First Impressions Friday (book meme and blog round-up – October 25th 2019)

Well, looks like book meme week around here because today I’m doing First Impression Friday (thanks too Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books for hipping me to it). The meme is hosted by J. W. Martin and it invites you to talk about a book that you just started, and give impressions and predictions. Kristin shared her thoughts on Misery – a book I read and a movie I saw in my university years, and which was one of the few cases of the book and movie both being really, really good – but distinct entities.

I just started a book that’s polar opposite to the dark tension of Misery – regency era romance adventure Of Noble Family, my fifth read in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist series (after Shades of Milk and HoneyGlamour in GlassWithout a Summer, and Valour and Vanity). I really like this series and I’ve had this book for a while – I got it and the whole series to this point as a gift from the author as thanks (don’t worry, I also got paid) for some work I did on the book during the editing phase. As the author explains in the Afterword which I referenced in this post (going so far as to share the pages in which she references us working together – which I only just found out about because I started reading the book and flipped to the back to check her extensive notes for …something).

So I already know how this book turns out, sort of…maybe. You know how it is, a lot changes between drafts and at my last contact with the book, it was still evolving… done (but no book is done, done until it goes to press). I am familiar with these characters and familiar with this particular plot but the reading of it (so far, 48 pages in) still feels fresh.

Where I am in the narrative, the characters are en route to Antigua, where I live (which is why the author commissioned me to review the dialogue and offer editorial suggestions on the book). The bulk of the narrative takes place in colonial/plantation era Antigua, in the Caribbean, and considering that this was slavery era and the story centers two white people, the author handled it about as sensitively as a white American author could, more than. She went the extra mile in seeking out someone who was a writer and editor intimately familiar with, at least the modern variation, of the place she was seeking to write about in a time when people who look like me were enslaved. She was concerned with treating these people’s existence with authenticity and sensitivity while telling a story that included a major fantasy element (glamour is a natural and organic part of this world). She listened and the book was better for it – her words (and I also felt so as well during the process of me first doing a sample edit then being trusted with the entire manuscript).

Now, if I’m apprehensive about anything it’s to see how I’ll feel about it with the kind of distance I have now as just another reader. I’m not worried about the storytelling itself – this series has so far not failed to entertain (and up to page 48, so far so good). But reading history is always tricky when you come from a history marked by the collective pain that people of African ancestry carry. So, I’ll let you know on the other side.

So, that’s my First Impressions Friday.

Can I share some other stuff though?

Something I listened to – the War of the Worlds 1938 CBS radio broadcast as directed by Orson Welles based on the H G Wells story. It was so dope. And timely too given that my just started writing project is a radio drama script (wish me well).

Something I wrote – a new CREATIVE SPACE featuring the Antigua and Barbuda Independence visual arts exhibition which gives my thoughts on the art and makes a case for a national gallery. The previous CREATIVE SPACE entitled Research Matters (and the Archive Digitization Project) has been archived.

Something I heard about – a book I edited earlier this year launched this past week (congrats and happy pub day to Kathy Esquivel of Belize on the launch of her book, Benjy). The author gave me a shout out in the acknowledgments Kathy Esquivels book(I haven’t read the final draft so I don’t know how it turned out but I appreciate that she was receptive to my notes and hopefully the book is better for it). Looking for a writer or editor, see my services breakdown and my performance reviews to see what this author and others have had to say about my services.

Something I added to the blog – new instagram reader reviews of my teen/young adult novel Musical Youth to the Musical Youth Reviews and Endorsements page.

Thanks to the readers who continue to share the love – shout out to A-dZiko who this past week received a national award, the Musgrave medal, in Jamaica.

Something I’m looking forward to reading – Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s She Said and Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill about the reporting that brought down Harvey Weinstein and shone a light on Tarana Burke’s #MeToo movement. I’ve been watching their Times Talks and all that, and Ronan’s appearance on his boyfriend Jon Lovett’s Pod Save America show, and I don’t have the books yet nor time to read them, but I’m in – the journalist in me is intrigued.

Something I’m looking forward to watching – Dolemite is My Name on Netflix (Eddie Murphy is back, baby!) and, unexpectedly, Black and Blue starring Tyrese and Naomi Harris (I say unexpectedly because it wasn’t even on my radar but a series of interviews by Tyrese on hip hop radio got me interested – studio can’t say he didn’t work to sell this movie). Looking forward to forming first impressions on those as well.

ETA: Another Friday meme – F is for Friday (shout out to Lyn*Nomadic Worlds for reminding me of this one) which requires me to answer four questions.

F – Feature your latest book obsession (it doesn’t have to be your current read)

-I’m enjoying today’s read Of Noble Family but I suppose the book I’m most obsessed with from my active reading pile is Derry Sandy’s dark Caribbean fantasy fic Greyborn Rising, and I am itching to read the two books I mentioned I’m most looking forward to reading above Catch and Kill and She Said.

I – Indicate which book/s you are looking forward to reading this weekend.

-I read according to the day’s or even the moment’s mood and I like to leave it open. Could be I’ll continue Of Noble Family, maybe pick back up Greyborn Rising, or the other one I’m close to finishing Wartime at Woolworth‘s…could be something else. Play it by ear.

F – Favorite quote of the week/day

-I don’t have a favourite quote but I like what Tyrese said in one or more of his interviews (referenced above during his promotional stops for Black and Blue) about not giving up even at your lowest because you don’t know what life could be preparing you for…don’t give up. I need to hear that over and over and over again.

F – Five things you’re happy or grateful for this week.

-the new Musical Youth review I woke up to on booktube last Sunday – sharing again in case you missed it

– this plus the instagram posts referenced above
-that a friend and I did a night lime to check out the Independence visual arts exhibition (linked above in CREATIVE SPACE), also our ice-cream and beer run because it’s the little things (which brings me to)
-bobby from a corner shop (M and Ms has nothing on this sweet cheap chocolate ball that takes me back to a happy place from the best parts of my childhood nestled inside of me)
-conversations with my father – and that he is my rock and something both soft and solid I can lean in to when I waver
-I would like to say Regina King winning is always a win (she is so dope in Watchmen, the only show I watched this week) but Dolemite (with Eddie Murphy) drops this week and I am pre-emptively thankful for the laughter

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