Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks. In this event, bloggers highlight a diverse read that they’ve read and enjoyed, one they want to read, and one that’s yet to come out. I alternate this event with Book Traveling Thursdays usually, though this is the first weekly meme I’ve done in awhile (teaching makes for little time sometimes).
A Book I Have Read
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
I so loved this book! It’s a retelling of The Iliad, in which Achilles and Patroclus grow up together and fall in love. Their love story is happy and tragic and interesting, and Miller’s writing style is phenomenal. I’m eagerly awaiting her next book (a retelling of The Odyssey)!
A Book I Want to Read
You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
A hilarious and affecting essay collection about race, gender, and pop culture from celebrated stand-up comedian and WNYC podcaster Phoebe Robinson.
Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comic, which means that, often, her everyday experiences become points of comedic fodder. And as a black woman in America, she maintains, sometimes you need to have a sense of humor to deal with the absurdity you are handed on the daily. Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years: she’s been unceremoniously relegated to the role of “the black friend,” as if she is somehow the authority on all things racial; she’s been questioned about her love of U2 and Billy Joel (“isn t that . . . white people music?”); she’s been called “uppity” for having an opinion in the workplace; she’s been followed around stores by security guards; and yes, people do ask her whether they can touch her hair all. the. time. Now, she’s ready to take these topics to the page and she s going to make you laugh as she s doing it.
Using her trademark wit alongside pop-culture references galore, Robinson explores everything from why Lisa Bonet is “Queen. Bae. Jesus,” to breaking down the terrible nature of casting calls, to giving her less-than-traditional advice to the future female president, and demanding that the NFL clean up its act, all told in the same conversational voice that launched her podcast, “2 Dope Queens,” to the top spot on iTunes. As personal as it is political, “You Can’t Touch My Hair” examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases with humor and heart, announcing Robinson as a writer on the rise.”
I have heard so many good things about this book and I’m trying so hard to get to it. I’m hoping to pick it up on audio. I feel like books like this are such important reads!
An Upcoming Release
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives.
In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.
After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.
A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.
I really enjoyed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by this author, and so I’m willing to bet I’d enjoy this one too. Looks good!
What are you spotlighting this week? Any other diverse reads you think I should check out? Let me know in the comments!