I made out like a bandit this week! I received a total of 5 books by mail- 3 new ones for reviews and 2 that I mooched. Saturday, I went to a library sale and scored 12 books for just under $7. And I finished with a quick stop to our local Goodwill Bookstore and got one book there and only because I depleted my meager book spree funds. After it was all said and done, I added 18 books to my library this week. So, here are some of my acquisitions...
Megan Taylor is an artist full of so much spirit, seems to be the centerpiece of an intimate group of friends, and has a teenage daughter with whom she has a true empathic connection. But, her cozy world starts to unravel when she learns that her cancer is no longer in remission. Longtime secrets begin to haunt her and her best friend, Holly. Secrets that could destroy their close-knit foursome of friends. And as Megan deteriorates, her daughter, Olivia, begins to act out her frustrations.
Melissa Foster's novel is a lovely debut. She explores the mother-daughter bond in such an intense manner. It's the kind of relationship, I think that all daughters want with their mothers. And the circle of friends! They are such a loving and supportive bunch. Foster has given us a set of very realistic characters that are regular people. Also, she presents ideas of spirituality in a way that's not obnoxious but is unapologetic. Everything is set against a picturesque Cape Cod. This makes even the toughest moments in the book a little more palatable than had they occurred anywhere else. It adds to the warm and fuzzy feeling that much of the book presents. At its core, I would say that this is a story that depicts love transcending everything.
I really appreciate the author's simple language and real characters. All the imagery was wonderful without being weighty. And including a scene that brought a level of discomfort was very smart. Megan's Way is a great read and a solid debut for Melissa Foster.
The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.
This awesomeness was presented to me by Jenny of Take Me Away fame.
Now, the five fabulous folks I present this award to are:
Lisa at Book Blab
Elena at With Extra Pulp
Joseph at Joseph's Reviews
Grace at Grace's Book Blog
J.T. at Bibliofreak
I should have posted this when I actually received it on Saturday, but it was a busy weekend. So, without further ado...
Atlas of Unknowns by Tania James
"A poignant, funny, blazingly original debut novel about sisterhood, the tantalizing dream of America, and the secret histories and hilarious eccentricities of families everywhere." -Random House
Isn't that cover splendid?
I guess I should mention that I'm the Assistant Editor for a digital magazine: The Infinite Field Magazine. Part of my blessed duties is reviewing books. This is a spiritual lifestyle magazine, so the books are for that particular audience. So, you'll notice that my personal reads on this blog vastly differ from those I review for the magazine. But, for those interested in spiritual literature, please feel free to check out my reviews. The magazine is quite splendid, if I do say so. *wink*
P.S. You'll find my review for Universe Responding: A Spiritual Model For Life in the FREE premiere issue HERE.
On the heels of the Man Booker Prize longlist being released, The Guardian came up with their own award: The Not Booker Prize. On some forums the chatter surrounding book prizes, especially Booker's, is that many of the shortlisted books, and the subsequent winner, may not be consistent with what most readers have raved about each year.
There are some who choose to follow the suggestive nature of book prizes like they are the omniscient authority on books. There are others, like myself, who take most book prizes with a grain of salt. In my case, the most well known prizes barely reflect my taste in literature enough for me to invest more than a few glances at the nominees and winners.
So, I ask my fellow bibliophiles: How much stock do you put into book prizes?
Part memoir and part travelogue, Tharps has penned an awesome book about when cultures collide in the US and abroad. She opens up about her experiences growing up as the nearly lone Black girl in her very White private school and her traveling adventures mainly in Morocco as Junior in high school and Spain as a Junior at Smith College. Once foreign language studies enters her life, and after choosing Spanish, she spends the majority of her formative years believing Spain will bring her the racial and emotional freedom she craves. From her first encounter with Spain, this looks like it may be a dream unfulfilled, but, in the end, we discover it was just a dream deferred. This book has elements of love, cultural politics, travel to exotic locales, and even a little sleuthing. I highly recommend Kinky Gazpacho.
I am so loving Tharps as a writer at this moment and cannot wait to read Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America which she co-authored with Ayanna D. Bird. I don't totally expect the writing to be the same as I'm sure this work is more informative and historical in nature. Her writing is just so clean and unpretentious. I really hope for and look forward to future Lori L. Tharps works.
I've signed up for the month long challenge at The Biblio blogazine. I discovered it via Bibliofreak's blog.
The challenge: Read one banned/ challenged book per week for the whole month of September.
My tentative list:
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The official ALA banned books week is September 26-October 3.
I've noticed that, like the number of other topic specific social networks, reading social networks have several options. I've been a devoted "Thingamabrarian" for a couple of years. I've even paid for a lifetime membership which is totally worth it. However, as a newly dedicated book blogger, I wonder if I should join others like Shelfari or Good Reads. I know that some of my online book buddies have accounts with more than one and seem to be active on them as well. Since, book reviews are also apart of my work life it may behoove me to join at least one other.
Then there are the Ning groups. Thank goodness their setup includes the one depot for keeping track of all the groups you join. I've joined two and one looks very promising so far.
Do my fellow readers that use multiple social networks find that you have a unique set of friends on each network or are they all overlapping? I think this may be THE deciding factor for me.
So many choices. What's a book lover to do?
Eva Medina has known only being on the unwelcome end of random sexual assaults throughout her life. She's never been privy to any real sense of love or even a healthy man-woman relationship. Now, she sits in prison reflecting on her life and the heinous crime that landed her there. A crime that seems to represent vindication for all that had been done wrong to her.
The often sparse and simple language in this novel was so disturbing. Jones's narrative pulls the reader into the insanity of Eva. Her stream of conscious alternates among the various memories of the little boy, her mom's lover, a cousin, a much older husband, and finally, Davis. All of whom contributed to her demise into a loveless and near muted existence.
This is a solid read that examines well the sexual politics between Black men and women. But, note that the language is not for the prudish or the young.
Authors and publishers feel free to check out my review policy and contact me regarding review requests.
A Striped Armchair
Authors In Color
Black Eyed Susans
Book On the Train
For the Love of Books
In Spring It Is The Dawn
Love of Literature
Notorious Spinks Talks
Reading In Color
Rhapsody In Books
The Brown Bookshelf
The Feminist Texican [Reads]
The Happy Nappy Bookseller
With Extra Pulp
Nnedi's Wahala Zone
Lori L. Tharps
White Readers Meet Black Authors
Awards, Gotta Love 'Em!