Book Review: “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We should all be feminists: A controversial statement that shouldn’t be controversial.

This very short book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie certainly packs a punch. In this book, she gracefully tackles the concept of feminism and the stigma that surrounds it.

With many personal and relatable anecdotes, Adichie takes down the criticisms of feminism (both a a word and as a concept) one-by-one. I also found that there were many indirect connections to the arguments surrounding the BLM movement, which I liked! In the classroom we call that a text-to-world connection; I thought it was great that I was able to learn and think about so many things in such a short amount of time.

Spoiler-Free Review: “We Should All Be Feminists” is a short but powerful rebuttal to those who have misconceptions about the concept of feminism. In this quick manifesto, Ngozi Adichie shares many…

Book Review: “Peak” by Roland Smith

What’s the most random job you’ve ever had?

One of the most random jobs I’ve had is working as a belayer at children’s parties. A belayer is someone who is there for safety while another person is rock-climbing; the rope runs through their belay device and they make sure everything is secure and safe for the person up in the air. I’m terribly afraid of heights and don’t enjoy rock climbing myself, so this was definitely a strange job for me to have. That being said, I think it’s fascinating to learn about people who do it professionally! And I wish I weren’t so afraid of it.

While mountaineering and rock climbing certainly aren’t the same thing, there are definitely some similarities. I was worried when I started reading Peak that I wouldn’t have too much interest in it. I’m afraid of heights, don’t have much knowledge of climbing of any kind, and don’t typically read books of the adventure genre. However, this book was such a pleasant surprise! I learned so much about mountaineering, and found the story really uplifting as well.

Spoiler-Free Review: “Peak” is an adventurous middle grade novel about a young boy named Peak who joins his father in an attempt to…

Book Review: “Friday Black” by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Spring Break is coming to an end, as is March! While this month didn’t feel as long as January, it certainly has felt pretty long. I didn’t manage to read as much as I wanted to, but that’s ok! I’m just glad that during my break I managed to make time for self-care in other ways, and that I really enjoyed what I did manage to read!

I’m actually still catching up on my reviews for the books I read in February, and Friday Black was certainly a stand-out read from last month! I don’t often read collections of short stories, but I’m so glad I took a leap out of my comfort zone for this one. I discovered this book through going to my city’s book festival in fall of 2018. I picked this particular book talk because it featured Luis Alberto Urrea, one of my favorite authors! Adjei-Brenyah was another novelist featured in this panel, and it was so wonderful listening to him speak. And his book sounded incredible! My now-husband and I immediately purchased his book after, and then stood in line to meet him and get it signed. He is such a kind man and talented writer.

While it may not be a book for everybody, it is definitely a powerful and well-crafted collection of short stories. It is very dark and violent at times, but the commentary contained in this speculative fiction is well worth the discomfort caused by some of the darker, bloodier stories. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Spoiler-Free Review: “Friday Black” is a powerful collection of speculative fiction short stories. These short stories explore everything from…

Book Review: “Dust Tracks on a Road” by Zora Neale Hurston

It’s finally Spring Break! Over the last couple weeks, it’s been hard not to think about where I was at during this time last year. We had just begun our abrupt transition to online learning. It was scary, confusing, overwhelming, and so stressful. I had a hard time sleeping at all over the break. This year, while the overall state of things is much better, there are still so many unknowns and changes that it makes it hard not to be anxious. However, I’m trying my best to take things one step at a time and enjoy my break because I deserve to rest and take care of myself!

I’m really looking forward to reading as much as I can over the next week! And I have to say, I’ve thoroughly been enjoying the increased amount of nonfiction I’ve read so far this year. I made a goal to read more since I don’t often choose to pick up nonfiction books, and I’m so grateful that I made this my goal for this year. I already feel like I’ve learned and grown so much.

My most recent nonfiction pick was “Dust Tracks on a Road,” which is the autobiography of Zora Neale Hurston. What an incredible and inspiring woman! This book left me feeling like I wanted to learn even more about her life, and also wanting to read more of her work (other than just “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” which is one of my all-time favorite books). I will say, I think I’ve discovered that I prefer memoirs to autobiographies, but this was still a wonderful read that I would highly recommend!

Spoiler-Free Review: “Dust Tracks on a Road” is the powerful and inspiring autobiography of Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston lived…

Book Review: “The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food” by Marcus Samuelsson

Happy Sunday everyone! One thing I’ve been trying to do more during quarantine is cook. It’s not something I’ve every really been super comfortable with, but I think that mostly comes from just not doing it enough! So, during quarantine, my husband and I have been trying to cook at home more often and get more comfortable in the kitchen.

Another reason I’m so glad to start cooking more is because I LOVE cookbooks. I love them and I can’t help but buy them because they’re always so beautiful and have so many pictures of delicious food. However, I’ve always felt kind of guilty collecting cookbooks when I don’t actually…cook.

I also can’t say that I’ve ever read a cookbook from cover to cover. Until now! In February, I read “The Rise” by Marcus Samuelsson. I had flipped through it and been somewhat intimidated by the recipes, but I also noticed how much great information it had about black chefs and other culinary figures. So, I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn more about black history from a culinary perspective! Which is something I knew very little about before now. I learned SO much from reading this book, and I’m so excited to continue finding resources to learn more!

Spoiler-Free Review: “The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food” is a cookbook that chronicles black food, chefs, and other culinary figures throughout history and in today’s world. It shows…

Book Review: “From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home” by Tembi Locke

Hello everyone! Can you believe it’s already been a year since we’ve been in lockdown? I’ve definitely been feeling the weight of it lately, and I’m really looking forward to being together with friends and family again. On the bright side, I have been able to make more time for reading since I’ve been home more! So that’s been a small sliver of light in all this darkness.

Today I’m reviewing “From Scratch” by Tembi Locke, and WOW! It’s easily one of my favorites that I’ve so far read this year, and it’s likely to make my “Top Books of 2021” list! It was so emotional and powerful, and one that I’m still thinking about several weeks after finishing it.

Spoiler-Free Review: “From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home” is a memoir that follows…

Book Review: “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker

Wow. This book was so much different than what I expected (though I guess I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect in the first place). I initially picked this up when I was a sophomore in high school, but ended up putting it down after reading only the first couple pages. There is pretty graphic abuse throughout the novel, and it occurs at the very beginning of the story. As a young reader who had never really been exposed to anything like that in stories before, it was pretty disturbing and upsetting. However, this time I was determined not to give up. And I’m so glad I didn’t! This book was so powerful and moving, and well worth the discomfort caused by the darker scenes.

Spoiler-Free Review: “The Color Purple” is a classic novel written by Alice Walker. I’m struggling to write a review for this book because…

Book Review: “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn

My first audiobook of 2021! I was a little nervous when I started this one because I didn’t realize how DARK it was. I was nervous that something dark and heavy maybe wasn’t the best way to start off a new year. However, it ended up being really gripping and I enjoyed it immensely. I don’t read mysteries/thrillers that often, but I really love books that keep me on the edge of my seat and are unpredictable.

Spoiler-Free Review: “Dark Places” is a dark thriller in which a young girl is the lone survivor of…