"Book On It"

“Where is your bookmark?”

My bookmark is in the novel, “White Girls” by Hilton Als. I picked this book up by chance, and on sale, at Blackwell’s, where I bought last week’s selection “Black Klansman.” Als is a prolific writer, most notably to me for “The New Yorker.” The book goes against the grain of the title, focusing on blackness, queer identity and art in an amalgamation set in Brooklyn.

The voice of the story is strange, almost uninviting, which is different than what I have read in a while. As a writer myself, varying perspectives is rewarding to stretch my imagination.

"Book On It"

“Where is your bookmark?”

My bookmark is in “Black Klansman” by Sgt. Ron Stallworth. I bought the book at Blackwell’s at Oxford last September. I saw the film on opening night when it was released last August. I wrote a review for the film here.

As the film has six Oscar nominations, I am eager to learn more about the story compared to the adaptation, which has not been marred by controversies. Essentially, was there anything in the book not in the film?

If you are not familiar with the story, the author Ron Stallworth recalls being the first black detective for the Colorado Springs Police Department, which is already a feat. What follows is his infiltration into the KKK with the help of a white detective in his department. Needless to say, it is a fascinating story you won’t read in your history books, unless you read this book.

"Book On It"

“Where is your bookmark?”

My bookmark is in “Tinker Dabble Doodle Try” by Srini Pillay, M.D. I heard Pillay on the goop podcast. I am usually skeptical of the self-help bookshelf or empowerment push that is adrenaline for people to buy something to prepare the New Year. However, his thoughtful intention for the book, which is to help readers unlock the unfocused mind, spoke to me enough to add to my ever-growing reading list. I’m curious to how I can make my overactive mind work to achieve goals and be a sharper thinker.

"Book On It"

“Where is your bookmark"?”

My bookmark is in the second novel of the Akata Witch series, “Akata Warrior” by Nnedi Okorafor. I listened to “Akata Witch” on audiobook and it was electric. The book is another tome. I am looking forward to learning more about Sunny, the American born Nigerian girl who is fiercely independent, stubborn and curious. Because I am reading this novel, I am excited to feel the action from the page and experience the unique world through the book and not my headphones. I also hope Nnedi writes more books for the series.

"Book On It"

“Where are your bookmarks?”

I have a bookmark in the biography, “Arthur Ashe: A Life” by Raymond Arsenault. When I picked it up from the library, my eyes nearly fell out of its sockets. It is a tome. The writing compliments the greatness of the subject. I am placed into history through the rise of Ashe. I only know so much about him, which makes me eager to read more about the man who has a park named after him near where I grew up.

I have another bookmark in the novel, “How To Be An American Housewife” by Margaret Dilloway. I planned to listen on audiobook then it was too long. I saw this book at my local library’s bookshelf and thought it was fate to read it. Shoko grows accustomed to American ideals as she left Japan after marrying a GI. Secrets, family and revelations are the themes carried in the novel for an intricate read.

Book On It

“Where is your bookmark?”

I have a bookmark in two books. One bookmark is in the novel, “The Boy in the Black Suit” by Jason Reynolds. Matt, a high school student, begins working at the funeral home, coping the loss of his mother along with the trials of being a teenager. I’m intrigued by the relationships Matt has with the people in his life. Also, how a black boy is written with experiencing grief. Reynolds has a unique presence as an author with one of the most striking bios I have ever read, which initially drew me to read his books.

Another bookmark is in the novel, “Columbus” by Derek Haas. It is the second book in the riveting series. Columbus is living in Italy, taking hitman jobs across the globe. He becomes the hunter being the hunted. The sharp reserve in Columbus’ voice continues richly in the story.

Book On It

“Where is your bookmark?”

My bookmark is in the novel, “Jasmine” by Bharati Mukherjee. The novel is about Jasmine, an Indian woman who becomes widowed at seventeen, and years later is living in Iowa as Jane, the wife of a disabled farmer, and also an adoptive mother. The story is complicated, sweeping, multi-layered and beautifully imaginative. It also highlights assimilation in American society. A remarkable part of the story is the journey and locations that carry Jasmine. This book was one of the reads I can consistently find on my local library’s bookshelf.

Book On It

“Where is your bookmark?”

My bookmark is in the social science book “Palaces For The People” by Eric Klinenberg. I listened to Klinenberg on the “Why Is This Happening?” podcast hosted by Chris Hayes. I was intrigued by the idea of improving social infrastructure for fighting social injustices. The first part of the book talks about humidity in Chicago during July 1995 and the aftermath based on class, gender and ethnicity with fascinating insight. The writing is sharp, well-paced and in place while educational to carry out the thesis of the book.

"2019 Bookmark Goals"

My book goals this year are:

1) A graphic novel

2) A mystery novel

3) Reading work from more black and brown writers

4) A Sci-Fi novel

5) Fifty-two books to enjoy during the year. Of course, the more the merrier!

Happy New Year, my fellow readers! May you enjoy more books with inclusive bookshelves and a wonder of genres.

Book On It

“Where is your bookmark?”

My bookmark is in the novel, “The Proposal” by Jasmine Guillory. For the sake of winter, I will say this novel is a cozy blanket read instead of a beach read. Nikole has been dating a man named Fisher for five months. He is beautiful but that is the only attractive feature from an otherwise vapid and selfish man. Fisher proposes to Nikole at Dodger Stadium, one of the most widely known venues in the world. To Nikole’s shock and confusion, she says no. With the aftermath of the proposal (see what I did there) and new found friends, Nikole finds herself making personal changes, one which may find her in a new romance.

I am only a few pages in yet I am enthralled by the action from Nikole’s emotions, her friends Courtney and Dana, who are independent women of color and and the real world of relationships, love and fun. I am a bit turned off by the excessive need to mention LA “stereotypes”. I am a sensitive Los Angeleno. Nonetheless, if that is the worst part of the book, there is much more to enjoy and experience from the page.

Book On It

"Where is my bookmark?”

My bookmark is in the social history book “Good and Mad” by Rebecca Traister. The book seeks to discuss the zeitgeist momentum of women’s anger driven by injustices and double standards against women. The introduction alone reminded me why I enjoy reading as a form of education. It read as a powerful reminder that women’s anger is generations deep but is just getting started. It is written with a flow that captures my attention and eager anticipation to turn the page. I appreciate the intersectionality in the book with its wealth of resources and references.

Book On It

"Where is my bookmark?”

My bookmark is in the novel “Big Stone Gap” by Adriana Trigiani. I was captivated by her conversation on the B&N podcast. Her ease in discussing her writing process was refreshing. I was somewhat embarrassed I had never heard of her writing. Nonetheless, I was lead to one of her book series. She grew up as an Italian in Virginia, which was fascinating to me. She has uniquely used her upbringing as a focal point for the setting in her novels.

The novel is about Ave Maria Mulligan, a spinster involved in the small town she lives in. Life rolls quickly after she discovers family secrets, which tears through her once quiet life. There are unique characters to drive the story with humor and unconventionality.

"Book On It"

"Where is my bookmark? Which audiobook are my headphones plugged into?"

My bookmark is in the memoir “I Can’t Date Jesus” by Michael Arceneaux. I am laughing my way through as I turn the pages (and not quick enough). It is about Michael’s faith and dating experiences along with his upbringing and family. The pop culture references are exceptional and the light of Michael’s personality shine on the pages.

I am plugged into the novel “Stay with Me” by Ayobami Adebayo. In the expanse of their relationship and marriage, Yejide and Akin move through the trials that connect them to each other. I am enjoying the inviting pace of the narration and place of 1980s Nigeria, bringing rich layers to the novel.

"Book On It"

"Where is my bookmark? Which audiobook are my headphones plugged into?"

My bookmark is in the novel, “Lovecraft Country” by Matt Ruff. In anticipation for the soon to be adapted HBO series starring Jurnee Smolett-Bell, Jonathan Majors, Aunjanue Ellis, Michael K. Williams and Elizabeth Debicki, I am reading the novel about terror during the Jim Crow era. The hardcover copy is a bit worn and gives a unique presentation for a story that is a spell of horror, fantasy, noir and historical fiction.

I am listening to “Welcome to Night Vale” by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. It is another book different from my normal reading groove. The novel is based off of the podcast about mysterious happenings in an American Southwest desert. I listened to Joseph Fink on the “B&N Podcast”, remembering the book was on my reading list and decided to give it a go.

There is rarely a distinct connection between the book and audiobook for each week. It is an exciting experience as a reader for the next week to delve into the worlds the characters inhabit.

"Book On It"

"Where is my bookmark? Which audiobook are my headphones plugged into?"

My bookmark is in the novel “Dark Men” by Derek Haas. I have reveled about “The Silver Bear”, which is the first book in the thrilling series. It’s only been two and a half weeks since I read that novel. I am looking forward to following Columbus and his distinct and sharp voice as he learns about the missions he is called to carry out.

I am listening to “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The audiobook is only one hour. I am curious about the wisdom that is be delivered. I am marveled by the inspiration of the book, which was one of Chimamanda’s childhood friends asking how to raise her daughter as a feminist. The book, written as a letter, is in a similar subject vein of “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nahesi Coates.

"Book On It"

"Where is my bookmark? Which audiobook are my headphones plugged into?"

My bookmark is in the novel “Another Brooklyn” by Jacqueline Woodson. The first few pages entered me into what will be a poetic read that is stirring and reflective. I bought this book at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris. I held this book in my hand and remembered that I don’t have to take it back to the library. It is a part of my collection.

I am listening to “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northup. It is read by the prolific actor Louis Gossett, Jr. and time met me to finally hear this story. The film is vivid and emotional. I am captivated to spend the time with this story.

"Book On It"

"Where is my bookmark? Which audiobook are my headphones plugged into?"

My bookmark is in the novel “Cat’s Eye” by Margaret Atwood. Elaine, the main character who is a painter, returns home to Toronto for an exhibit and falls into the reasons why she left home in the first place. The story is appears to expose the judgment people endure and place on others and is also reflective.

I am listening to “Rosemary’s Baby” by Ira Levin. The audiobook is read by Mia Farrow, who plays Rosemary in the film. I have not seen the film but I do know the pixie cut Mia had. Listening to the book is a nice after Halloween treat. I’m looking forward to the build-up and reveal of the suspense.

“The Silver Bear” by Derek Haas is a novel I talked about last week. There are twists around the page and the voice of the main character, Columbus is haunting and sharp. The novel is an edge on your toes read. I rose up in bed several times that I felt like I did crunches while reading. The novel is a part of a series I am looking forward to delving into.

"Book On It"

"Where is my bookmark? Which audiobook are my headphones plugged into?"

My bookmark is in the novel “The Silver Bear” by Derek Haas. An announcement was made a couple of weeks ago that a film adaptation is going to be made. It is a rare opportunity for me to read the book before the film is released. Columbus, a pristine assassin, is smoother than butter and bestowed the nickname “The Silver Bear” by the Russians, whom his mentor Vespucci is connected with. The voice is strong and makes the pages feel alive with Columbus’ swagger. This book I may read past my bedtime, delving more into each of Columbus’ missions.

My headphones are plugged into “Why Not Me?” by Mindy Kaling. Her previous book “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” was refreshingly funny. This book will give me the opportunity to hang out with a friend in my mind.

"Book On It"

"Where is my bookmark? Which audiobook are my headphones plugged into?"

My bookmark is in the book “Black Fortunes” by Shomari Wills about the Black people who became millionaires after slavery. I’m fascinated by history that does not get covered in media. I’m looking forward to delving into this book, particularly during this time period.

In spirit of Halloween, I am happy to be listening to “Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel” by Disney Press and A.W. Jantha. Max and Allison’s daughter Poppy gets into toil and trouble with the Sanderson Sisters twenty-five years after Max lit the candle. This book is likely the closest thing audiences who adore the film will get to a sequel, so I am all here for it!

I hugged the book “Whiskey & Ribbons” by Leesa Cross-Smith after finishing it. A wonderful and heartbreaking read that I enjoyed turning each page. I wrote about the book last week and I am itching to read “Every Kiss Is A War” until Leesa releases her next book.

"Book On It"

"Where is my bookmark? Which audiobook are my headphones plugged into?"

My bookmark is in the novel “Whiskey & Ribbons” by Leesa Cross-Smith. I make time before bed to read this book. The pages turn effortlessly as Evi grieves the loss of her husband, Eamon, days before the birth of their first child. The voices create a stunning timeline that adds the conflict because Evi is possibly maybe entering a relationship with Dalton, Eamon’s brother. The story is heartbreaking, remarkable and relatable. The discovery of this book was courtesy of the bookshelf at my local library.

I am listening to “Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl” by Carrie Brownstein. I was introduced to Carrie by the phenomenally eclectic and satirical show “Portlandia”. I am intrigued to hear more about her band Sleater Kinney with plenty of laughs and lessons along the way.