Welcome to Sister Reads! Francine and I are joining forces this year to talk about what is probably our very favorite thing, yes even more loved than crafting: books! Growing up books were everywhere over our home. Our mum is an English teacher, and so we had shelves filled with literature from around the world: Britain, the US, Africa, and of course the Caribbean. We were both avid readers as children, and that love followed us into adulthood. This year we will be posting a monthly book review on the last Friday of every month: a brief recap of the books we read during the month. We invite you to tell us about what you're reading in the comments below too!
As I mentioned above Francine and I love to read. However, I have found that since the introduction of social media into my life, that although still am an avid reader, the amount of time that I spend reading has dropped off significantly as compared to when I was growing up. I am determined to fix that this year and I know that blogging about my reading will not only motivate me but keep me honest.
To start the year of I am reviewing a heartrending classic and a modern tale of love, race, culture, and coming-home.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
I belong to a book club called Literary Pairings at my local library. The premise of the book club is that every two months we “pair” a classic, or book of an historical nature, with a contemporary or lesser-known work that is related by setting, theme, and/or characters. Tess was this month’s selection.
The story is about a poor, young girl Tess Durbeyfield whose family looking for a better life drive her to claim kinship with the D'Urbervilles. She meets her supposed cousin Alec who changes her life in a drastic way and in a way that influences her future choices even when she meets Angel Clare a man who seems to be the complete opposite of Alec.
I have to admit that this is the first Hardy that I have read. Yes I know about him and his famous books but for whatever reason I have never had or taken the opportunity to read any of his books. I don’t know if it was the short, dark, cold days or the state of current affairs in the world that had an impact on my mood when I read this but I found it hard to get though as it was just so sad and depressing.
When I told my mom how sad I thought it was she said, “I love that novel. Hardy’s fatalistic theory: the two halves never come together. It’s always mismatched halves. Yes dismal outlook.” (English teach remember).
Next month I will review its paring Winter by Christopher Nicholson.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This book has been on my To Be Read (TBR) shelf for some time now and I finally got around to reading it. I think sometimes that a book lets you know when it is the right time to read it. I absolutely loved reading Americanah.
The story is about Ifemelu and Obinze who are both Nigerian and meet in high school and fall in love. They both leave Nigeria as young adults and face challenges in the countries they come to call home, America and England respectively, until they both return to Nigeria and are reunited but not under the best of circumstances and face what I think is the most difficult decision of their life...to truly let love in.
As a recent naturalized US citizen originally from the Caribbean (Grenada to be exact) I could totally relate to the female leading character Ifemelu, especially during her time in America. “The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not. We all wish it was not. But it’s a lie. I came from a country where race was not an issue; I did not think of myself as black and I only became black when I came to America.” This was one of the many passages from the book that really hit home with me especially with what is happening in the US right now.
This book is, I think, a must read for anyone who wants to get a basic understanding of the global perspective on race from a non-American black.
What have you been reading?
Now I am sure that you are curious to see what Francine read this month. See her post here.