All posts tagged: March

Just Awe Inspiring

Bryan Stevenson’s writing is an astonishing testament to our failures as a society and the remarkable lengths one person can go to to try to right our course. He has spent his adult life advocating for those who have been so unjustly sacrificed to an incredibly flawed system. He has continued passion for his pursuits that is awe inspiring. What he has accomplished and created has benefited the lives of so many people and their families and friends. Not every man or woman can look beyond someone’s label of “criminal, thief, liar, rapist, or murderer” and see what potential is still there, what humanity is still there.  You can’t separate this work from the author. But what I can say is that as an author, Stevenson is gifted. He layers several stories, characters, and legal jargon in a remarkable way. He puts so much care into the way he writes about his clients, his own experiences, and explaining how we are good people but end up doing such horrible things to one another. He draws …

A Call for Justice and Mercy

An interesting little background note before I jump into my review: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson has popped up on the Bookly Club radar almost yearly, only to be outvoted by another book. Until this year, when we decided to read it in conjunction with the release of the film of the same name starring Michael B. Jordan as Mr. Stevenson himself. I haven’t seen the film yet, but if it is even half as good as the book, I recommend you watch it. For those who haven’t read the book, Just Mercy is Bryan Stevenson’s first hand account of starting the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit law office in Alabama, the early days of his work, and many examples of the cases he has handled since EJI’s founding in 1989. If you’re interested in EJI, Bryan Stevenson, or a more detailed synopsis of Just Mercy, you can find all of that here. I read Just Mercy over the course of about a week back in January, before coronavirus or quarantines, or working from home and parenting two small children who are …

March Book

In March, rounding out the year’s TV & film awards season, we read a book adapted for the screen. But first, we should mention that this awards season is discouraging. The lack of diversity hit a 3-year low. Usually I enjoy watching the Oscars, but watching the same characters award each other for another formulaic Tarantino or Scorsese film sounds like a snooze fest. In contrast, we’re reading the New York Times Bestseller titled Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. I first heard about this book during a fundraising event. The keynote speaker, a peer of Stevenson’s, spoke highly of his friend’s new book Just Mercy. I can’t recall his exact description of the book, but I do remember immediately adding it to my Goodreads. And that was four years ago, so it’s about time I read this one! Stevenson is a brilliant and accomplished lawyer devoted to defending the disenfranchised, wrongfully convicted, and those trapped by a corrupt justice system. Just Mercy is the true story of Stevenson as a young attorney. It was early in his …

Injustice Laid Bare

Since reading The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin nearly 15 years ago, I’d been looking forward to reading more of his writing. In the past, life and other books had gotten in the way, but with If Beale Street Could Talk as Bookly’s March selection I finally revisited Baldwin. James Baldwin was an author, activist, and queer black man at his creative peak in 1960’s / 1970’s America. His words have a power that’s lasted generations. He wrote works of fiction and nonfiction that channeled the voices of the oppressed. And in his novel If Beale Street Could Talk (1974) he tells the all too familiar story of a young black man in America. Fonny is living his life among family and first love, pursuing his creative passions in New York City. And yet all that, and much more, is stolen away. Framed for a rape he didn’t commit, Fonny is imprisoned with little hope of freedom. Even after discovering that Tish, the woman he loves, is carrying his child, we bear witness to the desperate and near hopeless decay …

The Year in Review

Another year on the books! This month marks two years since we first started The Bookly Club. Thank you to all of you who have joined us here. This year we enjoyed reading a diverse group of books, which we mostly liked. Here’s our year (2016) in review: March: Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church In 2001 a group of reporters for The Boston Globe started a series of reports on the Catholic Church’s management of sexual abuse. This group of journalists methodically and publicly uncovered the church’s decades-long neglect, denial and deliberate coverup of sexual abuse committed by numerous Boston area priests. Our thoughts … “The crimes committed by the abusers are only equalled (if not surpassed) by the Church’s complete and abject failure to protect its children from repeated, horrific, sexual abuse. As grotesque as its subject matter may be, this book is important to read.” April: One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories Novak’s book is a series of fictional short stories born from his creative imagination. Just a few of the short stories include: a boy …

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 …

{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 …

Our First Year of Bookly!

Hooray! We’ve officially completed one year of Bookly. If you’ve been following along since the beginning (thank you!) you might remember we read our very first book last March. The book was Still Alice. And we’ve read a lot of other great ones over this past year (the short and smart We Should All be Feminists, a good tug at the heart strings from Tell The Wolves I’m Home, and the bizarre but fascinating The Handmaid’s Tale, to name a few). This year we’ve also shared some great cover redesigns, newsworthy bulletins, and helpful recommendations! And we hope you’ve enjoyed it all, and maybe learned a little something new. We’ve definitely enjoyed sharing these past 12 months (and 9 books) with you all! With February coming to a close, that means we’re starting a whole new year of Bookly picks and posts. And if you’re new here we hope you’ll join the Bookly club! Here’s a little refresher on how our book club works, AND a few hints at what we’ll be reading this year 🙂 The Bookly Club was started as an …

March Book

It’s finally here, our first Bookly Club book! First things first. As you may already know, each book we read is meant to fit the time of year in which we read it. And the theme for this month is “Screenplay.” Did you spend any time this winter watching the Golden Globes, SAG Awards or Oscars? Well, we just passed awards season, and since we’re stuck in bitterly-cold climates (if you’re not, count yourself lucky) those shows were among the few highlights during this sub-zero season. So in honor of Hollywood’s recent self-congratulations, we’re reading a book that’s been made into a movie.     In fact, this book has been made into an award-winning film which has won a lot of praise during the most recent awards season. Published in 2009, Still Alice is a story of a woman actively fighting her battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. A terrifying illness affecting millions. The first-time author, Lisa Genova, has her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University and tells the compelling story of 50-year-old Alice Howland’s demise into the frightening world of forgetting. It seems like this will be a really hard story to read, especially for those …