March Reads

Third month in a row of six books read- a real surprise for this month, considering there was a LOT of change in my household, between our jobs, schools reopening, visitors, etc... Good change, but lots of accompanying stress, so I guess some escape was needed. I've been reallllllllly trying to use the Forest app for 100 hours a month (I made it in February and fell short by two hours in March), which has helped me not waste time on my phone as much, so I think that is part of it too. Whatever it is, I hope it continues!

The two nonfiction books I read couldn't be more different. The first was How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. I bought this in late February when we had to idea what was happening to the school schedules and I was clinging to the last thread of patience I had left. It's not Sawyer's fault, at all- he's a chatty only child and I'm a working mom who hasn't felt rested in, like, seven years. I read their version for little kids a few years ago and it was just a good refresher. Nothing mind-blowing, but it helps to be reminded of strategies to use to help not feel like a nag all the time. 

The second one I read was Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall, which I read in part of educating myself about intersectional feminism. Kendall writes about how traditional feminism had in many ways perpetuated elements of racism, through the neglect to help black women. She does a good job of organizing the book in to categories involving such topics as education, violence, housing, poverty, etc..., detailing the issues and how they can change. If you are a feminist, especially white, you have to read this. 

I reread Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Part for the fourth (I think?) time in order to teach it to my students. It is the first time since the BLM movement got more traction, so it's been fascinating to read it through a slightly different lens. My students seem to enjoy it and I am looking forward to the discussions. If you haven't read it I highly recommend it- Achebe's simplistic prose juxtapose the complexity of tribal life in Africa when the white missionaries come. It deals with masculinity, pride, violence, tradition, and change- it's definitely a rich text. 

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters was my choice for one of my book clubs and while I thought there were areas of the writing that were a bit too heavy on the exposition, the overall story was compelling. I don't think I have read anything by a trans author before, and Peter's exploration of the issues that people feel when transitioning, and detransitioning, was educational. This goes back to my need to deepen my knowledge of intersectional feminism- I need to learn about other areas and this made me even more aware. 

Also for book club, another one, was A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet. I thought it was an excellent allegory and liken it to a mash up of The Road and Lord of the Flies. I hate the word "triggered," but that was exactly how I felt reading it, given the fact that their entire world is changed after just one event... like our with the pandemic. A group of kids is vacationing with their parents at a secluded lake house when a massive hurricane hits, deepening the divide between the young and old, testing everyone's survival skills.

I think my favorite of the month was Deesha Philyaw's short story collection The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. These stories look at black women and their secrets and struggles, whether it's with sexuality, family, or identity. It's a slim volume that I originally planned on read in a day or two, but I found myself savoring the stories and trying to just read one a day to make it last. 

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