Tag Archive: african-american



The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar CountyThe Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice N. Harrington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an adorable tale! The little girl, Baby, as Big Mama calls her, sees it as her mission to catch every chicken. But one eludes her.

Shelley Jackson makes the story come alive with illustrations that seem real yet whimsical with a bit of collage throughout the book.

My children and I would have loved this when they were 5-8ish years old. It might have helped as educational moments as we had chickens back then. Learning that you must chase down a chicken every now and thing to medicate or isolate certain ones. But chasing, as fun as it could be, frighten the chickens and can be bad for them. My kids never found that a goal. Instead, they learned to gather eggs and mostly leave the chickens to live their own lives. They saw hens clutch and babies hatch and follow mothers around.

This fits in the Black Lives Matter category as the child, and her mom are black. It is incidental. This could have been any race living in rural areas. I like that. I can’t wait until things like this book become commonplace. Books and the arts should reflect our lives. All kinds of people live on this earth. Why not enjoy the variety?

Now that I am finished reading this book, I will donate it to the local library as I think it might be a good addition.

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Caste: The Origins of Our DiscontentsCaste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The bestselling list on CBS Sunday Morning today put Caste at #3 of non-fiction books. I usually don’t end up reading things that are on those lists. But a couple of months ago during the Unitarian Universalist Zoom worship service, this book was highly praised and gently assigned as homework for the congregation. I found it on Audible and had a free credit so went for it.

Robin Miles narrates beautifully. Her voice and acting help keep the listener engaged. Even though this was one of the longest ‘reads’ I have indulged in of late. It has taken me several weeks to get through. For some books, I set the speed faster than normal and can follow a story quite well, but I loved Ms. Miles’s voice and found myself deeply involved in the caste education Isabel Wilkerson had presented so well that I left it at normal speed.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. If you feel ‘woke’ enough that you feel this will be elementary, you will find depths of information you may have not thought of. I remember as a child at church excitedly singing “Jesus Loves the Little Children, all the children of the world; Red and yellow, black or white, they are precious in His sight…” Yet hearing we couldn’t go to a certain park because the blacks were taking over. In a child’s mind, that seemed strange and I couldn’t believe that would stop us from going to the park. We lived in a very white area. There were few kids of color in school. As a kid, I didn’t think of what that meant. As a newlywed, my husband and I made friends with a mixed couple. Through them, we attended a dance and a big picnic where there were only three whites. Us. The dance was amazing until they invited me to dance. My shyness took over big-time. I can’t dance and it was obvious that our new friends were experts. The picnic was more intimate. A couple of women had beautiful cornrows. As a cosmetologist, I was fascinated with how they did that. We weren’t taught black hairstyles in my school. These gracious ladies laid down in the grass with me and showed me how to braid grass. It still amazes me that they could get the grass to stay braided. It was so short! No, I never did get good at braiding.

Anyway, I went into this book with these life experiences behind me and hearing that song worming its way through my head wondering how people have been treated so poorly by folks that claim to be Christians. I do remember learning about India’s caste system as a young adult and thought how it seemed we weren’t far from that here. But this takes all that to such depths of understanding I was wowed every night I was involved in the book.

Please if you get the chance, give this one a read.

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The Bluest EyeThe Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wish I would have read this any other year but 2020. In a year I am reading to escape pain, depression and just trying to breathe through the smoke, this book took me deeper and sadder and more disturbed. I am sorry anyone has to deal with the many problems the main characters in this book had to go through. Though this was a historical fiction, much of the bigotry, and abuse goes on still.

Toni Morrison did the narration of her own book and kept the story alive. Her writing is known for the poetic prose. I did appreciate that, but I found it made the story even more disturbing. I do plan to read more of her books. But not right now.

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Seed to Harvest: The Complete Patternist Series (Patternist, #1-4)Seed to Harvest: The Complete Patternist Series by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have loved other books by Octavia E. Butler, but this set of four books just didn’t do it for me. I couldn’t figure out the characters, who was who. Maybe it was because I had to listen to it on text-to-speech, though I did try to follow with my eyes. Still, I did stay with it. A lot of times if something doesn’t make sense it comes together in the end. But I didn’t find that. I found four different stories about similar things.

But don’t take my word for it. Others have loved these books so maybe it is just me and this time in my life. Heck, toothache from infection, smoky-hot summer, Covid19, and its craziness could have flavored how I took the books in. So maybe I’ll read them again later. I see that many people read these in publication order rather than chronological and get a lot more out of all of this combo. Ms. Butler writes well and keeps the reader interested, even when the story itself doesn’t go in the flow I think it should.

Try it. You might like it!

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Seeking SarahSeeking Sarah by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jerry Springer eat your heart out! Oh, the drama!

Okay, I didn’t mean to start with that. There were things about this book I liked. I love that we have a diverse character, though the cover picture doesn’t give that impression. On the other hand, the blurb grabbed me about a young woman that wants to find her mother who she previously thought had died.

What seems to be set up to be an exciting adventure learning why mom left, and possibly reconnecting, the main character, Brooke, is hooking/breaking up with a guy that shouldn’t even get a female. Even in the process of getting to know her mom, she takes every opportunity to jump to conclusions to be angry. I guess my way would have solved Brookes problems within minutes and there wouldn’t be a book but a short story.

I was lucky to get to read this book from Netgalley. I’d love to see what others think of this novel. It is different.

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The Delany Sisters' Book of Everyday WisdomThe Delany Sisters’ Book of Everyday Wisdom by Sarah L. Delany
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m so behind on my reviews. Sorry. I finished this over a week ago. It was my hardback read. At least it didn’t take nearly a year like my last ‘real’ book. I think the font, paper color, size of page worked out pretty well for my crazy eyes. And I loved the sisters and their stories.

How does one live so long as the Delany Sisters? (Well over the century mark.) They tell us what they think works, at least for them. They even include their favorite recipes from soap to cobblers. Since I don’t like to cook, those weren’t for me but other readers will love that. My favorite parts were reading how the sisters related to each other, their family and the world at large.

Since it was an easy read for me, it will be quite a fast one for those with better eyes. Maybe you’ll glean some good advice for your own life.

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Say Goodbye for NowSay Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do you remember ‘Pay It Forward’? If you live under a rock or somehow never got to see it, I’m about to give a spoiler. Skip to the next paragraph where I will strictly talk about this book. The author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, wrote that book which became the most up-lifting and crash ending movie. I bought the movie because I loved that concept so much. But the ending of the movie, when the main character was killed, keeps me from watching it ever again. Ms. Hyde, though set up the foundation of Pay It Forward which is a marvelous way for folks to live. Maybe I will buck up and give it another try for the meat of the movie (or read the book). I would have loved to know that about the author before I began reading this book. But unfortunately, that information was in the back of the book after the book club questions.

A series of events in the 1950s gives the reader so many character-lines to follow that one wonders where this is leading. A wolf-dog hit by a car. An abused but wiser-than-his-age boy tries to find help for this poor creature. Seem to make it look like a simple book, a boy and his dog, kind of thing. But the story gets deeper and deeper. Some surprises happen as opposed to how the reader may think they would. The story was well-written and draws one in. The characters are deeper than some books offer. Sometimes I wanted more. But I think the author knew how to pull us through.

Yes, there is a bit a romance but it isn’t the leading subject. But neither is the dog. Have I made this vague enough to incite interest? Don’t come into the book thinking, like I did that it was going to be a sweet book about a boy and his dog. This book is worth the read. I wish there was a book two as I already miss these character and wonder what happens next.

By the way, I received this book free of charge from NetGalley. Thank you!

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