2019 has started off strong, already! I attribute this strong start to selecting my first read, Pages For You by Sylvia Brownrigg, which is a book I’ve been waiting to read for some time, now. The month of January was stressful– full of change, new beginnings, transitions, with bits of overwhelm sprinkled throughout. Because of this, I leaned into books I knew I would love… books featuring queer characters, books about topics i’m passionate about, a memoir (because you know I can’t resist), books targeting social justice, and books I’ve held on to for some time now. These books definitely helped me through. If you’d like to watch me chat about these reads, you can find my youtube video HERE.
Pages For You by Syvia Brownrigg |
This is easily going to be one of my favorite books of 2019, and I’m not just saying that because it was the first. I knew when I bought this in 2018 that I was going to enjoy this one, and it exceeded those preliminary thoughts. This book grasped me with each element, starting first with characters. I enjoyed each character in this book, no matter how small their presence. The two main characters, in particular, were intriguing, dynamic, and interesting throughout. Flaws and all. Just so good. I also loved the university love trope that went on here, with the added intrigue of an age difference. It just gave me all those good feeling love feels. Worth picking up, for sure, and I will follow up with Pages For Her as soon as I get to it… because that is definitely coming soon.
Sugar Run by Mesha Maren | sent by Algonquin Books for review
Ahh, Sugar Run. How I wanted to love you so, and yet, I cannot. I’ve already squawked on every social platform about how I may have set up this book for failure, but hear me out– a book should be able to stand on its own, regardless of the wonderful book I read before. In all honesty, this book wasn’t awful. It held up, and I just wasn’t left with any long lasting impression. I wasn’t attached to any of the characters, the story was loose and, at times, hard to follow, and ultimately just felt a bit slow. I did enjoy the different elements of culture, SES, relationships, setting, experience, etc. Ultimately, I could see some people enjoying this; it simply just was not for me.
The Elephant In The Room by Tommy Tomlinson |sent by Simon Books for review
Even just typing that title brought back all the feels. Something I haven’t shared is that when I was in second grade, I had a teacher that, in front of the whole classroom, mimicked me, specifically the way I walk, which she felt was stomping and on my toes, and said “Brittany, what is wrong with you? You walk like an elephant!” I was humiliated. The use of the word “elephant” in the context of a human is heartbreaking and judgmental. Tommy takes this realness, adds his human, authentic approach, and carries this delicate balance of self deprecation, healing, and social norms. Throughout this book, I found myself identifying with Tommy on a lot of levels, specifically surrounding the messaging from those around us, and the impact that has on our perception of ourselves. I have a unique relationship with my body, and hearing Tommy’s truth was inspiring, hopeful, and most importantly, real. I will forever be looking out for more works by Tomlinson in the future.
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
Why did I wait so long to read this? The question I will be asking myself repeatedly after having read this book. This book is spectacular. Baldwin’s writing is timeless, full of life, authenticity, and realness, digestible, and valued. The unfortunate piece of this story is the truth surrounding the racial profiling and wrongful incarceration. This story is not the last of its kind, and has continued to present itself in literature, and life, since this book. That haunting reality that we continue to face and experience today is what makes this story so heartbreaking. The relationship aspect, alone, is troubling, as the truth of wrongful family separation, trauma, and attachment is impacted by this arrest. Beyond that, the racial trauma throughout the book is felt, and leaves you sitting with the troubling truth that things haven’t changed. It’s not enough to say they need to. We need action. We need more than saying we need action. And I’m grateful these books continue to highlight this importance.
My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame |
Hands down my favorite manga– I mean it. I read a manga last year that I loved. And this statement still stands. This story– the characters, the art, the familial representation, cultural representation, queer representation– I’m here for ALL OF IT. I purchased volume 2 immediately when I finished volume 1. What got me was the intense sense of emotion that came from this story. The art, the characters, the interactions– you could feel it all, and it was just right. It didn’t go beyond anything it needed to be, it felt honest, sometimes sad, sometimes hopeful, complex, and sometimes just real. I will be recommending this one for a while, and will follow up with volume 2 feelings, ASAP.
That’s all I’ve got for you this month! Stay tuned for some fab February reads, coming soon!
until next time,