Sunday, June 21, 2020


Another day/week/month and/or however it is we keep track of time these days. Two of these I highly, highly recommend, and y'all will be ever to figure out which ones those are. The other two were honestly just okay, and y'all will be able to figure that piece out, too. But mostly what you need to know is there are two books *coughSLAYandWhiteFragilitycough*  you should read. Okay, thanks, read on!

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo does a fantastic job of exploring how white people learn about race - or don't. It does a great job of explaining why so much of what we learned about racism was wrong and incorrectly framed, and it then starts the process (because you don't just read any book and know it all) of re-teaching what systemic racism actually is. I found the author gave voice and explanation of so many important concepts in such a needed way. While she is a researcher, this was also written in a way that made it very easy to digest and process. This is one I plan to continue to revisit, and for white people looking to (re)educate themselves and take action doing anti-racism work, this is one to add to your list - And you definitely should have a list y'all, not just a solitary read! 

Before She Was Helen is an upcoming release from Caroline Cooney (author of The Girl on the Milk Carton series btw). Clemmie lives in a retirement community. When she hasn't heard from a neighbor in awhile, she goes to check in. He's not home, but she finds this amazing piece of glass art that she shares a picture of with a family member. Doing that sets off a chain of events that she is just not ready for. Clemmie has a past that she's spent a lifetime trying to get away from, and the increased focus on her with this art and missing person is just not what she wants. The story then alternates between what Clemmie has been hiding all these years, as well as what the heck is going on now. This one had a lot of twists and turns, and with those there is some pain. I would give a content warning that part of plot involves sexual assault and stalking. You likely wouldn't know that from the description, and I think it is important to know that going in to make an informed decision on reading. I'll also say that I chose this read I thought it was going to have those "cozy mystery" vibes, but in reality, it had some intense happenings and characters navigating their impacts. The twists did keep me guessing which is what I always dig when reading this genre. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look in exchange for this honest review.

Fathers and Daughters and Sports was an essay collection from ESPN. I heard about it ages ago, and I happened upon it at a book sale awhile back. Anyway. This was a collection of fathers writing about their daughters, daughters writing about their fathers, and sportswriters writing about fathers and daughters. I really liked the first two types of essays, and I wish there was more of that. I liked when there was this authentic and real connection to the story being told. What I didn't so much like was the third person perspective as it didn't have that emotion the other two types of essays did. There was also a really long essay in the middle from that third person perspective, and I found myself again wishing that would have instead have been those personal connections. My overall thought is that I liked some of these, and others not so much as often happens when collections like thse. If this was a thing again (as this book is a decade old) I think I'd only check it out if there were way more fathers reflecting on their daughters and daughters writing about their fathers.

Slay by Brittney Morris was outstanding, and I cannot tell everyone in life enough how much they need to read this book. Y'all, as soon as you finish reading this review, I need you to purchase this book and/or put it hold at your local library. The story focuses on a black team gamer named Kiera. Kiera has created the online game Slay to bring together black gamers across the world. Here's the thing though - No one knows Kiera is the creator. When a teenager in Kansas City is murdered due to the game, the online community and outside world collide. There is a wave of misunderstanding and straight up wrong analysis about what Kiera's game is and trying to do. Kiera is unsure of what action she should take as her game comes under fire and the online community is infiltrated and threatened. Y'all, this was an amazing story. For one, I loved the pieces that explained the game Kiera had built as there was such intentionality in what she and others had built. For two, I loved how it showed how Kiera was navigating not just online life, but real life with regard to her identities. There was power in this component of her story. For three, Kiera was an incredible heroine and just generally awesome as a main character. She was strong, but also still figuring life out as teens do. I cannot tell you enough how much this one captivated me. At one point, I was so invested and worried about what was going to happen next that I had to look ahead to calm my fears. This was a beautiful exploration of community and friendship and family and relationships and self-discovery and literally all the things. This is a book I cannot recommend enough to people as I love, LOVE, LOVED the opportunity to see the world that the author built. READ. THIS. BOOK. NOW. PLEASE.

Onto the next ones!