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Teaser Tuesday 12/15

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme hosted by The Purple Booker. It’s super easy and anyone can join in the fun!

1: Grab your current read
2: Open to a random page
3: Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

Memorial is one of the 77 titles on the 2021 Tournament of Books longlist. This battle of the books takes place in March and pits the top 16 (or 18) books of the year against each other. Just think March Madness for book nerds. Right now most of us who follow this competition are in a mad dash to read the list. We are snatching up sales, searching our local libraries and waiting with bated breath for the shortlist to come out. So guess how lucky I felt when my library sent me the notification that Memorial was a hot pick for the day.

Teaser

Mike’s never promised me anything. Only delivered or didn’t. He always said that promises were only words, and words only meant what you made them.


Synopsis

A funny, sexy, profound dramedy about two young people at a crossroads in their relationship and the limits of love.

Benson and Mike are two young guys who live together in Houston. Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson’s a Black day care teacher, and they’ve been together for a few years — good years — but now they’re not sure why they’re still a couple. There’s the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other.

But when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Texas for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he undergoes an extraordinary transformation, discovering the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted. Without Mike’s immediate pull, Benson begins to push outwards, realizing he might just know what he wants out of life and have the goods to get it.

Both men will change in ways that will either make them stronger together, or fracture everything they’ve ever known. And just maybe they’ll all be okay in the end. Memorial is a funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you’re supposed to be, and the limits of love.

December TBR

I started out preparing myself for this month by setting up challenges. But then I realized that not all of my plans for 2020 will see fruition. I am not upset over this like I normally would be. 2020 has been quite a year and nothing that anyone of us could have expected or planned for. So instead of doing Spell the Month in Books I have chosen a few of my yearly goals that I find attainable to focus on these last couple of weeks.

Get It Done 2020

Pop Sugar Challenge 2020

By December 1st I had completed 47/50 prompts. Here is what remains:

“Read a medical thriller.”
“Read a book with “20” or “twenty” in the title”
“Read a book with the same title as a movie or TV show but is unrelated to it.”

Tournament of Books Shortlist

I only have one title left from this shortlist:

From the two-time NBCC Finalist, an emotionally resonant, fiercely imaginative new novel about a family whose road trip across America collides with an immigration crisis at the southwestern border–an indelible journey told with breathtaking imagery, spare lyricism, and profound humanity.


GoodReads Giveaways

An emotional exploration of the frayed bond between a father and daughter…and what it takes to mend it.

An intimate and unflinching memoir exploring Mia Kangs journey from self-loathing to self-love


IOUs

These are books I was supposed to read for book clubs earlier in the year but didn’t. In part because my focus and concentration was off. In some cases because the pub dates were pushed back due to the Coronavirus.

June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock – horribly tortured and branded with a slaver’s mark.

Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham – a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career – is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable damage to the British slaving industry. He’d said people were trying to kill him, and now he is missing . . .

In A Thousand Ships, broadcaster and classicist Natalie Haynes retells the story of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.


Plans For 2021

My focus has also been geared more towards the future — towards 2021. So I have been spending a lot of time setting up my first bullet journal. This has been fun and also calming. It has led me to do inventories of my shelves both physical and digital (Has anyone else forgotten they have books on their Kindle? Oh just me. OK. I’ll keep those embarrassing moments to myself then.)

Spell the Month in Books

Spell the Month in Books is a fun challenge created by Jana @ Reviews from the Stacks. The idea is to spell the month using the first letter from books you plan to read during that month.  As we are approaching the end of the year I am using November to catch up on challenges and Netgalley ARCs.

So here goes nothing.

N is for Nectar in a Sieve

I received my copy of this book in a care package especially curated for me by Caveat Emptor Used Books. Named Notable Book of year in 1955 by the American Library Association, Nectar in the Sieve is the story about a child bride in India.

Challenge: 52 Weeks of Women in Color, Shelf-A-Thon


O is for On the Come Up

I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while now. Found the Hate You Give absolutely riveting so I just have to read this one.

Challenge: 52 Weeks of Women in Color, 2020 PopSugar Challenge, Shelf-A-Thon


V is for Victories Greater Than Death

I never thought of myself as a science fiction fantasy reader but my I guess I am going to rethink my labels and I have Charlie Jane Anders to thank in part for that. When I read All the Birds in the Sky for the 2017 Tournament of Books I surprised myself by liking it as much as I did. So of course I put in my wish for this book when it popped upon NetGalley.

Challenge: NetGalley


E is for The End of the Day

I tried to listen to this audiobook while doing my daily exercise but it couldn’t hold my attention. I do not know if it was the story line or the narrator (Bill Clegg himself) but I had to put it down. I will be revisiting this book in print with the hope of clearing my NetGalley shelf.

Challenge: NetGalley

M is for Mem

I came across this book while trying to find a title that fulfilled the “Set in the 1920s” task for the 2020 PopSugar Challenge. This debut novella by Bethany C. Morrow is highly rated among my GoodReads friends and has received many accolades. Her YA book A Song Below Water was a 5 star read for me.

Challenge: 2020 PopSugar Challenge; 52 Weeks of Women of Color


B is for Black Futures

Black Futures is a collaborative effort between Jenna Wortham New Your Times culture writer and Kimberly Drew art curator. A mix of essays, photos, poetry about the Black experience . . . I was intrigued when I received the widget for this book.

Challenge: 52 Weeks of Women of Color, NetGalley, Nonfiction November


E is for The Emissary

I remember when this book was nominated for the National Book Awards and everyone on my GoodReads page was raving about this book. Then Voila! It went on sale and I snatched it up.

Challenge: Shelf-A-Thon, 52 Weeks of Women of Color, 2020 PopSugar Challenge

R is for Red Island House

This book was recommended by a member of The Black Bookcase on GoodReads.

Challenge: 52 Weeks of Women of Color, NetGalley, Life of a Book Addict Color Challenge

Spell the Month in Books

Spell the Month in Books is a fun challenge created by Jana @ Reviews from the Stacks. The idea is to spell the month using the first letter from books you plan to read during that month. When I saw it on Susan’s page I decided I would jump in on the fun but as October is nearly over I decided to instead highlight books from another challenge I am participating in called 52 Weeks of Women of Color.

O is for One Night in Georgia

“Set in the summer of 1968, (One Night in Georgia) a provocative and devastating novel of individual lives caught in the grips of violent history—a timely and poignant story that reverberates with the power of Alice Walker’s Meridian and Ntozake Shange’s Betsey Browne.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

C is for Conjure Women

Conjure Women is a magical debut that vividly captures America after the Civil War. A compulsive read, it emphasizes the importance of community, the resilience of women and knowing your power.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

T is for The Talking Drum

The Talking Drum examines gentrification and its impact on the black community was what drew me to this book. With the beating of the drums as an undercurrent throughout the book, Braxton reminds the reader of our connection to the ancestors and spirituality. That rhythm is our collective heartbeat. It symbolizes that all within the diaspora are of one blood despite our divisiveness.

The take home message from The Talking Drum was about community and of people holding steadfast in their convictions and weathering the storm together.

Check out my interview with Lisa Braxton here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

O is for The Other Americans

The Other Americans is a multilayered novel. It is all at once a family saga, a mystery, social commentary and a love story. Told from the perspectives of the victim, his immigrant family, neighbors and police, The Other Americans not only provides a clear lens for racial and class tensions, but also allows insight into the burdens our protectors carry. Although the book description focuses on the hit and run accident that claimed the life of patriarch Driss Guerraroui, at the forefront of this novel is love: self-love and acceptance, the love between a parent and child, sacrifice and romantic love. Not a syrupy sweet fairy tale romance, but a soul stirring love with real people, real issues and real emotion.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

B is for Banned Book Club

Banned Book Club is a graphic novel set during South Korea’s Fifth Republic. One aspect of the book that I liked was that it shows throughout history how books and art were used as a form of protest. The author not only declares books as political, but goes further to address the reasons why those in power censor books. The reason is not just because of possible messages of dissent, but rather that they can see themselves as the villains of these novels. Their fear that others may recognize this is what drives them to ban books. They want to control their image, to control the political narrative.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

E is for Empire of Wild

Dimaline’s Empire of Wild is a love story. It is about family, tradition, the gift of our elders. It is also a social commentary on the dispossessed, on capitalism and the perverting of religion for financial gain. The horror of this story is not the Rogarou, but big business and their manipulation of legal loopholes to trample on indigenous people and the land.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

R is for The Revisioners

The Revisioners explores the depths of women’s relationships—powerful women and marginalized women, healers and survivors. It is a novel about the bonds between a mother and a child, the dangers that upend those bonds. At its core, The Revisioners ponders generational legacies, the endurance of hope, and the undying promise of freedom.”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Check out my GoodReads page to see my full reviews and more suggestions of diverse reads!