All posts filed under: July

A Voice

I struggled with this book. Not because the content scared me or made me uncomfortable. Not because it drew into question something I do not see or fail to acknowledge. But because what Coates tries to scratch the surface of is an extraordinarily complex network of invasive roots that both has strangled our collective culture and has consistently unearthed itself in a knotted fashion in places seemingly distanced from our country’s base. In a less metaphorical way, race is nearly always at the forefront of or a driving force of our societal (insert any word) – history, music, fashion, culture, vernacular. What is even more confusing is that we have created a narrative about race that in reality has so many dimensions and layers and colors but we have distilled it down into a simple dichotomy. What is black and what is white.   Coates is an astounding writer. He brings an eloquence, a voice, a personal experience that combined creates a feat of literature.  To improve our future, we must understand our past. That …

Great Writing, Important Message

Let me begin by saying that I am not yet finished with Between the World and Me. I think the lack of chapters is throwing me and making me take longer that I normally would. Couple that with the fact that I want to unpack, analyze, and process every single sentence, and here I am – still reading. So perhaps my review is not worth as much as another’s, I don’t know. If you don’t trust what I’m saying here, read Katherine C.’s review 🙂 Ta-Nehisi Coates is clearly a skilled writer and is able to craft a narrative that is at once poetic, emotional, and eye-opening. Things I believed merely a week earlier, ideas I had taken from one book, could be smashed to splinters by another. But it’s the message of the book that makes this book important. The writing is gorgeous, yes, but what it says is jaw-droopingly, heartbreakingly, painfully honest and agonizingly real. And this is not reducible to just you – the women around you must be responsible for their bodies …

An Absolute Must-Read!

I can’t say enough about this book. It’s been on my to-be-read list since it came out. However, I knew I needed to give it my full attention. So, as a mother of a one year old and two year old, I waited until taking a solo trip to read this one. I can remember sitting down with a few books to read the first few pages of each and determine my next read. After picking up Between the World and Me the next thing I knew I was more than 30 pages deep entranced by the writing. But of course, I interrupted by the end of naptime. So finally, during a 48hr trip to Idaho the hours spent waiting in airports and on planes were just what I needed to focus fully on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. The writing is so beautiful, so powerful, so approachable yet weighted with context and complex meaning. And that’s just the beginning. It’s beautifully written, yes, but the message Coates is writing is beyond. Not …

July Book

Image © Foreignpolicy.com This month we read to learn more about our Nation’s heritage with a good nonfiction book. There are many, many stories that make up who we are as a country. And it’s a goal of ours to keep educating ourselves on where we come from and who we are by reading a new one of these stories every year. This year’s is one from Ta-Nehisi Coates in the form of his acclaimed National Book Award winner and finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, Between the World and Me. This short, yet extremely powerful, 152-page book was published in July (fitting) of 2015. Coates was inspired to write the book after a meeting with President Obama in 2013 and reading James Baldwin’s 1963 The Fire Next Time. Between the World and Me is a series of letters from Coates to his son, Samori. In these letters Coates examines the notion of race in America and how it has shaped our history, most often at the cost of the bodies and lives of black men (and women). …

Black Lives, White Thoughts, and a Gray World

First of all, I’m happy to be back as an active member of the bookly club. I’ve been decidedly absent in my time studying for my boards and as I figured no one wanted to hear my critique on “Radiology Cases: Emergency Medicine” or “Medical Physics” – I was laying low. Admittedly, On the Run was a bit of a tough read to jump back into but, unless you have been living under a rock as of late, almost painfully poignant.  Social media is the greatest blessing and curse of our generation. It simultaneously brought our collective youth and desired youths to a sniveling pile of filtered selfies and self congratulations and has given a voice to the historically silenced and marginalized population.  In doing so, it created a national conversation/uproar about justice, race, and that truth that we hold to be “self-evident.” We are all created equal. We are all created equal. But it is abundantly clear that we don’t live in a time or a society, that allows us to stay that way. …

A Textbook Case

I’m glad I read this book. However, I don’t know if I liked it as a book. The format seemed to be lacking. It felt like reading a series of articles. It was very well written, well researched, the subject matter was rich with important insights, and I felt like I learned a lot. But I felt like I was reading a textbook instead of a book. Granted, a lot of my nonfiction exposure thus far (outside of undergraduate and graduate courses) has been with authors like John Krakauer who spin an interesting narrative through their book. But in On The Run Goffman recites her findings and supports said findings with necessary evidence. Essentially, the book seemed to lack a certain passion and personality that I was hoping for. And as a result I never fully connected to the author or her subjects. But I guess it makes sense… this book is literally an anthropological study in book form. Much like a documentarian she keeps her reporting scientific and observational. I think what I would have preferred was if …

July Book

Images © ted.com Welcome, welcome! We’re glad you’re reading with us, or at least reading this post. Whether you’ve joined us in the past, followed our posts and reviews, browsed Bookly as a good distraction during the work day, or if this is your first time visiting… either way, welcome!   We’re glad you’re here. Especially this month. This July we’ve selected an important non-fiction read. Since in July we celebrate and reflect on our American history, we chose a story to teach us more about who we are as Americans… On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman. Goffman is an American sociologist who currently works as an assistant professor at The University of Wisconsin—Madison. Published in 2014, this book is Goffman’s ethnographic account of the six years she spent living in West Philadelphia (sorry, but you know where our head went with that. Just us?) observing the impact of mass incarceration and policing on low-income, urban, African-American communities. She started this research during her sophomore year at Penn and it eventually evolved into her doctoral thesis, and this …

Feminism: Should We Be Over It?

“My own definition of a feminist is a man or a woman who says, ‘Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better.’ All of us, women and men, must do better.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie I went into this book with high expectations (maybe I should start lowering them a bit…). I’ve been on intrigued by the topic of feminism recently – I’m currently in the middle of Bad Feminist and have recently started listening to the “Call Your Girlfriend” podcast – so I was eager to see what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie had to add to the conversation. And while I realize it’s hard to fit much of anything into a mere 52 pages, it left me feeling a bit empty. Because this only brushes the surface of the discussion. After reading the other Katherine/Kathryn/Kathryn reviews, I realized I was in the minority with my feelings on feminism today. I agree that in many ways this subject is tired. Put it to bed already! Right? But unfortunately …

Yes, We SHOULD All Be Feminists.

As I read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDx talk and then Katherine C.’s review, one word just kept repeating in my head: “yes.” Yes to being unapologetic in our femininity – you can enjoy being feminine and still be a feminist. Yes to raising our daughters and our sons differently so they may enjoy a world where men and women are equal. Yes to equal pay and all the other benefits that go along with women having the same rights as men. Yes to embracing feminism and recognizing that being a feminist simply means supporting the basic principle that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men have. Yes to all of it. All that being said, I do feel lucky that in the United States we have at least come far enough that some of the issues Adichie describes in Nigeria do not exist. But what kind of praise is that? “Well, at least when I tip someone the tipped thanks me and not my husband” is not quite a glowing recommendation for …

Feminism: I know you are but what am I?

I agree with Katherine C.  I’m bored of this conversation.  That is not necessarily a critique of Adichie’s writing or thoughts. It just that it is just that – writing and thoughts.  Frankly, you have to be the most isolated naïve person (male or female) to not appreciate the glaring discrepancies in gender equality.  I am not just speaking to places in the world, like Nigeria, where these social constraints are newly being addressed.  I am talking about here at home.  We all see it and live it every day.  I get called “nurse,” “honey,” “blue eyes” on the daily at work.  But, you know what, it doesn’t bother me all that much because 1. I have bigger fish to fry and 2. I can’t let it. As much as the concept of feminism is marred with a negative societal connotation of a movement of the brashy broad juiced up on hormones and self-rightoutsness, the real problem is simple.  The real problem is that feminism is not anything.  It isn’t an action.  It isn’t change. Feminism …