"Book On It"

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

My bookmark is placed in "A Colony in a Nation" by Chris Hayes. The thesis of the book honestly is not quite clear to me. He writes about what is thought to be a post racial world. His connection for how the founding fathers and black men who were murdered by police work is fascinating and strong. I appreciate the stories that anchor the detriment and reality of police brutality, harassment of black people by police and the policies that were supposed to protect. The stories further show Hayes' signature on-ground reporting. 

I am listening to "Barracoon" by Zora Neale Hurston. It is the extraordinary story about the last African, whose name was changed to Cudjo Lewis, to arrive as a slave. This story was written decades upon decades ago and is vital for the perspective of a grim history. It is preposterous this book was not published at the time but paved way for the book to be received now. The introduction is widely detailed of how Hurston was granted the interview. By a scholar, she was even accused of plagiarism! 

"Book On It"

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

I am reading "The Kitchen God's Wife" by Amy Tan. It is one of the books I picked up last week during my trip to the Los Angeles Public Library. I am finding a rhythm with the story and anticipating what the secret is that Pearl's mother is holding. 

I am listening to "Pushout" by Monique W. Morris. The book is about the criminalization of black girls and the policies that drive black girls away from school and into unsafe and unstable environments. The book also outlines ways to rectify the systemic actions. I like that the book has few statistics and is written with poetic tones. The personal stories astonishingly drive the thesis of the book. 

"Book On It"

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

After months of sitting on my shelf, likely because I did not have to take the book back to the library, I am reading "Gem of the Ocean" by August Wilson. It is a rare treat for me to read a play. The play is a part of Wilson's collection of extraordinary work. 

I downloaded "Born Round" by Frank Bruni. Bruni used to be the New York Times restaurant critic. I am looking forward to a humorous and informative read of his memoir. 

Over the weekend, I met with my student mentee and another mentor/mentee pairing at the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles. On my walk with sweat dripping on my forehead, I thought "Oh my goodness, I get to go to the Central Public Library!" I browsed my favorite section at the library, the classics. I picked up three books I look forward to reading in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

"Book On It"

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

I am reading "Take You Wherever You Go" by Kenny Leon. He is a Tony Award winning director. Quotes from the cover by Angela Bassett and Denzel Washington attest to Leon's gift and presence in their lives, alone making you eager to read the book. Yet it is Leon's vivid and reflective writing about his tight knit relationships with his grandmother and mother that keeps you turning the page. 

I am listening to "No Ashes in the Fire" by Darnell L. Moore. His writing details being a Black man in America from his perspective as a Black Lives Matter activist and journalist. This book continues the niche of learning about being black from the bodies and voices who live the life every day.  

"Book On It"

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

I am smiling through "The Sky is Everywhere" by Jandy Nelson. Lennie is reeling from the death of her sister, Bailey and developing a connection between two boys, Toby and Joe. I am reveling in the dynamic between Lennie and Gram. Bailey is remembered in flashbacks and highlights her relationship with Lennie. Young Adult novels pull me in from the emotion. This story is not sugar coated and told smoothly amidst the complications of the characters lives. 

"The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho is a book I have seen for years as an inspirational story that has changed lives. Naturally, as I am a curious person, I felt the book was a must read. I decided to look up the audiobook version and lo and behold, Jeremy Irons reads the book!

"Book On It"

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

I am reading the novel "Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee. A layered story with revelations about Yangjin and Sunja, a mother and daughter enduring togetherness and tragedy set during the 1900's in their boarding house. I love that I feel like I am sitting across from a storyteller, wrapped in a blanket in awe of a saga.  

I am listening to "The Power" by Naomi Alderman. The story is all in the title, told from many characters about people who inhabit a power in their body that can cause pain and death to others. The world as a whole is fascinating because these people are not in hiding. That is where "keyboard warriors" resist and threaten people who hold the power. It is realistically imaginative with vivid language. I would love to see an adaptation. 

"Book On It"

Since Serena Williams spoke in Vogue about her near death experience during childbirth, a conversation has heightened about black women and their stories of pain while in labor, often ending in death. A part of the conversation is also the lack of health care options in general. Following this fascinating conversation at a broader perspective about believing women's pain is highlighted in the book "Ask Me About My Pain" by Abby Norman. In this memoir, Abby details her traumatic childhood and the physical pain she endured well into adulthood. Abby's pain impacted her ability to continue school but further the trauma because of the misplaced diagnoses from doctors. 

I am listening to "Caramelo" by Sandra Cisneros. It is a sweeping story about family in a dynamic where every member has a story. It is taking my mind on a fun and insightful whirlwind with imagination and emotion. Cisneros reads her story with vigor in a bilingual tongue.  

"Book on It"

For the past three days, I have not been able to put down "Where You Go is Not Who You'll Be" by Frank Bruni. Even as I eat dinner. He writes about the college application process and the  skewed idea that college students who attend Ivy League schools will be set for their careers. However, Bruni interviews several top leaders in their industries including Dick Parsons, Howard Schultz and Bobbi Brown about their educational backgrounds. I admire the idea that even if a student does not attend an elite school, it does not deter them from success. It is about the experience they attain while in school, especially at schools people have not heard of. This book also piqued my interest because I am a student mentor working with a student who is tuning out naysayers because of the school she chose to attend for college. 

I am listening to "Eloquent Rage" by Brittney C. Cooper. It is her memoir about being a black feminist. She is reading her book with fire and honest. As I continue to embody intersectionality as a young black woman, I am also learning whose opinions I value and whose experiences I can relate to as I navigate existence in the world. Between this book and "This Will Be My Undoing" by Morgan Jerkins, I am being lead on a strong path of understanding what I embody. 

 

"Book on It"

The title "Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows" grabbed my attention. In the novel, Nikki spent much of her life distancing herself from her traditional Sikh family. Upon taking a creative writing class, she begins to bond with a close-knit Punjabi community, leading to wonder and revelation. I was curious about the story because of my perception of how quiet and obedient older Indian women appear to be. I am interested to see how author Balli Kaur Jaswal can open my eyes to her culture, which continues to be the goal of reading. Will the stories literally be erotic? Is the book a tease? I shall report back. 

I am getting into a groove with "Devil in a Blue Dress" by Walter Mosley. There is a short story named "Crimson Stain" that prefaces in the book edition I checked out from the library. This will be the first time in a while where I have read a book before I have seen the film although the film adaptation is decades old. I love the smooth language Walter writes in the voice of Easy Rawlins, his protagonist in a series of novels. It feels like the bead of sweat in a nightclub. 

"Book on It"

After a much anticipated wait, I am listening to "This Will Be My Undoing" by Morgan Jerkins. She speaks upon her upbringing and how it shaped becoming and being a black feminist in white America. Fascinating and poetic, she drives societal conversation and history without missing a beat. 

I am finding a rhythm with "That Kind of Mother" by Rumaan Alam. He was featured on the Barnes & Noble podcast, which intrigued me to read the book. While the language is straight forward, the story is ordinary. I have been reading books that don't grab me yet I keep working with it so I'll see how this book goes. 

I felt invigorated and motivated after Abby Wambach's graduation address at Barnard College this year. Lo and behold, I found out she wrote a memoir and I immediately downloaded it. "Forward" is a honest, raw and beautiful reflection of her extraordinary triumphs and failures.

"Book on It"

My bookmark is firm in the book "Locas" by Ytxa Maya Murray. I picked up this novel on a trip to the Los Angeles Central Public Library. Every time I go to this library (which I like to think of as my home away from home), I go straight to their wonderful section of classic novels. This novel is about two teenage girls, Cecilia and Lucia, in 1980's Echo Park rife with drugs in the pursuit of power and loyalty. The poetic tone makes it a page turner and is an extraordinary book for a read into their culture. 

I am finishing "The Night Diary" by Veena Hiranandani on audiobook. I am planning out a middle grade novel thus why I am inspired to read this book and understand how to speak to the audience I am writing for. The story focuses on Nisha, a girl who writes diary entries to her deceased mother about the turmoil and hope during 1947 when India became independent from Britain. This novel is ripe with knowledge, words that grab your mind and emotion that fuels your soul. I am amazed that this novel beautifully educates and connects once again to culture and to family. 

"Book on It"

My bookmark is in the memoir "Raising Fences" by Michael Datcher. Although released a few years ago, Michael's story is incredibly relevant. He speaks of his upbringing, being conceived through rape and growing up as an adoptive child or as his Moms says "you were made in my heart". The story moves into Michael navigating the world as a black man. The book reminds me of "The Color of Water" by James McBride and "Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching" by Mychal Denzel Smith.  

I'm listening on audiobook to "White Tears" by Hari Kunzru. The novel is about Carter and Seth, two friends who share a love for music. Seth is invited into a world of wealth, access and hipster realism unbeknownst to his upbringing. Once I found my groove with the book, I began to appreciate it for its sarcasm, musical pulse and sharp characters. I'm looking forward to seeing how the story continues to move. 

"Book On It"

My bookmark is firmly placed in "Eunice" by Eileen McNamara. This stunning biography profiles one of the daughters of an American dynasty from early childhood to her schooling in London and the motivation to be a powerful voice for the Special Olympics. The biography also boasts a stellar introduction for a incredibly bright and bold woman. 

I am getting ready to start listening to "Norma" by Sofi Oksanen. I found this book on my library's bookshelf but my stack of books grew taller and taller. I listen to audiobooks much faster than I read so one less book is in my stack. I was intrigued by the grounding of the setting from the first page. In a synopsis, Norma discovers she has supernatural powers through her hair. The story is poised to be a dark family drama. I'm interested to see where it goes!

I finished "The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks" by Jeanne Theoharis last week. I will be buying that book to read over and over again. This is a fascinating and thorough read. 

"Book On It"

"The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks" by Jeanne Theoharis is an outstandingly detailed biography about the matriarch of the Civil Rights movement. Forming her as more than the quiet woman she was perceived by the world to be. The book boasts one of the best introductions I have read in a long time. It outlines that Rosa Parks archives are holed up in an auction house, thus why Theoharis did not have access to certain details for Rosa Parks. Nonetheless, this book is a page turner!

My bookmark is making its place in "When Morning Comes" by Arushi Raina. It is a YA novel about a girl named Zanele and with her best friends Thabo and Meena who begin a series of events that lead to an eventual rebellion in Johannesburg.  

I'm listening to "Text Me When You Get Home" by Kayleen Schaefer which cleverly educates the history of female friendship with great references. I relate to the title so much because my friend told me for years to text her when I got home, which let me know she loves me! 

 

"Book On It"

"Home Fire" by Kamila Shamsie is a fascinating and timely read. My bookmark does not stay in this novel for long. The novel focuses on Isma, a Muslim woman on a student visa in America. She is responsible for her siblings, who are in London, after their mother was murdered and their father was also murdered due to terrorist activity. It is timely for bringing humanity to the world I live in reading this book and when the book is closed. Also written with humor, passion and consequences. 

I'm gearing up to listen to "Little & Lion" by Brandy Colbert. I am digging young adult novels for I find them to have more substance than some adult novels. Suzette is home in Los Angeles from her prep school in New England. She is juggling responsibilities to her friends, family and her brother, Lionel, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I'm interested to learn where the responsibilities lead Suzette and what that entails while she is back home. 

"Book On It"

"Daring to Drive" by Manal al-Sharif first caught my attention when the author was on NPR's Fresh Air last year. Hearing her voice is inspiring through her leadership to encourage women to drive. What seems like a headscratcher for most is a fierce act of empowerment for women in Saudi Arabia. I am looking forward to listening to how her leadership contributes overall to the women's equality and right's movement the world is basking in. 

I am still reading the "Night" trilogy by Elie Wiesel. I knew the book would take some time because it is three in one. So I am dutifully turning each page, educating myself on an extraordinary life whose words lift from the page. 

 

"Book On It"

I have a bookmark in "Faith" by Jimmy Carter. One of my dreams is to sit in his children's bible class for I think it is a beautiful way to be active in his church particularly for a young generation. He speaks directly to the reader as though you are sitting on a front porch with a glass of lemonade sinking in wisdom. 

I caught up with a friend who has book shelves in her home, so she is definitely an adult. On one of the shelves was "Annihilation" by Jeff VanderMeer. I loved the film adaptation released earlier this year. I am excited to sink my mind into the novel especially since the audiobook is wildly popular as I had waited on a long list. 

"Book On It"

I have a bookmark in the novel "Peach" by Emma Glass. It's on my reading list for this year and one of the thinnest books I have read in a long time. The story is about the titular character recovering from a traumatic sexual assault. Should it be a good read, I'll be done by the end of the week. 

I enjoyed every page of "The Shape of Water". You do not need to decide to read the book before watching the film. The book is much more fleshed out. Hilarious, descriptive and Zelda is a much better character in the book. 

"Book On It"

One of my bookmarks is in "The Shape of Water" by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus. I did not even know this book existed! So I held delight when I saw the book on my local library bookshelf. My thoughts on the film are here

I am also listening to "I Can't Breathe" by Matt Taibbi, another book on my 2018 reading list. Having a balance between fiction and non-fiction keeps my mind sharp and actively what I achieve to do as an avid reader. Matt's book "The Divide" was incredibly enlightening and I do not expect anything less from the book I'm getting into. 

I also have a few audiobooks on hold as I love listening to them running, cooking, writing and washing dishes (Not doing all of these activities at the same time of course!). I do a dance each and every time I see a book I'm interested in reading is an audiobook. Even when I see the book has a ten week waitlist.  

"Book On It"

I finished listening to "Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenson on audiobook. If I had a dollar for every time I gasped and wowed at the stories of Bryan's clients on death row, I would give a great sum to the Equal Justice Initiative, which Bryan established. The stories give further perspective on the societal factors that link to why death row inmates, in the case of this book, were falsely accused. Also, the incredible work Bryan has diligently achieved. 

A bookmark has been placed in "Trauma & Recovery" by Dr. Judith Herman as my next read. This book has been on my reading list for a while to understand the aftermath people endure from traumatic and violent experiences. I'm eager to see what I can learn from this book. 

"Electric Dreams" is still being worked through. I'm wrapping my mind around the characters and the worlds they are entering. I along with them. As one of my goals is to read more sci-fi this year, it's a newer genre for my reading tastes.