Diana from @owls_library recently shared with She Reads what she is reading this March and we can’t help but obsess over her stunning picks:
Like many of you, I’m an avid reader. I am also an advocate of diverse literature, meaning I gravitate more toward books written by authors of color. I grew up in a very white town and I’ve always wished there were books that portrayed the lives of minorities! I’m an educator, a learner, a writer and a chocoholic.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
“Love makes a place in your body, rerouting all your blood vessels, throbbing right alongside of your heart. When it’s gone, nothing is whole again.”
After seeing An American Marriage all over bookstagram, I had to read it. This book was well-worth the hype. An American Marriage is about newlyweds Roy and Celestial who face a wrongful jail sentence. While Roy is in jail, Celestial turns to her childhood friend Andre for comfort. Roy is then let out from jail earlier than they all expected and tries to reclaim his old life. This book is about many things: racial injustice, mass incarceration, racism, family, adultery, and mostly, marriage. The writing was phenomenal. Though the topics are heavy, the author uses soft and comforting words. The characters were so real – they were flawed, broken, emotional and vulnerable. The emotions shared between the characters were heartfelt and raw. The author also writes about the South so well! This book would be the perfect book for book clubs because you cannot end the book without having strong opinions about the characters.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
“Not seeing race does little to deconstruct racist structures or materially improve the conditions which people of color are subject to daily. In order to dismantle unjust, racist structures, we must see race. We must see who benefits from their race, who is disproportionately impacted by negative stereotypes about their race, and to who power and privilege is bestowed upon – earned or not – because of their race, their class, and their gender. Seeing race is essential to changing the system.”
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
‘ (an online book club I created with a few other bookstagrammers) March read. We selected this book because we wanted to understand why the author felt exhausted when talking about ‘race,’ especially to whites like her provocative title indicates. While I did not agree 100% with the author’s opinions, I could relate to her experiences and feel her frustration. Growing up in a white state, I’ve had my fair share of racist encounters that were done both intentionally and unintentionally. As a minority, I believe when I talk about ‘race,’ my fellow white friends cannot enter the conversation as an equal due to our different backgrounds/history. More than anything, this book has given me the courage to talk about race. When we announced this book as our March read, we received some negative comments because the title itself could seem offensive. But I want people to pick up this book and try to understand the whys: Why
did the author write this book and why
is this book targeted toward white people?
A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea by Eunsun Kim
“North Korea has become a true hell on earth, forgotten by the rest of the world. Even South Koreans, who share the same blood heritage, seem to have forgotten about the plight of their northern counterparts. At times, I feel overwhelmed by this sense of helplessness, by the feeling that there is nothing I can do to help my brothers and sisters to the north.”
Although the writing is fairly simple and the book itself is short, this was not an easy read. The author Eunsun, along with her sister and mother, embark on a hellish journey that would take them nine years to complete. They escape North Korea to China only to fall into the hands of human traffickers, then are sent back to North Korea. They then escape again to the isolated deserts of Mongolia. Nine hellish years later, they finally find freedom in South Korea. This book was so near and dear to me as my own mother’s father escaped to the South from North Korea shortly after the Korean war. It’s been nearly 80 years since the DMZ split the Korean peninsula into two. I, too, am a South Korean that was oblivious of the horrific things that occur in the North. This book definitely raises awareness, and for that, I am grateful.
The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú
“But that’s just it, I offered. I can still help people. I speak both languages, I know both cultures, I’ve lived in Mexico and traveled all across the country. I’ve seen towns and villages that were emptied out by people going north for work. Good people will always be crossing the border, and whether I’m in Border Patrol or not, agents will be out there arresting them. At least if I’m the one apprehending them, I can offer them some small comfort by speaking with them in their own language, by talking to them with knowledge of their home.”
This memoir has easily become one of the best books I’ve read about immigration – illegal immigration, to be quite honest. The author tells of the days he spent as a US Border Patrol agent in Arizona and then in Texas. He tells heart-wrenching stories of his fellow Mexican brothers and sisters – those who came with good intentions to find honest work and the stories of those who were involved with drugs. Nevertheless, his honest depictions of the lives, dreams and nightmares that arise from the US/Mexico border made me feel all the feels. This book is pertinent, especially with the current turn of political events. Please read!
The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin
This one has been my most recent read. As a die-hard fan of Grey’s Anatomy and a wife of to a medical resident, I was ecstatic when I found out @saltwaterreads selected The Queen of Hearts for their March read. I’m not that far into it, but so far, the author does a great job of capturing the lives of working women that try to juggle both work and family. The friendship between Zadie and Emma makes me feel extremely nostalgic for all of my friends back home. I can’t wait to finish and join the upcoming discussion!
For more book reviews and bookish news, follow Diana on Instagram and keep up with her blog.