Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

When the world seems like it’s falling apart everywhere we turn, it’s always good to know that younger generations of people are gaining the same knowledge and understanding of the world. We may not be able to protect our young people from the prejudice and stereotypes and hate that surrounds them, but if we open up the floor for them to speak their truth we might find that what they say actually matters.

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My Thoughts and an Excerpt from Tahereh Mafi’s New Novel, A Very Large Expanse of Sea

My Thoughts and an Excerpt from Tahereh Mafi’s New Novel, A Very Large Expanse of Sea

This is a little bit different from what I normally do, but I was perusing Twitter when I saw this:

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In my head, I was hyperventilating. I had heard Tahereh Mafi was going to move away from her high fantasy books to write something that felt much more autobiographical.

I knew that it would be about being Muslim American and the months and years after 9/11.

However, I didn’t think I would get to read an excerpt from the book. I didn’t think I would read it today, a few days after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the travel ban from Muslim-oriented countries.

Here’s what the book is about

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.

You can pre-order this book now!


So I read the excerpt while slurping spicy noodles for lunch and right off the bat, I knew that this will be another amazing story about Muslim Americans that needs to be boosted on all social media platforms. Since this exclusive excerpt was shared on Entertainment Weekly, I’ll share the link to that article below:

Read an excerpt from Taharei Mafi’s newest book, A VERY LARGE EXPANSE OF SEA

Now, even though I’ve only read this excerpt and highly anticipating reading the rest of this novel, I do want to share some quotes and reflections that resonated with me. You can find these after the jump!

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My Favorite Genres of All Time

My Favorite Genres of All Time

I think I might have written a post like this in the past, but I’ve been thinking a lot about books and genres. It’s probably because I’m in the process of moving across the country and that means whittling my book piles down to the ones that I truly want to read.

I rummaged through all my books, made lists, and figured out that the top billings for genres that I love to read. Here’s what I got:

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General Fiction

My general fiction contains everything from literary greats to the beach read. I love fiction in general, but there’s a time and place for all of it. I like to keep a mix of books available so that I can pick and choose depending on my mood. Most times, I’ll read a fun summer read because I’m always in the mood for those. I didn’t think that my general fiction pile would be so big, but I guess that’s because it’s got some literary fiction, womens’ fiction, some romance novels, and my diverse books.

Most literary fiction I read is from an author of color. I just love the stories that they tell and they always make me think a little harder and understand a little deeper.

The sad thing about this list is that there’s not a lot of literary fiction here. Most of these books are fun reads or “womens’ fiction.” I think the reason for that is because I’ve read so many stories about the young woman moving to New York in pursuit of something. Or that couple that’s on the verge of breaking up and they’re doing what they can to stay together. As I get older, I’m noticing that my tastes are changing and I’m moving away from books by the Jonathans (Safran Foer, Franzen, etc) and more into books that let me escape a little from my life.

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Science Fiction/Fantasy

Sci-fi and Fantasy is my next biggest genre. If anything, sci-fi/fantasy is my favorite genre. The list here is small, but I also have all my bigger fantasy reads on my Kindle.

When I was growing up, I was in love with science fiction and fantasy. I even ran the sci-fi/fantasy literary magazine at my high school! However, I didn’t read a lot when I was a kid and therefore don’t have a lot of the classic sci-fi/fantasy novels under my belt. While I don’t have many of those classics in my TBR pile, I do have aspirations to read them all. Hello, I haven’t even read Hitchhiker’s Guide yet…

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Non-fiction

My non-fiction pile is strangely tall. I also included my poetry books in here as well. I think the reason for that is because I haven’t read them. I love reading non-fiction essays and memoirs, but fiction just always happens to take over when I’m reading books. I think I’ll change it this summer and at least read one non-fiction book per month. This way, I’ll get some non-fiction in my life!


Sometimes I like to throw in some thriller, some romance and some YA to mix things up. I always thought I was a YA reader, but I guess most of the YA I’m reading is also Science Fiction and Fantasy. When I think back to my reading life, I think of the Twilight series and Harry Potter and The Hunger Games being big in my life. Isn’t it funny how sometimes your favorite genres are just sitting right in front of your face?

Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

I haven’t read a book that made me mad in a really long time. I’m glad that this book was the break from that. When I get mad at a book that’s really good, it’s because of how it all played out and what the outcome of everyone’s actions led to. It’s been a really long time since I felt this way and honestly, I appreciate the anger.

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The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

The American Dream. Many people talk about it, but no one really knows what it means. Some people work their entire lives to try and achieve it and some people succeed. Sadly, sometimes it takes death to figure out that not only you achieved the American Dream, but excelled beyond it.

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