Monday, March 13, 2017

Black History Month, Retrospectively

Two things about February: Black History Month, and the cold that wouldn't die.  This means that I have been reading a bunch of great books by black authors, and that I haven't been blogging about them. And now I'm in that place where the backlog of amazing books is intimidating.

So, in the interest of taking the job in bite sized pieces, let's do a run down of my February reading list.  My policy was to only start books by black authors in February, and I got some great ones in.

I read Nnedi Okorafor's novellas Binti and Binti: Home, which have gotten great reviews.  I didn't love the first one as much as everyone else did, but I thought the sequel was exciting and much stronger.

I also started the audio book Okorafor's The Book of Phoenix, which I'm still in the middle of. I liked the first part very much, but I'm not clear on where the story's going, and I'm wondering if Nnedi Okorafor just might not be a writer for me. Her manner of storytelling is very fairy tail-like, and I'm not actually that big a fan of fairy tales and mythology.

In February I also finished N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, which we read for book club at work.  Not a lot of people managed to finish it--it's dense and DEEPLY world-buildy--but it was incredible.  Seriously, an unbelievable masterwork of storytelling. I am now creeping my way up the library's infinitely long waiting list for the sequel, The Obelisk Gate.

Just yesterday I finished Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, which has been getting a ton of buzz, and for good reason.  This is an incredible book and will win many prizes, I think. We'll meet for book club next week and I hope I can do a list of question after that.

Also a lovely book: Brit Bennett's The Mothers.  This is exactly the kind of book I say I don't like--it's pure literary fiction, a story of the closely observed lives of a young woman and the people around her in the wake of her mother's suicide.  The story centers around a church, and how the pain of many people can interact in so many ways.  It's sad and sweet and so, so lovely.

I also started and am still reading both Tiny, Pretty Things (Jenny: murder bunheads!), by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra, and You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain, by Phoebe Robinson.

February has been a really terrible month for my body but an incredible month for my mind.  Hopefully now that we're deep in March, I can get back to telling you all about the latter!

1 comment:

Lianna Williamson said...

This is such a great idea. I'm going to try to remember it when February '18 rolls around. I've made reading more authors of color a priority, but I like the idea of devoting a month to African-American writers.