All posts filed under: March

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. …

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 …

Annihilation and Southern Reach

I read Annihilation about a year ago. It was a great first read to get me back into books after having my second daughter. A short book (only 200 pages or so) and a great page-turner. I loved it… although it’s a bit bizarre. OK. A lot bizarre, especially toward the end. But I enjoyed that it was unlike anything I’d read before… a cast of all female leads, an unearthly terrain, a mystery with an unforeseeable solution, and a layered writing style that kept me wanting more. So, for this month I read Authority, the sequel to Annihilation and the second in James VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. I had hopes of finishing Acceptance as well (the final book in the trilogy), but as I type I’m still less than 100 pages into it… thanks to Authority. It was a bit of a drag to be honest. I blew through Annihilation but Authority left something to be desired. It’s set at the Southern Reach; the headquarters of the Area X initiative where we follow a new protagonist and interim director …

Questions, Questions, and More Questions

I finished Annihilation yesterday. Before I started (the day before yesterday), I told my husband, “I think you would like this book.” So when I finished, he asked if I thought he would like it. I responded, “ummm….” and he responded, “WOW! That’s a glowing recommendation.” But here’s the thing, I really liked this book. I couldn’t immediately recommend it to him because I have no standard of comparison. It’s very different from any book I know that he really likes. It reminded me of a book I read a long time ago, but I honestly can’t remember what book it was (mom brain). The way I found to describe it to him was it’s like if Jurassic Park was not about dinosaurs, but just about some unknown creepy stuff. Descriptive, I know. I loved that the narrative was told through the biologist’s journal. I love that at the end you’re sort of free to decide where the rest of her story goes (and, spoiler alert, the second book in the series does not pick up with her …

March Book

We’re very excited about this month’s read! In March, post awards season, we like to pick a book that’s been (or will be) made into a movie. Did you notice that of the nine 2017 Best Picture nominees, five were based on books: Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion, and Moonlight? Well this year we’re getting ahead of the game and reading a book that’s being made into a movie as we speak and set to be released in September of this year. The book is the first in Jeff VanderMeer‘s Southern Reach trilogy. In fact, Katherine C. read it earlier this year and said it’s a can’t-put-it-down, unlike anything she’s read, must-read! And, well, that’s a pretty big sell so we couldn’t resist. This month we’re reading Annihilation. Annihilation was released in 2014 and describes a team of four women (bonus points for Women’s History Month) who set out into an area known as Area X. All you have to do is read the dust jacket and you’ll be instantly hooked … “Area X has been cut off from the rest of …

A Spotlight on Betrayal

I’m fessing up: I didn’t read Betrayal. Mainly because I saw “Spotlight” and was afraid reading the book would be redundant. As it turns out, after talking with some of the other Bookly Clubbers, I might need to keep it on my TBR list. But in lieu of a book review, I’m here to give you my thoughts on the movie, which I was thrilled to see win Best Picture at the Oscars this year. Saying I enjoyed this movie sounds a bit strange since it’s such a disturbing story, but you know what I mean. So let’s get to what I liked/didn’t like, bullet point style. As much as I LOVE Rachel McAdams (and I really really like her), I thought her performance was a bit meh. She has a tendency to play characters that don’t seem to push her far beyond just playing Rachel McAdams. But still, I’ll see [almost] any move with her in it. (Note: DO NOT see “Aloha.”) Mark Ruffalo was GREAT. I thought he played the character well, and made Michael’s neuroses …

{Betrayal} Cover Redesign

I‘m sure most of you have heard about this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture: SPOTLIGHT. It’s an intense story about The Boston Globe’s special “Spotlight” team of journalists who, in the early 2000’s, investigated a decades-long conspiracy in the Catholic Church. And the book, Betrayal, is what the Spotlight team wrote after their years of award-winning investigative reporting. It’s a serious read that deserves a better cover than either of what’s currently out there. So, as I do on occasion (when having two kids under two-years-old will allow), I’ve re-designed an alternative cover for our March read. I tried to keep a subtle religious theme with the text and image column creating the shape of a cross, and then tying in the newspaper influence with the subhead copy being arranged in a way that’s similar to a newspaper column. I think if Betrayal actually hit the shelves with this cover, the book could reach a whole new audience! But, for now we’ll just keep it between us until my little ones grow up and I have …

An Unlikeable Must-Read

Betrayal was a difficult book to read. Frankly, at times it felt like reading just a laundry list of sexual abuse crimes. Gory detail after gory detail. One after the other, after the other. You get the idea. And as I was reading my husband kept asking me, “are you liking it?” and I wouldn’t know how to answer. I’m not sure if this is a book you can “like.” It’s not one you read casually. Instead, it’s one you read out of necessity. The stories this book tells are important ones that I think everyone should know more about. To catch you up to speed, Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church was written by the Spotlight team of journalists at The Boston Globe in the early 2000’s. It unveils the Boston-area Catholic Church’s deliberate negligence and cover-up of sexual abuse crimes committed by hundreds of its clergy members, allowing them to abuse thousands of victims for decades. The book is a compilation of the 600 different Spotlight investigative reports. It’s a battery of case files, statistics, victim testimonies, and allegations. As I was reading, …