I am not usually one to do challenges. I don’t follow rules well. I’ve tried the “bookstagram” photo challenges and just managed to scrape through and complete all of the prompts. But it wasn’t really fun. It was taxing even. And the prompts served no real purpose for me. Ok, so I put up a few extra pictures. For thirty days straight I was actually consistent. And sure, maybe I learned some cool photography techniques in the process, but it didn’t do anything at all for my reading life. That doesn’t seem to be the point. The point is to take and post pictures of all the lovely books you own. I certainly didn’t need an excuse to buy more books. So I stopped doing those challenges. But when this year started, I wanted to push myself and attempt to read outside of my comfort zone. So, I turned to challenges. Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge had always been something
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?
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 Feels to Be Colored Me (1928)
*Image printed in Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
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