Fiction · In the Library · Julia P · Quick Read! · Race · Women

Another Brooklyn | by Jacqueline Woodson

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
(Amistad, 2016, 175 pages)

Woodson is a poet and that comes across in this book. Her way with language is amazing. This is a slim book and Woodson has a way of conveying so much so concisely that you just sit back and appreciate her way with words. This book transports you to Brooklyn in the 70s. We’re introduced to a friendship made up of four girls: August, Gigi, Sylvia, and Angela. We see the power of friendship but we also see that childhood is fleeting and the real world has a way of coming in and changing your life whether you’re ready for it or not.

This is a poignant and powerful novel.

4/5 stars

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Classic · Fiction · In the Library · Julia P · Name in Title · Quick Read! · Re-Read! · Science Fiction

Flowers for Algernon | by Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
(Harcourt, 1994, 311 pages)

This classic text stands up each time I read it and I feel like I get something new out of it every time. I had to re-read Flowers for Algernon for a class that is discussing the text and while I wasn’t necessarily eager to read it again I quickly found myself sucked back in to the story.

Originally published as a short story this book follows Charlie, a man in his early 30s who is mentally disabled. He has always been motivated to try and learn so he can “be like other people” and it was because of this motivation that his teacher suggested him as a good candidate for an experiment at a local college aimed at increasing intelligence. After the surgery we see the changes in Charlie through the text of progress reports he submits to the professors in charge of the experiment.

There are more changes in Charlie than just what we see on the intellectual front. He is also tapping into his past and how his family affected him and led him to where he came to be in the present day. The book tackles a lot issues with an emphasis on humanity and respect. It’s a heart-breaking book and while there are dated aspects to it (and a few things that led me to raise my eyebrows) I think it’s a valuable text that prompts good reflection and discussion.

4/5 stars

Fiction · Graphic Novel · Kelly M · Quick Read!

The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up | by Marie Kondo

The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story

The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story
by Marie Kondo; illustrated by Yuko Uramoto
(Ten Speed Press, 2017, 192 pages)

Marie Kondo, best-selling  author of Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, presents her KonMari method of decluttering in graphic novel form. Her subject is Chiaki, a 29-year old Japanese woman with a house so cluttered she can’t invite people inside. Embarrassed when a handsome neighbor knocks on her door and sees the mess, she contacts Kondo to give her “tidying lessons.” Kondo helps her through the process of discarding clothing, books, papers, and sentimental items—in that recommended order. This is a quick and fun way to learn the KonMari method of decluttering outlined in her previous two books.

5/5 stars

Award Winner · Fiction · In the Library · Julia P · Quick Read! · Race · SCC Book Club · Young Adult

The Hate U Give | by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
(Balzer + Bray, 2017, 444 pages)

The Hate U Give was this semester’s first selection for our Between the Covers Book Club and the timing of it was… well, we’ll just say that it was a timely read. You might be familiar with the title because it has gotten a lot of praise and publicity. It’s a young adult novel that follows a young woman named Starr whose best friend was the victim of a police shooting. And she was the only witness.

The reader experiences what Starr is going through as she copes with the loss of her friend and tries to deal with the fact that it’s her word against forces so much larger than herself: the officer involved and the media seeking to spin the narrative. This was a book that forces you to reflect back on the many police shootings we’ve seen covered over the years. I found myself writing in the margins when a detail reminded me of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown… it was unsettling but powerful.

This book lends itself to good discussions about hard topics a lot of people tend to shy away from. I’m still reflecting on the book and what an amazing job Thomas did with it. A great read, and don’t let the YA label keep you from picking it up.

4/5 stars

Art · Humor · Julia P · Non-Fiction · Quick Read!

Sunday Sketching | by Christoph Niemann

Sunday Sketching

Sunday Sketching by Christoph Niemann
(Harry N. Abrams, 2016, 272 pages)

I follow Niemann on Instagram and didn’t realize how familiar I was with his work until I noticed how frequently his art appears on the cover of The New Yorker. There’s a lot of humor in his work and it makes me happy. In addition to being a collection of some of his pieces, Sunday Sketching also talks about how Niemann tackles the creative process. It was an interesting and quick read that only left me wanting to actually purchase the book for my collection and acquire his art for my walls.

This is a fun read for people who appreciate art/illustration and want insight into how this particular artist approaches life as a creative.

And for fun, here’s a taste of his Niemann’s artwork (all pulled from his website: http://www.christophniemann.com). You should also check out “The Gummi Bear Chronicles” on the New York Times’s Abstract Sunday blog – just because I like it ;).

5/5 stars