- Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
- Freshwater by Amaeke Emezi
- Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
- That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam
- Mermaid School by Joanne Stewart Wentzel, illustrated by Julianna Swaney
- Bad Kitty Takes the Test by Nick Bruel
- The Case of the Love Commandos (Vishi Puri #4) by Tarquin Hall
- An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
I attempted reading this reading a book in a course called Literature in Adolescence. Perhaps it was a season of the time (1999?) or the fact that my professor did not know about ya, so he included Frankentein by Mary Shelley on the grounds that it was about a "monster" that exhibited many of the hallmarks of adolescence-- moodiness, self-loathing, self-pity, and emotions. He couldn't be farther from the truth. In Frankenstein's monster, I found an articulate, persuasive, and thoughtful beast of a creation. This book is definitely of its time. The writing is very longwinded, flowery, and full of soliloquys. Often I said to myself, "Get on with it! Please..." Parts were drawn out when discussing intentions and thoughts and feelings but when the actions and murders happen, there was no build-up, nor climax, and it just flowed with way to much background, foresight, and afterthought. Nevertheless, I am glad to have read this book as it is part of the "canon" on English Literature and I believe Mary wrote it to entertain her friends who then saw that it was ripe for publication. As a woman writer in the 1800s, she had a bestseller on her hands. Okay book, helped me understand that Frankenstein was in fact the name of the creator and not the monster, but the book wreaked of privilege and was not that entertaining until closer to the end.
Wow! This audiobook had me gasping, ooing, and awing in the first CD. Immediately captivating and intriguing. Strong sense of voice. Author Akwaeke Emezi read her book and as far as author reads go, this one was outstanding. I can't say enough about this book. It reminds me of Americanah with maybe the Bluest Eye meets a Roman or Greek play in which the gods discuss the outcome of its characters. Wasn't there a Shakespearean play like that? Was it Taming of the Shrew? I am not sure. Except, of course, these gods weren't of European but of African origin. It is told in the first person narrative from a few different perspectives but mostly through the voice of one in particular. They discuss the main character Ada/Diada like she is a puppet and they are pulling the strings. I gasped when they had conversations with Yeshua/Jesus as one of the characters who they competed with for Ada's heart. I have never seen anything like this in a book, this competition for a character's will, body, and mind. The conflicts that happened, the shapeshifting, possession, trauma, abuse, shifting orientations, and multiple personalities. This book is so unlike anything I have read in the past and was engaging, had me clutching my seat until the very end.
Now, I enjoyed this book. It had a strong sense of voice and the main character, Neru, reminded me very much of people I know. This is a coming of age, coming out story. Neru is a Harvard-bound track star. His parents are Igbo Nigerian immigrant professionals who subscribe to a fundamentalist Pentacostal faith. The standards are high and the stakes even higher. Meredith is white and Neru's best friend. This book had me frustrated. It is told first through Neru's perspective and then from Meredith's. I was frustrated with Meredith but I do not wish to give away any spoilers and I also think what happened in the end is a very realistic scenario. Having said that, please go out and read this book. Four stars because it was a good book but did not have me "falling out of my chair" or anything. It is also a quieter read. It also turns out that Uzodinma is friends with Amaeka. Of course they are. Haunting.
This was a great book with a spectacular and cliffhanger of an end. I read it on my kindle over three months which is a long time to read a book. Partly this was a result of being "out of sync" with my gym routine since I tend to read on my treadmill. Perhaps this lack of continuity was a contributing factor (or not) why I wasn't completely captivated by it. What I do appreciate is the adventure and change of scenery as you move through the story. I love the connection between Zelie and Inan. Tomi's use of Yoruba words, religious terms, and mythology is interpretive and words are used from this tradition and Brazilian culture. As I am also writing a young adult novel influenced by African-Brazilian culture and history, I am curious about the author's process. I do know however that she lived in Brazil for a short-term to conduct research. I also enjoyed reading Tomi Adeyemi's afterword which connected this very young adult fantasy novel influenced by Yoruba and Afro-Brazilian to modern day police brutality and violence towards African-American. I would definitely recommend this read. I can't wait for the sequel and the movie.
This was an audio book and in all honesty, it wasn't my favourite. Rebecca Stone is a poet who is also a white mother of two kids-- one biologically hers Jacob and the other Black, Andrew, the adopted son of her late nanny(?), Priscilla, who passed away at birth. This book was more of a "slice of life", hum drum. There was no major climactic arc-- it wasn't the adoption, it wasn't the divorce, was it finding out who is the father of Andrew? Or was it her burgeoning career as a writer and academic? Or finding her way as a mother? I am not sure. But I plowed through to the end. I think the voice also sounded authentic. The writing is well-done but the story is just not my cup of tea, I guess.
This is a fun rhyming picture book. I read it with my five year old niece. I think the rhymes and fun, the pace worked. I loved the diversity of the little mermaids in the illustrations however both the teacher Miss Marina and music teacher Miss Lorelei were portrayed as white mermaids. I thought this might have been a great opportunity to show diverse mentors in this community.
An audiobook... this narrator was amazing. He was of I am guessing Indian descent but with a British accent. He effectively read the dialogue, changed his voice for different characters making it really easy to follow. I was not sure if I would like this book but I actually enjoyed it very much. The mystery-solving and discovery were very satisfying. I loved how the aspects of Indian culture, language, and heritage were interwoven especially facts around politics, the caste system, and scientific genetic studies. I would recommend this book. I loved the mission of the Love Commandos which protects the love matches between couples of different castes. I chose 4 stars because it left me wanting for more a bit.
Wow! I really needed this book. What a powerful novel. It made me love Black men even more and showed the depth, conflicts, struggles, and injustices they go through and the lives of the women who love them. These characters felt very real. Roy is from Louisiana, a small town boy, who met his wife Celestial at Morehouse College through "the boy next door" Andre. Their lives turn upside down when Roy is accused of a crime he did not commit and winds up in prison. This audiobook is a study of love, family dynamics, loyalties, and psychology. It is deep, raw, and gut-wrenching at times. I am also so happy that Tayari Jones did an epilogue. I hate when cliffhanging endings leave you awake at night. I can rest assured that there were no loose ends at the end of this story. Full disclosure: I met Tayari Jones while she was on faculty at VONA Voices 2016 in Miami. I was a student in the workshop of travel writer, Faith Adiele. I remember Tayari's readings were always soul-stirring and now having read this book, I can see why. I will also admit that I was dually curious about this novel because it was an Oprah's Book Club pick and it got selected for a summer reading list by former US president elect, Barack Obama. Well done, Tayari!