Belinda’s Book Nook: Top Ten Most Recent Additions to my TBR

Hello! It’s Tuesday and you know what time it is…Top Ten. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, Jana every week, they post a new topic/top ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers. I looked at this week’s challenge and definitely knew I could do this one.

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight

 

In this remarkable biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’s newspapers. Blight tells the fascinating story of Douglass’s two marriages and his complex extended family. Douglass was not only an astonishing man of words, but a thinker steeped in Biblical story and theology. There has not been a major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. David Blight’s Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves.

I have never read any books on Frederick Douglass and this one sounds like a nice place to start.

 

Black Fortunes: The Story of The First Six African Americans Who Survived Slavery and Became Millionaires by Shomari Wills

 

 

 

 

Between the years of 1830 and 1927, as the last generation of blacks born into slavery was reaching maturity, a small group of industrious, tenacious, and daring men and women broke new ground to attain the highest levels of financial success.

Black wealth in the early 1900s is rarely talked about. So I look forward to reading this journey from slavery to wealth. It would be great to read for Black History Month.

 

 

The Island of Sea Women By Lisa See

 

 

 

 

 

The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce and unforgettable female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.

 

I love her books. They are always well researched and have strong female characters. I know nothing about these female Japanese divers and can’t wait for this book to be released so I can dive in!! ha ha dive in!!

 

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict

 

Her beauty almost certainly saved her from the rising Nazi party and led to marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. Underestimated in everything else, she overheard the Third Reich’s plans while at her husband’s side, understanding more than anyone would guess. She devised a plan to flee in disguise from their castle, and the whirlwind escape landed her in Hollywood. She became Hedy Lamarr, screen star.

 

I heard the author interviewed in a podcast talking about this book and I remember the name Hedy Lamarr so I am fascinated to read this book. This is another author that really does her research. I expect to learn a lot while enjoying a great story. Hence the beauty of historical fiction.

 

 

Internment by Samira Ahmed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

I pre-ordered this book because I am trying to learn more about Muslim Americans even via fiction.

 

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America Edited by Ibi Zoboi

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America.

I currently own this book and haven’t read many short story collections but this one sounds good.

 

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

 

 

 

The New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Date serves up a novel about what happens when a public proposal doesn’t turn into a happy ending, thanks to a woman who knows exactly how to make one on her own…

 

 

Ok, I blushed my way through Jasmine Guillory’s first book “The Wedding Date” but totally loved it. I haven’t read a contemporary in a while so it was refreshing. So I figured I will pick this up to drop between any heavy reads to lighten the mood.

 

A Spark of Life by Jodi Picoult

 

 

 

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

An yet another author that does her research. I have really enjoyed the few books of hers that I have read and this one sounds like it will draw me in like her other books.

 

My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

 

 

 

 

 

A short, darkly funny, hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.

 

Lot’s of hype about this book last year. I think it’s finally dying down so I can pick it up and experience it for myself.

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

 

 

 

The Diary of a Bookseller is Shaun Bythell’s funny and fascinating memoir of a year in the life at the helm of The Bookshop, in the small village of Wigtown, Scotland—and of the delightfully odd locals, unusual staff, eccentric customers, and surreal buying trips that make up his life there as he struggles to build his business . . . and be polite . . .

A book about a bookstore bookseller…need I say more?

 

Can’t wait to see what you all are adding to your TBR. Happy reading!

Belinda

Belinda’s Book Nook’s Great Reads in 2018: Mem by Bethany C. Morrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: MEM
Author: Bethany C. Morrow
Copyright: May 22, 2018
Genre: fiction
Format: hardcover
Pages: 184

Discovering the book:

I heard about this book on a podcast sometime in May and I decided to buy it for myself as one of my books for my birthday back in June. I love that it was science fiction speculative fiction written by a black author and this was her debut novel. I made a conscious effort last year to seek out and read a number of debut books by black authors. I will have to go back and see how many I read last year.

Expectations:

So I went into the book with expectations built up from what I heard on the podcast description of the book. I’m always fascinated with the way people come up with concepts for books and then are able to tell a story and bring you someplace that you never thought about. This is especially true and the beauties of many genres but it is especially true in science-fiction and fantasy.

Experience:

One thing I noticed was that I was drawn into the story immediately.   I was fascinated with the idea of being able to get rid of unwanted memories. So my curious was peak from the start to learn what and how the author would handle the subject. I found the characters interesting and easily connected to Delores. I appreciated the subtlety that the author used to inform readers that certain characters in the book were people color. It’s not something that I normally experience in my daily reading and it was refreshing.

Premise of the story:

Set in the early 1920s in Montreal Canada when people that had the means could go to this facility and have bad memories or certain memories extracted from them. Typically the memories were bad memories and they would be put inside of a created “being”. This being would be referred to as a ‘Mem’ and would look like that person at that particular time they would have experienced the memory and would never age. The Mem would be that memory they lived and they would relive that memory over and over especially when they went to sleep. The reason that most people go to this facility was that they wanted to get rid of bad memories. The person going to the facility was called the Source. The Source then had all rights to the Mem but the Mem would reside at the facility.  What they noticed was that the Mem would not live very long lives they would eventually expire and they also noticed that the Source when they had these memories extracted that and that memory would then be gone from their memory but they would also lose more of them selves as well. So there was a price to pay to remove bad memories. The main character of the story was a Mem named Dolores after her source Dolores and she exhibited characteristics that no other Mem had before she experienced feelings and individual thoughts.

Final Thoughts:

There’s so much complexity to the various issues that I’m surprised it was fit in such a small book. A great read and I especially enjoyed at the very end the authors note where the author actually states that the character was black and that she chose not to include even though racism exist then and it exists now in Canada. But that she wanted to have the character and exist without having to deal with racism but as a responsible author, she wanted to make sure that she say did note that racism is still present. Then she recommended different resources to explore issues of race and race relations in Canada. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and give it 5 butterflies. This book was really great and I’m just so impressed with the concepts and the issues that it brought to the forefront for me. Read it!

Top 10 Tuesday – Cozy Winter Reads

Hello! It’s Tuesday and you know what time it is…Top Ten. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, Jana every week, she posts a new topic/top ten list and invites everyone to share their picks. I looked at this week’s challenge and it sounded like a fun one.

It’s all up to the interpretation of course. I think for me a cozy winter read is a book that can do one of many things: One might be a cozy mystery where I can plop down into a little town, get to know the people and solve a mystery without any gore. Another might be a science fiction or fantasy that allows me to escape to another world with magic and/or cool science. Another might be one that wraps me up in a light family drama. And finally one could transport me to another country where I can learn about another culture without leaving my cozy reading nook!

That said, I have selected 10 reads from my bookshelf that I have not read but believe would fall into this category:

I have a thing about buying used cozy mysteries at independent stores. I love cozy mysteries for many reasons but I really like the fact that they are typically series and you can stay with the characters for a while. They also always have cute covers and are small enough to go in my beach bag in the summer.  I also like reading them between my heavy non-fiction books.  I selected four different cozy mysteries from my collection.

  1. Thread and Buried, A Threadville Mystery by Jane Bolin – I love that cozy books are based around bookstores or crafts.
  2. Crime and Poetry, A Magical Bookshop Mystery by Amanda Flower – Oops, I lied, I did read this one. It was really cute. I love the cat, whose name is Emerson in this book. Read it and you will see why.
  3. Murder Under Cover, A Bibliophile Mystery by Kate Carlisle – I am waiting to dive into this one. It will be my first from this author.
  4. Bookplate Special, A Booktown Mystery by Lorna Barrett – Another oops. I read this one too. I read the first in the series and then this one. It has a really cute cast of characters and light romance.
  5. Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham – This one isn’t a cozy mystery. I have been wanting to read this since it came out in 2016. I love the diversity in the characters. The main heroine is a black Muslim.
  6. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor – For the obvious reasons I have been meaning to read something by Nnedi Okorafor. I own 3 books by this fantasy author and yet have not cracked one up.
  7. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – Have had this book for ages and looking forward to it transporting me back in time to Iceland to discover what really happened in this murder trial.
  8. A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman – I am probably the last to read this. I won’t even watch the movie adaptation until I read the book. Because we all know the books are always better.
  9. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She is Sorry by Frederik Backman – I saw this in the thrift shop for $1.59 and thought, if everyone liked the first book this might be good too so I picked it up.
  10. What the Fly Saw by Frankie Y. Bailey – Last year, I tried collecting mysteries written by Black females and this was one of the many I picked up. I can’t wait to read this one.

So there are 10 of my cozy picks. Can’t wait to see what your list!

Happy reading!

Belinda

Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

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Title: Dread Nation
Author: Justina Ireland
Copyright: April 3, 2018
Genre: fiction
Format: book
Pages: 455

 

Summary (from Goodreads):

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

About the Author (Justina Ireland):

Image result for justina ireland

Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows. But what you may not know about her is that:

 Over the last several years, Ireland and others in the YA world have been using Twitter to call out what they see as an enduring tradition of racist nonsense in publishing…As Ireland has repeatedly taken pains to point out, the world of children’s and young-adult literature is overwhelmingly, disproportionately white. Of some 3,700 books for children or teens that were published last year, just 340 were about children or teens who were black, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin. Of those, just 100 were written by black authors. Ireland argues that the industry should publish more books by nonwhite authors, and that white authors should think more carefully about how they represent black and brown people in their books.

My Thoughts:

This book was fantastic. I heard about this book from the Book Riot podcast and I was interested because I liked how it was an alternate history during the civil war time. I was also thrilled that the protagonist was mixed race.

The cover art grabbed my attention and it appealed to me that the author was a black woman. As I quoted earlier, there is a disproportionate amount of non-white authors published in the industry today. I’m always trying to make a conscious effort to support black authors.  Because if we don’t buy the books written by people of color then the publishers can say that they didn’t create or generate the sales that they need to be publishing books and we will miss an opportunity to experience diverse talent.

I won’t lie when I say that I was a little hesitant when I saw the word zombie in the description. But the idea of an alternate history where blacks during the civil war were trained in weaponry and etiquette. Well, I just had to see this book through. The story was easy to get into I really like the main character, Jane, who was very strong and smart.

Structurally, I like how at the very start of each chapter you would see an excerpt from a letter Jane wrote to her mother. Since she had to live apart from her mother at the boarding school, she wanted to keep in touch with her mother and we saw this represented in the letters she wrote to her mother.

Of course, you get to see the boarding school experience through Jane’s eyes and hear a lot about how she gets along with the fella girls. You also get glimpses of her past where she used to live on Rose Hill with her mother and the story unfolds really slowly chapter to chapter. I like that it is spread out throughout the story. The author doesn’t throw all the information at you in the beginning. It is delivered at a pace that really enhanced the experience of the book.

Although the story is a fantastical alternate history of the civil war era, the issues of race ring familiar today. We aren’t in that great “melting pot” that we often talked about when I was growing up. We can’t be when people have racial bias and laws that govern exacerbate those feelings. There were many action scenes much of which took place in the last quarter of the book and I just couldn’t put it down had to finish it. I believe it is the start of a series. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and looking forward to the next one.

I give this book 4 1/2 butterflies.

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