"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.

"Book On It"

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

I am reading “When Dimple met Rishi” by Sandhya Menon. I heard about this book on Twitter. Then saw it at my local library’s bookshelf and snatched it up for my shelf. It is an unique romantic experience between young Indian people, understanding their cultural expectations yet exploring their voice and heart. The book cover is also inviting and fresh.

In spirit of my favorite holiday, Halloween, I am listening to “Interview with the Vampire” by Anne Rice. I have seen bits of the film enough to know who plays which character but also still be unaware of what is going to happen next. The narrator of the audiobook, Simon Vance, reads with the accent that makes the vampires alluring.

I finished “Call Me By Your Name” by André Aciman. It was a time when it was okay to read the novel after seeing the film, for there are some differences. While the book was quite descriptive in parts, there was wonderful imagery and language in the depths of Elio’s mind.

"Book On It"

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

I am reading “Black Ink” by Stephanie Stokes Oliver. Nikki Giovanni, Zora Neale Hurston and Marlon James are among several of the prolific black writers who take on an aspect of writing and reveal their process. The book is a way to anthologize black voices for future generations of black writers like myself.

I am listening to “The Sun is Also A Star” by Nicola Yoon. The book is a YA novel about Natasha and Daniel, high school students who despite having different backgrounds are brought into each other’s universe. I am looking forward to delving into the world Yoon created. The title is remarkably striking.

On my way to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl last Friday, I soaked in “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin. At intermission, I continued reading the book as chatter and chip crunching surrounded me. The story follows four siblings who learn about the day they will die from a fortune teller. What kept me turning the pages were the locales of where the characters lived, the imagery and of course, will the characters die on the day they were told? This book is wonderfully imaginative especially for the fall season. Enjoy the book with warm apple cider.

"Book On It"

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

My bookmark is in the novel, “Halsey Street” by Naima Coster. Penelope moves back to Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn to care for her ailing father after thriving in Pittsburgh where she just bought a beautiful apartment. The voice is strong as is the description of the world Penelope and the characters inhabit. I find it fascinating that Penelope found more life in Pittsburgh and carries the responsibility to return to Brooklyn. This world is before the first fifty pages of the novel.

I am listening to “Ten Ways Not To Commit Suicide” by Darryl McDaniels, who reads his story. He is one of the rappers in the legendary group Run DMC. I first saw this book two years ago in a South Jamaica Queens library. The title of course grabs my attention and also that it is a memoir. The first twenty minutes of the audiobook details Darryl’s relationship with his DMC group members and the moments that lead him to want to commit suicide. It is honest and raw, which should be nothing less with a story of this magnitude.

"Book On It"

“Which audiobook are my headphones plugged into?"

I am listening to “Akata Witch” by Nnedi Okorafor. I learned about Okorafor through the beauty of being on Twitter and the revelation of work to know about because of “Black Panther”. The book is the first of the series from the main character, Sunny, a girl born in New York City and lives in Nigeria. She is sensitive to the sun because of her albinism and discovers a power. This book is a treat that embodies magic and mystery.