Month: March 2018

A Shining Starr

I hate to stay a timely piece. I feel that because a book like this has never NOT been timely. Perhaps its impact is potentially more grand because of the current cultural narrative.  Regardless, I felt this book was everything it was meant to be. One of my favorite scenes in the book is one Kathryn H. referred to – when Starr, Seven, DeVante, and Chris are leaving the riots in the car. The conversation on names and race was one that I felt so delicately touched on the idea of the spectrum of racism. Chris is carefully constructed as a slightly awkward white guy with a level of caring for Starr that I just found so sweet. So when he asks about why black people don’t have “normal” names, was it awkward?  Sure largely because he asked it as gracefully as a dump truck on ice. But was it racist? Kind of, yea…but Starr, Seven, and DeVante go on tell him why that question is grounded in his perceptions of race and answer his question. …

April Book

It’s been dark and gray for awhile now. I’d say we’re ready for more light, literally and figuratively. Which is why in April we read something with a sense of humor to help lighten the mood. And this April we’re reading Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime! And we’re SO excited for this one. If you know the name Trevor Noah, it’s either because you’re a fellow booklover and have heard GREAT things about this book, and/or you’ve seen Noah on The Daily Show as Jon Stewart’s replacement as of September, 2015. He’s a comedian (writer, producer, political commentator, television host, etc.), so we definitely expect a few laughs out of this book. However, from the little we know so far, he also has a very interesting, pretty intense, story to tell. Noah was born in Johannesburg, South Africa during apartheid. The son of a black mother and a white father, his parents’ relationship was illegal. His childhood was layered with all the complexities of race, religion, family, homeland, and everything in between. Beginning his career …

A Promise

Talk about timely. This is maybe the most relevant piece of fiction I have read. And it raised so many questions and thoughts and ideas for me. But the two words that kept coming to the surface were: Required Reading. I like to consider myself an ally. I’m not black, I can’t really begin to understand what it’s like to be black in this country at this time. But I can try and I can be supportive and I can listen and I can walk alongside and I can protest and call for change and do my best to make change happen. All of that and… this book still made me say, “whoa.” It brought up so much that I hadn’t thought of, so many little things that happen every day that I don’t have to think about because of the color of my skin. “It seems like they always talk about what he may have said, what he may have done, what he may not have done. I didn’t know a dead person could …

Worlds Apart

I’d been hearing so many great things about The Hate U Give before we chose it as our March book that I was afraid it might not live up to the hype. But happily, it did. This debut novel by Angie Thomas is about a young black girl struggling through the emotional, cultural, and legal repercussions of witnessing the unarmed shooting of a childhood friend. Starr Carter lives in Garden Heights but goes to school at a fancy prep school far away from home. Worlds apart, in fact. But seeing her story from within these two worlds gave infinite range to the issues Thomas tackles. I think that was my favorite part about the book; the two very environments. It elevated the story beyond a tragedy, or a high school coming-of-age story. It was the story of race, family, justice, injustice, love, the forces that drive us, and how all of those interact… in many different situations. Seeing Starr’s life through the lens of her home and school lives made her story more powerful and …

March Book

The SAG awards, the Golden Globes, and the Academy Awards. It’s awards season! So much talk of the year’s best television series, movies, actors, screenplays, etc. And so many of the best movies started as books. Or at least we think so. So for March, we’re trying to get ahead of the game and read a new book that’s soon to be a new movie favorite. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was published just last February. This is Thomas’s debut novel, and a huge success. It opened at number one the NYT young-adult bestseller list. Thomas was inspired to write this story after the shooting of Oscar Grant in 2009. What started as a short story quickly evolved into her first novel, and soon a major motion picture coming out this year or early next (directed by George Tillman Jr., written by Audrey Wells, starring Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie, Russell Hornsby, Algee Smith, Sabrina Carpenter, Issa Rae, Lamar Johnson, and Common). The Hate U Give tells the story of 16-year-old black student Starr Carter who witnesses …