Our weather has been amazing…67 degrees yesterday! Needless to say, I’ve been outside shooting hoops with my kids and playing a little bit of golf. It won’t be long and my flower gardens will be demanding my attention, but the good thing about Colorado is that that job can be put off until at least Mother’s Day. Even though we’ve had a suuuuper mild winter, I am looking forward to warmer weather. I think it’s due to covid…everything just seems extra bleak, but sunshine makes things feel a little lighter and happier!
Anyway, I’d love to hear about what you’ve been reading lately…drop me a comment below!
Last Week’s Reads:
*** How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: Essays by Kiese Laymon
After the publication of American Dirt last year, the publishing world has come underfire for underpaying #ownvoices authors and not valuing a more diverse cast of authors. (Click here to read about how problematic American Dirt is, specifically to the Latinx community.) Laymon tackles that issues in subtle ways throughout this tiny book (just 176 pages) that packed a massive punch! I had started and DNF’d Heavy a couple years ago; however, I kept it on my shelves because I knew there was something there. This book has convinced me that it’s time to pick it up again…and I will be doing that asap! Since attempting Heavy, I have purposefully focused on reading more diverse books; and, more specifically, those from #ownvoices authors. I have intentionally focused on expanding my own knowledge of my privilege and my personal blindspots and I believe I am now ready to read more Kiese Laymon. His writing is strong and powerful and I was in awe of the arguments he so eloquently set forth in this book.
*** Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
Unlike anything I’ve ever read before, this community history was incredible! It documents the 400 years of Black history in America – from the actual first arrival of Blacks on this soil in 1619…a year before the Mayflower landed. I learned so much and flagged so many parts where I was prompted to want to research and learn more. This also prompted so many conversations with my teenagers on the way to school as I tried to assess how accurate the history they’ve been taught has been (it seems like it’s better than I expected, but still falls way short). The bite-size essays were perfect for focusing on some of those big events we’ve all been introduced to, and also for those far smaller incidents we’ve never heard about. It’s an amazing compilation and everyone should have this book on their shelves! (I also listened to the audiobook off and on and it is equally incredible!)
*** This Is All I Got by Lauren Sandler
Through immersive journalism, Sandler followed Camila, a brand-new mother who is homeless in New York. Camila is resourceful and knows all the ins-and-outs of the government systems that are in place to help the homeless population, but as she continually finds out, there’s more red tape at every turn. She spends hours, days, and weeks just trying to find the answers she needs to secure a home for her and her son, only to be turned down because she lacks a document. She wants a better life for her and her son, but our government programs do not make it easy, even for a motivated person. Parts of this book really reminded me of Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land. She was also highly motivated and well-versed in the system, yet found poverty a hard hole to dig out of. Lauren Sandler did a great job of providing the story of Camila and her son, Alonso, while also giving the reader facts and information about the current homeless crisis in New York.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
I have recently seen this book referenced quite a bit…it was just the push I needed. Originally published in 1932, it has stood the test of time.