Mini Reviews|Short books by Black Authors!

Binti (Binti, #1)Binti by Nnedi Okarafor [Goodreads]

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Rating:⋆⋆⋆

Review: Overall, it was a nice, at time strangely humorous, read. Binti leaves her family to find something greater than her family already has planned for her. She got accepted into a highly acclaimed college, and throughout the short book, we follow her journey as she navigates prejudice and runs into some trouble with some vengeful aliens! For some reason, despite it being a rather short read, this took me FOREVER to finish! I don’t know why and I seem to be the only one, but this wasn’t a page turner for me. However, I did think Binti is a strong but flawed female character. I sympathized with her and understood why she wanted to leave her family in the first place. I might give the other books in this series a shot!

 

For EveryoneFor Everyone by Jason Reynolds [Goodreads]

Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world.

Rating:⋆⋆⋆⋆

Review: Jason Reynolds is honestly such a gem. I decided to read this on audiobook since he narrates it and I could tell in his voice that he’s passionate and optimistic. Although the message is pretty basic, he inspires his readers and listeners to keep moving forward because that’s all you can do. I think I rated this book so high is because this came to me the right time. I recently dropped out of university, and I’m currently struggling through my summer courses. I feel overwhelmed, stress and sometimes I even question if college is the right fit for me. Reynolds words just wrapped around me and I may or may not shed a tear while listening. Again, yes the message is simple but one that I will keep remembering when I’m facing hindrances in my life.

 

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie[Goodreads]

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen SuggestionsA few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response. Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman.

Rating:⋆⋆⋆⋆

Review: Adichie is becoming one of my favorite authors! In this short, Adiche’s friend asks her how to raise a feminist daughter, so Adiche gives her 15 tips! She talks about gender roles and equality but also about how a feminist woman can navigate through a misogynistic society. Adiche really focuses on the caretaker to enforce their daughter to be independent, let them choose their own path and support them no matter what. Adiche received some backlash over her comments on trans women saying “trans women are trans women.” However, I personally believe that trans women are just women. I think Adiche was trying to say is that trans women have different experiences than cis women (which is true) and although it’s all part of feminism, we should treat both issues separately. I feel that both issues relate to one another (because again, gender is a social construct). I do wish Adiche were more inclusive to trans people in this but (just a simple “not all women have vaginas” type of statement) but overall a beautiful read.

Let’s Talk about Books!

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My TBR: All the Physical Unread Books I Own!

I don’t like to own a lot of books.

Actually, I don’t like to own a lot of books that I never read. When I own a book for too long, I begin to no longer want to read it anymore. I wish I was the person that can own a book for years and be like, “hey, this sounds interesting now.” So, I get rid of them. That’s why my book shelf is so slim. If I ever change my mind, I can just go to the library, simple and easy (and cost effective).

However, with these books, I have actually own for a while. Over a year! And surprisingly, I’m still excited to read these!

Here are all of my physical books that I still want to read!

EBDE2CF6-8D6E-45A6-B2D3-1F86602124C4.JPGBinti by Nnedi Okorafor

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay —–> my queen

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Ask a Queer Chick by Linday King-Miller

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Binti:  I’ve read the first 20 pages or so and I was actually enjoying it! I got so caught up with school and completely forgot to pick it up again.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry: I read a good portion of this book in middle school…yes that long ago and I would love to finish it

Bad Feminist: I’m trying to read everything by Roxane Gay and I have yet to read her most acclaimed book! Oops!

The Blues Eye: I’ve Read Sula by Morrison and I absolutely loved it. Complex women of color characters to shocking events, the book was just mesmerizing. I want to read more by Toni Morrison!

Ask a Queer: *shrugs*

Americanah: Again, I’ve read other books by Adiche and fell in love with them. She has become one of my favorite authors but I have yet to read her most popular novel.

Have you read any of these books? If so, what are your thoughts? Should I give up on any of these?

 

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Febuary Wrap-Up|No Bad Books Month

I had a pretty bad month when it comes to my mental state but I still ended up reading 4 books. Despite me wanting to read more, I’m still happy because I read somee awesome books

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GENERAL

Favorite Book: Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World

Least Favorite Book: Tiny Pretty Things (gave it 3 stars though)

New Authors ReadMia McKenzie  Sona Charaipotra  Dhonielle Clayton  Benjamin Alire Sáenz

New Authors I want to continue reading: All of them!

READING CHALLENGES

Number of “Diversity” Books Read: 4

Number of #OwnVoices Read: 4

Number Books Completed for Classic Life Challenge: Nada oops

WHAT TYPES OF BOOKS DID I READ

Number of Kids/Middle Grade: 0

Number of YA: 2

Number of Adult/Lit Fiction: 0

Number of Classics: 0

Number of Short Stories/Novellas: 0

Number of Short Story Collections: 2

Number of Realistic Fiction Stories: 2

Number of Fantasy/Paranormal/Science Fiction: 0

Number of Mystery/Thrillers: 0

Number of “Other Books” (Historical, etc): Nada

Book REVIEWS

Here We Are| Tiny Pretty Things|Black Girl Dangerous

Mini Reviews

Nada

TV/Movie Reviews

Nada:(

Goals For Upcoming Month

  • Read at least 2 books
  • Blog more like WAY more
  • Do my 200 follower giveaway

 

Well that’s it! How was your reading/blogging month?

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January Wrap-Up|Success!

Well, this month was a pretty good reading month for me. I read a total of 10 books!

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GENERAL
Favorite Book: Difficult Women by Roxane
Least Favorite Book: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
New Authors Read: Roxane Gay, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, R.J. Palacio, Meredith Russo, I.W. Gregorio, Alice Pung
New Authors I want to continue reading: Roxane Gay, Alice Pung

READING CHALLENGES
Number of “Diversity” Books Read: 7
Number of #OwnVoices Read: 5
Number Books Completed for Classic Life Challenge: Nada oops

WHAT TYPES OF BOOKS DID I READ
Number of Kids/Middle Grade: 1
Number of YA: 6
Number of Adult/Lit Fiction: 3
Number of Classics: 0
Number of Short Stories/Novellas:1
Number of Short Story Collections: 2
Number of Realistic Fiction Stories: 6
Number of Fantasy/Paranormal/Science Fiction: 2
Number of Mystery/Thrillers: 2
Number of “Other Books” (Historical, etc): Nada

Book REVIEWS

Falling Kingdoms Books 1-3|None of the Above|If I Was Your Girl|Wonder|The Naturals|Lucy and Linh|The Thing Around Your Neck

Mini Reviews

The Bad, The Good, The Great|#Diverseathon Wrap Up

TV/Movie Reviews

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Goals For Upcoming Month

  • Read more Mystery/Thriller books
  • Read Books by Black Authors and Books with Black protagonists (black history month)
  • Read a classic from my Classic Life Challenge {here}
  • Keep up with blogging at least 3x a week (I did everyday in January!)

 

 

Well that’s it! How was your reading/blogging month?

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Friday Reads 01/27/17 + #Diverseathon Update

Happy Friday Everyone!

This has been my most stressful week I’ve had for a while. I went back to college and classes have been rough. I dropped two of them and hopefully, the school doesn’t drop one of my other classes because then I will be in a world of hurt.

Enough with that tiny life update. THIS IS A BOOK BLOG AFTER ALL?!?!?!?

Anyways, here are the books I want to read this weekend (that will hopefully help me lower my stress levels)

 

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

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The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the marriage of one of them. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.

#Diverseathon Update

As I predicted, I have not been reading a lot. However, I did read and finish Shadowshapers so yay! I was initially going to read George but I decided to read Difficult Women instead (still #own voices!). I will be doing a wrap up soon so make sure to look out for that post in the near future so you can hear my thoughts of these two books!

 

What are you reading this weekend?

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The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie|Short Story Collection Full of Authentic Voices {review}

5587960In “A Private Experience,” a medical student hides from a violent riot with a poor Muslim woman whose dignity and faith force her to confront the realities and fears she’s been pushing away. In “Tomorrow is Too Far,” a woman unlocks the devastating secret that surrounds her brother’s death. The young mother at the center of “Imitation” finds her comfortable life in Philadelphia threatened when she learns that her husband has moved his mistress into their Lagos home. And the title story depicts the choking loneliness of a Nigerian girl who moves to an America that turns out to be nothing like the country she expected; though falling in love brings her desires nearly within reach, a death in her homeland forces her to reexamine them. Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, these stories map, with Adichie’s signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them. The Thing Around Your Neck is a resounding confirmation of the prodigious literary powers of one of our most essential writers.

REVIEW

Note: I gave this 4 stars at first but while writing this review, I realized how amazing this book is so I bumped it to a 5!

There’s something in Adichie’s writing style that always grabs my attention. Excluding this book, the only work I read by her was We Should All Be Feminists and that too provoked the same emotions I felt reading this novel. Although not all the short stories were memorable, a good amount of them made it to my top favorite short story list of all time. While reading, I kept thinking “Wow, this could easily have been a full length novel” and “Wait, this story is over no please I want more!”

I am not a short story reader and usually think nothing of them but with Adichie, she made me care about these characters she fabricated in the matter of 20 pages. She made me root for them. She made me think about important issues including marriage, religion, family and cultural alienation, topics I have never gave much thought about. This work was just phenomenal. All stories had amazing promise, but I will highlight some of my favorites.

The Arrangers of Marriage

A Nigerian woman migrates to America after getting tangled in an arranged marriage with an “American obsessed” doctor. This short story explores the themes of estrangement in one’s culture and conforming to american naturalistic ideals. Our main character faces the challenges of converting all of the habits and traditions that she’s accustomed to into American culture. I definitely loved this short story because I’m always interested in the arguments on whether we should be promoting and discouraging assimilation (though, I’m against it because we should be celebrating other cultures but that’s just my two cents).

The Shivering

This story explores the themes of religion. Two Nigerian people come together when they find out about a deadly plane crash in Nigeria that may or may not had a loved one on board. Both characters contrast one another, one who seeks faith while the other questions it. As a person who has struggled with coming into terms with my own religion, this is a must read!

Imitation

A haunting look at the functionalities of relationships. A Nigerian woman living in America finds out that her husband has a girlfriend in their home country. I loved the imitation part of it because it was so powerful and indelible. The character, Nkem, was insecure but I fell absolutely in love with her. Out of all the short stories, this ending is what packed the right punch for me. Another story that I wished was a full length novel.

Jumping Monkey Hill

This one..oh yes. The short story expresses the biases of men possess when it comes to women writing a story and confers on the human experience in women’s writing. It’s relevant, more than ever. I loved all the multicultural backgrounds, I loved the messages that Adichie conveys. Book reviewer, writers, men, women, people of color need to read this.

A Private Experience

Two disparate women hide in a store during an abrupt religious riot on the streets. The story relies on the motif of contrast: One woman is Igbo Christian, while the other is Hausa Muslim. One studies medicine, the other is a trader.Chaos flutters outside, while calmness floats within. It’s a striking story of two opposites coming together, in their own little private experience.

These are only 5 out of the 12 captivating stories that Adichie craftily assembles. All of them exposes something that will impinge you, like it impinged me.

Adichie is slowly becoming one of my favorite authors. I praise her for sharing her stories and philosophies  about cultural formalities, social justices, different relationships and feminism. The stories she tells sometimes makes me uncomfortable which is a good thing (be more comfortable being uncomfortable) The stories makes me reflect on my own experiences and America today.

Anyone with a beating heart should read The Thing Around Your Neck.

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Friday Reads 01/20/17

Happy Friday Everyone!

I know today kinda sucks being January 20th but reading is a great way to distract myself! YAY!

I only plan on reading/finishing one book this weekend and that’s The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’m already about half way through and I’m enjoying it so far! There’s only two stories that I wasn’t feeling but the rest are pretty worthwhile.

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Now, in her most intimate and seamlessly crafted work to date, Adichie turns her penetrating eye on not only Nigeria but America, in twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.

Friday reads the thing.jpgIn “A Private Experience,” a medical student hides from a violent riot with a poor Muslim woman whose dignity and faith force her to confront the realities and fears she’s been pushing away. In “Tomorrow is Too Far,” a woman unlocks the devastating secret that surrounds her brother’s death. The young mother at the center of “Imitation” finds her comfortable life in Philadelphia threatened when she learns that her husband has moved his mistress into their Lagos home. And the title story depicts the choking loneliness of a Nigerian girl who moves to an America that turns out to be nothing like the country she expected; though falling in love brings her desires nearly within reach, a death in her homeland forces her to reexamine them.

Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, these stories map, with Adichie’s signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them. The Thing Around Your Neck is a resounding confirmation of the prodigious literary powers of one of our most essential writers.

 

What are you reading this weekend?

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