The Week in Books #44

Stack (just about) complete!

It’s a rainy Sunday and I’ve nearly finished my most recent stack. I’ve dug into Black Leopard, Red Wolf , a book that I’ve been looking forward to since it was released but have been intimidated by the length of. It will take a while to get through but I didn’t want to hold off on this post so here we are! The week in books.

1. Lemon by Cordelia Strube. I was surprised to see that this book had less than 200 reviews on Goodreads even though it was long listed for the 2010 Giller Prize. I like reading about awkward teenagers so it was the blurb that motivated me to pick it up, but oh man this book was just so depressing. Lemon’s life just gets worse and worse as the book goes on and by the end I was traumatized and also super angry at how things were going. I enjoyed the writing style and the smart critiques of the classic novels that Lemon reads, and also Lemon’s outlook on things in general, though towards the end she seems to lose it a bit (not surprising given all she endures) and becomes a tad unbearable. In the end it reminds the reader that no matter how bad things get there is always a way to turn over a new leaf. That was my main takeaway, at least. Not sure how I would feel about recommending it to anyone though given how totally, totally grim it was start to finish.

Longlisted for the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Lemon is the story of a teenaged girl with the numbers against her: three mothers, one deadbeat dad, one cancer-riddled protege, two friends, one tree-hugging stepbrother and a 60 percent average. The adults in her life are all mired in self-centeredness and the other kids are busy getting high, and she just can’t be bothered to fit in.

Google Books

2. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. This book is fabulous and definitely deserving of its Booker Prize win last year. Bernardine Evaristo is the first Black woman (also also first Black British woman) to win the prize which is surprising but also not surprising. About time! And wow. So well constructed and readable. The format is unique and comes across as poetic with the lack of punctuation (no use of periods or colons, just commas) but flows beautifully, covering a wide array of characters without being confusing or hard to follow. Everything fits together so well; each of the twelve narratives (one for each character, all British women, predominantly Black) is intriguing, informative and real. Very smart subject matter, very LGBTQ friendly, very feminist, I loved every part of this book.

From one of Britain’s most celebrated writers of color, Girl, Woman, Other is a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity and a moving and hopeful story of an interconnected group of Black British women. Shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize and the Gordon Burn Prize, Girl, Woman, Other paints a vivid portrait of the state of post-Brexit Britain, as well as looking back to the legacy of Britain’s colonial history in Africa and the Caribbean.

Book Synopsis

3. Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James. Right from the start I could tell this would be a lengthy read, though I was sucked in immediately by the world building and imaginative creatures. I’m hoping to finish by next Sunday.

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent–from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers–he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that’s come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that’s also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.

Penguin Randomhouse
Up next!!

Also in book news this week, Justin built me a little library so I can share books with the community! I always come across books I loved reading while thrifting and have to suppress the urge to pick them up, but now I can bring them home and stock my own little lending library. Come by and take a book, read it and bring it back or pass it on to a friend. Some lovely neighborhood folks have already added a few to the shelf also which is great! Yay books!

If you’re on Gabe come check it out, corner of Garland and Lackehaven. It’s filled up as of this morning. Happy reading!

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