Book Scoop January 20- January 27, 2017

January 27, 2017
Book Scoop, InToriLex, Book News, Weekly Feature
Book Industry News and Links to Sift Through When Your Face Isn't buried in a Book 

HEADLINES

The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the marriage of one of them. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.


LINKS TO CLICK

75 Books For the Next Four Years
Poetry. African & African American Studies. Douglas Kearney writes, "If my writing makes a mess of things, it's not to flee understanding, but to map (mis-)understanding as a verb." The map's guide is MESS AND MESS AND, in which Kearney defines the terms that member his poetics, taking even prefixes as a call for semantic inquiry. Within are essays that explore "the Negrotesque," gloss specific poems and poetry collections, the inspirations (from life, literature, and otherwise) he drew upon when putting his pen to the page as well as studies and drafts from his journals. Simultaneously playful and cutting, Kearney's collection interrogates that which inspires, troubles, and recurs in his work, the mess(es) there. 
Mess and Mess and
~Amazon~



Did I Miss Anything in the Book World This Week?
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Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

January 19, 2017
Published By: Graywolf Press on October 7, 2014
Format Read: Paperback Edition (169 pages)
Genre: Poetry/ Non-fiction/ Race
Source: Purchased
Rating: FIVE STARS
Citizen: An American Lyric
~Amazon~
Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.

VERDICT:

REVIEW:

This book is a beautiful reflection at how racist microaggressions that most minority's face mentally chip away at the people who experience them. It's documents the weight of excusing racists slights and ignoring views in attempts to just exist as human.The book navigates between short poems and powerful vignettes. One of the most memorable being the disconcerting feeling and shame that happens when your friend says something to you that is racist, and it markedly changes how you feel about that person, no matter how many times they explain it's a joke.
"...a friend once told you there exists the medical term- John Henryism- for people exposed to stresses stemming from racism. They achieve themselves to death trying to dodge the buildup of erasure."
The resounding truth I read in these poems, and the sigh of relief I felt reading came because I try very hard to look past small acts of racism. But it felt great to read  that it's not normal to play by rules that have addendum's just for you, and meekly never complain. Claudia Rankin explains the racism that Serena Williams has experienced and how it is often overlooked even as she completely dominates her sport.  Yesterday a sport's commentator in reference to Venus Williams said "You see Venus move in and put the gorilla effect on. Charging." This illustrates how black athletes  often deal with racism, and cast it aside as apart of the game, but that cost paid is never acknowledged.
"because white men can't
police their imagination
black people are dying"
This poetry collection includes mixed media. It highlights pictures, art installations and even refers to YouTube videos. I enjoyed it because the inclusion of modern illustrations and references made it a contemporary reflection for us all. The book also describes situations, which are videos produced on her website.  I won't review the videos but I found context for what was described with out them. I would recommend this book to everyone, as a solid way to begin to understand how it feels to exist as an other in our society.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Claudia Rankine is an American poet and playwright born in 1963 and raised in Kingston, Jamaica and New York City. She has taught at Case Western Reserve University, Barnard College, University of Georgia, and in the writing program at the University of Houston. As of 2011, Rankine is the Henry G. Lee Professor of Poetry at Pomona College.

http://claudiarankine.com/
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Gifted by H.A. Swain

Published By: Feiwel & Friends on June 14, 2016
Format Read: Hardcover Edition (336 pages)
Genre: Young Adult/ Dystopia/ Sci-fi
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
Rating: FOUR POINT FIVE STARS
Gifted
~Amazon~
In Orpheus Chanson's world, geniuses and prodigies are no longer born or honed through hard work. Instead, procedures to induce Acquired Savant Abilities (ASAs) are now purchased by the privileged. And Orpheus's father holds the copyright to the ASA procedure.

Zimri Robinson, a natural musical prodigy, is a "plebe"--a worker at the enormous warehouse that supplies an on-line marketplace that has supplanted all commerce. Her grueling schedule and her grandmother's illness can't keep her from making music--even if it is illegal.

Orpheus and Zimri are not supposed to meet. He is meant for greatness; she is not. But sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. Here is a thriller, love story, and social experiment that readers will find gripping--and terrifying.

VERDICT:

REVIEW:

Orpheus and Zimri describe the well known tale of boy meets girl across town and discovers the humanity in us all. But the setting is a Dystopian world where Artists' are made for the wealthy through a surgery  that gives them a Acquired Savant Ability. In this world music is not owned, it is broadcast for a fee and anyone who recreates it is guilty of copyright theft. Orpheus and Zimri have natural ability's for music, when they meet begin to explore how to use it outside of the system. The writing and characters were very well done. Although some of the dialogue was cheesy at times.
"Just a little brain surgery and POOF you wake up a genius. The hilarious part being, Plute parents pay for their kids to have the surgeries, then people like my father make a fortune off their talents, and we call this Art."
This world is clearly an allegory for how our society treats celebrity's as demi-gods and celebrates art like everything else, according to it's market value. The most interesting feature of the poor side of town occupied by Plebe's is that they can only shop once a week at a store called Black Friday. In this store, shoppers risk being trampled and grab what they can. In this world Zimri and Orpheus have to confront the real injustices around them motivated by greed, with little to no resources. Zimri with her original music reaches out to the masses who are searching for something more authentic, while Orpheus struggles to go against his father's wishes. 
"She underestimates the greed in the world. How much money feeds the beast. And the bigger it gets, the more money it takes to keep it going. It's viscous."
The chapters were formatted as if the book was one long song, chapters were verses and included chapters called Chorus and Bridge. The book changes perspective between Zimri, Orpheus, and a omnipresent narrator who speaks during the chapters titled Chorus. There is some romance, but it wasn't forced or out of place. The ending is the only thing I struggled to suspend my belief with, but it does wrap up the narrative well. I would recommend this for fans of Young Adult, sci-fi drama's with some surprises and characters that don't disappoint.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather Swain lives in a crooked house in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, two children, a barkless dog, and two rescue cats. She is the author of four novels for young adults, two kids craft books, two novels for grown ups, and numerous short stories, personal essays, and non-fiction articles.
Website http://www.heatherswainbooks.com
Twitter HeatherASwain
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The Cilantro In Apple Pie by Kimberley Nadine Knights

January 9, 2017
Published By: Howling Wolf/ Ravenwood Publishing May 5, 2016
Format Read: Kindle Edition (322 pages)
Genre: Contemporary/ Young Adult
Series: Book One  of Untitled Trilogy
Source: Author Request
Rating: THREE POINT FIVE STARS
The Cilantro in Apple Pie
~Amazon~
Fragnut. Confused? Well so is everyone else at Lumiere Hall Prep when sixteen-year-old Rubie Keane rolls in from Trinidad and Tobago talking her weird lingo. Not that she minds the culture confusion; she's determined to leave the past behind her and be overlooked—but a certain stoic blue blood is equally as determined to foil her plans.

Gil Stromeyer's offbeat personality initially makes Rubie second-guess his sanity, but she suspects his erratic outbursts of violence mask a deeper issue in his troubled, charmed life. Despite his disturbing behavior, a gradual bond forms between the two. However, on the night of the annual Stromeyer gala, events unfold that leave Rubie stripped of her dignity and kick Gil's already fragile world off its axis.

Both their well-kept secrets are uncovered, but Gil's revelation proves that sometimes the best remedy for a bad case of lost identity, is a dash of comradery from an ally packed with flavor.

VERDICT: 

REVIEW:

This was a unique story about a platonic friendship, featuring a memorable protagonist from Trinidad. I have to admit it took me a while to get through the first 25% of the book. I wanted to take a chance on this book because of the diverse characters, although I don't usually read contemporary young adult books. I was unsure of where the book was going because of a slow start and alot of characters being introduced right away. However as I kept reading, I enjoyed picking up on the Trinidadian slang, and the wit of the protagonist Rubie. Rubie and Gil were well fleshed out characters that I enjoyed learning about.
"We get screwed over so people can pat us on the back and say, that's life, YOLO. But you know what? I don't accept that. I do not accept that."
This is a coming of age story  but the author didn't shy away from addressing real issues, such as death, illness and racism. Rubie is thrust into a different country and culture where most of the kids at her high school are very privileged. She has to deal with teenagers who don't value her differences but finds an unlikely ally in Gil. Gil has some serious dark issues, and I was happy to see a change of perspective in the book when we  get to see the world through his eyes. Their relationship was hard to accept because it is platonic, but the author does a great job of describing a realistic friendship with the opposite sex.

I enjoyed reading about smart, funny, and defiant Rubie, and I wish there were more protagonist like her. Although it did take me a while to get into the story it was well worth the read. The ending wraps things up nicely, and every detail of this book was well though out. I enjoyed some of the psychological discussion, as well as a decent description of cricket. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy contemporary's but are looking for a fresh perspective and diversity.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kimberley Nadine Knights knew when she kept willingly opting out of parties so she could stay home and write instead, that she was destined to be an author.

Born and raised in the tropical twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago, when this Caribbean girl isn’t creating new plotlines for her ever growing lineup of fictional characters, she spends her time strumming her guitar to indie rock songs and snapping once in a lifetime photos halfway across the globe in countries such as Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and France.

She's an avid fan of The Walking Dead series and firmly believes that The Food Network should consider her being a judge on the next Chopped challenge.

"The Cilantro in Apple Pie" is her debut novel.
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Book Scoop December 30- January 6, 2017

January 6, 2017
Book Industry News and Links to Sift Through When Your Face Isn't buried in a Book 

HEADLINES

Milo Yiannopoulos Gets Book Deal

Increasing Amount of Book Desserts 

Millions Great 2017 Book Preview 
Homesick for Another World
~Amazon~
Ottessa Moshfegh's debut novel Eileen was one of the literary events of 2015. Garlanded with critical acclaim, it was named a book of the year by The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. But as many critics noted, Moshfegh is particularly held in awe for her short stories. Homesick for Another World is the rare case where an author's short story collection is if anything more anticipated than her novel.
And for good reason. There's something eerily unsettling about Ottessa Moshfegh's stories, something almost dangerous, while also being delightful, and even laugh-out-loud funny. Her characters are all unsteady on their feet in one way or another; they all yearn for connection and betterment, though each in very different ways, but they are often tripped up by their own baser impulses and existential insecurities. Homesick for Another World is a master class in the varieties of self-deception across the gamut of individuals representing the human condition. But part of the unique quality of her voice, the echt Moshfeghian experience, is the way the grotesque and the outrageous are infused with tenderness and compassion. Moshfegh is our Flannery O'Connor, and Homesick for Another World is her Everything That Rises Must Converge or A Good Man is Hard to Find. The flesh is weak; the timber is crooked; people are cruel to each other, and stupid, and hurtful. But beauty comes from strange sources. And the dark energy surging through these stories is powerfully invigorating. We're in the hands of an author with a big mind, a big heart, blazing chops, and a political acuity that is needle-sharp. The needle hits the vein before we even feel the prick."

How the CIA Infiltrated Literature

LINKS TO CLICK

12 Best Books of 2016 by Immigrants

Driving Without a License
~Amazon~
 "Janine Joseph writes with an open and easy intimacy. The language here is at once disruptive and familiar, political and sensual, and tinged by the melancholy of loss and the discomforting radiance of redemption. A strong debut." —Chris Abani

The best way to hide is in plain sight. In this politically-charged and candid debut, we follow the chronicles of an undocumented immigrant speaker over a twenty-year span as she grows up in the foreign and forbidding landscape of America.

Raised in the Philippines and California, Janine Joseph holds an MFA from New York University and a PhD from the University of Houston. Her poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review Online, Best New Poets, Hayden's Ferry Review, and elsewhere. Her libretto "From My Mother's Mother" was performed as part of the Houston Grand Opera's "Song of Houston: East + West" series. A Kundiman and Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow, she is an assistant professor of English at Weber State University.

5 Great Places to Donate Your Books

To Ten Books 2016 From Everywhere Compiled by Digg  

 Best Book to TV Adaptations 2017

Did I miss anything in the Book World this Week? 
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Panthers in the Hole by Bruno Cenou, David Cenou, Olivia Taylor Smith (Translator)

January 5, 2017
Panthers in the Hole, Bruno Cenou, David Cenou, Olivia Taylor Smith, Book Review, InToriLexPublished By: Phoneme Media on July 1, 2016
Format Read: Paperback Edition
Genre: Non-fiction/ Comic/ Race
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Author Request
Rating: FIVE STARS
Panthers in the Hole
~Amazon~
In 1972, inmates Robert Hillary King, Albert Woodfox, and Herman Wallace were put in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary (a.k.a. Angola Prison), after being convicted under questionable circumstances for the killing of a prison guard.

Because of their work organizing on behalf of the Black Panthers, Robert King spent 29 years in solitary confinement before his conviction was overturned and he was released. Wallace was released in 2013, after more than 41 years in prison, and days later of liver cancer. In November of 2014, Woodfox had his conviction overturned by the US Court of Appeals, and in April 2015 his lawyer applied for an unconditional writ for his release. As of June of 2015, that release has been blocked by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Despite documentary films, a long-running campaign by Amnesty International, and appeals from the murdered prison guard's widow, Albert Woodfox remains the longest-serving U.S. prisoner in solitary confinement.

What is it like to spend decades in solitary confinement for a crime you did not commit? Panthers in the Hole relates the experience of three men whose lives were snatched away by a prison system that seems more at home in a totalitarian regime than America. 

VERDICT:

REVIEW:

This was a powerful narrative that packs a large amount of information in a short amount of pages. The Angola 3 Robert Hillary King, Albert Woodfox, and Herman Wallace served decades in solitary confinement. Solitary confinement is a inhumane practice that continues to be practiced today, where prisoners are kept in a cell 23 hours a day, and have extremely limited contact with others. The United States continues to use this practice in prisons across America to mostly black and brown bodies. The Angola 3 were charged and convicted for crimes they didn't commit. Their sentences were exacerbated because of their involvement with the Black Panther movement.
The Louisiana State Penitentiary was  "created after the civil war, built on five former plantations it's named after the Homeland of it's original forced laborers." This comic focuses on the blame, humiliation and injustice that three black men faced because prisoners are treated as sub-human in the U.S. prison system. Supporting black liberation within prison walls was also a threat to the prison system because when prisoners can advocate for their own humanity they are not easily cast aside. Political prisoners within the United States show just how intolerant the U.S. can be to people who want to think, organize and act for themselves.
This was a powerful reflection on the inhuman practices of prisons and the reasons that we need to fight to change the criminal justice system as it exists. Using people that are paid only 3-35 cents and hour for work is slavery. I would recommend this to everyone, it highlights how our criminal justice system has and continues to operate in inherently racist and unjust ways. On February 19, 2016 the Albert Woodfox was released after four decades in solitary confinement, he died three days later from cancer.  Robert Hillary King writes a great Afterword and states:
"So if you are duly convicted of a crime--I mean legally convicted of a crime-- you can become a slave, and if you are legally sentenced to death they can kill you."

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Bruno Cénou was born in Agen in 1968 and has lived in Marseille since 1994. After studying philosophy, he became interested in information technology and, in particular, free software and the free circulation of intellectual property. He currently works for the National Center for Scientific Research. Panthers in the Hole is his first graphic novel.

David Cénou published his first graphic novel, Mirador, tete de mort, in 2011, a no-holds-barred memoir about his past as a skinhead. He is a nurse in Agen. Panthers in the hole is his second book.

Olivia Taylor Smith is the Executive Editor at Unnamed Press. She lives in Los Angeles.
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Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, Angela Y. Davis, Book Review, InToriLexPublished By: Haymarket Books on January 25, 2016
Format Read: Paperback Edition (145 pages)
Genre: Non-fiction/ Feminism/ Race
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Purchased
Rating: FIVE STARS
Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement
~Amazon~ 
In these newly collected essays, interviews, and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world.

Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today's struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles, from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today's struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine.

Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis challenges us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. And in doing so, she reminds us that "Freedom is a constant struggle.

VERDICT:

REVIEW: 

This was a informative and hopeful read, that I happily relished. I haven't read any other books by Angela Davis, but this has inspired me to read and learn more about her world view. The first three chapters are interviews with Angela Davis in regards to her views on how we can continue to advance social movements in a effective way. The next seven chapters are speeches that Angela Davis has given around the world. All of the topics that Angela discuss challenge us to find the intersections of struggle that exist around the world, and broaden our thinking of how social movement works.
"In many ways you can say that the prison serves as an institution that consolidates the state's inability and refusal to address the most pressing social problems of this era."
The most important take away I have is change has always been propelled by collective action,which includes many more people than will ever be mentioned in our history books. It's dangerous to forget that people were the driving force behind the civil rights movement in the United States, including many black women. When we recognize how intricately the forces against poor people of color throughout the world work together, it's easier to unite against them. It's hard to think outside of the reality and systems that we exist in, but that is the only way we can begin to change them. She also mentions Assata Shakur being added to the Most Wanted Terrorist list, as a clear sign that black liberation continues to be a threat to the powers that be.
 "...education has thoroughly become a commodity. It has been so thoroughly commoditized that many people don't even know how to understand the very process of acquiring knowledge because it is subordinated to the future capacity to make money."
Angela Davis wants us to recognize how the prison-industrial complex is connected to oppressed people in Palestine. She wants to show that feminism and social change has room for everyone of all genders, abilities and sexuality's to fight for freedom. Angela does a magnificent job connecting the black experience for change in the U.S. to the fight that continues everywhere against capitalist control. I would recommend this to everyone. This short book encouraged me to continue on with my own activism and get more involved in the global struggle of people fighting for their own freedom.
"Perhaps most important of all, and that is so central to the development of feminist abolitionist theories and practices: we have to learn how to think and act and struggle against that which is ideologically constituted as normal."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 Angela Yvonne Davis is an American political activist, scholar, and author. She emerged as a nationally prominent activist and radical in the 1960s, as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement despite never being an official member of the party. Prisoner rights have been among her continuing interests; she is the founder of Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prison-industrial complex. She is a retired professor with the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is the former director of the university's Feminist Studies department.

Her research interests are in feminism, African American studies, critical theory, Marxism, popular music, social consciousness, and the philosophy and history of punishment and prisons. Her membership in the Communist Party led to Ronald Reagan's request in 1969 to have her barred from teaching at any university in the State of California. She was tried and acquitted of suspected involvement in the Soledad brothers' August 1970 abduction and murder of Judge Harold Haley in Marin County, California. She was twice a candidate for Vice President on the Communist Party USA ticket during the 1980s.
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