Book List inspired by Black History Month!

This is NOT a black history month book list; this IS a book list inspired by black history month. Let me explain, I read a huge amount of books that would fall into this category. But in my opinion black history is history and everyone should be reading & learning it all year not just in the month of February!
I saw a promo post yesterday with only 3 choices & I knew that if I wrote such a list, my list would be enormous and would feature female/male writers, fiction & non-fiction, old skool reads & new releases. Something for everybody. I mentioned this in passing to my husband who quickly pointed out ‘isn’t that what your blog is for’ so here goes!

To make this list the best it fully can be, I have scoured my book journals, tbr pile & wish list. I will identify this throughout the list. I can’t include reviews for all the ones I have read but will include my star rating & a brief summary. They are in no particular order.

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an-untamed-state-covercolour-bar-coverroots-cover

all-involved-coveryou-dont-know-me-coverthe-memory-of-love-cover

beloved-coverthey-cant-coveruncle-toms-cabin-cover

the-book-of-night-women-coverthe-blood-of-emmett-till-coverdarktown-cover

the-speech-coverafrica-coverthe-sell-out-cover

we-wish-coverthe-calling-coversummertime-cover

small-great-things-covermlk-coverblack-girl-lost-cover

cut-covergloria-covernoughts-crosses-cover

easy-rawlins-coverdevils-peak-covernatchez-burning-cover

malcolm-x-covershake-hands-covernelson-mandela-cover

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Fiction:

  • IQ by Joe Ide – 5* Genius – New release IQ is a new release, set in modern day LA. I described IQ as a ghetto Sherlock Holmes in my review, this novel is clever, edgy and unique!
  • Heartman by M.P Wright (JT Ellington series) – 5* Genius JT is a Bajan cop turned private eye, when he arrives in Bristol UK from Barbados. Set in the 1960’s the novel gives a full & well written description of the era & attitudes at that time. JT is one my favourite characters ever!
  • Noughts & crosses by Malorie Blackman – TBR pile I had this YA book recommendation from my little brother. It was his favourite book in his teens. It is due to be adapted to a TV series on the BBC.
  • An Untamed State by Roxane gay – 5* This tells the story of Mirieille Duval Jameson, her life in Haiti as daughter of one of the wealthiest families. It details her subsequent captivity & ordeal. But also draws on the backdrop of poverty, inequality, corrupt governments and growing anger. A dark, brutal read but extremely noteworthy.
  • Devils Peak by Deon Meyer – Wish list I added this to my wish list due to its location & themes. Set in south Africa this novel tells the story of returning freedom fighter Thobela Mpayipheli
  • Natchez Burning trilogy by Greg Iles – 5* Genius This trilogy is majorly intense. It also has reflective chapters jumping between modern times and the 1960’s. Set in the deep south of the USA, it explores the inner workings or the KKK and the effect they have on everyone they touch.
  • The calling by Neil Cross (John Luther series) – 5* This is the novel featuring John Luther from the much loved series with Idris Elba. Set in modern times with John Luther the protagonist cop, we all know & love.
  • Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye – 5* Set in the Florida keys in the 1930’s this novel covers the black soldiers who returned from WW1 and the trying times they face. When a white woman is found murdered, suspicions quickly fall to the veterans.
  • Small Great things by Jodi Picoult – 5* This was a heavily anticipated novel as the author is so well known. It centres around one woman’s struggle to clear her name and the bigotry she faces. The novel has a thought-provoking & clever twist.
  • The Wrath of Moses by John sturgeon – 4* Centred around cop Moses in the crime plagued Levee District. This is a heavily layered crime novel of exceptional depth. Aside from the usual dramas Moses is Moses’s biggest enemy.
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – 5* Genius One of my favourites of 2016. I can’t even begin to explain how significant this novel is. Set in the era of slavery, this novel focuses on the story of Cora & her escape via the underground railroad. Incredibly moving!
  • Colour Bar by Susan William –TBR pile Added due to my wish list due to its unique & inspiring love story. The true story of a 1947 multi-racial romance between an heir to Africa and a white British woman. Currently screening as a movie in the UK
  • The Speech by Andrew Smith – 5* Another of my favourites from 2016. Set in 1968 & covering Enoch Powell’s rivers of blood speech. This novel merges fact & fiction and is an educational & moving read. Essentially about racial politics in the UK but written in such a well detailed way!
  • Gloria by Kerry Young –TBR pile Set in 1938 Jamaica covering political change & social justice from a female perspective. This was an obvious choice for my wish list.
  • Lies We All Tell ourselves by Robin Talley – TBR pile Another YA pick, This one set in the backdrop of the civil rights era yet also features an LGBTQ theme. Unique pick.
  • You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood – 5* Genius – New Release This is a courtroom legal drama, where the reader becomes a jury member. The beauty of it is, it forces you to think like someone who may not live like you or look like you. Puts you solely in their perspective.
  • Easy Rawlins series by Walter Mosley – 5* Genius The series starts out with an old skool edge to it and Easy is by far one of thee most coolest book characters to date! The novels each have unique themes and I am still working my way through the series myself.
  • Black Girl Lost by Donald Goines – 5* If you ever want to fully understand the term ‘white privilege’ this is the novel for you! The story of two youngsters who never stood a chance due to circumstances outside of their control.
  • Axeman’s Jazz & Dead Man’s Blues by Ray Celestin – 5* Genius The series begins in New Orleans and is a fictionalised portrayal of the real Axeman killer. Heavy on detail and depth, this series is amazing!
  • Darktown by Thomas Mullens- 5* Genius Atlanta 1948 this novels covers the first ever black cops in the USA. Boggs & smith are the two main cops; they are written very well. Soon to be a major TV series in the USA.
  • The Book of Night Women by Marlon James – 5* Genius Written by Manbooker winner Marlon James, this is probably the most brutal & deep novel I have ever read about slavery. The dialogue is intense, yet it makes the reader slow down and appreciate & saviour every single word.
  • All Involved by Ryan Gattis – 5* Set in the 1990’s this novel covers crime/gang culture and the LA riots.
  • The Memory Of Love by Aminatta Forna – 5* I met my husband the day of his return from Sierra Leone with the UK military. So this novel instantly intrigued me. Set in the late 1990’s it tells the story of ordinary people living through great loss & hardships. Extraordinarily moving!
  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty – 5* Recent winner of the Manbooker Paul Beatty debates race & culture with an unusual approach. I get the distinct opinion Paul doe’s seek validation in the form or reviews & awards. But it definitely deserving! Hilarious & controversial!
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison – 4* No list would be complete without the mention of this novel. It is eerie, harrowing & fierce.
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin –TBR pile Published in 1852, this a well-known & famous anti-slavery novel. I must make some time for it soon!
  • Difficult Women by Roxane Gay – Wish list I am a difficult woman, so I feel I shall be gripped by this!

NON- Fiction books:

  • Roots by Alex Haley – 5* The incredible story of Kunta Kinte. One I am certain I will never forget. Should be studied in schools.
  • Africa by Richard Dowden – 5* A comprehensive look at the history of Africa the problems is faces and the huge cultural gifts it has to offer. Made me want to visit Africa asap.
  • The autobiographies of Nelson mandela 5*, Martin Luther King 5* & Malcolm X 5* genius. I do not read autobiographies usually but my dad wanted me to read Nelson Mandela’s and I ended up reading these 3 back to back! Inspiring stuff!
  • We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Phillip Gourevitch – 5* I wanted to educate myself on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. It alarms be how this is kept from mainstream education.
  • The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B Tyson – 5* This is an in-depth look into the torture murder of Emmett Till and those who allowed it to happen. It also references modern day crimes against children such as Trayvon Martin.
  • Shake Hands With The Devil by Romeo Dallaite – TBR pile This non-fiction title covers the role of the British military & the UN during the Genocide of Rwanda.
  • Cut by HiboWardere – TBR pile Centred around FGM and the writers own experiences. The author has kindly agreed to feature in a Q&A when I read & review this book.
  • Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali – TBR pile Focused around the roles of women in Islam and the writers experiences as a Muslim.
  • They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery – Wish list The main theme is the foundations of the black lives matter movement. Also chapters focused on individual cases of police brutality and subsequent murder of back citizens in the USA.

I hope there is something that may interest you on my list. Also please feel free to contact/message/comment me with further recommendations!

Abby

 

Iconic Book characters: Admiration, aspirations and infatuation! All time Favourites

It occurred to me lately whilst reviewing a book, how some characters can be so iconic they get stuck in your head. They can cause a wide variety of emotions such as admiration, desire or even out & out hatred! I noticed that: admire them, wannabe them or down right love them seemed to be very popular topics amongst readers.

It covers characters in all the Genres and even real people in non-fiction, after all if the autobiography/ memoir doesn’t bring the person to life……….what will? I’ve often seen popular characters mentioned from the Mr Darcy to the Christian greys of female admiration. With some novels like George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones you could debate which ones you love/hate/admire/relate to into the small hours! After all who doesn’t want to be Daenerys Targaryen aka the mother of dragons!!!

It’s not just women readers or female characters either. I noticed that novels, that are aimed at male readers (I am huge fan of this genre also!) often feature macho characters or male characters with superior intellect. The female characters of Game of Thrones are also very diverse yet they are all overtly beautiful etc. Melisandre is my husband’s favourite lol

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One thing I absolutely love about this, is you can admire people from all walks of life and throughout any era in history. When I started this blog, I immediately named it after Anne Bonny the female pirate. Due to me childhood love for Treasure island! Anyway here are some of my other favourites let me know what you think?

(and I would love to hear the favourites of other people on comments on fb, twitter or the blog itself)

Here goes, in no particular order:

easy-rawlins

1) Ezekiel ‘easy’ Rawlins – Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series – Cool Character.

Easy Rawlins is a WW2 veteran turned private eye. The novels start in 1950’s LA. What I love about Easy is that everything about him, from his name, dialogue, attitude etc is just so cool! I think he’s one of thee most iconic characters I’ve ever read.

cersei

2) Cersei Lannister -George RR Martin – Game of Thrones – evil genius Character

If I had to pick a favourite Game of Thrones character………surprisingly mine would be…..Cersei! I love her! I know she is mean, nasty, vicious and an all out book bitch! But I love her! I loved her in the books & I love the character played out by Lena Headey in the TV series too.

kunta-kinte

3) Kunta Kinte – Alex Haley – Roots –

When I first read roots by Alex Haley I found it to be heart breaking reading. I couldn’t stop talking about the novel, so much so that my husband got the new version of the TV series to watch himself. Kunta Kinte is incredibly moving, in that he was a real person. Captured as a young man, forced into a harsh life of slavery. This is an incredible real of an even more incredible person. I’m not sure if iconic is the right wording but I simply feel this will be one persons life story……..I will never forget!

leo-d

4) Leo Demidov – Tom Rob Smith – Child 44 trilogy – Heart throb Character

Wow! Don’t even know where to start! Lets just say that for me personally…………..before there was Ross Poldark……….there was Leo! I’d like to be able to shrug it off as a Tom Hardy thing, but it really isn’t. I read the entire trilogy in a weekend and have only recently seen the movie! I was absolutely hooked on Leo. I was all set to pack my bags for communist Russia lol Even now, with all the books I’ve read recently………….Sadly no one has ever compared to Leo 😦

anne-bonny

5) Anne Bonny –

Slightly cheating, as she’s not a book character, she was a real life female pirate! Black sails the TV series loosely based around Treasure Island, has adapted her character & other real life Pirates into their series!  ‘AHAR ME HEARTIES’

Please le me know your favourites
Loves, hate, icons, memorable, factual, fiction, your Top 5!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Release YA: Fir by Sharon Gosling 4*

Fir (Red Eye) by [Gosling, Sharon]

Fir by Sharon Gosling

My review:

I requested this novel from netgalley as every so often there is a YA novel that catches my eye. This appealed to me due to its location and the synopsis had me intrigued. Although I am 33 years old, I have a teen that absolutely loves the YA horror genre.
I found the novel to be a eerie & the descriptions of the location added to this feel of being far from civilisation in the deep north forests of Sweden. The novel builds and builds with tension and mystery, added along the way with some Scandinavian mythology, which I felt created greater depth in the plot. Ultimately building to a creepy ending that left me stunned! 4*
I would hugely recommend to YA fans of horror & mystery novels. Also to readers like myself who are sometime drawn to an intriguing plot in the YA genre.

*I received an Ebook copy via netgalley in return for an honest review.

The blurb:

Moving from Stockholm to an isolated pine plantation in northern Sweden is bad enough, but when the snows come early and all links between the Strombergs and the outside world are cut off, it gets worse. With only a grudging housekeeper and increasingly withdrawn parents for company, there is nothing to do but to explore the old plantation house. Anything to stay out of the endless pine trees pressing in on them. But soon it becomes clear that the danger within the old plantation house is even greater than what lies outside……

New releases UK: The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson

Product Details

This is an incredible read! I can’t praise it enough.

The blurb:

In 2014, protesters ringed the White House, chanting, “How many black kids will you kill? Michael Brown, Emmett Till!” Why did demonstrators invoke the name of a black boy murdered six decades before?

In 1955, white men in the Mississippi Delta lynched a fourteen-year-old from Chicago named Emmett Till. His murder was part of a wave of white terrorism in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared public school segregation unconstitutional.

The national coalition organized to protest the Till lynching became the foundation of the modern civil rights movement. Only weeks later, Rosa Parks thought about young Emmett as she refused to move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, the Emmett Till generation, forever marked by the vicious killing of a boy their own age, launched sit-in campaigns that turned the struggle into a mass movement. “I can hear the blood of Emmett Till as it calls from the ground,” shouted a black preacher in Albany, Georgia.

But what actually happened to Emmett Till—not the icon of injustice but the flesh-and-blood boy? Part detective story, part political history, Timothy Tyson’s The Blood of Emmett Till draws on a wealth of new evidence, including the only interview ever given by Carolyn Bryant, the white woman in whose name Till was killed. Tyson’s gripping narrative upends what we thought we knew about the most notorious racial crime in American history.

My review:

This book is a comprehensive look at the racism, hatred and violence that led to Emmett Till’s death and how it contributed to the civil rights movement.
I have long known the violent death that Emmett Till suffered, despite being only born in the 1980’s and British. However I never knew the details and how his death played a part in the greater history of civil rights. This book provides all that, it is well written and backed up with factual references and court testimony. Personally I would like to see this book made available in schools, to educate the next generation on the brutality and violence that comes with racism and hatred.
The book often reflects on the modern day race struggle, that is well documented in media in America. The last chapter and the epilogue being the most poignant. I must admit my concluding thoughts did drift to the more recent murder of Trayvon Martin and how his family were also denied justice. Obvisously there are differences within each case, however the central reasoning for the deaths seemed to be ‘they were black teenagers, who dared to be black teenagers’!
Emmett Till is a name that I sincerely hope never fades from history and most importantly never fades from history in times where racist rhetoric seems to become the ‘norm’. It is important that we are learn from history or we will repeat the same mistakes. Or in this case we learn from the history or continue to make the same mistakes. 5*

*I received an Ebook copy via netgalley in return for an honest review.