Biggie. Tupac. Lauryn Hill. Lil Kim. Hip Hop. Late 90s. Let Me Hear a Rhyme was published in 2019 for today’s youngsters, but it was a trip down memory lane for this child of the 80s and 90s.
Growing up, I barely read books with black female teen protagonists (shout out to The Coldest Winter Ever and Flyy Girl), let alone novels with Haitian female leads. I didn’t read my first Haitian author and Haitian characters—Haitian female characters—until Edwidge Danticat’s Breath Eyes Memory. Thank you, Oprah, for making it a book club selection in 1998. I’ve been a fan of Danticat’s ever since. I knew of Roxane Gay, but I didn’t know she was Haitian until I read her memoir Hunger. If Gay mentioned it in Bad Feminist (which I did not finish because I’m, well, a bad feminist) I missed it. Last year, I read Ben Phillippe’s The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, which is about a Black French Canadian teen boy (with Haitian parents), who moves to Texas and teen angst ensues. Now to my short list of read Haitian writing I can add Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite.
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite My rating: 3 of 5 stars My Sister, the Serial Killer. Fiction or nonfiction, how could that title not entice you? Not to mention the book cover. A woman, with a gorgeous dark brown complexion, dazzling white teeth, a head-wrap and round mirrored sunglasses, looking a little off to the side. To be quite honest, until I sat down to write the description of the cover, I had not noticed the reflection […]
Nappily Ever After by Trisha R. Thomas My rating: 2 of 5 stars Nappily Ever After has been on my TBR list for over ten years, spanning back to my days of working at Borders Bookstore. There were talks of then “It Girl” Halle Berry adapting it into a film. For whatever reason, not only was the movie not produced, but I never got around to reading the novel. It faded from memory and sunk to oblivion in my TBR […]
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah My rating: 5 of 5 stars Let me tell you how much I enjoyed reading Trevor Noah’s memoir, Born a Crime. When I got home late Thursday night aka Shonda Rhimes Night aka Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal Night, I opted to continue reading to finish the book, instead of tuning in to the tear-jerker and suspenseful shows, respectfully. I could’ve easily saved the last few pages for the […]
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead My rating: 3 of 5 stars This is going to sound ridiculous, but I don’t care: Oprah bullied me into reading Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. Do I know Oprah? Of course not. Have I ever met her? She’s on my vision board, so we’ll see. How did she bully me? you ask. Because up until I saw the white, round sticker with a capital O, the telltale sign of a book being declared […]
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult My rating: 3 of 5 stars Years ago, I read my first Jodi Picoult novel. My Sister’s Keeper left me so devastated I never picked up any of her dozens of other titles. I stayed glued to my lumpy futon reading into the wee hours of the night. A glutton for punishment, I watched the movie adaptation with the cousin, who, also devastated by the book, suggested I read it. Of course the book […]
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi My rating: 4 of 5 stars Paul Kalanithi could have easily become a writer, but felt a stronger calling to become a neurosurgeon instead. After he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, he focused his time to draft his beautifully written memoir When Breath Becomes Air. The son and brother of doctors was at first deterred by the medical profession which he attributed to his father’s absence from many childhood memories; however, […]