New Year, New Reading Challenge!
For a recap of the 2016 Reading Challenge click here. Visit PopSugar to download your own copy of the 2017 Reading Challenge. They stepped there game up this year so I did too! 30 books by December 31st! Can I do it?! Follow along with me and see!
A Book With a Title That’s a Character’s Name: After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
I am sad to say I was disappointed in this book which is partly why it took me forever to read. This is my second novel by Jacqueline but I wasn’t as impressed here. I felt the characters were too flat and the story itself lacked substance. The relationship between the main characters could have been more developed. There was room to do so much but she fell short here. I also have to acknowledge that I’m not the intended audience here so that could be a factor in my reaction.
A Book of Letters: Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This is really one letter but it will do for this category. A quick read, this book was packed with such good commentary on modern day feminism, motherhood and gender roles. It really addressed all the pressure that women face to raise daughters in a certain way so they will become “acceptable” women. I love how Adichie challenges her friend, and in turn her readers, to defy gender roles, question society and strive toward being feminist that are truly working toward equality for women in all respects. Can’t wait to read it again.
A Book Written by Someone You Admire: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I have seen the Ted talk and of course everyone has heard her quoted in a Beyonce song but I loved actually reading the text and consuming this beautiful message in yet another way. She has definitely been one of my favorite people since I read Americanah.
A Book That Takes Place Over a Character’s Life Span: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
This was a really interesting story. Imagine your family story becoming an insanely popular book by your famous author ex-boyfriend?! A famous author ex-boyfriend who refuses to publicly admit that it is your story. A good lesson in being selective in the company we keep and the intimate details we give them. There was so much potential for this to be better and I was overall really disappointed. I was looking for more character development, and more of a chronological story-telling rather than jumping in between past and present. It was good in some parts but it took so long to get the real meat of the story and then it was just over… I wish she had done just a little bit more here but still a decent read.
A Book That’s Published in 2017: Difficult Women by Roxane Gay.
This is the first fiction work that I’ve read from Roxane and I absolutely loved it. You can see how her life experiences have shaped her writing and I just love the expanse of her imagination. She really takes her readers on a journey with each of these short stories. She’s better than Degrassi at really going there and I loved being along for the ride. I can’t get enough of Roxane Gay!
A Book With a Subtitle: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay.
I must admit that it was really difficult to read this book at times. Roxane is so raw and honest about her life experiences and confronts some difficult truths about herself and her body in the process. Although my own struggles with my body are different and stem from different roots, I really related and couldn’t put it down at times. The honesty of this book is just so raw and so necessary! So glad to have read it and so thankful it was written. Add it to the reasons I love Roxane!
A Book You Loved as a Child: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.
I pulled out my original copy of the book that I was gifted in 1999 by one of my friends for Valentines Day and was so excited to read this one again. Still as good as the first time I read it! Now I need to re-read the entire series.
A Book Set in Two Different Time Periods: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
A beautiful and intriguing novel through and through! Even for someone thoroughly exhausted by the slave narrative, this offered a fresh perspective I think we are quick to overlook. The structure is incredibly frustrating though! It felt like it took too long to all come together which may have be purposeful but served as a detriment in my opinion. Still a very good read!
A Book That’s Been on Your TBR List For Way Too Long: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.
I’ve been so busy that it took me forever to get through this but I’m so happy l did! I follow Roxane Gay in Twitter and absolutely love her. This book was everything! I think and feel so much of what Gay writes on a near daily basis and I love when reading is reflective of real life.
A Book By a Person of Color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
Although I’m personally exhausted on slavery narratives, I enjoyed this book. Whitehead does a wonderful job portraying America as a slave nation and the different perspectives he provides make the book more interesting. The amount of research the author did on the the time period and the underground railroad is clear throughout. The idea of the underground railroad, as an actual railroad, is a very interesting concept. I think he missed an opportunity here to do more about the railroad itself. I also wish some of the secondary characters were more developed, but I get it, this was centered on one character and her journey. Overall good read.
A Book by an Author From a Country You’ve Never Visited: The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz.
Although not a bad addition to the Millennium series, it definitely lacks the style and voice of Stieg Larsson. I still enjoyed reading it though! The concept of the US government being unknowingly linked to criminal activity overseas is an especially relevant topic right now!
A Book With a Family-Member Term in the Title: The Mothers by Brit Bennett.
This was such a good book! Dealing with the grief and loss in different ways and situations and realizing that our mother figures can lead us in the right direction if we let them. I heard this one is getting turned into a movie too! Super excited for that.
A Book That is a Story Within a Story: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.
I loved this book so much, I wrote a review! Read what I thought here.
A Book About a Difficult Topic: A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines.
I was actually really disappointed in this book. I thought it fell flat due to poor character development and failure to address the real central issues: race and the death penalty. So much more could have been done to grapple with the racial divide and the ethical concerns of the death penalty. But it was definitely reflective of the late 1940s. A true period piece.