I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants discuss what they are reading and other bookish topics.
What I Am Reading: I am continuing to work my way through Layla F. Saad's Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, journaling as I go. The book is set up to span over 28 days, a chapter a day with follow up questions, but I have sometimes doubled up when time has permitted. It is definitely a thought provoking book and not one to rush through.
I was having a particularly rough Friday in the office yesterday, and decided I needed something lighter to read during my lunch break, and so started Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis. I am only about four chapters in, but enjoying it so far.The beginning has a My Best Friend's Wedding movie vibe, but that is not to say it will continue in the same direction. I am looking forward to finding out!
What I Am Watching: More Elementary. I really like Lucy Lu as Watson. I have probably said that before, haven't I? My family also recently watched Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Off the Blog: It was a relatively uneventful week. Much of the state continues to re-open and it seems like many people are shucking caution to the wind despite recommendations to continue with social distancing and wearing masks in public. My husband's employer extended his work from home order to the beginning of September, so at least someone is taking this all seriously. Numbers of those with the virus continue to rise. Word is circulating that plans for the upcoming school year will likely not come until July 21st. The planner and worrier in me wishes it was sooner. That feels so last minute with school starting in early August.
Our air conditioner decided to stop working. I guess it's better that it is now, before the summer heat settles in. Still, it's an expense we do not really need or want.
Thank you for everyone for the birthday wishes for my husband.
He had a nice birthday--and, and you can see, we even had cake!
Surprisingly, she didn't mind being tucked in with a blanket.
My supervisor checking up on me.
Tell me what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching?
I am sorely behind in reviews. I am reading, just not posting reviews. I thought today I would share a couple of reviews of books I read back in February. Their messages seem even more poignant now--although, to be fair, they have always been important--it's just more people seem to be paying attention now.
From where he's standing across the street, Justyce can see her: Melo Taylor, ex-girlfriend, slumped over beside her Benz on the damp concrete of the Farm-Fresh parking lot. [Opening of Dear Martin]
Crown Books for Young Readers, 2017
Fiction/YA; 210 pgs.
If you have been reading my blog over the last several months, you know I have nothing by praise for Nic Stone's Dear Martin. I added this gem to my collection soon after reading The Hate U Give by Angela Thomas, as it came highly recommended. I am having such a hard time putting into words how I felt about this book. It should be at the top of all the required reading lists in schools. And Iwish I could put a copy in the hands of everyone I know.
Justyce is a Black teen with plans to attend an Ivy League school. He is at the top of his class and on the debate team. When his ex-girlfriend is in trouble, he thinks nothing of dropping everything to go to her aid. His good intentions though turn into a nightmare when he is profiled by police and put in handcuffs, his explanation falling on deaf ears. He takes to reading and writing letters to Martin Luther King Jr, hoping for inspiration and guidance. Then when he and a friend come under the sight's of an off-duty white cop with a gun, his life is shaken even more.
Justyce's story is the reality of many young black men in American society. Nic Stone does not pull any punches in taking on the subject of racial profiling and racism. She also delves into such issues as gangs and toxic masculinity. I liked the format of the novel--Justyce's story interspesed with his letters to King. I also really appreciated how the author used the debate team meetings to tackle some much needed and difficult conversations in a very natural way. This is very much a book that drew out my emotions--rage and sadness, in particular. I do not know how anyone cannot come to care about Justyce and his plight while reading this book. And maybe, hopefully, it will raise awareness to a continuing problem in this country.
Some of the quotes I highlighted while reading:
It's like I'm trying to climb a mountain, but I've got one fool trying to shove me down so I won't be on his level, and another foot tugging at my leg, trying to pull me to the ground he refuses to leave.
"Why try to do right if people will always look at me and assume wrong?"
"You can't change how other people think and act, but you're in full control of you. When it comes down to it, the only question that matters is this: If nothing in the world ever changes, what type of man are you gonna be?"
“But before you say something “isn’t fair,” you should consider your starting point versus someone else’s.”
“Turn on the news, another black man slain.They say "Its okay. Save your voice, don't complain.This isn't about race so stop using that excuse.Now look at this funny picture of Obama in a noose!See how colorblind we are? You're not really black to me.Underneath, where it all matters, we both bleed red you see?So put away that race card: it aint 1962.Theres no more segregation, isn't that enough for you?”
If you haven't read this one yet, you should.
Ballantine Books, 2018
Nonfiction/Essays; 272 pgs
When I first saw Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves I knew this was one I had to read. The reader in me immediately felt the call because of my own love of reading and books. I have read a small few of the authors featured in this collection (Jesamyn Ward, Rebecca Walker, and Nicole Dennis-Benn), with books by several others on my TBR shelf. Only a couple of them were completely new to me.
In Gloria Edim’s introduction she talks about her mother reading her Eloise Greenfield’s poetry, of recognizing herself on the page, and just how significant that was for her as a black girl—and woman. She goes on to write about the influence reading had on her life. I can relate to the connection a reader makes with the characters in books and how their stories can sometimes influence our own life stories. As a white reader, I do not have far to look for stories in which I can see myself. For a young Black girl and even Black women, it is much harder to find a reflection of oneself within the pages of a book. I will never know just how powerful a connection like that can be as a result.
Gloria Edim has long been an advocate for promoting black voices in literature, celebrating their stories, and bringing them to the forefront. The collection of essays she shares with us in Well-Read Black Girl is beautiful. In each of these essays their authors share a a bit of themselves and their connections to literature, what inspired them, moved them, and helped shape who they would become. If you are looking for some great book recommendations, you will get that here. You will also get a glimpse into the minds and hearts of these brillant African American authors who have inspired others with their own writing and work.
One particular essay that I especially loved is written by Jesamyn Ward, who is a beautiful writer. It shows in her books as well as in her essay “Magic Mirrors” in which she shares a couple of childhood experiences of finding her own reflection in the books she read—how rare it was and how precious when it did happen—and yet also how disappointing it could be. Ward writes, “I read to escape, to molt my skin. Something inside of me recoiled from Cassie’s world at the close of the book.” She could relate to Cassie’s character in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, finding it both beautiful and painful. She also talked about her love for Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, which swept her off her feet and carried her along—until the end. A magic mirror should do more than just reflect our own image back to us, but rather, in Ward’s case, she wanted that reflection of herself to transform her into something more.
I have a long list of quotes I highlighted throughout this amazing collection. Here are just a small few of my favorites:
This is, of course, what great writers do. They make you feel as if they are spies; as if they have somehow crept into your room at night and stolen your dreams or your nightmares. ~ excerpt from "Why I Keep Coming Back to Jamaica" by Veronica Chambers.
[...] the glory in literature is that it asks you to do more than just see. ~ excerpt from "Her Own Best Thing" by Tayari Jones
I still and will always believe that representation of all kinds is essential. ~ excerpt from "Legacy: A Conversation with Rebecca Walker"
Reading for me was a vehicle for self-exploration when real life wasn't safe. But without seeing that path in the power story, I didn't know that it was one that existed for me. ~ excerpt from "The Need for Kisses" by Dhonielle Clayon
I hope that by writing some of the stories I know, people will hear some of their own voices in my characters. ~ excerpt from "Witnessing Hope" by Stephanie Powell
I felt she was talking to me, telling me over and over again as a young black girl that I am my own best thing. ~ excerpt from "Dear Beloved" by Nicole Dennis-Benn about reading Beloved by Toni Morrison
Myths tell us what those like us have done, can do, should do. Without myths to lead the way, we hesitate to leap forward. Listen to the wrong myths and we might even go back a few steps. ~ excerpt from "Dreaming Awake" by N.K. Jemisin
So here is why I write what I do: We all have futures. We all have pasts. We all have stories. And we all, every single of us us, no matter who we are and no matter what's been taken from us or what poison we've internalized or how hard we've had to work to expel it-----we all get to dream. ~ excerpt from "Dreaming Awake" by N.K. Jemisin
In the story of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye was the first time I ever saw myself. Black girls go missing all the time. And missing doesn't always mean disappeared, never to be seen again. It can slso signal the loss of one's self. ~ excerpt from "Complex Citizen" by Mahogany L. Browne
The folly of youth is believing that the road to success is a straight one. It is believing that self-improvement functions as holding a version of yourself forever just out of arm's reach, presuming her to be better, prettier, freer.The truth is that I needed those misteps, sharp turns, the quiet moments of self-doubt that led to my own pep talks in the kitchen. I wasn't Grace; not really, not in the way I originally wanted to be. Nor was I supposed to be. Eventually I realized, and continue to realize anew, that I, Carla, am quite enough. I'm damn amazing. ~ excerpt from "Amazing Grace" by Carla Bruce-Eddings
So my advice to other young writers: Read widely. Study other writers. Be thoughtful. Then go out and do the work of changing the form, finding your own voice, and saying what you need to say. Be fearless. And care. ~ excerpt from "Continue to Rise" by Jacqueline Woodson
Go read this book. Whether you want to read the perspective of these amazing Black women and the way literature has touched their lives, get a long list of books to try, or just enjoy books about people talking about reading, you cannot go wrong with this one.
Have you read either of these books? If so, what did you think? Do they sound like something you would like to read?
Thank you for helping me decide what book from my TBR collection I should read next:
My TBR List is a meme hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading. It’s a fun way to choose a book from your TBR pile to read. The 1st Saturday of every month, I will list 3 books I am considering reading and take a poll as to which you think I should read. I will read the winner that month, and my review will follow (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise).
Right from the start it did not seem like much of a contest if the comments were anything to go by. In the end, an overwhelming number of you voted for A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas (16 votes), and The Witch's Kind and Bringing Down the Duke getting 6 votes each. Thank you so much for voting!
USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas turns the story of the renowned Sherlock Holmes upside down…
With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.
When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.
But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind. [Goodreads Summary]
Thank you for voting! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Happy Reading!
© 2020, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
That chocolate cake looks delicious! I want some *smile* And the cover of A Study in Scarlet Women is simply said gorgeous. Have a great weekend and good luck with the air condition. Stay safe and well.ReplyDelete
Vi - I am looking forward to diving into A Study in Scarlet Women. :-) I hope you have a good week. Thank you for visiting!Delete
I feel exactly the same way about the virus and reopenings. It all feels too soon, but apparently lots of people don't think so or are not worried because I see a TON of people with no masks, no distancing. I'm so worried! And same about school!ReplyDelete
Awesome cat pics! And the cake looks yummy. I always love chocolate too. Haha have a nice week.
I hope Scarlet Women is good! :)
Greg - I see so many posts on the local neighborhood groups that the virus is a hoax or not nearly as bad as it's been made out to be. I wish more people would take it seriously--even if just as a precaution.Delete
I hope you have a good week too! Thank you for stopping by!
I am glad at least some of them are taking things seriously. Here in Dubai we would be levied 3000 AED or 1000USD as fine if we are not wearing mask or not following social distancing while we are out and about. That seems to be doing the trick.ReplyDelete
Elbow hugs, stay safe
Gayathri - Our local sheriff and law enforcement refused to enforce the mandate when it was in place--and then our local government rescinded the orders requiring face coverings and social distancing because of public pressure--so it's kind of a mute point now. It doesn't matter that it's still a state order--at least the social distancing part. So many around here think it isn't something they need to worry about. I hope they are right, but I worry they are not. And I'm not willing to take that chance.Delete
Thank you for visiting!
Love these book recommendations! Thank you for sharing!ReplyDelete
Eustacia - Thank you for stopping by!Delete
We really need to sort our heating and cooling out. It's on the list to do at some point.ReplyDelete
That cake looks phenomenal!
Marg - I hope you are able to get your heating and cooling resolved before it becomes a real issue. Thank you for visiting!Delete
My husband had his birthday last week. He doesn't really like sweets (!) so I made him banana bread. That chocolate cake is beautiful.ReplyDelete
I've never heard anything about Well-Read Black Girl but it sounds wonderful. I was delighted to find it at my library. Thank you for sharing it.
Deb - Happy Birthday to your husband! Banana bread is good too.:-) My husband is the baker (and cook) in our family, and we've had soooo much banana bread the past three months.Delete
I hope you enjoy Well-Read Black Girl when you read it!
Thank you for stopping by!
Oooooh, Elza loves your blog!! All over the world people are trying to get back to normal and in countries like South Africa where we are from, I don't think it will ever be "back to normal". We went to school a couple of days this week, but with very strict regulations.ReplyDelete
I hope you get to read A study in Scarlet. It's been on my TBR list for so long and it will be nice to hear some feedback.
I'm new on the blogosphere, would be lovely if you can hop over and say hi!
Have a purrfect week!
Elza - I don't think there will be any getting back to normal here any time soon either, despite people's best efforts. I imagine when schools do start up here again, there will be strict regulations in place too. I know a lot of people plan to home school because they don't want to send their kids back to public school setting. I don't have that luxury though.Delete
I am looking forward to reading A Study in Scarlet Women this month. I will let you know what I think!
I hope you and Elza have a great week too. Thank you for visiting!
I worked my way through all of Elementary and was sad when it ended. Great book recs!ReplyDelete
Jenclair - I will be sad when we finish Elementary, I think. We're getting closer. :-( Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I agree that some places are moving too fast! I am glad (for the first tine!) to be in a community with a strict lockdown.ReplyDelete
Stay safe and enjoy your week.
Laurel-Rain - We have definitely been moving too fast for my comfort. I hope we don't regret it. Thank you for visting! I hope you enjoy your week as well.Delete
That chocolate cake looks so yummy. Pretty much everything here is open, and people only wear masks when stores force them to. It’s concerning. I hope you have a great week.ReplyDelete
Aj @ Read All The Things!
AJ - The cake was good! My husband was telling me that not everyone in the grocery store was wearing a face covering this weekend, despite it being store policy. I guess they aren't enforcing it anymore? It's all making me very nervous about being out and about right now. I hope you have a great week too.Delete
Thanks for stopping by!
oh yay!!! I loved A Study in Scarlet Women I hope you do too.ReplyDelete
Yes my HVAC has been out 12 days. Luckily, it has been cooler the last few days and will rain the next 5 but then it is the 90s so I really hope to get it replaced this week.
We are staying home as we have since March. We won't find out until mid July if classes will be online or not for my daughter's college. If they are, we will have to see which ones she thinks will work best for online.
Happy reading and stay well!
Anne - Books of My Heart Here is my Sunday Post
Anne - I have a feeling I will love it too. :-) I love historical cozies.Delete
I really hope your HVAC is replaced this week before the heat comes. I feel for you.
I learned this weekend it will likely be mid-July when we find out what the schools will be doing here too. Hopefully your daughter will have a good selection of online classes to choose from.
Thank you for visiting!
Sorry about your AC going out. That sucks.ReplyDelete
And our cases of COVID keep going up here in Utah. It's worrying. I don't know what they're going to do about school starting in the fall. But since I work in an elementary school, it'd be really nice to know.
Lark - Thank you! We were able to get someone out yesterday to fix it and luckily it wasn't anything too serious or expensive. It was quite a relief.Delete
I hadn't thought about it, but it has to be even harder on school staff who don't know how things will be when schools open up either. I hear our district's Board will make an announcement in mid-July. That's just three weeks before school starts up again! That's not a lot of time to prepare . . .
Thank you for stopping by!
I am a little concerned that the numbers will rise again because people are becoming more careless - I'm still staying in except for grocery shopping. That chocolate cake looks fabulous and I'm going to check out some of the shows that you are watching. Your cats are adorable..ReplyDelete
Judee - We are doing the same, going out only for grocery shopping and me for work. Otherwise, we are homebound. Thank you for visiting!Delete
Dear Martin is on my list to read. I see its sequel is coming out soon. I love it that you had a rough day at work so you picked a different book to read. Gotta love readers. My Sunday Salon postReplyDelete
Anne - I hope you like Dear Martin when you read it. I hadn't realized there was going to be a sequel until very recently.Delete
Yes, a reader cannot go without options in case our moods change, can we? LOL
Thank you for stopping by!
I'm glad your husband can continue working from home a bit longer. Our thoughts and frustrations with the reopening are much the same. Dear Martin is on my tbr list. Hoe you have a good week.ReplyDelete
JoAnn - I am glad too--revlieved actually. It gives us a little more time in terms of figuring out childcare should I have to return working in the office full-time again. I hope you enjoy Dear Martin if you read it! Thank you for visiting!Delete
We had our AC updated as well. It's been on the fritz for a year but they finally replaced it and gave us a new one.ReplyDelete
Mary - I am glad you were able to get a replacement for your AC. These summer months get so hot--they really are a necessity. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I've heard great things about A Study in Scarlet Women, I hope you enjoy it. Stay safe out there! I'm shocked by all the places that are opening and worried about what's to come.ReplyDelete
Tammy - I hope A Study in Scarlet Women will be a winner for me. I love the sound of it. I hope you stay safe too. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Dear Martin is a fabulous book! I am looking forward to Nic Stone's newest book coming out later this year. I just don't get the opening up of things and with the rising cases/hospitalizations, why are we not shutting down again?!ReplyDelete
Helen - I agree. I just noticed Nic Stone's new book. I am eager to read it. I hope it will be just as good. Thank you for visiting!Delete
Dear Martin -- thank you for this review! I remember wanting to read this and it conpletely fell off my radar.ReplyDelete
Verushka - I hope you get a chance to read it! It's worth it. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I love your books about racial issues, and that the protests are happening. We desperately need to "remove" certain individuals from positions of power!ReplyDelete
Great chocolate cake!
It is worrisome that some are not taking the virus seriously, and that the reopenings continue despite the increase in outbreaks. We are still in lockdown in my residence, for which I am grateful. We are gradually returning to the dining room, one per table, six feet apart. But only every other day.
Slow but steady works for me.
Have a safe and great week. Here are my WEEKLY UPDATES
Laurel-Rain - Yes, we really do need to get some elected officials in office who will do some good for this country--or at the very least, less harm.Delete
I think it is great that the place you live is taking re-opening slowly. I really think most people in the area I live think the virus is in the past or a hoax. Very few people are taking it seriously.
Thank you again for visiting!
That chocolate cake looks absolutely delicious! I am glad your husband's birthday was a good one, despite everything going on. To be honest - I think being able to read and get that escape is more important than being able to blog about it, right now. Have a great week, Wendy:)ReplyDelete
Sarah - Thank you! The cake was good. :-) Yes, my self-care definitely includes some escape reading! It's part of what is keeping me sane. I hope you have a great week too. Thank you for stopping by.Delete
I'm glad to hear your hubby had a nice birthday. That cake looks wonderful! I feel the same way about things reopening. I haven't gone out much but when I do, it's a mixed bag. Some people are behaving cautiously but many others are being downright reckless about it. It's frustrating. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed Dear Martin. That was an incredible read for me as well.ReplyDelete
Suzanne - Thank you! It was a nice rich chocolate cake. :-) I wish more people were being cautious. The air conditioner technician who came out yesterday didn't have a mask on. I was so tempted to send him away and come back when he was wearing one.Delete
I am glad you liked Dear Martin as well.
Thank you for visiting!
We'll be going onto phase 2 by this weekend as more sectors are reopening. Schools have started a few weeks ago but they're staggered by levels. With this phase 2 coming up, all schools will resume as normal and honestly, I'm not sure about this since there are still a few community cases around and our numbers are so unpredictable; sometimes it gets better and then the next we see some increase. Sigh.ReplyDelete
I'm glad to hear your husband had a wonderful birthday. Dear Martin sounds like both a powerful and a thought-provoking book which seems like a timely read with the current situation. I'll have to keep this book in mind.
Melody - I will keep my fingers crossed everything goes well as you enter phase 2 and schools return to a more normal schedule. The uncertainty of everything does add to our stress, I'm sure.Delete
If you do read Dear Martin, I hope you like it.
Thank you for stopping by!
I heard on the news that Riverside County is spiking. Isn't that where you are? LA County is spiking as well. It's no surprise when everyone decided to pretend that the virus was gone on Memorial Day. Just wait until after Trump's rally in Tulsa. All those people will go out into the community and will decimate it by the end of the month.ReplyDelete
I'm glad they extended your hub's work from home order. I supposed that helps with your daughter's care too. Will her school be online? My daughter's high school hasn't yet announced how it will be. My son got a job back in his college town of SLO so he is headed back this weekend and will be renting a room until campus housing opens. I just wanted him to work here and save his money but he cannot get a job anyway. I will be antsy with him over there. He got a job at a fancy hotel so there will be a lot of contact too. I am still working from home and we don't know when we are going back to campus. Our classes were moved online for fall.
Ti - Yes, and it really isn't surprising, as you said, given how many people aren't taking it seriously--whether anymore or at all. We still haven't made it back to the dance studio.Delete
We haven't heard what form her school will take this coming school year. I heard something about finding out on July 21st, so I'm trying to be patient. Her after school program is closed for the summer because of the virus, but said they will be opening back up with the schools, which is a relief in some ways. I know a few parents who plan to homeschool until a vaccine is found, but that isn't our reality. It sounds like my employer is in favor of a continued hybrid schedule with us working at home most days and only being in the office once a week.
I hope your son has settled in okay in SLO. I can just imagine how difficult that must be for you, having him away right now. I hope it works out well for him though!
All we can do is hang in there and take it one day at a time right now, I suppose. Thank you for visiting!