Dear Martin By: Nic Stone | Review & Reaction

Dear Martin COVERDear Martin
Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Social Issues
Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: October 17th 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
I received this ARC in a giveaway &
it in no way affects my review or unbiased opinion of this book.

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon | B&D | IndieBound

Synopsis:

Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In that media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.

My Reaction:

I call this “my reaction” because it not only took me a bit to type up my review for the book itself, but also all of the thoughts, feelings and memories this book made me think of.  Although this book left my mind and heart just all over the place, I truly loved it and I am grateful I was given the opportunity to read this ARC  because it had such a huge affect on me and it is something that I look forward to sharing with my family and friends.

From the moment I started reading, I was able to connect with Justyce’s character—from his thoughts, concerns, fear and anxiousness. And his attempt at trying to make sense of himself and the rest of the world through a method inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. teachings following the fall out of his wrongful arrest. It was just all so real, raw, insightful and moving.

One of the many things I loved and appreciated about this book was the way Nic Stone keeps the narrative objective because it makes it so connectable to other readers, whether they are allies, individuals who have experienced some of the same situations Justyce has faced or others ignorant of the seriousness and dangers African Americans and other POC face every day when it comes to racism.

I pondered if I wanted to focus on the situation regarding Justyce and his arrest as being the main focal points I discussed for this book, but in all honesty, it is so much more than racial profiling from authorities. The political, inaccurate and discriminatory stories spun by a lot of the media outlets and the prejudices of people—it all just hits home.

There wasn’t an instance when I did not imagine my brothers or my uncles in situations close to Justyce’s and it shook me.  However, choosing LOVE over HATE. Recognizing that we still have such a far way to go. Accepting that we can’t do it on our own. Knowing that importance of sticking together, speaking together and moving together is the only way forward. And being strong enough to face it all head on.

Even before last week’s protest in Charlottesville, VA, I was struggling to come up with the right words for how moving and important this book is to all readers, young or old, because I was hung up on how real and close to our reality it was. Of course, as an African-American woman, it was impossible not to see my brothers or my uncles and even myself in the situations that Justyce was dealing with in this book and that become such a jarring feeling.

Aside from being raised by a single parent, Justyce and I represent two completely different worlds, but regardless, I know that a POC’s story and life is hardly ever taken into account when they are profiled, victimized or harmed. With this, I am trying to choose my words so carefully here because with the weight and present state of our world weighing down on my heart and everything just feeling so wrong and backwards these days.

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The Autobiography Of Malcolm X by: Malcolm X, Alex Haley | Review

The Autobiography Of Malcolm X
By: Malcolm X, Alex Haley
Genre: Autobiography, Non-Fiction, History, Religion
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: October 12, 1987

Read in February For Social Justice Book Club

Synopsis:

Through a life of passion and struggle, Malcolm X became one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century. In this riveting account, he tells of his journey from a prison cell to Mecca, describing his transition from hoodlum to Muslim minister. Here, the man who called himself “the angriest Black man in America” relates how his conversion to true Islam helped him confront his rage and recognize the brotherhood of all mankind. An established classic of modern America, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” was hailed by the New York Times as “Extraordinary. A brilliant, painful, important book.” Still extraordinary, still important, this electrifying story has transformed Malcolm X’s life into his legacy. The strength of his words, the power of his ideas continue to resonate more than a generation after they first appeared.

My Thoughts & a Book Review:

My work lately has made leisure reading nearly impossible, so if I’m not reading scripts, I’m reading books that have pre-scheduled post dates already on my calendar. With that being said, I wanted to make sure I shared my thoughts and notes on books I’ve already read, but do not have reviews.

It might be the effects of what is happening now in our country but I thought about sharing this review first. It is the book the Social Justice book club read in February for Black History Month, but I am a strong believer in not needing a set reason or particular event to have to discuss, approach or learn about the strong and powerful constricting social-economical and racial discrimination trouble millions face every single day here in the US and around the world.

It’s actually one of the reasons I do not take part in the diversity spotlight or diversity bingo phenomenon that seems to have popped up on social media lately. I think discussing diversity and social issues is important and more people should take part in it. However, I do not like the idea of it being integrated into pop-culture and desensitized like some sort of trend.

It is a discussion and topic that should be had every day, all the time and should be taken seriously. For the fact of the matter is that the themes of dystopian/alternate worlds in fiction seemed to have seeped into our reality and sometimes it is kind of difficult to predict what might happen next.

I didn’t know much about Malcolm X before reading this book. Not many relatives or people in my life talked about him, but I’ve always known about him. I guess some people don’t often discuss him because of the radical and “extreme” perspective he had.

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Diverse Books, Social Justice & Intersectional Feminism | My Semi-Set 2017TBR List

semi-set-reading-list-2017

Happy Friday, fellow readers:

This is will be a short, update post on things I’ll try to cover, share and just discus on the blog this year.  After going back and forth over a list of topics, authors, genres and overall information I’ve been wanting to really submerge myself in with this new year, I decided to just put together a semi-set TBR list for the year.

One that showed specific authors’ works I wanted to read this year; my desire to read more books by female authors, my goal to read more work written by women from around the word that have been translated (WIT) on top of a personal desire to incorporate (generate) more discussion and content on my blog in regards to intersectional feminism and social justice. 

I had a full page and a half of books I looked up to check out when I found the Social Justice Book Club in the beginning of January, and I was convinced I was using up some sort of luck I had stored over the years when Bina from Wocreads created a post about her desire to create a non-fiction based diverse study group. Now when I said I screamed, I screamed! I freaked (then angered) my entire family, but it was worth it. ^_^ And now is definitely the time for the select books and reading material that’s already been lined up. 

As the year progresses, this list may (and by that I mean will) grow. I’m trying to keep an order with the list but I don’t really see myself sticking to the order I set now because I usually go for material that peaks an interest in the moment.  I do have books I have chosen to read around certain parts of the year, but like I said things can and will change.

This list below will not include material for Social Justice book club or the Diverse Study Group material but might reflect similar materials.

G. Jacks TBR 2017 Book List
And in keeping up with my attempt to fill my personal book shelf with not only non-fiction books, intersectional feminism books and books that bring even broader level of cultural content that I am both familiar and not familiar with in works of fiction and non-fiction. I will attempt to read larger portions of work by select authors. This list I’ve compiled thus far is short but just the same, I feel it’s a good place to start.
1) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
2) Toni Morrison
3) James Baldwin
4) Audre Lorde
5) Alice Walker
6) Julia Alvarez
7) Mayra Santos Febres
8) JhumpaLahiri
Thank you so much for reading and checking out this semi-permanent TBR list for 2017. Have any suggestions for more books or authors? I’d love to hear them. If you’re interested in either the book club or group that I mentioned here today, I highly recommend that you check them out. ^_^
divstgrsocial2bjustice2bbook2bclub
 Until the next post,
Gia.

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We Should All Be Feminists by: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [Review]

We Should All Be Feminists
By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Writing, Non-Fiction, Feminism, Essays, Social Justice
Release Date: July 29, 2014

Synopsis:

An eBook short.

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.

With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.

Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists

 

Book Review

Though rooted in the backdrop of Nigerian culture, We Should All Be Feminists offers not only a universal reach, but a current perspective when it comes to gender inequality. Like others who have come across this little gem, I found this book insightful, thought provoking and relatable.

Though the hurdles and restrictions I face in America differ from that of Nigeria, it was difficult to read the way in which a mere class monitor position (that she rightfully earned) when she was 9-years-old was passed over to a boy in her class based solely on fact that her classmate was male. Being born with a quick mind and an even quicker tongue, I doubt that without the years of practicing the act of counting to ten (sometimes five) in my head that I would be able to respond or graciously address the systematic gender injustice Adichie describes.

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