brown girl dreaming

#blacklivesmatter is everywhere these days, and seemingly everyone has an opinion about it. And the fight is ugly. If you had asked me even 2 years ago if I thought we would be living in the 60s again, I would have laughed and thought you meant fashion or the MidCentury Mod furniture design craze.

But nothing about this is funny. People aren’t just getting emotionally wounded, people are dying. And they aren’t just being killed by Joe Blow off the street, but by those sworn to protect us. No matter what side of the fence you’re on…that’s a very scary thing to think about.

As a white woman in America, I mostly keep my mouth shut. While I support #blacklivesmatter, this isn’t my time to speak. My voice is not the one that needs to be heard.

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Adult Booklr chose Jacqueline Woodson’s brown girl dreaming for our August Book Club and it could not be more poignant. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, since it is a story written in poems instead of prose, but it ended up being incredibly beautiful. It is also a perfect book to release right now. It not only speaks to Black Culture, but it did a lot of good to me as well.

The rest of my review is written, obviously, from a white woman’s perspective. I have not been in the fight. I cannot understand what you are going through. I would love to hear your feelings on this beautiful book, and I hope you will share them with me.

brown girl dreaming is essentially Woodson’s memoir, written from the viewpoint of her as a child in the 1960s. Through her vivid poetry, she talks about growing up in Ohio, South Carolina, and New York, and the differences between prejudices and struggles in each location. She also lays out the foundation of learning to write, her family life, and just growing up as a whole.

Even though the words were spoken with a child’s voice, the wisdom in them was so pronounced. This was a child who saw the world through her pencil–every moment was a word waiting to be written. Her composition notebook was her tool to sort, file, organize the world around her and try to make sense of everything that was happening. For the reader, that notebook, in turn, helps us understand what is happening in our similar world today.

I couldn’t relate to everything she wrote. I grew up in a privileged home, with both parents, in the same house until the end of high school. I very much understand what people mean when they talk about White Privilege now. I can’t say I have never struggled…they are just different struggles.

There were, however, some poems that made my heart expand until I thought it was going to explode. Some made me want to weep. The ones about reading and writing, especially–not knowing how to use those gifts as a kid but just knowing they were there and she had to use them somehow.

Then there were the poems that really spoke to me on a human level. Those shook me. They are the reason I’m writing the review this way–because I really wasn’t sure how I was going to approach it. One of the last poems in the book was this one, called “how to listen #10”:

 

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I think that is the most important thing as a white person in America right now, because we are privileged, whether we can see it or not. It’s a hard thing to admit sometimes–pride is a hard thing to let go of. But we just have to shut up and listen.

 

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Ever since high school,  I have avoided Shakespeare like the plague. I think everyone reads Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet in school–it’s pretty much a requirement worldwide. Some unwritten teacher rule. We also did a huge poetry segment in my AP English class, so of course the sonnets were in there. *shudder* I HATE the sonnets. All that Iambic Pentameter and rhyming and perfect structure. I am much more of a free verse poet.

But, EVERYONE knows William Shakespeare. He’s just the Greatest, capital G. And I’m using a lot of heavy sarcasm here, because frankly…I just never really understood why he was so Great, capital G. Ok, he wrote a lot of stuff, and it was all really fancy. But mostly it’s just really hard to read, and that means it’s all terribly interpreted. (Hello, guys, Romeo & Juliet is NOT the world’s gift to love stories.)

Now, though, it’s time to start opening myself up to the things I have been putting off. And that means, yes, even Shakespeare. grumblegrumblegrumble.

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I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually didn’t hate A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It also wasn’t as difficult to understand and follow as I expected. If you don’t know the premise, essentially there are four young people in Athens. Hermia is supposed to marry Demetrius but is in love with Lysander. They decide to run away together, and tell Helena. They think she’ll keep their secret, because she’s been scorned by Demetrius, who she loves. But, she tells him, trying to win his affection. Demetrius follows, with Helena at his tail. The forest fairies intervene, and chaos ensues.

I liked all of that plot. The fae were funny and obnoxious, as they should be. The lovers predictably ridiculous. What I didn’t understand was the whole second plot–the playmakers. What the heck was that all about? Bottom is an ass (ok I get the joke there, William), but I just did not get it. Was it just to make dirty/satirical jokes at the end?

I haven’t looked up Sparknotes to try and figure this stuff out yet. It’s late as I’m writing this up, so maybe I’ll look into it more tomorrow. However, I definitely have more of an open mind about Shakespeare’s plays now, and may have to go back and reread Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet now. Perhaps I’ll be able to follow them more easily. I still hate the sonnets though. Those are not Great, capital G.

Trees of Reverie July Read-A-Thon Day One

Create a TBR list and set some goals for the Read-A-Thon!

I completely forgot to put this month’s challenge on my calendar, and so forgot that it started today. OOOOOPS! Thankfully I saw people posting this challenge just in time for it to start.

Let’s get rolling, shall we?

This will work similar to the other challenges I’ve done in the past. I’ll go off my regularly scheduled TBR, and log the pages I’ve read. I’ll also be doing most, if not all, of the Daily Bookish Challenges Sarah posts. Should be a good week. I don’t have too many major things planned, so this could be a big challenge for me!

TBR, starting with what I am currently reading:

Trust No One by Paul Cleaves

Awake by Natasha Preston

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz

The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield

The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan

 

I’m also reading daily The Queen of the Tearling, The Ramayana and The Treasury of Poems, so there will be pages included from that in my count as well.

Good luck next week everyone!

Daily Bookish Challenges | Day Four: Monday, April 6

Daily Bookish Challenges
Trees of Reverie April Read-A-Thon
Day Four: Monday, April 6:

Create some book spine poetry!

These are getting harder to come up with each time! Even though I’m adding more books, it seems that I keep using the same ones every time. Not many of my books have verbs for a title, and so many start with A or The. It’s frustrating!

Somehow I came up with a very mysterious sinner’s lament type poem.

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Fear nothing.

Quiet.

Angels & Demons,

A perfect union:

Deliver us from evil.

The confession

Without remorse.

Run

Chasers of the light!

Red Dragon,

A time to kill.

WWW Wednesday 3/18/2015

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What are you currently reading?

The Turn of the Screw, The Aspern Papers and Two Stories by Henry James

Dear Millie by Marco Previero

 

What did you just finish reading?

The Horse Healer by Gonzalo Giner

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Selected Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Lying by Lauren Slater

Critical Incident by Troy Blackford

Four by Veronica Roth

Selected Canterbury Tales

There’s nothing quite like sitting in a pub with a big glass of beer and swapping stories with interesting company. It is one of my favorite ways to while away an evening, and we have a couple of really great places to do that here in Texas.

I am always drawn to those sort of scenes in books–it doesn’t matter where or when the characters are drinking. If there’s a story to be told, it is often told around booze.

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The Canterbury Tales, while difficult to readwere definitely amusing. Who doesn’t love a good drunken story? These would have been so much better to listen to though, and it makes me wonder if there’s any Old English bard groups who act them out. That would be neat to have as entertainment in a dark pub some night, or maybe in a place like Universal where fellow nerds flock.

I will say that I’m glad I only had 3 (plus the prologues) to get through. Maybe some day I’ll finish them all, but for now…it was good to keep it short and simple. I can mark it off the list and move on. Out of the three The Wife of Bath was my favorite.

Have you ready any of the Tales? Which was your fave?

Fulfills PopSugar #8:  A Funny Book

Fulfills Boxall #77

WWW Wednesday 3/11/2015

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What are you currently reading?

Selected Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

 

 

What did you just finish reading?

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cecilia by Fanny Burney

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

Mrs. Astor Regrets by Meryl Gordon