Web: Bright April and More

Found an article by librarian and author Vaunda Micheux Nelson, detailing how influential the book Bright April was for her.  She also talks about the process of weeding (where minority books might be lost if a circulation-based weeding policy is followed) and how important it is to keep reading and promoting backlist diverse books.  All important points that we agree with here at CBR!  Nikki Grimes has a similar point in this older post about celebrity authors who overlook the backlist of diverse books (and she gives a great list of authors).

Booktoss has An Open Letter to Well-Meaning White Women which ties nicely into this article by Tracey Baptiste about the need for intersectionality.

It’s an older article, but Wheelchair Users in Fiction: Examining the Single Narrative is sadly still very relevant.

Finally, via Reading in Winter, this article by one of the authors about the gender breakdown of Canada Reads winners.

What articles have you read lately?

Discussion: Problematic Authors

When problematic information about an author comes to your attention…

So…  I’ve read, enjoyed, and highly recommended one Sherman Alexie novel.  As you can see on my 100 Indigenous Books challenge page, I’ve purchased two others, one of which I’ve since read (my page needs some updating) and the other I DNF’d but was attempting to re-read.  That’s two reviews that would have gone up later this year.

I’ve been a bit behind on reading blogs so I was very grateful this issue was highlighted on BookToss.  If you want more info, AICL has an exhaustive list of the best articles and commentary about the topic.  If you are looking for alternative books to read, both have lists (note especially these two), or you can check out my reviews.

However, this all leaves me with a bit of a dilemma.  While I don’t plan to buy any more Alexie books, I have a review and a half to go up, and one already up.  When this post goes live, I intend to edit my previous review with a link and comment about this new development and how it’s changed my opinion of Alexie.  But what about the other books?  I have a review ready, and another book that wasn’t going to get a very favorable review anyway.  It takes a lot of time and effort to read and review books, but I don’t want to promote a problematic author either!  Right now I’m leaning towards just giving up on those two reviews, but I’m curious what others think.

What would you do when an author you have scheduled reviews for turns out to be problematic?

Nonfiction Reading Challenge

My six non-fiction reading goals for 2018.

I saw a sign-up post for this challenge on Misfortune of Knowing while procrastinating on my 2018 reading/blogging goals list.  After checking out the challenge overview, I realized this fit nicely with the reading goals I already had, which were mostly for nonfiction.

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Challenge: Beyond the Big Five

A simple challenge to take this year’s Black History Month beyond the basics.

So let’s talk about something.  America has a month devoted to African-American history (February).  Most teachers and school districts these days fall in line with this and do at least a few activities relating to the theme.

The problem?  Teachers, and schools, tend to focus on the Big Five:
(Paraphrases of inaccurate comments I’ve heard from schoolchildren in parenthesis.)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
(that guy who dreamed the Civil Rights Movement.  Oh and they shot him.  That’s sad.)

Rosa Parks
(King’s wife who sat down on the bus.  She was so tired she just couldn’t get up again!)

Jackie Robinson
(they let him play baseball with the white guys, and he was good at it.)

Harriet Tubman
(she freed all the slaves, so Lincoln almost had nothing left to do later.)

And of course, Abraham Lincoln
(he’s white, but he helped the slaves so much.  Oh and they shot him.  That’s sad.)

Sometimes Nelson Mandela is thrown in, even though he is African, not African-American!

There are a few reasons for this.  African-American history and culture is so ignored by the mainstream culture, I’ve actually encountered people who don’t know that there were other notable blacks.  Not to mention, Husband (who doesn’t study this, but has been around when the kids and I read) got more questions right on a Black History Month quiz even compared to his African-American co-workers.  I would say that this blog helped educate him, but this was before blogging, when we were just starting to study Black History!

Continue reading “Challenge: Beyond the Big Five”