Wow, the long weekend really threw me off. I thought last night was Sunday and today was Monday, but here we are — already Tuesday, and why this post is just a little bit late this time! But Tuesday means it’s time for Show Us Your Books, where I do a quick recap of everything I read over the last month. Get excited because I have some really awesome reads to share, including my first 5-star read of 2020![Read more...] about Show Us Your Books Reading Recap — What I Read in August
Octavia Butler’s Kindred is a book I’ve always wanted to read, and thankfully, finally got around to thanks to my book club. In the 1970s, this was the first science fiction novel written by a black woman. It became Butler’s best-selling novel, and she went on to win multiple Hugo and Nebula awards.
In Kindred, Dana is a 26-year-old black woman living in California with her husband, a white man named Kevin. Inexplicably, on her birthday, she is pulled back in time to the antebellum South, where she rescues a young boy named Rufus. She is only there long enough to save him and just as suddenly as she appeared, disappears back in the present. As the story goes on, Dana continues to be drawn back into Rufus’ life to save him. Until she is pulled back to her time, she must learn to blend in, which means, in that time and place, becoming a slave.[Read more...] about Kindred + Upside-Down Peach Cake
It’s no secret that I love book clubs. But I didn’t always. I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember, devouring books that were much too big for me even at a young age — from my first chapter book (Black Beauty) at six years old to my mother’s suspense novels as a tween. I was always reading, but I was always reading alone. Until several years ago, when I joined my first book club as a way to make some friends when I was living in New York City. I dutifully read the book, walked into a room full of strangers, and was surprised at the immediate connection. I never looked back.
Now, I’m in three book clubs. I love that, through them, I have formed several close friendships. I love that they’re often an excuse to drink wine on a weeknight. I love that they can be fun but also serious. I love how book clubs get me to read books I wouldn’t otherwise have picked up on my own.
I often read as a means of escape, but I also read to gain perspective and learn. I think it’s important to read outside of your comfort zone. This is where book clubs can really come in handy. They are all the things I said above, but book clubs are also a safe space to have deep, meaningful discussions about what we encounter in books and in life.
This is true of all of my book clubs, including the one I currently lead for my company. I work for an advertising agency that has made diversity and inclusion a pillar of its mission, and our book club is centered around diverse perspectives. I jumped at the chance to join and have been a part of it since it began about four years ago. And, I have been fortunate enough to be able to lead it for the past year and a half.
You don’t always have to read serious, academic or big, tough books to have these kinds of discussions. In fact, contemporary fiction often encourages wonderful, insightful conversation between book club members. As you can see below, a lot of the selections we read for my company-sponsored book club fall into this category.
If you’re looking to spur thought-provoking conversations through reading—whether in your own book club, a group of coworkers, or buddy reads with friends—read on![Read more...] about Books for Thought-Provoking Discussions
August is finally here and it feels like it. My part of Michigan has finally gotten the memo that it’s summer — it like soup out there. Hot and wet. Blech. But, I guess, more time to read indoors! I actually had a pretty good reading month. Six books including two that pretty much everyone should check out. (See the 4-star section.)[Read more...] about Show Us Your Books Reading Recap — What I Read in July
Sue Monk Kidd’s latest novel The Book of Longings is one that I was very much looking forward to reading. I loved The Secret Life of Bees and I also enjoyed The Invention of Wings, though not quite as much. In both of them, her writing and storytelling completely drew you in and held you through until the end. I was expecting much the same in this story, which is about Jesus’ wife, Ana. (Yes, that Jesus.)
And, aside from the writing, the subject of the novel intrigued me immensely. I adored The Red Tent, which is also a Biblical retelling, focusing on women in the Bible who are named but otherwise overlooked in the story. Obviously, in the Bible, Jesus doesn’t have a wife, so this was entirely outside of that scope. But, still I was expecting The Red Tent’s essence — a female-focused story set in Biblical times. I was left a little disappointed.[Read more...] about The Book of Longings + Marinated Goat Cheese Spread with Olives
Rita Mae Brown’s novel Rubyfruit Jungle was quite revolutionary when it was first published in the 1970s. I had never heard of it until recently when I was searching for books to include in my office’s book club poll for Pride Month reads, and certainly now, the content isn’t what I would call groundbreaking, but I can see why it was at the time.
Rubyfruit Jungle is a coming-of-age lesbian novel based somewhat on Rita Mae Brown’s own experience growing up and becoming an author. The main character, Molly, is an easygoing, independent thinker — even from a young age (we meet her around 12) — and, in many ways, her narration reminded me of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. She doesn’t want to become a housewife and gets scolded for playing doctor because, after all, men are the doctors. She wants nothing more than to leave her small life and become a filmmaker.[Read more...] about Rubyfruit Jungle + Baked Strawberry Donuts