So, I got a new Twitter follower, a book blogger, and noticed she had a recent tweet with #unbound. That hashtag is Twitter speak; it denotes a topic of conversation. Of course, I got nosy and checked it out. Whaddaya know, it's a reading challenge focused on women's studies texts. Well, of course I'm in. I've got quite a few that I have yet to read- fiction and nonfiction. This will put a nice dent into the tons of books I already own but haven't read yet. There are several titles that I have read and would have been perfect for this challenge. Who knows, they might get a re-read. Anyway, on to the most fun part of reading challenges: the book list. I'm going for the third level reader, suffragette, which calls for reading at least eight books and three should be nonfiction. Again, so not a problem with what's already on my shelves. Here we go, so far:

Big Breasts & Wide Hips by Mo Yan
Me Dying Trial by Patricia Powell
Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall
Iola Leroy by Frances E.W. Harper
The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Woman At Point Zero by Nawal El Saddawi

Migrations of the Heart by Marita Golden
In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens by Alice Walker
Theorizing Black Feminisms ed. Stanlie M. James & Abena P.A. Busia
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde
A Voice From the South by Anna Julia Cooper

These are three levels of participation:
  • Philogynist: read at least two books, including at least one nonfiction one.
  • Bluestocking: read at least five books, including at least two nonfiction ones.
  • Suffragette: read at least eight books, including at least three nonfiction ones.
And now for a meme...
1. What does feminism mean to you? Does it have to do with the work sphere? The social sphere? How you dress? How you act?

Feminism, for me, is about women not being marginalized. It's freedom to not be forced into male WASPs ideal of the feminine. However, I subscribe to Womanism which focuses on the intersection of race, class, and gender.

2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?

Yes, but I think all women are to a degree. Most of us make conscious decisions to be our true selves and that's different for every woman. Most of us choose to not be pigeonholed into one feminine identity.

3. What do you consider the biggest obstacle women face in the world today? Has that obstacle changed over time, or does it basically remain the same?

Labeling. Men label us and we label ourselves.We can't seem to get away from the need to zoom in instead of allowing ourselves to be broad and multifaceted. But then, I guess this isn't just a woman problem, but I think it's more prevalent for women.

I first became acquainted with Nella Larsen in college in an African American Literature course. I was immediately enamored with her and Jessie Fauset, the other least referenced female writer prominent during the Harlem Renaissance. *Side note: Stay tuned for something exciting involving the Harlem Renaissance in a few months.  I re-read Larsen's Passing this year and decided to read Quicksand for Bibliofreak's November Novella Challenge.

Quicksand tells the story of mixed race Helga Crane. She struggles with her self-identity throughout this sweeping novella.  Yet, she's not an example of the tragic mulatto. She often finds herself displeased with Blacks who are prominent representatives of the race and their sometimes superficial ways. She's intelligent and has refined tastes that seem to leave her feeling disconnected to other Blacks. However, an escape to Copenhagen, and subsequent proposal from a Danish artist, reveals her desire to be around the very people she fled. As the story goes on, we see Helga Crane sinking in the abyss of self discovery as it does not have a triumphant ending.

My heart just bled for Helga Crane. I initially thought it would be a tragic mulatto story similar to the companion tale, Passing. The tragedy didn't lie in lack of acceptance by both races or the desire to hide one's true identity, but instead it was the longing to be herself that was characteristically dual and not quite a perfect fit in neither a white world or a Black one. What I learned from Larsen's protagonist is to continue doing what I already do: forge my own path.

I urge everyone to read the grossly ignored Larsen.
The readathon was a blast and it took me out once it was over. I was reading, promptly, at 7 am Saturday morning and went to bed a few minutes after 7 am Sunday morning. Then I was up again at 11:15 am. Huh? What?! Mom duties called and we visited my parents for a while. I was back in bed about 7:30 pm and slept until 8:30 am this morning. Now, I've gotten too much sleep. But it was all in good fun.

Here's what I read:
Donovan's Word Jar by MonaLisa DeGross (Children's fiction)
Quicksand by Nella Larsen (novella)
Oroonoko by Aphra Behn (novella) (didn't finish this one)
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (YA fiction)
Night by Elie Wiesel (novella)
From The Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson (YA fiction)

Total pages read: 636 pages
Hours spent reading: I'm guessing about 21. I never stopped for more than 15 minutes to record a vlog or feed the kid. And I wasted about 45 minutes on 2 challenges. I didn't nap either.

I'm disappointed with my reading totals. I think I got bogged down a little by Oroonoko and Quicksand. Next time, I'll read longer novels. I think I'd feel more accomplished if I'd read the same amount of pages but of 2 or 3 full novels. Needless to say, I can't wait to do it again.

Thanks a million times over to the organizers of the readathon: Eva, Nymeth, Hannah & Trish!
And thanks so much to all the cheerleaders. I really appreciated every one stopping by and cheering me on in my first readathon.
This will be my single post for read-a-thon. I will update every few hours, so check back often. And, surprise, I'm doing video updates. So you all get to see me go from perky and excited to deranged and exhausted. Hell ya! I'll be all a-twitter with mini updates and letting you all know when I post a new video. So stay tuned...
I did it! I stayed up the entire 24 hours without so much as a power nap. You're not hardcore unless you READ hardcore! I'll do a recap/wrap-up post later.

1st update
2nd update
3rd update

Hour 4 Mini Challenge
Hosted by Bart's Bookshelf

Create a sentence using 3-4 book titles from your bookshelf.

Cane, say you're one of them leaving Cecil Street searching for whitopia.

I cracked myself up with that one!

Hour 2 Mini Challenge
Hosted by Wordlily
Ok, so I suck at getting screenshots apparently. I hope this will suffice. Good news, though: #readathon is like #6 in trending topics! woot! woot!

Yesterday, my son and I hung out at the library to do school. While he worked independently, I grabbed Jacqueline Woodson's If You Come Softly. I had recently been recommended this author by Susan of ColorOnline during a discussion on "problem novels" in YA fiction. So, I started reading it there and had to check it out so I could finish it at home.

If you Come Softly is first a teenage love story. Jeremiah Roselind, son of a famous filmmaker and a novelist, and Ellie Eisen, daughter of a doctor and SAHM, have one of those instantaneous love stories. One brief and awkward encounter leave them both with lingering thoughts about each other. At first, the most prevalent thought is that he's Black and she's white/Jewish.  Although they get over this difference quickly, strangers don't and whether their families will is questionable.  What unfolds in this story is a sometimes naive, yet sweet, youthful romance that explores racial identity and stereotypes with an unexpected ending.

I was so engrossed in this fast paced read and not sure of what I wanted to happen in the end. What did happen, I was so not prepared for. Of course, in retrospect, I do recall a bit of foreshadowing that was very subtle. This is a testament to Woodson's narrative skills. She gives hints that don't make things predictable. However, the ending still pissed me off. Woodson, why'd you have to break my heart like that?

This is a story that, for its implications of race, adults might actually learn more from. Today's young people are growing up in such multi-ethnic/multicultural societies that they have already gotten over it. It's the adults that seem to still carry the burden. What young people will get from this book, though, is that "time comes to us softly, slowly. It sits beside us for a while. Then, long before we are ready, it moves on." Carpe Diem!

Note to Susan: Thanks for the recommendation. I'm looking forward to reading more by Jacqueline Woodson. I got a copy of From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun for the read-a-thon.

Hi everyone. Dina and I are about to kick off a month-long tour for our book, Another Faust, and we want to do it by announcing a contest! We are looking for the most promising writers out there (that’s YOU). And then we want to showcase their work, so that all of the Internet can bask in their awesome writing might (and, you know, give them prizes).


We want you to write your own short story, re-imagining of the Faustian Bargain. (For inspiration, check out Bedazzled, Simpsons “Tree House of Horrors IV,” and The Little Mermaid). It can be about anything you like (but let’s keep it PG-13, and under 3,000 words), and it’s open to everyone.

All you have to do is send your entry to dviergutz@gmail.com before January 31.

Rules and details can be found here:



Make sure to read them so you don’t get DQed

And the winner gets all kinds of sweetness:

A signed copy of Another Faust

A handwritten deleted scene

A featured article & interview on our site

An author’s galley of the sequel Another Pan

Though we’ll feature the top five on our site for comments, the judging WON’T happen by popular vote (so basically, we don't care which contestant has the most friends). Dina and I will personally read them.

So, spread the word! Tweet, retweet, forward, thread, spread, embed this post.

Good luck!


So, my first challenge wasn't *cough* successful. But I am going to finish the banned book challenge because I finish what I start. Moving right along. I got this novella challenge in the bag, especially since J.T. is allowing some "cheating". So, as I mentioned in my read-a-thon post, I'm reading mostly novellas and I can count those for this challenge. AWESOMENESS! Head on over to Bibliofreak's blog to join us.

Here's what I'll be reading...so far:
Oroonoko by Aphra Behn
Night by Elie Wiesel
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Marquez Garcia
Quicksand by Nella Larsen
I got three books in the mail yesterday. All review books at that. I did not expect them to all arrive on the same day. First, I received Oronde Ash's 17 to Life: A Black Boy Memoir. When Ash noticed I was reading Kaffir Boy, he told me that book and Wright's Black Boy are what inspired him to write his memoir.

Next, I received Choices by Katrina L. Burchett. It's about five African American teenage girls faced with some difficult decisions. I was not aware, even after doing due diligence, that this is Christian fiction. I was only under the impression that it was YA fiction. I'm open, so, we'll see how that goes.

Finally, I got Searching For Whitopia by Rich Benjamin. This nonfiction book explores Benjamin's journey through some of the whitest areas in America and what these "whitopias" mean to the future of the nation.

Looking forward to reading these in the next few weeks.