Saturday, September 22, 2018

Summer Reading 2018

So, today, September 22nd marks the end of summer, and if you are like me, you will pay the calendar absolutely no mind and wear shorts, and tank tops, and flip flops until I am forced to do something else. However, I will use this day to official wrap up my summer reading and start my 10 to 40 book challenge with my students.

My reading this summer started off slow, because I was BUSY, and sometimes I would get back to my hotel room and be completely brain dead. However, by the end of July, my schedule slowed down and my reading picked up.

I read a total of seventeen books this summer, and I feel like I’m beating a dead horse, but we can all be life-long learners, we just need to read. Yes, that’s all it takes. You don’t need to take a class, you just need to read more. AND, you get to decide what you want to learn. For instance, I am very fascinated by people and how we operate, so I read a lot of personal stories, novels, and self-help books. You get to be the captain.

Very Favorite book of the Summer:

The book that caused me to have the hugest paradigm shift this summer was White Fragility by Robin Diangelo. This book is quite scholarly but uses colloquial language to make this book accessible to almost any person. It gives a great overview of what exactly racism is and explains why a whole lot of white people think that the race issue is not their issue; however, it is just as much their issues as it is Black and Brown folks. I thought about my very own biases, and I swear I am working on being less judgmental, checking my biases, and allowing folks to do the best that they can. This is a book that I will read and reread, because I never, ever want to forget the things in this book, and I need the knowledge for when I need to “check folks.” (LOL) You don’t have to walk around in ignorance when it comes to race.... YOU CAN READ, AND EDUCATE YOURSELF.

This one was on President Obama’s reading list, and it is GOOD: 

Educated by Tara Westover! A tragic, coming of age story that is TRUE. I thought a lot about how difficult it can be to overcome trauma! READ THIS MOVING BOOK.

The following are books that I am recommending for folks who really want to know more about being human and all of its possibilities:

Boots On the Ground by Elizabeth Partridge! This book is completely captivating. It tells true stories about different individuals involved in the Vietnam war including US Presidents and Dr. King. I found it so interesting that Dr. King thought really hard about speaking out against the Vietnam War and even had to sever ties with President Johnson in order to not be moved. This book is definitely appropriate for young adults; it has short chapters and amazing pictures.

Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth! This story of a Black man infiltrating the Klan is captivating as well as entertaining. I laughed at times and was quite amazed at other times. Spike Lee did a great job with the movie Black Klansman. It’s a straight forward book, and yes, I think teenagers will find this book engaging and accessible.

Demand the Impossible by Bill Ayers! Now, this book was recommended to me by a teacher whom I was working in Texas. Y’all, this book helped me to see that this country needs to do some serious soul searching and radically change a few things like our health care and educational systems, and I know that it can be done.... We have to demand the impossible!

All The Stars Denied by Guadalupe Gracia McCall! This is a very important, young adult book. This is a fictional story that is based on facts of what happened to many Mexican Americans during The Great Depression. What I love about this book is that we see marginalized people fighting for themselves. Yes, the Mexican Americans are fighting for themselves. There is a strong mother and father figure, and the daughter is my kind of girl: Courageous.

The True American by Anand Giridharadas! Y’all this is a true story that reads like a suspense novel. There is a guy who wanted to ‘protect his country’ from Muslims, and after 9/11, he shot three people whom he thought were Muslims, and two died and one survived. This books goes into the life of the killer and the life of the person who survived. This book challenged my beliefs about a whole lot of stuff. What I know for sure is that hate and love are both real.

If you want to know more about the varied stories of growing up Black in American, I am recommending these books:

No Ashes in the Fire by Darnell L. Moore! I saw an advertisement stating that Darnell was going to be at the bookstore Politics and Prose in DC, and he was going to be interviewed by Clint Smith. So, you know I had to go. After hearing Darnell so candidly talk about his experience of growing up gay in New Jersey, I knew that I had to read this book. Reading this book I thought about inclusion, racism, patriarchy, Black students attending White colleges and so much more.... EXCELLENCE!

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jenkins! This book is a collection of essays, and it came highly recommended. I really enjoyed the essays about women and girl relationships, then the essays sort of lost me. However, I think these essays are important to add to the many stories that make up the American story.

Image result for image for this will be my undoing

New People by Danzy Senna! Let me say that I absolutely love the writing of Danzy. I fell madly in love with her novel Caucasia about twenty years ago and have been recommending it to people, and I even have it in my classroom. So, when I saw that Danzy had a new book out, New People, I just had to read it. New People is just as thought-provoking as Caucasia and a good look at race in America in the form of a good story. These characters will be with me for a long, long time.

If you are curious and love mysteries, I am recommending:

I’ll Be Gone In the Dark by Michelle McNamara! So, this book is about a lady, Michelle McNamara, who was obsessed with finding the Golden State Killer. I found it very interesting that the Golden State Killer started killing people before DNA testing was a thing, but once DNA testing came along, this changed the game literally. After about forty years, The Golden State Killer was captured this year. However, Michelle, did not live to see The Golden State Killer captured, she died in 2016 at the tender age of forty-six.

If you want some good, old fashioned stories with depth, I am recommending these book:

Hope Nation edited by Rose Brock! This is a collection of short stories all centered around HOPE.. I love this collection so much. We get to hear from writers such as Angie Thomas, Nic Stone, Jason Reynolds and many more. My favorite short story is about how readers are going to save the world, and I believe that we will.

Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert! I was given a copy of Little and Lion, and it was not what I was expecting. Based on the title, I thought this would be a cute book about a boy and lion. However, this is a young adult book about identity, sexuality, and mental illness. I was completely intrigued by this book, because many of the ideas made me feel quite old-school, but according to young adults whom I have talked to, this is the stuff that is on their minds. Grown folks may need to consider reading young adult books to be empathic to what they are experiencing. It’s a NEW DAY.

American Airlines by Ben. H. Winters! A student wrote an essay on this novel, and it blew me away. The premise of this novel is what if the South had won the Civil War....  Quite captivating!

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles! This book also came highly recommended. It is a young adult book, but like Little and Lion, it deals with some complex ideas. I loved every word, but I would recommend that adults read this first before recommending this to a young adult. It is important, necessary, but heart-wretching.

If you love poetry, try this mighty book:

Wife by Tiphanie Yanique! I heard Tiphanie talk about the idea of loving someone, like a husband, whom you are not related to by blood, and I knew that I needed to read this book. Interesting, Interesting look at love.

And, Because I know that I always have room to grow in my profession.....

Summer Reading is over...... NEXT!!!
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