Weekend Update #3

Welcome to my version of The Sunday Post (hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer): where I talk about what my reading progress as well as share updates from my current writing projects.

Read This Week

6149Beloved by Toni Morrison

I have a lot of thoughts about the impact of this book, but most of them will need to wait until I read it again. Morrison is not one to be read lightly. Highly recommend, although reading Beloved isn’t exactly an uplifting experience.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander6792458

An important argument about how our allegedly colorblind criminal justice system functions as a racial caste system, keeping primarily black and brown men disenfranchised and stigmatized even after they’re released from prison. Worth a read, especially for anyone interested in racial justice or sociology.

843804The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

I’m absolutely struck by the way Alexie weaves the sad truth of a kid growing up on the rez with the comic voice and unusual hopefulness of Junior himself.

Currently Reading25701463-_sy180_

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

I received a copy of this book about a deaf female graffiti artist from NetGalley and I can put it off no longer – check out the cover on this one, it’s gorgeous!!

Up Next

  • a friend of the family loaned me Jodi Piccoult’s Perfect Match and Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train, so those are both on priority
  • despite some of the goodreads reviews declaring the MC “unlikable”, I’m thinking I’ll check out Eric Lingstrom’s Not If I See You First

The Diverse Reads 2017 challenge for March is characters with disabilities – anyone have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments below. Happy Sunday! ~

 

Weekend Update #2

Welcome to my version of The Sunday Post (hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer), where I talk about what my reading progress as well as share updates from my current writing projects.

Read This Week

13214I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s first autobiography runs the length of human emotions, from devastating to hopeful – totally worth reading, and I’m looking forward to picking up the next installment at some point.25982606

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

This story about a young Latina girl coming of age during one of New York City’s darkest years is inspiring for anyone who’s feeling a little hopeless at this point in our country’s history.

Currently Reading

6792458The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

I sincerely wish I was in a college sociology course for this book. It’s practically begging for discussion.6149

Beloved by Toni Morrison

I’ve hardly dug into this at all, but I can already tell it’s going to be an amazing journey. Morrison’s language sucks me in, no matter how sad I know the story will be.

Up Next This Week

I still have The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in my queue, but I’m open to suggestions for the rest of February.

Possibilities Include:

  • The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera (releasing 2/21)
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (releasing 2/28)
  • Whatever Happened to Interracial Love (short stories by Kathleen Collins)

I’m open to suggestions for any authors of color I should check out?

Writing Life Update

This week, my goal was to hit 12,000 words by the end of today. Suffice to say, it’s been a rough week emotionally. Our 14-year-old wolamute has bad hips and slipped on some ice, so I’ve been distracted worrying about her, but she’s slowly recovering for now. Staying focused on my goals is pretty much the only thing keeping me sane right now, but I was only able to eek out 8,000 words this week. I’m trying to focus on my mental/emotional health and let the words come when they will.

Weekend Update #1

I’ve been reading (and writing) so much lately that I decided do to a weekly update post to talk about what I’m currently reading, what book(s) I’ve finished reading this week, and what’s on tap for the coming week.

I’m linking to The Sunday Post, hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

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Read This Week

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

The true story of the black women mathematicians who overcame Jim Crow segregation as well as institutionalized misogyny to help America put the first man on the moon.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

I can’t express enough how much I loved this book. It follows 16-year-old Jordan Sun as she cross-dresses to join an elite all-male a cappella group, but the book is so much more than the main plot-line. Put it on your tbr: it releases in May.

Currently Reading

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s memoir has been collecting dust in my parents’ attic for years. I think I tried to read it when I was in high school and got scared off by Angelou’s honest prose.

Up Next

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

This book has been on my wishlist for a while—a YA novel about a Latina in the 70s dealing with the lack of intersectionality in the current feminist dialogue? NEED. The kindle version is on sale for $2.99, get yourself some.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

I’ve been meaning to read Alexie for years. Now seemed like a good time, since I’m reading as many authors of color in as many varieties as possible this year.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

I accidentally read Jazz first, so I’m looking forward to reading the prequel. Morrison’s lyrical prose is a thing of beauty—get yourself some!

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

This book about “mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness” has been on my TBR ever since my dad told me to read it. (Fun fact: I bought it used, and the previous owner annotated the first chapter and then either gave up or didn’t finish it.)

This Week’s Goals

I’m behind on my February goal of writing 30,000 words, so this week I’m shooting for 12,000 words by next Sunday.

Since I had an awful stomach bug a week ago, I’m also looking to re-integrate yoga in my daily routine. This week, I want to set myself up for success by making a plan for daily practices.

#ThrowbackThursday: Top 10 Books I’m Saving for My Niece

Two things you should know about me that might not be obvious: 1) I’m dead set on not having kids (for several reasons that could be their own blog post, except that it’s really nobody’s business) and 2) I have one niece who just turned six and is basically my child anyway.

My niece is, in my unbiased opinion, the best child ever. Not only is she objectively adorable, she’s super smart and—bonus!—she already loves books although she doesn’t read on her own yet. She was also born on Jane Austen’s birthday, and from that day forward I’ve been mentally saving up a list of books I read in my youth that I think are incredibly important. Some of them I still own and will hopefully literally pass down to her at some point, while others I plan on gifting her when she’s old enough to really appreciate them. Here are my Top 10, in order of age recommendation—

 1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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I was eight years old when I first discovered Anne Shirley, the lovable, fiery red-headed orphan girl from the late 1800s. Anne showed me that it’s okay to be a little weird, to have a big imagination and big dreams. Anne is this tiny girl with huge emotions that everyone around her wishes she would control, but she proves that it’s her biggest asset in the many ways she influences those around her. I read the entire series over again every few years, following Anne from an eleven-year-old girl to a young woman teaching school to a wife and mother; each time I re-read these books, I gain something new from them.

2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

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I considered leaving this off the list because it seems very cliché to rant about how Harry Potter changed my life when I was nine. And yet, I can’t really picture my adolescence without the constant waiting for the next book to come out, and the obsessive re-reading of the existing series in anticipation of the latest book release. In many ways, I feel I grew up while reading Harry Potter, learning about life as well as having an escape from my boring muggle circumstances. Besides, it’s basically a series about love overcoming all obstacles, and that’s something I think we could all use right now.

3. Are You There God? It’s Me, MargaretAre You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

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Another clichéd choice, but hear me out! As dated as Judy Blume may be in certain ways, this book is a classic. For a quiet, bookish child like myself, this was a way for me to learn about what was going to happen to my body. My friends and I checked this book out from the library when we were too shy to even ask our parents about our periods. Fun fact about me: I literally had to write my mom a letter asking her to take me bra shopping—that’s how terrified I was of the whole puberty thing. I highly doubt my niece will be quite that shy, but I never underestimate the power of books to teach us things we’re afraid to ask our parents.

4. The Principles of Love by Emily Franklin

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I really struggled with my YA choices for this list. There are so many good ones out there, and so many amazing ones that will be published by the time Edith is old enough for them. I chose The Principles of Love series for multiple reasons. For one, it’s a series with romance that isn’t strictly about romance. For another thing, the main character, Love, has this unique perspective on the world that really resonated with me as a teenager (and even now when I revisit them as an adult). I enjoyed this series for its escapist qualities; I’m a sucker for boarding school narratives, but Love exists somewhat outside the circle of the wealthy and privileged.

5. Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

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I raved about this book in my review recently, and maybe I just haven’t read enough diverse YA to really have a grasp on the state of things, but I felt that Noteworthy really breaks down the barriers between “mainstream” and “diverse” fiction—the diverse characters appear so organically that it reflects the future I want to see in the rest of fiction. Additionally, this book deals with bisexuality in a way that I think would be accessible to folks who don’t identify as queer, and it was a truly beautiful reading experience. Plus, who doesn’t want to read about a cross-dressing a cappella singer? I mean really?

6. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

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Hands down my favorite lesbian YA that I’ve read (to date, although I have several on my tbr for this year). Why? Danforth’s descriptions are distinctly not YA, and this book is full of beautiful language. This is a fantastic coming-of-age novel, dealing with loss of parents, sexuality, and first love. When Cameron falls in love with her best friend, her family sends her to a gay conversion camp. While this is an extreme take on what can happen when you’re growing up gay in America, I want my niece to know what could happen—what did happen, what is probably still happening—and recognize the importance of tolerance, empathy, and the freedom to be oneself.

7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

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My niece will most likely encounter Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights in high school, but Jane Eyre was the first so-called classic novel that I fell in love with on my own. It’s a long, sprawling coming-of-age story about a girl who has nothing; it’s also about the power of love, no matter the time or distance. Also, it’s subtly feminist in a Victorian sense, and I think it’s important for young people to understand just how far we’ve come.

8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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This is such an important book to read in this day and age, especially if you’re a woman. The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopia about a world in which women have no rights, but are used for their wombs, stripped of their voice in society. I can’t express how necessary it is for young people (especially young girls) to understand the flip side of what we have—and where we might be going if the conservatives have anything to say about it.

9. Jazz by Toni Morrison

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This was the book that really taught me the power of re-reading, how can open up your understanding of a text as well as let you fall in love with characters all over again. Spoiler alert: it’s not about jazz music. Rather, this is a novel about passion, lust, race, and just being human. Morrison’s language is absolutely music inside my head. This is another book I come back to year after year, despite the fact that it’s covered in my annotations from sophomore year of college, because each time I come back I leave with something. Jazz is a gift to the reader who opens up to it.

10. Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

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I saved this one for last because it’s definitely not a book for teenagers. I read this when I was 22, and even then it was somewhat shocking how much sex is packed in this novel. Why would I anticipate that my six-year-old niece should read this book? What kind of sick aunt am I? Just an aunt who knows the importance of embracing your own sexuality, along with its challenges and perils. This was a really controversial book when it came out in the 70s, and I think certain aspects of it are still controversial today. Plus I just want someone else to read this book so I can discuss it. I figure I can wait twenty years or so. It’s worth it.

Did I miss anything? What books do you imagine handing over to the next generation? Let me know in the comments.