Things have been busy. Finishing up school (t-minus gulp 12 days) has led to a whole bunch of cliff-jumping and mostly coming out unscathed. A few exciting updates are in the works but hopefully my impending free time will led to more content.
For now, jump in and explore the original Coates and a couple of high school reads. I also promise moms who know how to work it, workers in the government, and governments in soccer uniforms + what you should read and watch in March.
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
1 Sentence Synopsis: Baldwin, writing from
2019 1963, offers an intimate, hopeful portrait of race in America.
Review: The two-part essay collection opens with a letter to his nephew – and all Black boys by association – on freedom, White fragility, and what it means to be Black in America. Sound familiar? The influence Ta-Nehisi Coates gleamed from this book is unmistakable, but Baldwin’s optimistic outlook is difficult appreciate a half century later. You should read both Baldwin, then Coates’ Between the World and Me to fully appreciate what both men are trying to do.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
1 Sentence Synopsis: A Black scholar, steeped in the wisdom of Booker T Washington, is expelled to New York City where he meets communists and White women, all while discovering his utter displacement from society.
Review: I first read this in high school and was entirely out of my depth. Swept up in the illustrious language and frequent illusions, I was caught up in uncritical grandeur. The second time around, and with adequate background knowledge that revealed Ellison’s packed novel, I was driven to appreciate more his master crafting of the novel. But a novel that’s master crafted, jam packed with allusions puts the plot on the back burner. Thus, the absurdism felt less like a tool and more like a consequence.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
1 Sentence Synopsis: Sethe, a former slave, meets the adult incarnation of her murdered baby.
Review: This was another reread of a high school book. I enjoyed Beloved then and I enjoyed it now. It’s written with haunting and lyrical prose and I’ll never feel fully prepared to review a Morrison novel. If you like ghost stories, this is one your shelves would be worse off without.
Looking Ahead: March
What to Read
It’s my birthday month, so I’m recommending books that have impacted me and my life in one way or another.
11/22/63 by Stephen King – This book kept me company when I felt lonely and directionless after graduating high school. High school teacher Jake Epping stumbles upon a sick man and a time portal and vows to stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It’s heart-stopping and immersive, beautiful and heartbreaking. It’s a must read. (BN)
Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa – I found this book by chance at Barnes and Noble and it started a full fledged love affair with Lee Bordeaux books. It also introduced me to Seattle shortly before I moved here. The 1999 WTO protests set the backdrop for this explosive, multi-character drama. (BN) (Review)
Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak – Zusak was my favorite author in middle school and I’ve grown up a lot in the 10 years Zusak took to write the follow up to his best-selling The Book Thief. It’s worth the wait and then some. I love the book for growing with me, and thought it displayed Zusak’s immense talent in a new light. Clay Dunbar is building a bridge to fix his family. Told through a lifetime, we meet the Dunbar brothers and their family, and explore the limits and benefits of bridge-building. (BN) (Review)
Tired Pages by Bryce Van Vleet – It’s my birthday week and I’m making the kindle format completely free to celebrate turning 22. Download it today and make my 22nd birthday the best one yet.
What to Watch
Workin’ Moms – I never binge shows and finished this exceptional Canadian dramedy in three days. Funny, heartfelt, and illuminating, Catherine Reitman and a band of females captures the diverse range of experiences as women who work and mother. Catch season 1 on Netflix (Canadian residents can watch season 3 on the CBC).
Whisky Cavalier – Not enough justice shows for you? Same. Catch the new ABC spy action show featuring a former FBI agent and his CIA counterpart. Season 1 premiered February 27.
Shebelieves Cup and the USWNT – #FireJillEllis but until they do, support the girls in red white and blue as the prepare to defend their world championship title this summer. The Shebelieves Cup ends this Tuesday, but there’s plenty of games upcoming.
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