Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Show Us Your Books - June 2020


Over the past few years I've delved deeper into working internally on what started as intersectional feminism - my feminist feed was super white - and then split off into examining my attitudes on race as well because as we should all know by now, it all intersects. I started by following a lot of black women online, specifically on Instagram, back at the end of 2016. I read. I sat with what I read. I did not interject myself where my opinion or commentary was not wanted. I held space. I followed more and read more and sat more and grew more. And when I needed more, where the hell else would I turn besides books that were recommended by those women? Books are how I learn. I am not a podcast person, I'm not really a show watcher. So of course it was books along with some patreon sponsorships to get more written content from some of those women. There have never been more resources on what books to read in regards to race on the Internet as there are right about now, literally everyone has a list even people who've not read many books on the subject. There are plenty of black people out there doing work on this and their lead should be followed and if you get info from them and they have a Patreon or Venmo, you should pay for their time. This is just what was personally helpful to me at the start. 

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo: I recommend people like me start here. Especially people who do not consider themselves racist, like I didn't. I could see myself in these pages. Seeing yourself is crucial to getting rid of the stuff that is ingrained as a result of the racist systems we have been raised in. This really grounded me for the work that was and still is ahead. I reference this book all the time. 
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad: I did the Me and White Supremacy 28 day challenge she ran off of her Instagram account in 2018 - this book is the result of that. When you see people say do the work, you actually have to like...you know...do the work. This was a great prompter.  When I did it it was free which was generous AF given the work she put into it. I sent a donation via PayPal at the time but also pre-ordered the book when it came out. If we have the money - and most people reading this do - we need to pay people. 
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Olue - The first two for me were more about examining myself. This made me think about turning the conversation outward. That was important for someone raised in the "I don't see color" 1980s and the all time white person thing of thinking it is rude to discuss race. Well, what we've done to black people because of their race is fucking beyond rude so stop. 
Just Mercy does an excellent job of showing how the entire criminal justice system is stacked against black people and it is a very easy read. If you don't have a commitment to change after reading that, I just...I don't know. 

I've read and learned from many more, but this is where I'd start if you're starting. Or if you've started and are feeling a little lost and haven't read any of those three, maybe put down what you're reading and go to one of those then move on. White people in particular may feel some type of way while reading books on race. Keep going. Once you are committed to being anti-racist, you are responsible for your part in changing the narrative. I am always happy to discuss books or give a recommendation if you need one. Hit me up! Up next for me is Hood Feminism. 

Two other book and race notes: black writers are not only here to teach us how we've fucked up in regards to race and systems. Fiction readers, are you reading black authors? I ask because publishing houses do not promote them like they do white authors and they've been outed on twitter (search #publishingpaidme and see how Roxanne Gay got totally fucked over). Know that you might need to actively pursue black authors to read because they might not be handed to you by the publisher. Next - we need to be buying from black-owned bookstores where we can, small bookstores where we can't, or you can shop this SUYBookstore Jana thought up and set up last night (still a work in progress but awesome, Jana!). Any proceeds go to charity and first up is social justice - if any sell through there there will be screen shots of receipts. 

My local black woman owned bookstore is Harriett's in Philadelphia. They are not fulfilling new orders right now due to a major swell in support (yay internet) but they are accepting donations via venmo (HARRIETTSBOOKSHOP) so please consider that in addition to buying from her in the future. She's a one woman show - just opened a month before the covid pandemic - and is now out there in the streets handing out free lit to liberate the minds of people protesting for equality in the neighborhood of Philadelphia where last week thug men roamed around with bats and used racial slurs and beat up reporters all after curfew and in range of the police. If that isn't poetic and worth supporting, I don't know what is. 

Here's what I've been reading since the last linkup
Light on the pics and heavy on the kindle because I was working through Netgalley. 

Engrossing Reads

All My Mother's Lovers by Ilana Masad - What a title, no? While I wish a few things went deeper and additional time was spent on some things, I enjoyed this ride. It's a timely read for Pride month too. 

Know My Name by Chanel Miller - A quick read for something so monumental. She's an excellent writer and just, lord, fierce. I'd recommend this to anyone. kindle book

Passed the Time Just Fine

The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda - Miranda is quite good at writing books that leave me with no idea who to trust. I was actually a little scaredy cat afraid of this one at the end - she's good at that too. Not my favorite of hers, but a passable effort. Thanks to Netgalley for the free read in exchange for an honest review

Last Breath (Detective Erika Foster #4) by Robert Bryndza - It's been a while since I was in Ericka Foster's company. She takes no shit. Solid series. kindle e-book

The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman - Good pace and interesting set up. Some major holes, but it was a quick read that I enjoyed. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

East Coast Girls by Kerry Kletter - This took an abrupt turn that I was absolutely not expecting and it changed a fluffier book to a deep one. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky - I can't recall her reading her, but for some reason Barbara Delinsky makes me think of the paperbacks my Gamma used to read. A little slow but I loved the writing in regards to coming home to a shore town. It really is a scent and a feeling. Thanks to Netgalley for the free read in exchange for an honest review

The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson - A super interesting premise - I would have loved for the focus to be on Helen and the history - but it was still a well told tale despite the main characters being unlikable. Thanks to Netgalley for the free read in exchange for an honest review.

Not Worth It

Did Not Finish

What have you been reading? 

Linkup Guidelines:
This link up is the second Tuesday of every month. The next linkup is Tuesday, July 14, 2020
1. Visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & me, and check in with as many in our reading circle as you can - give some love to the later linker uppers! 
2. Link back to us in your blog post - if you want the button you can get it from that link

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