Reading For The Heck Of It

Gosh, I love books. I love the way they feel in my hand, the way they smell, the way they look piling up all around me as I drown amongst their pages...I really, REALLY like books.

 

Favorite genres: nonfiction (especially science), sci-fi/fantasy, classics, and children's literature.

 

Unread/unloved genres: romance and seafaring odysseys.

Women of Our Time: Golda Meir

Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader - David A. Adler

When I was a child we had a cat which my mom christened Golda My Ear (he was a yellow tabby) which was a clever play on words that went completely over my head. Therefore, when I came across a book while shelving entitled Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader it felt like fate was telling me to take it home and read it. (It's so short that I finished it on my first train home.) David A. Adler decided to write about Golda for the "Women of Our Time" biography series which covers a wide array of spectacularly talented, intelligent, and strong women. Prior to reading this book, I had no knowledge of who Golda Meir was which is pretty shocking seeing as how she was Israel's Prime Minister. She grew up in Russia but her family moved to Milwaukee when she was a young girl in the hopes that they could improve their quality of life with the opportunities that America promised were available to all within its borders. Much like her sister, Golda was homesick and longed to be a part of the larger Jewish nation and to build it in Israel. That determination never left her and she made it a reality after she married and moved to Palestine to be an active participant in the political party that wanted to build the Jewish nation. It covers not only her childhood and her move to Palestine but also her political career as Prime Minister and her meetings with Nixon (as well as her secret missions to the enemy's camps). Lest you picture her as a pacifist, she was not against using weapons to protect her people against the encroaching Arabs, Egyptians, and Syrians which threatened daily to drive them out of the space they had carved for themselves. Overall rating from me is 8/10 because I wanted a little more depth to the narrative.

 

As this is written with a younger audience in mind the chapters are very short and not exactly chock full of details. If you want the bare facts (or want to teach them to your child) then this is a great resource. I think this book and the rest of the books in the series would be a great resource in a classroom or home library as the women discussed come from different parts of the world and worked in various fields/capacities. It can never hurt to teach children about powerful women who paved the way!

 

Source: Penguin Random House

 

What's Up Next: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Outsider by Stephen King

What's that joke about a gorilla and a typewriter?

The Murderer's Ape - Jakob Wegelius

I love a good Swedish to English translation (except for that one time I attempted Wallander) so I thought that The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius would be no exception. However, I cannot unequivocally state that I loved this book...or that I loathed it. The book is told from the standpoint of a gorilla who has been christened Sally Jones. She's been around humans her entire life and therefore not only understands what they are saying but can read as well. She's a gifted engineer who the reader discovers has the ability to figure out most mechanical devices be they accordions or airplanes. (This is integral to the storyline.) Her best friend is a (human) man she refers to as Chief and who took her on as a partner when he got his own ship. But all of this was before they ran into some trouble. Without giving too much away, the two are separated and Sally is forced to adapt in order to survive. At its heart, this is an adventure story with a lot of drama. What I enjoyed were the illustrations which were done by the author and accompanied the heading of each chapter as well as a gallery of character portraits at the very beginning. Some of the issues I had with this novel were in its dealings with race, religion, and ethnicity. It was hard for me to pinpoint if the problems I had could be explained by viewing it through the lens of the time in which the novel took place but I found them unsettling nonetheless. Overall, I wasn't totally blown away but I wouldn't throw it out of an airplane door either. 4/10

 

Source: American Library Association

 

Examples of the illustrations. [Source: Playing by the book]

 

 

What's Up Next: Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader by David A. Adler

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

I'll never look at pickles the same way again

Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything - E. Lockhart

One of the drawbacks of reading so many books is that I have extremely high standards since I've read some truly excellent pieces of literature...and also some major duds. I say all of this because I read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 2 years ago and so I know she has the capability to write amazing young adult fiction. I chose Fly on the Wall specifically because the review that I heard on BookTube led me to believe that it was a retelling of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis and because I had enjoyed Lockhart's previous book. What I didn't expect was for it to be chock full of really explicit sexual content. Why on earth did she have to describe penises in such revealing detail? And why did she keep referring to them as gherkins?! (And if I ever hear someone call them that or  refer to breasts as biscuits I'm going to slap them across the face.) The main character and the person who we view the story from is named Gretchen Yee and she is the prototypical teenage girl filled with angst. She attends a high school that focuses on the arts and her specialty is drawing comic book style characters (hence the cover imagery). Her obsession with a boy in her school leads her to make a foolhardy wish to be a fly on the wall of the boys locker room so that she can find out how he really thinks about her. (And this is where she begins to ogle the boys as they undress for gym class.)  I guess the story is supposed to be a character study or a revelation that what we think we know about people can be turned on its head if we see them at their most vulnerable. However, for me it was a letdown and vaguely nauseating. This was a 0/10 for me and I'll have to give serious thought to reading anything else from this author in the future.

 

PS There were also a lot of plot holes in the storyline and the ending truly fell flat. 

 

Source: Amazon

 

What's Up Next: The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

Blogger on break

I meant to write this up a week ago but things being what they were time got away from me. As the title of this post suggests I'm away at the moment and therefore not able to keep up my regular schedule (or actually to sit down to read much of anything). I'll be back to my twice weekly postings that I've been doing mostly on time some time around the middle of the month. Thanks so much for sticking around and I'll see you all soon to talk books!

 

Hope you have a great weekend!

 

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

Nothing too terrifying I'm sad to report

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places - Colin Dickey

I picked up Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey with the hope that it would be like the 13 Alabama Ghosts books I remember so fondly as a child (they still have the first in the series at the public library in my hometown). I don't fully believe in ghosts but I do fully enjoy reading ghost stories. Tales of haunted places in particular are fascinating because they're usually told with a kernel of truth at the center. However, Dickey seems to contradict himself at every turn in this book by retelling these ghost stories and then almost immediately debunking them. Further compacting the confusion, each chapter ends with a somewhat mystifying takeaway about why there seems to be so many 'ghosts' and 'haunted places' in the United States. (And this is despite the U.S. as we know it being a relatively young country.) He covers the gamut of places that could possibly be haunted. There's the typical cemeteries and old houses but there's also factories and even the rarer entire city haunting (Detroit for example).  Overall, I didn't feel satisfied because I think I was hoping for less analysis and more storytelling. I suppose this might be of interest in terms of a tour guide for places to check out yourself but it wasn't my cup of tea. 4/10

 

Of possible interest: Dickey is a member of the Order of the Good Death started by Caitlin Doughty which I'm sure you'll all remember from earlier blog posts. I have to say that I didn't find his writing nearly as compelling as hers. :-/

 

What's Up Next: Fly on the Wall by Emily Jenkins

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

 

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

How to awaken the heart: an instruction manual

How to Love the Empty Air - Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

My pals over at Wunderkind PR sent me a copy of today's book and asked that I give an honest review. Spoiler alert: I said yes. :-)

 

How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz is a collection of poetry which primarily focuses on her relationship with her mother (also a writer) and the grief she experienced after her death. Please don't think it's all doom and gloom and buckets of tears (although there is that too) because she also delves into the pockets of happiness that can be found amidst the overwhelming sadness of losing someone so dear. Cristin speaks to that part of the heart that is attuned to the people in our lives who get us so completely that even the idea that they might not be there pulls the air from one's lungs. From her poem "O Laughter" comes this gem: Sometimes the pain bursts out of me like a flock of starlings. Perfection! If I had to express this book in graph form it would be a steep incline immediately followed by a steep decline and finished off with a steady incline that disappears off the side of the page. Simply put, this is an absolutely lovely little book with beautiful prose and if it doesn't stir your heart I wonder if you even have one. 10/10

 

PS I'd also like to note that 1. I loved the finish on this book. It's like that velvety feeling that some books have and it was an absolute treat to hold it. 2. I enjoyed Cristin's book so much that I'm actively looking to read her other works (including a nonfiction book).

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

Looking for death in all the right places

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death - Caitlin Doughty

Here I am talking about death again. Part of me worries that 'harping' on about this subject and these books will turn away the average reader to my blog but the larger part of me (and the one who runs things) believes that if I am going to be authentic with my reviews then I have to follow my mood with what books I voluntarily choose to read. That being said, I'm here to talk about Caitlin Doughty's second book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death. As the title suggests, this is a bit more of a travelogue piece about the death industry. This book explores in depth the way that death is viewed, celebrated, and treated in different countries and cultures. [A/N: I don't know that it needs to be necessarily spelled out but just in case: This book is not for those who shy away from talk of decomposition and graphic depictions of death in general.] Caitlin visits places both far-flung and just around the riverbend all in search of what she terms the Good Death. (For more info visit her website to see if you'd like to join her group.)  She attended an open air cremation where the body is laid atop a pyre and the ceremony is experienced by all members of the community (Colorado). In Japan the families are brought in after the body has been cremated so that they can extricate the bones by chopstick to place them in an urn for safekeeping. She experienced Fiesta de las Ñatitas in La Paz and spoke to those who celebrate these saints by collecting and displaying shrunken skulls (and in some cases mummified heads). One of my favorite places that she described was the Corpse Hotel in Japan where you can visit your deceased family member in the comfort and splendor of an upscale hotel. Overall, From Here to Eternity is a fascinating look at the way that death is addressed by various cultures around the world. It serves as a sobering reminder that death is not accepted but rather feared here in America. If you are interested in the ways that others approach death and how they treat their dead (some cultures revisit the dead to clean and redress them as a sign of honor and remembrance) then I urge you to read this book. 9/10

 

P.S. I'm not done with books on this subject. Keep an eye out for at least 1 possibly 2 more in the not too distant future.

 

What's Up Next: How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

Starting National Poetry Month with a bang

Citizen: An American Lyric - Claudia Rankine

I'm cognizant of the fact that I don't read enough books by women of color and that I read very few works of poetry. I decided to kill two birds with one stone by reading Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric. (Also, it's National Poetry Month so it was a no-brainer.) This book is especially relevant right now with the state of our world being what it is: a shambles. Citizen is essentially Claudia's exploration of what it is to be a black woman living in America as told through poetic verse. It is beautiful, tender, terrible, tragic, and real. She doesn't shy away from such topics as police brutality or the prevalence of feeling like an outsider. This book is a personal revelation and a public admonishment all rolled into one neat package Coupled with her verses are historical quotes and pencil drawn (I think?) artwork. What better way to begin your foray into poetry than by reading a book that challenges the status quo and speaks from the heart? If you'd like to maybe see the world through a different set of eyes Citizen is your golden ticket with many stops along the way. 9/10

 

I made a note of this quote on page 89 to give you an idea of just how powerful her words are:

 

Those years of and before me and my brothers, the years of passage, plantation, migration, of Jim Crow segregation, of poverty, inner cities, profiling, of one in three, two jobs, boy, hey boy, each a felony, accumulate into the hours inside our lives where we are all caught hanging, the rope inside us, the tree inside us, its roots our limbs, a throat sliced through and where we open our mouth to speak, blossoms, o blossoms, no place coming out, brother, dear brother, that kind of blue.

 

What's Up Next: From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford

 

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

Save the mountain gorillas

Gorillas in the Mist - Dian Fossey

Much like when I reviewed Jane Goodall's In the Shadow of Man, I quickly fell in love with the gorillas that Dian Fossey describes in exquisite detail in her book Gorillas in the Mist. (You may have heard of it.) Dr. Fossey moved to the Virungas of Africa (Zaire, Uganda, and Rwanda) to study the mountain gorillas that lived there. That study ended up taking nearly 20 years. However, she wasn't only studying the habits of the gorillas but also the parasites, environment (rainfall), vegetation, and the other animals that lived there (elephants, buffalo, duiker). (Basically, whatever she and her team could study they did to increase their chances of getting more grant money and lengthening their stay.) One of the things that Fossey stressed was that it would take more than passive conservation (tourism) to keep the mountain gorillas alive and thriving. She found that active conservation was the only way to go which meant that she had to employ staff to track down poacher's lairs and destroy their supplies and traps. Basically, she was a bada$$ of the highest caliber and the surrounding villagers had a nickname for her (it wasn't sweet lady of the mountain either). She quickly earned a reputation for not backing down and for doing everything within her power to protect these creatures from imminent extinction (which is looking more and more likely). Between poachers, population encroachment, and decreasing territory for the different gorilla groups there were only 242 mountain gorillas left at the end of her nearly two decade study. There are even less now. Fossey's fervent desire was that governments and the people governed by them would want to conserve these animals because they lived in the area providing the only fresh water source for the region. However, deforestation to make way for increasing numbers of people and farms continued no matter what arguments she put forth. I had heard about this book and its movie adaptation before but it wasn't until I saw Ellen DeGeneres talking about it (on her birthday episode) that I decided to finally pick up the book. I am so glad that I did. Even if you only read the appendices (which are absolutely phenomenal) you'd learn so much about these amazing animals and the land they inhabit. You'd also bear witness to the dedication and passion which Fossey had for her research. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Gorillas in the Mist and afterward that you do further research into Fossey because it makes it all the more poignant and meaningful (at least it did for me). 10/10

 

Source: My Hero

What's Up Next: Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

 

What I'm Currently Reading: juggling 3 books as the mood strikes me.

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

I guess that's one way to go into business for yourself

The Last Black Unicorn - Tiffany Haddish

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish is part memoir and part uplifting 'anyone can succeed' comedy. It was quite an interesting experience reading this on the heels of I've Got This Round as both are funny slice of life books by hilarious women. The main difference is that I felt more of a connection to Tiffany and honestly I think my own life story would read similarly. Tiffany faced a lot of challenges during her childhood but those challenges are what molded her into the strong adult that she is today. *cue dramatic music* (My story would have a lot less booze and sex for sure.) If you're bothered by books that are heavy on the vernacular combined with coarse language then I'm afraid this isn't the book for you. If you like reading about women who made it big despite the odds being stacked against them then it's your lucky day. The Last Black Unicorn has definitely made me want to watch her stand-up routine. In fact, it was her book promo on Trevor Noah's show that enticed me to pick up the book. I'm glad that I did. :-) From sending poorly written love notes to her school crush to pimping out the 'other woman' Tiffany has had a compelling life story that if nothing else will take you out of your own life for the hours you spend reading it. (I bet it's an absolute scream as an audiobook.) 9/10

 

A/N: It was at the end that I realized this was written by a ghost writer. I know that's common but I felt that it was necessary to make you aware just in case that was a no-no for any of you. This is essentially why it lost a point...and the overuse of vernacular didn't help either.

 

What's Up Next: Gorillas in the Mist by Dr. Dian Fossey

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

Comedy is the best and dating apps are the worst

I've Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery - Mamrie Hart

I've Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart was just what I needed after the last couple of books. Without realizing it, I desperately required a fresh dose of humor and Mamrie's voice in particular pulls one out of their own funk and reminds them that life should be fun. If you want to read a book by someone who feels like they are in your corner and rooting you on then you are in the right place. She has inspired/reminded me to continue to live authentically and for me. Also, I should travel more. Like a LOT more. If you've never heard of Mamrie I highly recommend you do two things: Watch her YouTube channels and read her first book. After you've done those two things you'll have a better understanding of just what you're getting into by diving into her second book which focuses less on the distant past and more on living in the moment. In I've Got This Round Mamrie set out to make moments that could be turned into a book and she succeeded with flying colors. She tests out a dating app which I had never heard about before and then I heard about it again the week after I finished reading this. (It's called Raya and I think it's for celebs. Full disclosure: I never researched it.) She goes on crazy trips with friends where everything is planned last minute and insane things happen. Some of the stuff that happened was so surprising that I literally looked up from the page and stared into space for several minutes. (I so badly want to tell you which things I'm talking about but I don't want to ruin it for you.) I have no idea how someone can consume the amount of alcohol that Mamrie does and still function as a normal human. It does make for hilarious content though so...worth it? This is a fun read that still manages to have a lot of heart. If you enjoyed You Deserve a Drink (the book and/or her YouTube show) then you will undoubtedly love its sequel. 10/10

 

What's Up Next: The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Death of a Hollow Man by Caroline Graham

 

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

I've heard of misplacing car keys but losing a head is just plain careless

Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses - Bess Lovejoy

Yes, I'm somewhat fascinated by death culture. No, I don't think it's unhealthy. Yes, I do recognize it makes many people uncomfortable especially when walking around with a book somewhat shaped like a coffin with the title Rest in Pieces emblazoned across the front. (It might have been unwise to read this on an airplane but I'm a risk taker.) The subtitle of Bess Lovejoy's book is a dead (ha!) giveaway as to the substance of what lies within (on a roll here!). This book is full of fascinating histories of what became of famous people's corpses. She covers everyone from Presidents and political leaders to outlaws, radicals, and artists. No matter their designation, the dead were rarely left to rest peacefully and with all of their pieces together. There was a lot of ground to cover and I honestly felt like I learned quite a bit (I'm going to be a hit at my next dinner party if I ever get invited to another one). If you have a strong stomach, an interest in the unconventional, and some time on your hands then this is one you definitely shouldn't pass up. 10/10

 

Inside art from the illustrator Mark Stutzman

 

What's Up Next: I've Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

Loki had how many wives?!

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

I've never yet been let down by Neil Gaiman and Norse Mythology certainly didn't break that winning streak. In this nonfiction book Gaiman covers a wide range of Norse myths and in the process destroys what Marvel had implanted in the minds (my mind at least) of what Asgard looked like and who inhabited it. For example, Marvel led me to believe that Loki and Thor were adopted brothers. Nope! In actuality, Loki was Odin's HALF brother sooooo the family dynamic just got a whole lot weirder. I think the best thing about Norse Mythology is that it justified my interest in Loki and non-interest (is that a word?) for Thor (who is described as all brawn and no brain). I really enjoyed learning about how these myths explained world events like earthquakes which were thought to be caused by Loki struggling against venomous poison inside of a mountain. And humans attained the gift of poetry from mead that was made from the blood of the wise god, Kvasir. Gaiman doesn't only focus on the 3 biggies (I'm talking Odin, Loki, & Thor) but also discusses the 'lesser' gods and in particular the events surrounding Ragnarok. Up until reading this book, I thought Ragnarok was another word for apocalypse but actually it's better termed as a time of grand change. Yes, the world as the gods came to know it will end but then it's time for a new world which isn't necessarily a bad thing (unless you're a god I guess). This would have been a 10/10 for me except that I kept wishing for illustrations culled from historical texts. This would have really added to the short stories and made it a standout. However, that doesn't stop this from being a very interesting read and I don't think it should stop any of you from grabbing it off the shelves.

 

What's Up Next: Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses by Bess Lovejoy

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

What's Izzy up to?

Hilo Book 4: Waking the Monsters - Judd Winick

Judd Winick's series continues with book 4 titled Waking the Monsters and we find ourselves back with HiLo and his friends as they continue to fight off the monsters that are being unleashed on earth by Razorwark. Two heroes are born: Comet and Star Burst. This is the book where we finally discover just exactly why Razorwark wants to destroy humanity and where all of the robots are coming from. If you've been following the series from the beginning, you'll be happy to learn that Gina finally expresses her true feelings about being a cheerleader to her mom. Eagle-eyed readers should pay special attention to the background of the illustrations for an especially funny jab at the U.S. government (unless you're a Trump supporter in which case you probably won't think it's that funny). It continues to be an action packed, humorous book about friendship and doing the right thing. Winick knows how to capture his audience's attention and keep it even when books are spread out (the next is sadly not due out until 2019). You're not even ready for the ending of this one, guys! I think the best part about reading the HiLo series is that I have quite a few kids here at the branch that are reading it right along with me. Since I'm always here I have the benefit of reading it first so when they come and check out the shelves and see it I can gush about how much they're going to like it. (Maybe I crow over reading it before them a bit but that's neither here nor there.) 10/10 for readability and 'inside' jokes + making a connection with my kids.

 

An example of the humor. [Source: Bam Smack Pow]

 

What's Up Next: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius

 

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

Ever wondered about the anatomy of a leech?

Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything - Lydia Kang, Nate Pedersen

As soon as I saw Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang I knew that I had to get it in my hands. If the name alone doesn't intrigue you then I don't know what will. This book is full to bursting with historical facts about crazy medical practices through the ages. It is an excellent resource about the history of the medical profession as well as education and social change. Much like when I read Soonish, I felt that it was a little heavy with the 'relatable' humor but this was easily overlooked. (I think Kang pulled it off better anyway.) As someone who has read quite a bit about the history of medicine, I was surprised by just how much I didn't know. For example, did you know that leeches have 3 stomachs, 3 jaws, and 100 teeth in each of those jaws?! Kang sets up the different medical practices and procedures by first giving a history of the person that started it off (generally a 'medical practitioner' or someone at least purporting to be one). She then shares accounts from the patients who endured such crazy routines (like bloodletting or ingesting arsenic) paired with diagrams of the medical equipment used to accomplish such feats. (I hope you have a strong stomach for the bloodletting chapter.) I especially enjoyed the little asides about what we now know about the concoctions put together long ago to 'cure' and how the vast majority of them were either complete hokum or actually increased the chances of the patient suffering an agonizing death. It makes you wonder how the future generations will view our supposedly 'innovative' medicines and treatments of the sick. Will we be seen as medical charlatans and blind fools or will they take into account the socioeconomic and political climate that we live in and how that shapes our view on medicine as a whole? As you read this book (and I hope you will) ponder that very question because then perhaps you won't judge past generations quite so harshly...unless it's the guys who took Strychnine in order to increase their sex drive. Always judge those guys. 9/10

 

I wasn't lying about the leeches. [Source: Amazon]

 

 

What's Up Next: HiLo Book 4: Waking the Monsters by Jeff Winick

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius

 

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

This is a DENSE book, ya'll

The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers (Penguin Classics) - Hollis Robbins, Hollis Robbins, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Henry Louis Gates Jr., Various

If you're looking for a book that you can dip in and out of over the course of several days (or weeks if you're me) then I recommend you check out The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers. Organized by theme, this book features many writers of different genres. There are poets, essayists, lecturers, novelists, ministers, and teachers to name just a few. The common theme (besides their gender and race) is that they are advocates for equality of the races and sexes. I found that this book was an excellent conversation starter especially if you want to talk about tough topics like economic and social equality coupled with the history of the Americas. It's also an excellent way to discover writers that you may have never heard of as many of them are quite niche. As you might surmise, the topics covered in this collection are quite deep and therefore as a whole it's an emotionally and mentally exhausting enterprise. It's well worth the effort though. It's astonishing to me just how many of these women I had never heard of but when they were originally writing their voices were strong, no-holds-barred, and topical (most are relevant even today). The truths spoken are hard to accept because the topics are still so ingrained and fresh in the memory of our country. It's another reminder that we should continually be expanding our minds and looking beyond what we already 'know'. Embrace learning about new things! 9/10 and only lost that point because by 1/2 way through I was having to hype myself up to pick it back up again.

 

What's Up Next: Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything by E. Lockhart

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com

Currently reading

The Outsider by Stephen King
The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs, Edward Gorey
The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition by Jim Trelease
The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
The Bad Guys: Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey
Graveyard Shakes by Benchmark Publishing Group;Stephen Jay Jackson;Rina Alvarez;Lisa Crane;Scott-Laura Schoeggl;Jessica Friedman;Sara Lynn;Sarah Alston;Emily Ku;Paula Maxheim;Michelle Posey;Melissa Madden;Jorge Gonzalez;Terry B Bruno;Samuel Guss;Erin Johnson;G.E. Masana
Escape from the Lizzarks (Nnewts) by Doug TenNapel
The Royal Rabbits Of London by Santa Montefiore, Simon Sebag Montefiore
Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows