Jesmyn Ward is a stunning writer. I learned this several months ago when I finally read her first National Award Winning novel, Salvage the Bones. It’s difficult to refrain from feeling when you read her detailed descriptions. And it’s important that you do everything you can to feel, completely. It’s the only way to attempt to know these characters and understand their plight. The first scene of this book was no different. I physically looked away from the page at this moment, only five pages in: I pull. The goat is inside out. Slime and smell everywhere, something musty and sharp, like a man who ain’t took a bath in some days. The skin peels off like a banana. It surprises me every time, how easy it comes away once you pull. The language she uses isn’t necessarily spectacular in any way, but the way she commands these otherwise simple words, makes you see the scene. In this case, a
Her freckles, her thin pink lips, her blond hair, the stubborn milkiness of her skin; how easy had it been for her, her whole life, to make the world a friend to her?
Sparrow is the beautiful story of a 14-year-old girl who is struggling to cope with unfortunate loss at a time when just growing up seems painful. But instead of truly managing her emotions, she escapes. When her escape proves potentially dangerous, she finds herself in therapy unwilling and maybe even unable to communicate just what she feels and why she needs to escape her world. It’s only after her therapist turns on her iPod in the middle of a session that Sparrow finds the words she needs and takes the first steps to live through her life instead of running from it. Here are some of the songs mentioned in the story:
I’m currently reading James McBride’s Kill ‘Em and Leave. It’s a very insightful read that immediately sent me digging. So, I leave you with a short playlist I put together of some of James Brown’s live recordings. I have also included video footage from a 1983 concert where James Brown calls both Michael Jackson and Prince to the stage!
On October 4, 2017, the National Book Foundation released the list of finalists for their annual National Book Award. I
I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background. ~ Zora Neale Hurston from How it
I finished reading The Hate U Give a few months ago. I’ll be honest and say I had initially decided not to read the book. But somehow I had evidently put myself on a waiting list for the audiobook at my local library. When the hold became available, I decided to give it a chance and I’m glad I did. The Hate U Give, especially in its audiobook format, is a treat. The story is very well written and is a very pleasant experience. Everything, from the characters and the use of language, is unmistakably situated in the context of black culture and makes for an enjoyable experience. Overall, I think the book is great and I have recommended it several times since reading it. However, I must admit that I left the book feeling a little bit of a void. I wanted more of something. I wanted more Khalil. For those who don’t know, The Hate U Give follows