I recently finished listening to the audiobook of Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch, an exploration of what it means to be mixed-race in Britain that is both broad and deeply personal. A traditional, analytical review felt as though it would somehow detract from the invaluable messages that are at the core of this book. With that in mind, I am instead going to list the 5 most important lessons that I took away from reading Brit(ish). Continue reading Most Important Lessons from Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch
Rating: 4 stars
Category: Literary fiction
Following a sort-of breakup with her boyfriend, Queenie enters full rebound mode. But as she trawls dating apps, she soon realises that hooking up is hard enough without the added problem of racial fetishisation. To make things even worse her old-fashioned relatives view therapy as shameful and her boss at the magazine isn’t letting her write about anything she genuinely cares about.
As she bounces haplessly from one poor decision to another, Queenie realises that there’s nothing like hitting rock bottom to give you a whole new set of priorities. Continue reading Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams: Character-Driven, Witty and Vulnerable
Much of Ancient Greek culture, including its mythology, was derived from Ancient Egypt and other Afroasiatic civilisations, but this rich tapestry of influences has subsequently been whitewashed.
With this context in mind, I thought I would highlight 3 books by black women writers who reclaim Greek mythology and use it to illustrate the harrowing experiences of enslavement and racism. Continue reading Questioning the Canon: Race and Greek Mythology Retellings
I recently finished listening to the audiobook of It’s Not About the Burqa, a collection of essays by British Muslim women that is edited by Mariam Khan. A traditional, analytical review felt as though it would somehow detract from the invaluable messages that are at the core of this book. With that in mind, I am instead going to list the 5 most important lessons that I took away from reading It’s Not About the Burqa. Continue reading Most Important Lessons from It’s Not About the Burqa
I recently finished listening to the audiobook of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. A traditional, analytical review felt as though it would somehow detract from the invaluable messages that are at the core of DiAngelo’s work. With that in mind, I am instead going to list the 5 most important lessons that I took away from reading White Fragility. Continue reading Most Important Lessons from White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Racism isn’t just about overtly bigoted white nationalist groups – it’s everyone’s problem. I’ve written an article about my book group’s experience of reading Me & White Supremacy. This non-fiction book by Layla F. Saad acts as a powerful call for white people to interrogate our relationship with racism and uncover the depths of our silent complicity. Continue reading Bristol Girl Book Group Reads: Me & White Supremacy (Magazine Article)
Rating: 5 stars
Category: Literary fiction
Synopsis: In Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo intertwines twelve lives – mostly black, British women. Their voices range from Hattie, an ancient mixed-race grandma struggling to keep her family farm and her pride along with it, to Amma, a black lesbian playwright whose radical work is showing at the National Theatre for the first time.
Through this lively spectrum of characters, Evaristo explores the nuances of identity, connection, and what it means to be proud of who you are. Continue reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo: Because One Voice is Never Enough
Rating: 2 stars
Category: Crime Fiction
Private investigator Phillip Marlowe, a little strapped for cash, is on yet another assignment to track down an adulterous spouse when he runs into Moose Malloy. This cold, violent gangster has a soft spot: a barmaid named Velma whom he was going to marry before being jailed for armed robbery.
Marlowe strikes out to find Velma, but soon uncovers a black hole of gangs, blackmail and corruption in which she may well be lost forever. Continue reading Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler: Macho Detective Fiction That Screams “Male Gaze”
Questioning the Canon is a new feature in which I hope to bring to light lesser-known books about a certain issue, which can be read alongside or instead of infamous ‘classics’.
People are starting to discuss whether the authors we hold up as cultural icons – Shakespeare, Dickens, Wordsworth – should be accompanied by previously marginalised writers. Our idea of what constitutes ‘great literature’ is becoming broader.
This can only be a good thing, as it means more diversity and social representation in what we read! Continue reading Questioning the Canon: Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mary Prince
Rating: 5 stars
Synopsis: For childhood best friends Tish and Fonny, becoming a couple in adulthood seems like the easiest, most natural thing in the world. Until Fonny is jailed for a rape he never committed, just before Tish announces she is pregnant with his baby. Two families must cling to each other in the turbulent struggle for justice that ensues against the institutional racism of America. Continue reading If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin: Intense, Rhetorically Charged Love Story