2019 in Books

Season’s Greetings all,

As I write this, it’s 2-3 days from the end of the year. There’s a chance I might finish at least one more book before year’s end but real life may not cooperate – either with me finishing that book or having time to write about it. Besides, today’s  the Caffeinated Reviewer’s Sunday Post, a great platform to connect with others in the book blogging community. So, let’s connect. Read and share your year in books in the comments.

Books read (not counting journals and magazines, but definitely counting comic series and children’s/picture books) – 22.

The breakdown is 10 physical copies,  1 e-book, 4 comics/comic series, 4 (non-comic) picture books and/or children books, and 3 audio books.

This count is low compared to most of the book blogging community but my overall total is up by 2 from 2018. And look, for me, reading is about the experience, the journey, the stories, not the numbers. I only in recent years started keeping count and the one good thing about it is it gives me opportunities, like this, to reflect on what I’ve read. I’m starting with my faves but if a book is lower down it doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. If I finished it (with one exception and I think you’ll guess which one) I liked something about it. That said, my DNFs are higher than ever this year; the books I didn’t like, with rare exception, I probably DNF’d… because life is too short). Now to the good stuff.

MY TOP 10

Animal Farm by George Orwell (audio book)

Review excerpt: “…it is not clear, honestly, if we are sheep, pigs, snapping dogs, selfish cat both-sides-ing it, hens (who make a stand but are eventually made to sit), the stout horse, or the seen it all donkey. Who are we in this history currently being written in the place where we stand …this is something the book challenges us to ask ourselves.”

Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal

Review excerpt: “Most importantly from a storytelling standpoint, and this was surprising to me given that I was aware of the plot, the narrative is engaging, entertaining, and surprising.”

Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker

Review excerpt: “The story jumps around from Africa to America to Europe, and back to Africa, and digs painfully in to the issue of female circumcision; but more thematically in to the subjugation of women and the role women are called to play in their subjugation (the ways in which women become some of the most ardent enforcers of the patriarchy)…”

Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh

Review excerpt: “Anansi is a central character in Children of the Spider. However, the manifestation of this character (that can be whatever it wants – demi-god, remember?) in the, in some ways, afro-futurist world of Children of the Spider, is one of the exciting revelations of this book.”

The Outsiders by S E Hinton (audio book)

Review excerpt: “…all those dudes, they are stamped in my mind and I am of the generation where they were the hotness. So it was a fond walk down memory lane. Eye candy aside, this is a really touching read.”

London Rocks by Brenda Lee Browne

Review excerpt: ” I don’t think we’ve seen this particular story before.”

Dreamland Barbuda  by Asha Frank

Review excerpt: “…it is an informative read which brings receipts to underpin its argument. And it is an argument – a combative little book – notwithstanding the scholarly distance suggested by its sub-head ‘A Study of the History and Development of Communal Land Ownership on the Island’.”

#BookChat #Unscripted (vlog on Dreamland Barbuda)

Storm Limited Series Prelude to the Wedding of the Century (6 part series) by Eric Jerome Dickey, penciled by David Yardin, inked by Jay Leisten, coloured by Matt Milla

Review excerpt: “It’s got layers throughout – e.g. the African collaborator selling out his own people for his own reasons, it’s got action (each book ending on a cliffhanger), it’s got larger themes, but at it’s core the boy-meets-girl-bickers-with-girl-cant-live-without-girl through line.  A good read, especially for me given that I am a Storm lover.”

The Black Rose by Tananarive Due

Review excerpted: “And then there is Madam C J Walker, who Sarah becomes, a remarkable woman who led a remarkable life, and what’s more it’s a story (her story as a Black woman in America, and as an entrepreneur who is truly a self-made millionaire, and her part in the complicated story of our Black hair) which should be known. If it’s ever made into a film though, it might need to be condensed, for story telling efficacy.”

I don’t have a solid #10 but I liked some aspect of the other books finished, more or less in this order. You’re invited to read my thoughts on those as well.

The Masquerade Dance by Carol Ottley-Mitchell with illustrator Daniel J. O’Brien (“I like that the book reminds that mas is ancestral and meaningful”)
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (audio book) (“It’s frustrating to listen to when you consider that this was written decades ago and the racial issues it examines are still too relevant today”)
Giant Size X-Men – Stan Lee presents The Uncanny X-Men – Second Genesis by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum w/Glynis Wein and John Costanza (“quippy banter in high stress action situations”)
Evolution by Felene M. Cayetano (“her verse sometimes had that pop in the head effect from when something connects in a profound or relatable way”)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (“dream imagery, object imagery (the bowler hat), that scene on the hill (!)”)
Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis (“As a Burt book, it’s a good pick for a Caribbean teen”)
How to be a Knight in 10 Easy Stages by Scoular Anderson (“I learned some things”)
13 Strategies to Elevate Your Career by Janice Sutherland (exclusively e-book) (“a quick, useful read”)
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (“mixed feelings”)
Pirate Party by Scoular Andersono (“funny”)
Ororo: Before the Storm by writer Mark Sumerak and the whole team (“origins story”)
On this Island The Natives… by Dale Butler with illustrator Lindsey George (“for tourists”)
X-Women Marvel One Shot by Chris Claremont and Milo Manara (“it wasn’t written for me”)

Thanks for hanging with me this year. Before I was a writer, let alone an author, or even someone who provides writing and writing related services, I was a #gyalfromOttosAntigua curled up with a book, always with her head in a book, and through the ups and downs, that girl is with me still.  Talking books (whether through my Blogger on Books blog series or #BookChat #unscripted vlog series) gives me a chance to share a small part of her.

Fruitful new year to you reading this and to me writing it. And I’m thinking of a particular friend right now as I say, let’s turn things up for 2020. Let’s! But you need to be here for us to do that though so, as you would say,  #20Plenty.