books and the arctic temps

Brrrr…eight inches of snow to shovel off the driveway yesterday (yes, sore arms today).

This morning, I woke up an hour ago to -6 Fahrenheit and it’s already climbed down to -8 (windchill -24) and it’s a gonna hang out at these subzero temps for a couple days.

So what’s a person to do on their week off when it’s like this? Using the oven to make meals, sipping hot drinks, working a jigsaw puzzle (in real life), and reading. My favorite kind of week off in winter.

Because I’m writing a story that features black people as primary and secondary characters, I like to make sure I don’t stereotype. I know black people in real life—people I work with, people I pastor with, friends I follow on facebook, friends I share meals with. But I want to know more and how do we find out more about people from other countries, other cultures? Read. These are most recent two books I’ve read.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

The first is Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. It’s a science fiction novella, 90 pages long, about Binti, a 16-year-old woman of an esteemed desert family who has a chance to attend a university on another planet. We are in action immediately as, in secret, she leaves on a transporter, boards a shuttle, and makes her way through security and people’s stares to get on the living ship. She’s a harmonizer through mathematics. This story is a quick and fascinating read.

Okorafor is an Igbo (Nigerian) American woman. She has a Ph. D. in English and is an associate professor of creative writing, winning many awards for her short stories and young adult books. Binti won both the 2016 Nebula award and the 2016 Hugo award. Binti is now a series.

Well-Read Black Girl, edited by Glory Edim

The second book is an anthology, Well-Read Black Girl, edited by Glory Edim, founder of the Well-Read Black Girl club based in Brooklyn, New York. Authors in this book include: Tayari Jones, Rebecca Walker, N.K. Jemisin, and Jacqueline Woodson, and many others.

Each section is divided recommended selections of further readings: classic novels, black feminism, black girlhood and friendship, science fiction and fantasy, plays, and poetry, all written by black women.

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Well-Read Black Girl

Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves

The purpose of this book, as is true for any book, is for people to find words for their own lived experience, to slip on the skins of worlds that are familiar, to see interpretations of worlds as it was, and to envision the world as it could become.

As Edim writes on her website:

Our goal is to showcase the universality of Black women through literature. Through reading our community addresses racial inequity in publishing and pays homage to the literary legacies of Black women writers like Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Maya Angelou.

Happy reading!