Bookish Brains Issue 4

Letter from the Editor:

Greetings! Even though February is the shortest month of the year, I still managed to read several amazing works. In honor of it being Black History Month, I exclusively read Black-authored books. Not just this month, but year-round as well, I think we should generally aim to uplift the marginalized voices which so often have been ignored throughout history.

In this issue of Bookish Brains, I will be sharing reviews for The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi, Black Boy Out of Time by Hari Ziyad, the March comic trilogy written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, and Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, as well as my currently-reading thoughts on Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin and my reading plans for March! Cheers!

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The Death of Vivek Oji: A Book Review

“They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died.”

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi begins with this evocative line. Vivek’s death is certain, yet the circumstances surrounding that death are hazy: the body is left upon Vivek’s parents’ house, stripped and battered, leaving mother Kavita with devastated questions and father Chika with a gap in his heart. What happened to Vivek? And moreover, who was Vivek?

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Bookish Brains Issue 3

Letter from the Editor:

Happy 2021! I hope your reading year has begun on a good foot; if not, there are still eleven months to sink your teeth into delicious literature!

The very first book I read this year was Garfield Sits at Home (#7), a comic strip book. I think I find that cynical, chunky feline even funnier as an adult now that I “manage” two cats of my own, who both certainly have distinct attitudes. After that first booklet, I read two more Garfield collections because that was exactly what I needed at the beginning of this month.

Aside from misadventures in Jon’s household, I’ve also read a few other incredible books, which I’m excited to write about! In today’s issue of Bookish Brains, I’m discussing Luster by Raven Leilani, Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert, In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, and Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, as well as my current reads The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune and The Shining by Stephen King.

Moving forward, I plan to publish these issues of Bookish Brains on the last Friday of every month and use the opportunity to summarize the month’s reading. Hope you enjoy!

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2020 Reading Highlights

In 2019, I read fifteen books. The year before that, I may have read five books. But in 2020, I read 74 books, and I think we all know why.

Of those 74 books, I would like to highlight some of the best, worst, and in between, that I think are worth recommending or warning others about. So, behold! The Slanted Spines Reading Awards!

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Bookish Brains Issue 2

Letter from the Editor:

The end of the year is swiftly approaching and only two more Fridays remain in 2020! This will be the last edition of Bookish Brains until 2021 and features a list of the books I’m trying to read before the end of the year, as well as brief reviews of They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Real Life by Brandon Taylor, and Parakeet by Marie-Helene Bertino. I’m aiming to end the year with the best of the best, so perhaps you will find some recs! Enjoy!

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White Tears/Brown Scars

I remember discovering feminism when I was in middle school—thank goodness for the internet—and enthusiastically delving into feminist literature. I began to critically dissect the sexism at play around me, questioning societal norms and rejecting traditional gender expectations. I felt pretty well-versed to speak on feminism, and, a bit arrogant having done some reading as a 16-year-old, figured I knew all there was to know about feminism.

However, I never realized how the feminism I read about in those books failed to consider the female experiences outside of whitehood. The books I read about feminism discussed how messed up it was that women were expected to be conventionally pretty and written off as the frivolous sex, but they never addressed how Black women in the United States face a domestic violence rate far higher than that of white women, or how the mainstream white feminist movement has largely failed to lift the voices of women of color, and in many cases, has actively silenced them.

In November, I read two very amazing feminist works that I highly recommend on this topic. The first is Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall, which focuses on the feminist platform in the United States and how the mainstream movement largely ignores issues that predominantly affect marginalized women (including trans women).

The other book I read, which is the one I would like to discuss today, is White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad. In this book, Hamad looks at women of color on a global scale as she offers historical context for how colonialism disseminated racist ideologies throughout the world and how white women have benefitted from and subsonciously and consciously perpetuated racism and sexism over time up to the present.

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Bookish Brains Issue 1

Letter from the Editor:

When I was in elementary school and created my first email address, I founded an indie newsletter called The Goofball Times. Essentially, it was a weekly periodical comprised of weather reports, sports updates, a joke section, a creative writing portion, and whatever other current events I decided to include. I couldn’t have done it alone, though—I outsourced various research to my friends at the time; for example, Steve was in charge of emailing me the joke before the deadline. Then, I would send the completed newsletter via email to a handful of friends and family.

I don’t recall how many issues The Goofball Times ran, although my mother has them all printed out and filed away, my old email address now defunct. However, it was a noteworthy first attempt which naturally led to my later intrigue with running a blog, because, despite the drama of my friends missing deadlines or shirking their “commitment to the newsletter,” I had a lot of fun with it, and so did my charmed readers.

Now, I recollect that project with oozing fondness, and, inspired by the “me” of the early 2000’s, I would now like to launch a new series on my blog entitled Bookish Brains; this will be a brief collection of reading updates, including the materials I’m reading and reviewing, as well as what’s happening in the bookish-sphere.

Cheers!

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Five Pages from my Book Journal

“What’s the name of that one character?”
“Where does that book take place?”
“Did I even like it?”

These are all questions I sometimes ask myself about books I’ve already read. Although it seems like I should retain this basic information after spending 300 pages with a book, I read a lot of books, and sometimes these little facts can escape me.

So I decided to start a book journal, a diary of book entries and snippets of information about each body of work I read. And because I’m a crafty kind of gal, I thought I’d make it a scrapbooking endeavor!

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