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…

Top 5 Saturday: Love Triangles

Welcome to Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and this week’s challenge focuses on literary love triangles.

I was surprised that I struggled with this one! I read quite a bit of young adult fiction, and the love triangle is a pretty common romantic trope in these books. However, after listing a few of my favorite ones from when I was a teenager, I kind of drew a blank! I did manage to come up with a list of five, though. It may not be my favorite trope, but they are fun to read occasionally! In no particular order, here are my top five!

Top 10 Tuesday: (Audio)books on my Spring 2021 TBR

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s challenge is about books on my spring 2021 TBR!

As dorky as it sounds, one of my favorite things to do when I’m bored is stare dreamily at my bookshelves and think about when I can read all of the books on my shelves. You’d think this time would be better spent actually reading said books (and you’d be right), but oh well! I just can’t help myself. That being said, I don’t set a specific TBR list for myself. Within each genre on my shelves, I have certain books that are a higher priority than others. But still, I keep that in mind when picking my next book to read, but in the end decide to read whatever I’m in the mood for. At first, I wasn’t sure how to approach this prompt because of this. I was thinking about just listing my “top priority” book for each genre, even though I definitely won’t get to all of those in spring (maybe not even in 2021).

However, then I remembered that I do follow a more structured TBR for my audiobooks! For the most part, I just go in the order in which I purchased them (with exceptions here and there). This year, I’ve been doing this, but while also following a set pattern to help me reach my reading goals for 2021. Basically, I go to the “bottom” of my library (I scroll down to the oldest, not-yet-downloaded book), start there and then work my way up in this order: fiction, nonfiction, classic, repeat. Therefore, I have a pretty predictable line-up for my spring 2021 audiobooks. I certainly won’t follow this exactly, especially with Spring Break coming up. I typically listen to audiobooks while I get ready for work and sometimes when I do chores, so over Spring Break I might choose some other, shorter audiobooks to focus on instead simply because I’ll have less time to listen to them. We shall see! But for now, here are my top 10 audiobooks on my spring 2021 TBR!

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…

Top 5 Saturday: Books with Fire on the Cover

Welcome to Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and this week’s challenge focuses on books with fire on the cover.

I struggled again with this one! Maybe it’s because I can’t tell from just the spines, and I typically don’t like to take books off my shelves unless I intend to read them? Or maybe I just haven’t read many books with fiery covers! However, I did manage to scrape together a list of five books with some fire on the cover. So, in no particular order, here they are!

Top 10 Tuesday: Spring Cleaning Freebie

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s challenge is a spring cleaning freebie!

This was such a fun and open prompt! I had to think for a while about how to approach it because there are so many books I want to read, but I don’t ever set a specific TBR (I like to set general guidelines for myself, but then ultimately pick whatever I’m in the mood for). Therefore, it was hard to narrow it down to just ten that I’m hoping to get to read soon.

In the end, I decided to focus on children’s books. I’ve brought many books home from my classroom library to read while teaching from home. I figured this would be a good opportunity to actually read some more of the books that I provide for my students! And since it’s possible we’ll be going back to an at least somewhat in-person model this spring, I would like to have most of them read so that I can return them to my classroom. So, here are my top 10 children’s books that I’d like to read this spring (in no particular order)…

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…

Top 5 Saturday: Gift Books

Welcome to Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and this week’s challenge focuses on gift books.

This prompt could be interpreted in so many ways! I love books and one of my top love languages is gifts, so I frequently give and receive books as gifts. I’ve been so lucky to receive thoughtful bookish gifts from the people who know me best, so I’ve decided to divide this list by categories of gift givers (rather than books themselves), while also highlighting books that have been gifted in the last year. Without further ado, here is my “top five”!

Top 10 Tuesday: Characters Whose Jobs I Wish I Had

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s challenge is about characters whose jobs I wish I had!

This was another hard one for me! I don’t know why I’ve been struggling so much with these lately. For this one, I read a lot of children’s and young adult books, and frequently the adults in these books are teachers since school is such an important part of adolescence. However, I can’t pick those because I already am a teacher! For this one, I decided to be pretty flexible with the prompt. I don’t have the skills to do the majority of these jobs, but if there is any aspect of the job that I like then I decided to include it in this list. With that being said, here are my top ten (in no particular order)!

Book Review: “Punching the Air” by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

This was a really interesting book, and one that is taking me a little longer than usual to process my feelings about. It had so many important themes and was beautifully written in verse, but there was something that left me feeling a little disconnected from the story as a whole. Regardless, it’s still one that is well worth reading and one that I would recommend to any teen or adult reader.

Spoiler-Free Review: “Punching the Air” is a YA novel-in-verse that follows Amal, a black and Muslim teen boy who is wrongfully convicted of a crime that he did not commit. It follows his experience as he is…