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Enemy of All Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History's First Global Manhunt by Steve Johnson

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Enemy of All Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History's First Global Manhunt by Steve Johnson




Bringing to life the story of a notorious pirate to a modern audience isn’t an easy task. We’re too used to the comfort of easy travel, the mythos of pirates and the commercialized imagery produced by movies and television. Images of Jack Sparrow and Long John Silver have been part of entertainment for so long that the idea of true piracy and all it’s ruthlessness has almost been washed away. It isn’t until you’re able to wash away the false images and submerge yourself into the actual history that you can see piracy for it’s truly brutal nature. It also brings up many questions about governments, laws, corporations, scandal, colonization and other factors that allowed piracy to flourish and exist in the manner that it did for so long. Piracy didn’t exist in a bubble. Enemy of All Mankind takes the story of one pirate, who helped usher in the Golden Age of Piracy, and examines t…

Odetta: A Life in Music and Protest by Ian Zack

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Odetta: A Life in Music and Protest by Ian Zack



         In my case it is always the image of Odetta that comes to mind when I hear her name. The tall, undeniably Black woman, hair in an afro, guitar in hand. It must be that I simply did not know enough about her life, her struggle, and even her music to convey more than that image. But her image is memorable and her presence something not easily described. This book fills in the gaps in the story of Odetta that I didn’t know. Looking back at my childhood, her most memorable songs are the ones I’ve known most of my life, singing in my school’s chapel along with hundreds of other Black students, the words having meaning that I can only truly comprehend decades later as a Black woman.
         Zack takes his time with this biography, letting the readers learn as much about Odetta as we do the time from whence she came. Her migration from Alabama to California, her feelings of coming from a loveless, forced marriage, not being accepted…

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood


I’m going to cut right to the chase. This book is well written but we didn’t need it. I expected more. I wanted more and this fell flat. I’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale, more than once, and I genuinely enjoyed it. The single narrative of Offred lent itself to the story well and it was genuinely a terrifying society. I watched the first two series of the show and though I have my reservations about it, I still thought it was a good show. It does a great job answering questions that the book could not because of its singular narrative. It filled out the world.
This book revolves around three narratives: Aunt Lydia, who we know had a helping hand in stripping women of their sense of self and molded them to be controlled by the men of Gilead; Agnes, raised in Gilead with a Commander as father, privileged and set to marry well; and Daisy, a teenager raised in Canada hating Gilead and the abuses women endured that she’s learned about since she was a young chil…

Freedom Libraries: The Untold Story of Libraries for African Americans in the South by Mike Selby

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Freedom Libraries: The Untold Story of Libraries for African Americans in the South by Mike Selby


So many stories go untold. So many truths remain hidden. Certain areas of history that you weren’t even aware of become visible and it has the ability to shift the world as you see it. I considered myself well read in regards to the events of Freedom Summer and the works of Civil Rights activist that summer of 1964. Not a scholar or researcher but I had done my due diligence to be knowledgeable of a history, that as a Black woman, has affected my life in so many profound ways. But I have never heard of the Freedom Libraries and their significance to Freedom Summer until I came across this book. Now a whole new chapter of the racial injustices Black people have suffered in this country has been opened to me and I won’t lie, I was distraught while reading this. I love reading and always have. The thought of not being allowed to access books is terrifying and heartbreaking to me. To read of …

A Dream So Dark by L.L. McKinney

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A Dream So Dark by L.L. McKinney



Alice Kingston has been a Dreamwalker for a year now. Ever since the night her dad died and she left the hospital to find Addison Hatta killing a Nightmare. She shouldn’t have been able to see him, not with the Invisibility Verse he had cast earlier. Now she fights Nightmares in Wonderland and protects the Western Gateway. You know regular teenage girl stuff. But now she thinks one of her best friends, Chess, is dead after the largest Nightmare she’s ever faced attacker her at the high school. Her mom knows something is wrong but Alice thinks telling her the truth could endanger her life. And the Black Knight is still out there, searching for her, Hatta, the princess and the Eye.
I remember being intrigued by the first book in this series, the fresh take on Wonderland with a kick ass Black Alice who was a superhero in her own right, but I didn’t fall in love with the story. This book however is everything I wanted from the first book and more. One of the…

Motherhood so White: A Memoir of Race, Gender and Parenting in America by Nefertiti Austin

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Motherhood so White: A Memoir of Race, Gender and Parenting in America by Nefertiti Austin



I remember what it was like being pregnant with my son, flipping through the pages of What To Expect When You’re Expecting and preparing my house for a newborn. I was overwhelmed and excited. Motherhood hadn’t been a dream of mine, but with my husband I wanted an addition to my family. I didn’t gravitate towards books about motherhood having helped raise my two nephews and being around younger children throughout my life. It’s now after being a mother for eleven years, after knowing what it’s like to raise a Black child that I’ve gravitated towards stories of other Black mothers. This is a memoir outside of my realm. I don’t know what it’s like to adopt a child and what that experience entails. But the more Austin wrote about raising her Black son, who is only a year older than my own child, I felt a kinship. Nothing about being a mother is easy and raising a Black child adds a certain amount of …

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

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The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste


To put this simply, The Shadow King, is a really well written book that explores the history of the war that took place between Ethiopia and Italy in the 1930s. It tells the story of the women who fought the war, the challenges they faced, the struggle of the Ethiopian people during that time and the Italian colonel who forced innocent people off a cliff. The story begins at the end with Hirut in the 1970s waiting to meet Ettore. She has something that belongs to him and he has been looking for her for decades. But how they got to this meeting, begins when the war does with Hirut, a young woman with her father’s rifle and Ettore, an Italian Jew photographing both the living and dead as he served in the army.
One of the parts of this book that really sticks with me is the imagery. Mengiste writes the most beautiful, heartbreaking, descriptive imagery and her prose lends itself to building these images in a really amazing way. Certain phrases simply ling…