Saturday, April 20, 2019

Read diverse books? Here's a list...

Two friends of mine interested in books featuring diverse characters set me on a course when they recommended  Nafissa Thompson-Spires' book Heads of the colored people, a book of short fiction sketches that resonated with me. When I finished I often google authors to find articles or interviews that relate and help me understand more about the text.  I found this amazing interview with Thompson-Spires on Electric Lit and at the end she recommends a few writers she admires right now. So I jotted down each one of those names and headed to my fantastic public library.


If you haven't  yet read Nafissa's book, you should.  The purpose of reading diverse literature outside your normal zone is that you learn about how other people exist in the world. Her book demonstrates the similarities that make us all human. Here is what came after my trip to the library.


Black Girls Must Die: a novel for grown-ups by Jayne Allen (which I read about someplace else) - I loved this witty story featuring Tabitha Walker who is just trying to sort out her life and make decisions that matter.  When she is pulled over by a L.A. police officer her stream of thought is important for anyone to visualize and I loved Tabby's relationship with her grandmother.  Jayne Allen is a pseudonym for an unknown diverse author and there may be a second book continuing Tabitha and her journey.


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones - This book tells the story of Celestial and Roy and their first year of marriage when he is unfairly accused of a crime he did not commit but is convicted anyway. How far will the ties that bind keep you connected if you are living vastly different lives. I loved Celestial's artistic character but also questioned her decisions. I want to go back and read Silver Sparrow which I read about but never checked out.


Stay with me by Ayobami Adebayo - Another well-done book about a good marriage under pressure and this one takes place in Nigeria.  Everyone is trying to do what they think is the best for each other and sometimes life has other ideas. Yejide and Akin struggle on every level after a lovely first few months together.

Salvage the bones by Jesmyn Ward - This was a tough one to read as I felt such empathy for little Esch as she tries to make her way in a roughly male-dominated family near New Orleans as her family and small community prepares for Hurricane Katrina.  I want to read more from this author as well.

Loving Day by Mat Johnson - This one was a weirdly interesting tale of Warren's return to America after his divorce from his Scottish wife and discovering that he has a teenage Jewish daughter. Their quirky relationship highlights aspects of race as Warren and his daughter come to grips with their own mixed race lineage. I'm very interested in reading Pym. 

If you are looking for elementary fiction featuring diverse characters check out Front Desk by Kelly Yang and Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, both equally good. I finished Angie Thomas' book On the Come Up recently and liked it. I didn't love it as much as I loved The Hate You Give yet I thought it was very real and Angie has so much to teach us.


Did you know my house is filled with books and I'm a frequent library user and member of one year-round book club, and that I just joined Book-of-the-month, and I have bookish friends and family who recommend frequently so suffice it to say I will never catch up.  So when I say I want to read this or that know that it could take me two days or two years to get back to an author or series.

Have a blessed week. Enjoy the beautiful weather; we know it is a gift.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Hello April


We are happy you are here!  I love all the seasons for a variety of different reasons and Spring has special qualities as the earth wakes back up sending green shoots out everywhere. It's about coming back to life after the long winter deep sleep. And yet even though it feels like Spring today with birds chirping, warm weather mixed with a little rain ~ Groovy Girl doing homework outside at the patio table ~ we have to be ready for anything as last year we had a heavy snow fall right in the middle of April. I'll wait until May 1st to take off my snow tires.

In my last two posts I've put my thoughts out there about garbage bags and the need to find one that composts everything inside of it. I want to take this idea one step farther and propose that all new plastic items be made out of plastic that already exists. I am a huge recycler of everything the recycling center says that I can recycle.  My family and research shows that our recycling program is a bit broken. Landfills are overflowing and people all around the globe produce way too much trash. Too many single use items everywhere. So my proposal means that all single use items like those stupid crinkly plastic bottles should be universally created from existing plastic already out there. This would give purpose to recycling again.

People could get paid for bringing in pounds of plastic collected instead of it ending up in our waterways and eventually the ocean. This reuse idea would use far less petroleum and while factories would need to restructure to be able to reuse the plastic instead of creating new ~ it would be worth it because there would be a constant influx of old going to make new.  And I still think some plastic items just need to go like plastic grocery bags. Kudos to cities that have already banned them and stores that encourage you to use what you have or what they offer like boxes. Perfect.  I would decree this if I were to be elected president or Queen.

Oh, it just started to pour outside and I love that sound. That is a sound of Spring ~ hopefully not enough to cause any floods.  Groovy Girl and I are on just a major rush of trying to find healthy ways to live our life without being earth destroyers. She's interested in finding sustainable and recycled clothes. It's just good to think about ways we can all be more earth-friendly.


I spent the weekend out of town in the major metropolis of Davenport, part of what is known as the Quad Cities. Groovy Girl had a dance competition event on Saturday. We found a good Asian place to eat and had a lot of good mama/daughter time. I had fun watching all the dancing but it also gives me a good chance to read.  I am almost finished with Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.  Wow. This was my Book of the Month Club selection for March and if this is a sign of what's to come I am very happy. This novel is so good and fun to read. I have about 3 friends in mind to pass it on to after my husband finishes it. It's a lot of sex, drugs, and rock and roll so it isn't for everyone but for me, it took me places I hadn't thought about for years. So beautiful.

Happy peaceful week everyone!