An ancient god of war out for vengeance, a lonely bartender, and an angry fire demon all walk into a bar. Sounds like the start of a joke, right? Well, that's almost correct.
Celebrate World Baking Day by exploring one of humanity’s oldest sources of nutrition—bread! Although modern grocery store bread has little in common ancient Egypt’s first flatbreads, this dietary staple has remained popular through millennia and across the world.
A Ghana proverb says, “By going and coming, a bird weaves its nest.” The title of this novel tells the story of many people from Ghana who were forcibly removed from their African home, yet centuries later, two descendants return to find their family.
If you liked Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, Yaa Gyasi’s novel will make the perfect follow-up. Hard to believe that she started writing this in her early twenties and finished it by age twenty-six. It covers much more ground than Whitehead’s historical novel: Africa and the U.S., and much more time, from the mid-seventeen hundreds to now.
At one point in the novel, a black history teacher describes history as storytelling. Gyasi presents many eloquent and heart-rending stories here. What ties them together is that all the characters belong to one extended family, who were once royalty in Ghana. They became both slave-sellers and slaves. Many came to America.
Gyasi follows two tracks of this family: one remained in Ghana, the other was forced into slavery in the U.S. It follows their descendants after the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the great migration north.
Gyasi visited Africa as a student to do research on a book about mothers and daughters. But when she toured Ghana’s Cape Coast Castle, something in the rooms, the cellar where slaves were chained and abused in dungeons called out to her. She immediately decided to focus on the African slave trade and its diaspora later in the U.S.
Wires and Nerve picks up after the events of Winter (and Cinder, Scarlett, and Cress) so STOP RIGHT NOW if you haven't read those books. Actually, what's wrong with you? Go read those! They're so good! Start with Cinder, you're welcome.
For me, books are a form of traveling to distant places, places I will probably never see. Because of this, I decided to check out this Man Booker Prize winner about South Korea.
The Vegetarian begins with the speaker, Cheong, saying, “Before my wife turned vegetarian, I’d always thought of her as unremarkable in every way.” Cheong, an ambitious businessman, then states that he deliberately chose his wife because she was so bland.
But late one night, Yeong-hye wakes from a dream. Cheong finds her in the kitchen in the dark; she does not respond to his words or even his touch. The next day, Yeong-hye, almost in a trancelike state, throws away all the meat and fish from their refrigerator and freezer. She never willingly eats flesh again.
Solvitur Ambulande, solved by walking, could be the motto of this novel. And if you, like me, process the world while strolling through town or the woods, you’ll love this book.
Two alternating stories thread through it. In one, it’s the 1980s, and New York City still has a crime problem, so people fear walking at night. Most, that is, except for Lillian Boxfish, an octogenarian advertising maven (retired) and a poet. It’s New Year’s 1985, and a ten-mile, round trip walk from upper Manhattan to the Bowery and the Village is no big deal for her.
The second story first-time novelist Kathleen Rooney weaves tells Lillian’s history in the Big Apple. After moving to New York from D.C. in the roaring twenties, Lillian immediately felt at home. She began living in Manhattan in a sheltered rooming house with strict curfews and rules against male visitors. Lillian and her childhood girlfriend got around these rules by organizing Shakespearean theater pieces to which they invited eligible bachelors. Later, they’d head out on the town with them, and coming back hours after curvew, they’d tip the front desk person, and steal back to their rooms.
Winner of the 2017 Michael L. Printz Award, the 2017 Coretta Scott King Author Award, the 2017 Sibert Medal, and several other awards, March: Book 3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell is a monumental feat of storytelling that is a must-read. March: Book 3 is the final installment in a graphic novel trilogy that chronicles the Civil Rights Movement in the American South from the perspective of John Lewis.
Scarlett has been writing to Legend every year for the past 7 years, but this year, she finally got the letter right. Legend is the master of Caraval, a magical, mysterious game where the winner's get fame, glory, and, this time, a wish. Scarlett and her sister Tella have been invited to Caraval, but Scarlett is about to marry a Count and finally take her sister away from their tiny island and their abusive father. If she leaves to play the game, she could ruin everything.
Winner of the 2017 Stonewall Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature, Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor marks Rick Riordan’s return to the world of Asgard. Picking up right after their triumph at the end of the previous story, Magnus Chase and company must now retrieve Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, before the giants invade and destroy Earth. So overall, just your average day really.