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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez


Olga Reyes is dead at twenty-two, hit by a semi-truck while crossing the street. Now her little sister Julia, the ungrateful, difficult daughter is left to deal with the family’s loss. Julia and her mother never had a great relationship. Where Olga was content being a grown woman still living with her parents, Julia wanted to leave and go to school in New York. Olga would spend hours helping their mother clean or cook, while Julia still can’t fry tortillas and hates manual labor. She is everything her sister wasn’t and her mother reminds her of that every chance she gets. Julia knows she isn’t perfect, that she talks back and gets in trouble, that sometimes she hates school and just wants to get away. It isn’t until she finds some risky lingerie and a hidden love note of Olga’s that she realizes that maybe her sister wasn’t perfect either. This book made me feel like a teenager again and I mean that in the best and worst ways p…

Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur

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Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur


I needed to hear Assata's story. I needed to understand her fight, her struggle, her strength and her determination. After finishing this book I feel like I have a much better look at not only her life, but the movements she took part in. This autobiography tells about her time in jail while recounting the events that led to her capture, her past and her ensuing trials. Shakur is able to captivate the reader simply by expressing her truth. I was heavily invested in what she had to say and extremely disheartened by the similarities between her struggle in the 1960s and 1970s with the current struggle. But that is one of the reasons why I found this autobiography so important. We need to be knowledgeable of the past so we can acknowledge what needs to happen to move forward. Reading Shakur's words are a constant reminder that not only is it important to fight but we must fight, until the battle is won and everyone is seen as equals. Is th…

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

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The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison





She was a registered nurse and midwife at the hospital when the plague began, with fevers affecting women and children more than men. Babies were stillborn or died shortly after being born as the mother’s fever spiked. Many women didn’t survive the birth either. She was sick for days as well. She passed out and woke up alone in the hospital. Everyone she knew was dead or missing. She traveled from then on. She was Karen once, then realizing that life would be easier passing as a man she changed. Women were too rare these days. The men were more likely to enslave you, or die trying to protect you. I cannot even provide an adequate blurb for this novel. This story was so engrossing. I’ve read my share of dystopia. This one was different. It’s the story of one of the last remaining women on Earth, and she is educated, resourceful, witty and careful. She was an incredible character. Some of the story is told in the diary entries left by the unn…

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

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Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler



She woke up alone in a cave. Her body was badly burned and scarred. She couldn’t see. An animal came to her in the cave, she killed it and fed on it, barely remembering after that moment. Time was something that passed unacknowledged. When she was finally able to leave the cave, she found herself wandering aimlessly only to end up at the ruins of homes burned to the ground. And though she felt drawn to the place she didn’t know why. She had no memory of her former self. Then Wright found her, walking in the rain, looking like a 10-year-old child. She fed on him. He would become her first. In time she would discover that she was an Ina, what humans called vampires. But she was the first of her kind with her brown skin and ability to walk in daylight. This was Octavia E. Butler’s last novel and it was the beginning of something special. I’ve heard rumors that this book was supposed to be the beginning of a new series and I wish it had been. This was such an…

The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D. by Chancellor Williams

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The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D. by Chancellor Williams


I have been having quite a few conversations about how history is taught and why history is taught the way it is. Take United States history for example. I was never taught anything about treaties being broken between Native Americans and the government. I was never taught anything about the Trails of Tears or the massacres that took place as the states moved west. Even with slavery, I don’t feel as if anything is taught outside of the fact that it once existed, that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and the Civil War settled things. Don’t even ask what I was taught about the Reconstruction Era because that was non-existent. But the question becomes why and the answer is simply exceptionalism. So when I look at Africa, a continent rich with history, I wonder why I know so little about it. Williams with this book attempts to answer the lingering questions around Africa. He focus…

The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B. DuBois

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The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B. DuBois


A collection of essays that are as relevant today as they were over one hundred years ago. This should be surprising but if you are anywhere near the United States then you know that right now is a very turbulent time. Hate crimes are on the rise and the amount of apparent racism has soared. Nazis and the Klan are walking openly down the street. (I wish that was an exaggeration.) So to read a book, written by an educated Black man, written years after the end of the Civil War and witnessing how much progress has not been made is really disheartening. DuBois’s essays speak to the core of this nation. He writes about the Civil War and the failed Reconstruction era. He talks about the need to vote and the value of education. He talks about the lives he’s seen and the debt many owe. DuBois writes about himself and the need to teach and the need to learn. What I loved most about his writing was the way he was able to translate his observations, so h…

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

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The Turner House by Angela Flournoy


The Turner family has owned the house on Yarrow for decades. Cha-Cha was seven when they moved in and all of the thirteen Turner children grew up within those walls. But it’s been a while since Francis, the patriarch of the Turner family, has passed. Viola, the matriarch well into her eighties, now lives in Cha-Cha’s home and the Yarrow house has been abandoned. Furniture “borrowed” by different family members has left most of the house bare. The “Big Room” where all of the children have once called their own, and where Cha-Cha, once fought a haunt has nothing but a twin bed and bare walls. What to do with the house that holds their memories when it is worth nothing more than the past it holds? The Turner House is a really well written novel that centers around what it means to be a family, to struggle with addiction, to contemplate ghosts and to move toward the present. Flournoy did an amazing job flushing out her main characters and in doing so, al…