February 2017 Bookish Wrap Up

Better now than never, that’s what I say!

February seemed like such a short month! Then again, it technically is a short month and goes under the radar a lot. However, it is Black History Month and I dedicated it to reading all PoC writers.

After looking over all the books I’ve read, I’m surprised I only came out of it with only reading 3 books. While I try not to keep up with my reading challenge, I did notice that I’m already 2 books behind. Have you ever had that feeling that you’re in a book slump, but you don’t want to admit it to yourself?

I love looking over a month of reading or a month of anything that I track and really processing the data. It’s a very corporate thing to do, but I work for a corporate company, so I can’t help but to analyze things and use jargon in my reviews. SYNERGY!

But February is much too short to enjoy the plethora of novels about PoC coming out. I love the upsurge of novels about different races and sexes and people. It always fascinated me about books how much you can learn about human beings and I think the choices from this past month really put that on display.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Zadie Smith’s Swing Time

28390369Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

Brit Bennett’s The Mothers

288153711It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.

Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything

186924311My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

 

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

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I approached this book believing that it’d be vignettes of different mothers and their daily lives. However, it is so much more than that. The Mothers here are a group of church women who congregate outside of regular sermon hours to pray, chat, and mostly gossip about everyone in their small town in San Diego. They’re the narrators of the story, but this story isn’t really theirs to tell.

Trigger warning: This book has themes around suicide, grief, abortion, and infidelity.

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com)

288153711It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.

Rating: 4/5 mothers

My thoughts

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This book was quite a short read! Coming in under 300 pages, you’ll be able to read this over a weekend. The story is eloquent and I feel like a lot of it is wrapped in metaphor.

I was a little bit confused in the beginning of the story because it starts off in the first person POV and then switches to the third. Later I realized that the book is being told in the perspective of the mothers who pray in Upper Room, a church they all attend.

The book is obviously about mothers, but it’s also about the maternal instinct in us all. Regardless of your gender and how you identify as such, we all carry around the caretaker in us. That need to cover someone in a blanket when they’re sleeping on the couch. That want to make snacks for friends who are coming over for game night. The desire to make someone else happy instead of yourself.

If you’re not a mother, then you might be a child. Many of the characters throughout the novel took turns being the one who needed the mother. It’s funny that they all needed mothers yet they were met with their real mothers, all of their current options are not that great.

Except for Nadia. Nadia isn’t a mother, but she doesn’t regard herself as the child. She was going to be a mother, but then decided to get an abortion. Every time Nadia is faced with a situation where she needed to be a mother or carry that maternal instinct, I think she failed to keep herself and her needs out of the picture. It’s not for a lack of trying, but some people are more innate to the instinct. It also explains how she ended up in the end. In some situations, you just need to be your own mother.

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Celebrate Black History Month with Some Amazing Fiction

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Welcome to February! What is with February and being all romantic and lovely and all those good things in the world? It’s like December is all about Christmas even though there’s so much more going on in December than just Christmas.

But February is also Black History Month and being an advocate for diverse reads, I’ve got to put in a plug for some of my very favorite reads. You can go hardcore and read Frederick Douglass or Malcolm X. You can listen to Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on repeat. Do whatever it is you want to do, but do it in celebration of black culture.

Before I get into my quick list of recommended reading for the month, I want to mention (as I tend to do from time to time) that diverse reads are so important. Many people (including myself) believe that racism is an extension of fear and ignorance. Why not break that stigma and read about other cultures!

Books about cultures aside from our own (or even our own, let’s not forget we come from somewhere!) opens up our minds to how other people live and exist in the world. We are humans and each of us holds traditions and heritage and culture different from the person you’re sitting next to. Why not celebrate our differences, learn a little bit about being someone else, and spread the good love across this universe.

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Anyway, here’s a few of my favorite books to read during this month as well as a few I’ve got on my TBR for the rest of February. Let’s celebrate diversity and learn more about what it’s like to be on the other side of the pendulum OF LIFE!

Continue reading “Celebrate Black History Month with Some Amazing Fiction”