Thoughts While Reading

/ posted in: Reading

 

“I went on another library reserving spree for #blackathon books. Nothing I want except for a few graphic novels is available right now so I’m assuming that they’ll all come in at once.” 

I said that last week just like a freakin’ prophet.  I could be crushed under the weight of #blackathon books.  But before they all came in I started some ebooks that I needed to finish.

I’ve been reading so much this week!

HomegoingHomegoing by Yaa Gyasi

This was not what I was expecting.  I had been putting it off because even though everyone loved it, I had gotten the impression that this was a heavy literary novel.  It isn’t that at all.  It is pretty standard historical fiction.  (That’s a good thing in my world.)

Two half-sisters in Ghana start the story.  One stays in Ghana and marries a British man.  The other is sold into slavery by that British man.  One member of each generation tells their story up until the present.

Everyone is right.  It really is good.  Go read it.

 


Righteous (IQ, #2)Righteous by Joe Ide

“For ten years, something has gnawed at Isaiah Quintabe’s gut and kept him up nights, boiling with anger and thoughts of revenge. Ten years ago, when Isaiah was just a boy, his brother was killed by an unknown assailant. The search for the killer sent Isaiah plunging into despair and nearly destroyed his life. Even with a flourishing career, a new dog, and near-iconic status as a PI in his hometown, East Long Beach, he has to begin the hunt again—or lose his mind.

A case takes him and his volatile, dubious sidekick, Dodson, to Vegas, where Chinese gangsters and a terrifying seven-foot loan shark are stalking a DJ and her screwball boyfriend. If Isaiah doesn’t find the two first, they’ll be murdered. Awaiting the outcome is the love of IQ’s life: fail, and he’ll lose her. Isaiah’s quest is fraught with treachery, menace, and startling twists, and it will lead him to the mastermind behind his brother’s death.”

#Blackathon counts books with Black protagonists even if the author isn’t Black so I grabbed an ebook of Righteous from the library.  I read the first book in the series, IQ, after I picked up a copy at BEA in 2016.  I kept meaning to pick up this one but the time was never right.

There are several different gangs operating in this story.  There are Rwandan gangsters, a Latino gang, and several branches of the Chinese mafia.  What they all have in common is their misogyny. This reminds me why I don’t often read stories that center men.

  • The Chinese gangs are trafficking young girls for sex
  • The Rwandans have a history of shooting the girlfriends of people who wrong them.  One also refers to a person who bit him in a fight as “a woman” and this is meant to be a grave insult.

And then, and then, it turns out that a major part of the backstory of the series was set in motion because of a woman.  It wasn’t anything this woman did.  She is pretty much completely unaware and the main character isn’t going to tell her because why worry her pretty little head.

SPOILERS – She went to Cambridge to go to school and ended up getting stalked by one of the Rwandans who was also in school there.  It was bad enough that she came home early to get away.  Soon after she met Isaiah’s brother and they started dating.  She gets into law school and Isaiah’s brother decides he needs to go to college to be at her level.  He steals money and kills someone in the process.  Unbeknownst (great word) to anyone the Rwandan followed this poor lady to California.  He kills Isaiah’s brother in a hit and run for dating the woman he believes belongs to him.  Now eight years later she comes to Isaiah for help with her sister which is the main mystery in this book.  But, Isaiah gets it into his head that now they are going to live happily ever after because she is so grateful for him solving the crime.  When she doesn’t fall at his feet, he gets all up in his feelings and starts to act stupid.  Eventually, another man tells him off for this and his assumptions which is good but really?  The author puts all this on a woman who is just trying to get her education and live her life.  These fools are all running around thinking she’s either perfect or needs punished based solely on what is in their own imaginations. GRRR!



This works.  I got 5 comics on my iPad.


On the Come UpOn the Come Up by Angie Thomas

This is Angie Thomas’ follow up to The Hate U Give.  That’s a really hard act to follow.  I was lucky enough to get my library copy on release day.  I read it in one sitting.  It is very good.  I’ll be reviewing it tomorrow.

 


Orange Mint and HoneyOrange Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice

This is a family story about Shay, a woman who had a rough childhood with a neglectful alcoholic mother. Now her mother has been clean for 8 years and has a toddler. Shay has stayed away but her life isn’t going well right now and she needs to go home for a while. She doesn’t trust this new version of her mother and things are tense. She is also seeing visions of Nina Simone whenever she really doesn’t know what to do.


The Class: A Life-Changing Teacher, His World-Changing Kids, and the Most Inventive Classroom in AmericaThe Class: A Life-Changing Teacher, His World-Changing Kids, and the Most Inventive Classroom in America by Heather Won Tesoriero

“Andy Bramante left his successful career as a corporate scientist to teach public high school–and now helms one of the most remarkable classrooms in America. Bramante’s unconventional class at Connecticut’s prestigious yet diverse Greenwich High School has no curriculum, tests, textbooks, or lectures, and is equal parts elite research lab, student counseling office, and teenage hangout spot. United by a passion to learn, Mr. B.’s band of whiz kids set out every year to conquer the brutally competitive science fair circuit. They have won the top prize at the Google Science Fair, made discoveries that eluded scientists three times their age, and been invited to the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm.”

This is my current audiobook. At times I find it a bit stressful listening to all that these kids are doing.