As January comes to a close the only word I can use to describe it is WOW!
It has been quite a month and I must say that I started the new year off with a bang! Although I took off a few days at the beginning of the year to rest my mind before plunging back into books, I feel so excited about 2019.
Last year my goal was to read 100 books and I did, which reignited my passion for books. In case you want to know how I did it read this post. This year in 2019 my goal is to read 113 books and that number scares me a little bit because last year reading 100 took over my entire life, but it’s all good.
In January I read nine books! YEEESSS! Which puts me on a good track. Today as I write this post I’m actually not reading anything but I have about 20 books waiting to be read, four of which got delivered this morning from Book Outlet. There are also so many books coming out this month, in February that I can’t wait to read, you can check them out here.
But back to my monthly roundup. Here’s a list of the books I read in January and a little review on how I felt about them.
The first book I read in 2019 I think was a perfect way to kick off my year, it was “What I know for sure” by Oprah Winfrey.
1 What I know for sure by Oprah Winfrey
I read this one a few years back but I wanted to read it again because I felt that I rushed right through it the first time. This time though I took my time and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been a loyal Oprah follower since I was 13 and she continues to inspire me and drop constant gems and this book is filled with them. I borrowed this book from the library and read it digitally and a few chapters in I had to run out and pick it up from the book store because I needed to highlight and keep it for reference. It was moving, exhilarating and uplifting. The truths she shares in this book touch me. If you haven’t read this one yet and you need the inspiration, pick it up today.
2. Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet by Ashlee Piper
I received this book in the summer from the publisher and it was not the type of book I would regularly read. But the premise really interested me so I decided to give it a try, and I’m glad I did. This book was such a great guide on helping anyone, even me, live a more eco-friendly life. When you think of living eco-friendly, you’re probably like me, you don’t know where on earth to start, this book clears out all the fog and provides an easy guide for making the changes needed to make our planet a better place. I loved this book and it made me feel more powerful and gave me much needed inspiration about giving a shit!
3. The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
The Female Persuasion is my first book by Meg Wolitzer although I’ve read some of her articles before. While the book wasn’t what I expected I still enjoyed it quite a bit. The book follows Greer Kadetsky who is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world.
The book is about power, influence, loyalty, womanhood and ambition. At its core, this book is about the flame that exists within all of us as well as finding our voice and our path.
4. How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide by Crystal Marie Fleming
Wow, this book is powerful and I think it is the perfect read for anyone who wants to know more about race relations and the basics of the civil right movement. It presents a clear picture of oppression: mostly examining racism in America. I’ve read a lot of books about race and oppression and I think this one does such a great job of breaking it down in a very detailed and comprehensive way. Definitely worth the read.
Reading and connecting with the voices of black writers is one of the things that I strive to bring to my writing and my small community. Needless to say, this book did all that and more. Finding ourselves and reading stories that connect with us is one of the key elements to my reading journey.
When did you first see yourself in literature?” that’s the question that this collection pursues and reading it gave me all the feels and more. Speaking directly to black women readers, this book contains a journey of love and self-discovery. If you haven’t read it yet please put this one on your list.
6. Beyoncé in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism by Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley
Making headlines when it was launched in 2015, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley’s undergraduate course “Beyoncé Feminism, Rihanna Womanism” has inspired students from all walks of life. In Beyoncé in Formation, Tinsley now takes her rich observations beyond the classroom, using the blockbuster album and video Lemonade as a soundtrack for vital next-millennium narratives.
Omise’eke Tinsley speaks of this book as being akin to a mixed taped, and I think that might be spot on. This book is a blend of black feminist thought and personal anecdote.
Being a full-fledged member of the Beehive I appreciate her interpretations but even I thought that Tinsley gave way too much credit to Beyonce as a feminist leader. I love Beyonce but I disagree that she is the leader of any type of feminist movement.
Although I did enjoy the book I didn’t appreciate the pushing of the queer agenda, but I understood that it is part of Tinsley’s truth and I respect that but if you don’t wish to know more about queer feminist thought then this might not be the book for you. But if you are interested in feminism and pop culture then this is a worthy read.
7. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Being a ride or die for your sister takes on a different meaning, in Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel, “My Sister, the Serial Killer.” Read me full review here.
Set in modern Nigeria, this novel depicts the lives of two sisters who must navigate their own demons in a patriarchal society.
What attracted me to this novel was the beautiful cover and the entire premise behind the title. Before I even read a word of it I thought to myself ‘what if my sister were a serial killer? What would I do? I still don’t quite know the answer.
The book follows sisters Ayoola and the narrator, Korede who find themselves in a murderous killing spree. With twists, turns and an interesting sister dynamic I loved this book. It was a very easy read and I finished it in one sitting.
8. Magical Negro by Morgan Parker
I was introduced to Morgan Parker when I read “There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé” and I loved it. Needless to say, I expected nothing less in her latest work, Magical Negro. It is an archive of black everydayness, a catalogue of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms, and customs. Focused primarily on depictions of black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics—of both the body and society, of both the individual and the collective experience. Thanks to Tin House Books; for giving me an advanced copy, which I finished in one day. Such a powerful read. Read my full review here.
It’s hard to choose my favourite book that I read in January, but this one just might be it. After reading this one I felt awful that I’d never heard of Henrietta Lacks.
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years.
Throughout the book, I think Rebecca Skloot does an amazing job of telling the family’s story but also helping the reader understand the big picture, which is a tragic injustice but as the law stands nothing can be or has been done.
The question still remains, should researchers be allowed to take your cells and tissues without your permission? The obvious answer is no, but as it stands right now in 2019 it still happens in the US in Canada and around the world.
Henrietta Lacks’ story is another story of being uneducated, black and poor in the US. It is a tragedy and an injustice and Rebecca Skloot does an absolutely amazing job telling this story. This is a must-read.
What about you, what books did you read in January?