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Book News, Romance, Uncategorized

Pride and Prejudice gets colorized

I am a fan of  Jane Austen’s work. I have read most of her books at least twice and Pride and Prejudice more than dozen times. Despite my great love for Lizzie, Darcy and rest of the gang, I never could quite saw myself in the Regency world of Longbourn and Pemberley. This year, three writers of color are taking on the task of retelling Pride And Prejudice. I am so excited. Austen has gotten colorized!

First up on the list is

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Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

AYESHA SHAMSI has a lot going on.  Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

When a surprise engagement between Khalid and Hafsa is announced, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and his family; and the truth she realizes about herself. But Khalid is also wrestling with what he believes and what he wants. And he just can’t get this beautiful, outspoken woman out of his mind.

 

On Sale: 06/12/2018

Next on the list is

Pride

Pride by Ibi Zebui

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

 

On Sale 09/18/2018

 

Last, but not least is

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UnMarriageable by Soniah Kamal

This was pitched as a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice set in modern Pakistan and reimagining Lizzie Bennett as a teacher who uses the literature of Jane Austen and others to show her students there is more to life than marriage. I am not quite sure when this book will come out. However, it’s being published by Random House so will keep an eye.

On Sale Fall 2018

So different three writers of color retelling a well-known classic. But their perspective might give us all chance to fall in love with Austen all over again. And that’s a joy I look forward to.

Happy Reading!

 

 

Black Histoy Month, Reading list, Top Lists, Uncategorized

The books I read during Black History Month!

Its the beginning of Women’s History Month! February was an exciting blur of life, learning and having the flu. But as the saying goes: Nevertheless, she persisted!

While didn’t post often, I did read a ton.

My top five reads:

An American Marriage

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This interesting love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control.

Reason for reading: This title is an Oprah’s Book Club pick!

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The ABC’s of the Black Panther Party

The ABCs of the Black Panther Party introduces and gives an overview of the Black Panther Party to children (suggested ages 7-12). The ABCs of the BPP helps to start the discussion about race and political activism and helps to develop the social-political consciousness of children.

Reason for reading: My brilliant friend wrote it! Well-written and beautifully drawn.

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The Wedding Date

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles, and his job as a pediatric surgeon and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other.

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century — or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

Reason for reading: Roxanne Gay tweeted about it, and I love a good romance novel! February is also the month of romance.

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This Is Just My Face

Gabourey Sidibe skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This Is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy / Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring  story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside ”a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.”

Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, ”would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different, and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true.

Reason for reading: Again, Roxanne Gay said read it, so I obeyed!

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Hunger

In Roxanne Gay’s phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, she has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

Reason for reading: So you might have noticed a theme here…I love Roxanne Gay. She is brilliant, funny writer who I connect with on many levels. Reading her work feels like being gut-pouched with the beauty of the hard parts of the human experience.  But it’s also strangely liberating.

Uncategorized

Creating Black History today

Youtube has a playlist called #CreatingBlackHistory for February. It focuses on modern-day creators or news stories about black people impacting the world. I find the idea an exciting way to celebrate Black history month. It got me thinking…who did I think will be in the history books? Who would next MLK or Rosa Parks? What groups would be remembered for creating social change like Black Panther Party or SNCC?

Here is the beginning of my list:

 

Of course The Obamas and Black Lives Matter:

 

I recognize that my list is a bit of obvious. However, it’s just a starting point. History is written by the disruptors and the trailblazers, by the phenoms and the powerful.  But as I have been learning, it is also written by ordinary people in quiet corners. I want to start a list with their names on it.  So who are the ordinary people #creating black history in your world?  Please Share!

 

Uncategorized

Unsung Female Heros

As I take the time to learn more about the civil rights movement, I am faced with how little I knew about the female leaders of the civil rights movement. Discovering them has given me perspective how sexism impacted the civil rights movement. These women face the obstacles from within their organizations and the outside forces they were trying to fight.  The courage and spirit that these women lived show us how we all should live.

Check out these books:

Mother

Ella Baker was known as the Mother of the civil rights movement. However, she had different idea of how things should be done. Baker didn’t believe there should be a sole leader of civil rights. Instead, she believed in grassroots political action and collective activism. This belief put her on the fringe of the movement.

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Legal Eagle

Pauli Murray was a black queer feminist and lawyer erased from the history of civil rights movement.  She also had friendship with Eleanor Rossevelt and was the first African-American woman to be ordained a priest in the Protestant Episcopal Church.

What is often called exceptional ability is nothing more than persistent endeavor.

Foot Soldier

Nell Braxton Gibson was 12-years-old when 14-year-old Emmett Till was killed 60 miles from her home. Imagine what you would have done in the face of such ugliness. Her book is a coming-of-age story about her experience living in the segregated South.

Black Histoy Month

Black History Month, what is the point?

It’s that time that time of year where America pretends to acknowledge the achievements of African Americans and the history of the civil rights movement. I debated in the face of “modern” America if there is a point to paying attention or honoring it.  It feels like most of this country seem to be re-writing the facts or don’t believe in them because racism, sexism, and classism are in en vogue. So why bother?

Then I remember these quotes:

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. – Maya Angelou

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. -Elenor Roosevelt

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. – James Balwin

Each of these quotes got me through last year. So I am choosing again to honor this month.  I am going to “light a candle” by focusing on what is good and great about the past and present.  Face the pain, so I don’t accept the narrative of injustice as the “fact,” and I will do it with joy, compassion, and humor. Because the vast irony of black history month is despite the whitewashing of the historical record, African American, hell people of color around the world, did not break and did not stop and did not give up their ambition, hope or humanity. We lived and changed the world in spite it all, and we will continue to do so.

Happy Black History Month!

Top Lists

I am back!!!

It has been a while. Life has a way of getting in the way of things. However, I might have stopped writing but I did not stop reading. Here are my top 6 reads of 2017:

Each book explores the pain and courage it takes to see where you stand in the world and the motivation it takes to move forward when things are stacked against you. All these books are great reads and stay with you long after.

American War and The Fire Next Time gave me clarity and perspective on some of the national issues we face here in the States. They also reflect the darkness of our modern day. The Fire Next Time was written in 1963 and is still relevant which makes me really sad and angry. While American War shows how divisive politics will and have created a voilate and unstable world.  The more shit changes, the more it says the same.

Black Panther is king, hero, and man. In the cycle currently being written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, we live in a world filled with conflict, magic and ultimately hope. It’s also filled with people of color and kick-ass women in almost every panel. As a fan of comics, I have read my share of books that didn’t have people of color or treated women with any real respect. This current cycle does both. Plus, the panels are filled with action movie magic. I can’t wait to see this hero and his kingdom on the big screen.

Nonfiction is not my favorite category to read, However, I do try to make the effort to go beyond my comfort zone. Grit was well worth the effort. It’s an amazing read. I would highly recommend it. It expanded my definition of grit and help me see the other ways  I can find it for myself and others.

Grit is also at the heart of Rich People Problems and Foreign Soil. Without it, we can’t endure the bad or have the courage to move toward the good. Socials structures that can sometimes grant us freedom also have the power to limit our choices. Each character ultimately has to make a choice because the status quo doesn’t fulfill a need in their life, Making those choices and enduring the consequences takes grit, passion, and the ability to believe you can change the narrative.

I hope to share on more regular bases my reading list and other adventures.

Thanks for being here.

Book News

This week in Reading…

This week, my TBR list grows courtesy of Granta’s BEST OF YOUNG AMERICAN NOVELISTS issue. Granta is quarterly literary magazine.

I am happy to say, there are 5 writers of color on the list. It breaks down like this:

Authors I have never hear of:

Author I have been meaning to get to:

And one author I would highly recommend:

Homegoing

Homegoing is inspirational debut novel about the troubled legacy of slavery in this country.  Each chapter follows the parallel paths of  two sisters and their descendants through eight generations:from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem.

Happy Reading!

Uncategorized

More Poetry…

Robin Coste Lewis reflects on a black female education in this poem from her National Book Award-winning volume, Voyage of the Sable Venus.
Art & Craft
I would figure out all the right answers
first, then gently mark a few of them wrong.
If a quiz had ten problems, I’d cancel
out one. When it had twenty, I’d bite my tongue

then leave at least two questions blank: ______ ______.
A B was good, but an A was too good.
They’d kick your ass, call your big sister
slow, then stare over your desk, as if you’d

snaked out of a different hole. Knowing
taught me—quickly—to spell community
more honestly: l-o-n-e-l-y.
During Arts and Crafts, when Miss Larson allowed

the scissors out, I’d sneak a pair, then cut
my hair to stop me from growing too long.

Uncategorized

Discovering poetry…

You may or may not know it’s National Poetry Month. I signed up for poem-a-day newsletter to celebrate. It’s fun way to rediscover old classics and be introduced to new voices.

One such new gem is Airea D. Matthews.

Swindle

                               -Trenton, NJ 1977
Learn the suits, Ace:
a club looks like a three-leaf clover
a spade is an upside-down heart
a diamond looks like two kissing triangles
a heart is a goddamn heart.
A hand is five cards:
one card, each finger.
The ace is the highest.
Then the head cards:
King, Queen, Jack then
count back by 10—
that’s the rank.

 

                         Got it?

 

Bring a Barbie doll,
something to play with.
Circle the players from afar.
Eye your sneaky Uncle Clayt,
nigger tucks cards under his cuff.
Pull on his sleeve, ask for a hug.
If it feels stiff, say you’re thirsty.
Don’t crawl under that table,
‘less you want a gun in my mouth.
Don’t sniff the powder on the felt.
And boy, don’t touch the chips;
they’re worth more than you.

 

                            Understand?

 

Aim for loose play,
every motherfucker’s hungry.
When the game is tight,
stakes get too fat, too quick.
You’ll lose before the draw.
Spy those hands, Ace. Tell me
what you see. Scratch your chin,
rub your nose, pull on your ear;
we got a code:
                                   Eat.

 

Thing is that ace is tricky,
hinges on what’s held;
it can play high or low.
A full house ain’t shit.
Bend the straight.
Fuck a pair.
Fear that flush.
If you see those head cards
in order with the same suit:
grab your baby doll,
go to the bathroom,
flush the toilet twice,
stick one finger down
your throat,
bloat your cheek, run out,
force lunch on the table. Say:

 

                                  Daddy, my head hurts.

 

We make dust, baby girl.
Only lose what little you left.
Book News

TBR Tuedays

Reads from around the world, now in bookstore shelves and my TBR list!

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Kintu is a modern classic, a multilayered narrative that reimagines the history of Uganda through the cursed bloodline of the Kintu clan.

 

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“A tale of a rivalry between two well-to-do widows and next-door-neighbors in South Africa…On the surface, author Yewande Omotoso presents a war of wits, but the story also addresses the history of colonialism, slavery, class and race as tensions come to a head.”Time (25 Female-Driven Books, Movies, and Shows We Can’t Wait to Get Our Hands on in 2017)

 

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“A classic tale of wealth and moral ruin.” —The New Yorker

Ghachar Ghochar is a quietly enthralling, deeply unsettling novel about the shifting meanings—and consequences—of financial gain in contemporary India.