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August Book

Image © npr.org  August is a good time to enjoy the sun with a side of a good book, and maybe a cold drink, or two. So this month we’ve picked Brit Bennett’s The Mothers as our sunshine companion. The story is set in a contemporary black community of Southern California. It’s the story of love, ambition, community, and the secrets we keep. The protagonists—Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey—are young and living their lives. It is the last season of high school for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty mourning her own mother’s recent suicide. She takes up with the local pastor’s son, Luke Sheppard, and a pregnancy that results from this teen romance will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are adults and still living in debt to the choices they made. Caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, they’re dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they …

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 …

Amazon in Brick and Mortar

Since its beginning in July of 1994 people have said Amazon would put booksellers (and eventually printers) out of business. Well, against all odds, it hasn’t happened. And with people like us out there, we don’t expect it to happen anytime soon, or ever. In fact, did you know print book sales have been outpacing e-book sales over the past few years? And the next generation of readers is driving this trend. So there’s plenty of room for hope. But Katherine C. predicted a new trend that’s now here (check out her masters thesis from 2012 about how digital brands would do well to present their brands in physical space). Since 2015 Amazon has been experimenting in brick and mortar retail by opening physical stores. There are seven open locations (NYC, Seattle, San Diego, Portland, Chicago, and in Lynnfield and Dedham, Massachusetts) with six more opening in 2017. And last week Katherine C. visited the Chicago location. There are more than a few things that make this store very different from other bookstores… All books are rated …

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). …