passarella

Somehwere within me, I have this tiny desire to want to live in NYC someday. The thought of being able to walk everywhere, little bodegas open along the streets at all hours of the day and night, and the amazing restaurants within your grasp. Passarella is quite literally living my dreams and it was so fun to see NYC through her eyes and as a mother! She is unapologetic in her decision to raise her children in the heart of NYC, depite others’ criticism about the lack of a suburbia experience. I totally admire her love for the city and I had so much fun living vicariously through her book!

I did become bored by the book as it went on. Some of it felt repetitive and maybe I’m just on politics overload, but those sections were not my favorite. Regardless, the scenes of riding bikes with my children through Central Park kept me turning the pages and the lightess of the story was a nice respite to the rest of what’s going on in life.

Current Reads:

*** The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr.

I’m halfway through this book and I am blown away. It is a book that I’ve had to slooooow way down to read – lots and lots of characters and nuance that you just can’t fly through to gain the full experience. I will say that I had to keep a list with the various characters and I may have DNF’d it had I not because I would have been way too confused. This book is an intentional read, but so totally worth it (at least so far – check back next week for my final thoughts)!

White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad

This book is challenging – but in good ways! It’s very well-written, but admittedly, some of it is over my head. For that reason, I have to really sit down and concentrate so it will take me longer to get through than I anticipated. However, I’m learning a lot – it’s persuasive and definitely helping me confront my whiteness and privilege.

*** Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Claims Her Roots by Morgan Jerkins

I’ve had so many library holds come in that this has definitely been put on the back burner!

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

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