While sipping on your refreshing raspberry lemonade cocktail, it’s important to pair it with a good summer read. I must admit, I’ve been slacking lately. My “reading” has consisted of listening to audiobooks. However, this summer I’m challenging myself to do it the old school way. And really, there’s nothing like carrying around a worn copy of an engaging novel or making food stains on the pages.
Recently, I came across a new book by Renee Simms. Simms’s debut short story collection “Meet Behind Mars” chronicles the diverse lives of Black folks.
“Simms writes from the voice of women and girls who struggle under structural oppression and draws from the storytelling tradition best represented by writers like Edward P. Jones, whose characters have experiences that are specific to black Americans living in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries. One instance of this is in “The Art of Heroine Worship,” in which black families integrate into a white suburb of Detroit in the 1970s.” https://www.reneesimms.com/home
I decided this would be perfect summer reading. I also thought it would be fun to have a mini book club. So, I’m hosting a book giveaway! If you are one of the winners, we will read the book on our own, then come together (virtually) in a few weeks to discuss it.
If you are selected, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “mini book club” in the subject line to let me know.
See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Meet Behind Mars https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0cd439167b052f2f NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Jun 27, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.
A few years ago, I bought a Kindle thinking I would download a bunch of books and read to my heart’s content. Y’all know I LOVE to read. Strangely, I found myself not liking the electronic device that much. I pined for the feel of a real book in my hands. The anticipation of turning a page, underlining with a pen when a passage stood out to me, spilling food and drinks on the crinkled pages.
Now fast forward, when I have a toddler running around. I’ve snatched that Kindle back, quick! It’s just easier access to books with a kid. I don’t have to worry about pages being ripped up or drooled on.
For summer reading, I’ve added Mecca Jamilah Sullivan’s “blue talk & love” to my library. A collection of short stories, perfect for a busy mama. Rubbing my hands together with delight 🙂
Y’all, I flopped on my summer reading list. I didn’t get a chance to read any of the books I picked out. I just had a lot of things going on this summer, so my reading fell to the wayside. Which I am extremely bummed about, because I love to read.
Well, actually, I was able to squeeze out one book…
A month ago, I was visiting with a friend and told her I needed to catch up on my summer reading. She asked me if I knew about Tayari Jones’s book “Leaving Atlanta.” I had heard of it, but had never gotten around to reading it. My friend had an opportunity to study with Jones in Lisbon for a writing workshop. She spoke highly of Jones and her work and recommended I read her book. She offered to lend me her copy, and gently warned me not to lose it as Jones had signed it 🙂
I’m glad she gave me the book. Jones’s fictional novel is based on the Atlanta child murders in the late 70’s:
“Jones herself was in the fifth grade when thirty African American children were murdered from the neighborhoods near her home and school. When asked why she chose this subject matter for her first novel, she says, “This novel is my way of documenting a particular moment in history. It is a love letter to my generation and also an effort to remember my own childhood. To remind myself and my readers what it was like to been eleven and at the mercy of the world.” http://www.tayarijones.com/about/
“Leaving…” is told from the perspective of three young people: Tasha, Rodney, and Octavia. The characters are all interesting, but it is the last story of Octavia, that really moved me. Octavia is teased at school for being “too dark” and poor, but she is the smartest and most caring of the bunch. Her character is forced to deal with a lot, making you want the best for her. I would love to see a book based on Octavia.
So, while I failed to read the books on my summer list, I am glad I had a chance to read this book instead. “Leaving Atlanta” is a unique story that looks at a horrifying time in the lives of black children, yet is rarely written about.
So, the library STILL doesn’t have a copy of “Ghana Must Go.” It’s the second book on my summer reading list. It must be damned good, for folk to keep it wayyy past due date 😉 I am going to have to skip ahead to the next book “All Decent Animals,” by Oonya Kempadoo. If folks have already started “Ghana…” that’s okay. As long as we are reading! I hope to post a review of “Sister Citizen” soon. Whew! So many books, so little time 🙂