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Review: Whereas by Layli Long Soldier

January 31, 2018
Whereas, Layli Long Soldier, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Graywolf Press on March 7, 2017
Format Read: Paperback Edition (114 pages)
Genre: Poetry/ Non-fiction/ Social Justice
Series: Stand alone
Source: Purchased
Rating: FIVE STARS
Whereas
~Amazon~ 
WHEREAS confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators. Through a virtuosic array of short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions, and disclaimers, Layli Long Soldier has created a brilliantly innovative text to examine histories, landscapes, her own writing, and her predicament inside national affiliations. “I am,” she writes, “a citizen of the United States and an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, meaning I am a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation—and in this dual citizenship I must work, I must eat, I must art, I must mother, I must friend, I must listen, I must observe, constantly I must live.” This strident, plaintive book introduces a major new voice in contemporary literature.

VERDICT:

REVIEW:

These poems are memorable and moving, but most of all they're important. Being Native American is existing in a place that has massacred and stolen from your ancestors and now expects you to be appreciative for surviving. This poetry explores how hard it is to gain understanding from a government that downplays it's transgressions while apologizing. This author plays with language throughout her poetry, and used formatting to add depth to her poems. Most public schools  do not explain who Native Americans are in history, leaving most people to stumble upon the horrors that occurred against them on their own.
From "38"
The Dakota 38 refers to thirty-eight Dakota men who were executed by hanging, under orders from President Abraham Lincoln. 
To date, this is the largest “legal” mass execution in US history. 
The hanging took place on December 26, 1862—the day after Christmas. 
This was the same week that President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The ideals that America are modeled on do not ring true when looking at history. This book of poems explores how the author learns to express her identity and hold on to her culture. A large portion of the poems are in response to the apology that Obama signed in 2010. The poems point out the inadequacy and insulting nature of how the apology was done. The lyrical poems help shed light on the reality of Native American reservations. The truth and emotions of what she shares is essential reading. I would recommend this book to all readers who want to learn more about the history of the people who survived the creation of the United States.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Layli Long Soldier earned a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA with honors from Bard College. She is the author of the chapbook Chromosomory (2010) and the full-length collection Whereas (2017), which was a finalist for the National Book Awards. She has been a contributing editor to Drunken Boat and is poetry editor at Kore Press; in 2012, her participatory installation, Whereas We Respond, was featured on the Pine Ridge Reservation. In 2015, Long Soldier was awarded a National Artist Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and a Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry.

A citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation, Long Soldier lives in Tsaile, Arizona, in the Navajo Nation, with her husband and daughter. She is an adjunct faculty member at Diné College.
Interview with the On Being Podcast
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Review: The Power by Naomi Alderman

January 29, 2018
InToriLex, Book Review, The Power, Naomi AldermanPublished By: Little, Brown and Company on October 10, 2017
Format Read: Hardcover Edition (385 pages)
Genre: Dystopia/ Sci-fi/ Feminism
Series: Standalone
Source: Purchased
Rating: FIVE STARS
The Power
~Amazon~
Suddenly - tomorrow or the day after - girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman's extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed, and we look at the world in an entirely new light.

What if the power to hurt were in women's hands?

VERDICT:

REVIEW:

This was a disturbing reminder of how who has power shapes our society.  One day in the future  women develop the ability to use electricity as a weapon through a skein that develops in their collar bone. This concept forces readers to look at how men abuse women by illustrating how brutal women could be if given the means and opportunity.  Most of the book is spent exploring how the changing power shifts society, so the characters lives were underdeveloped. Despite this I felt emotionally drawn to the characters.
"You have been taught that you are unclean, that you are not holy, that your body is impure and could never harbor the divine You have been taught to despise everything you are and to long only to be a man. But you have been taught lies."
The book's chapters switch between four people who witness how the world changes.  Allie is a mixed-race girl who is worshiped as Mother Eve after escaping years of abuse. Roxy is a daughter from a British crime family. Margot is a American Mayor who is trying to accumulate political power. Tunde is aspiring Nigerian journalist who captures footage of the power in action all over the world. These four watch how power can harm and develop a toxic response out of fear. There are illustrations of artifacts that show men being used as servants and other signs of the power existing centuries ago.

I loved this book, it tells a cautionary tale about how power can be harmful, no matter how well meaning people with power may be. This book is for mature readers because it describes disturbing sexual violence. The horror is made the issues it explored more compelling and memorable. The smart and brave female protagonists were inspiring because they were allowed to live and act without fear. The characters were diverse and the book included settings from around the world. It's great to read a book that is inclusive of the different people and places that may read it. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy stories that make important philosophical parallels to our own world. It was a sad but inspiring read, I will never forget.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Naomi Alderman (born 1974 in London) is a British author and novelist.

Alderman was educated at South Hampstead High School and Lincoln College, Oxford where she read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. She then went on to study creative writing at the University of East Anglia before becoming a novelist.
She was the lead writer for Perplex City, an Alternate reality game, at Mind Candy from 2004 through June, 2007.[1]
Her father is Geoffrey Alderman, an academic who has specialised in Anglo-Jewish history. She and her father were interviewed in The Sunday Times "Relative Values" feature on 11 February 2007.[2]

Her literary debut came in 2006 with Disobedience, a well-received (if controversial) novel about a rabbi's daughter from North London who becomes a lesbian, which won her the 2006 Orange Award for New Writers.
Since its publication in the United Kingdom, it has been issued in the USA, Germany, Israel, Holland, Poland and France and is due to be published in Italy, Hungary and Croatia.
She wrote the narrative for The Winter House, an online, interactive yet linear short story visualized by Jey Biddulph. The project was commissioned by Booktrust as part of the Story campaign, supported by Arts Council England.

http://www.naomialderman.com/
Twitter 
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Book Scoop January 19- January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018
I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan
I Am Thunder, Muhammad Khan, InToriLex, Book Scoop
I Am Thunder
~Amazon~
Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem, who dreams of being a writer, struggles with controlling parents who only care about her studying to be a doctor. Forced to move to a new school in South London after her best friend is shamed in a scandal, Muzna realizes that the bullies will follow her wherever she goes. But deciding to stand and face them instead of fighting her instinct to disappear is harder than it looks when there's prejudice everywhere you turn. Until the gorgeous and confident Arif shows an interest in her, encouraging Muzna to explore her freedom.

But Arif is hiding his own secrets and, along with his brother Jameel, he begins to influence Muzna with their extreme view of the world. As her new freedom starts to disappear, Muzna is forced to question everything around her and make a terrible choice - keep quiet and betray herself, or speak out and betray her heart?
A stunning new YA voice which questions how far you'll go to protect what you believe in.
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
Anatomy of a Scandal, Sarah Vaughan, Book Scoop, InToriLex
Anatomy of a Scandal
 Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?
The Sky is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith
The Sky is Yours, Chandler Klang Smith, Book Scoop, InToriLex
The Sky is Yours
In the burned-out, futuristic city of Empire Island, three young people navigate a crumbling metropolis constantly under threat from a pair of dragons that circle the skies. When violence strikes, reality star Duncan Humphrey Ripple V, the spoiled scion of the metropolis’ last dynasty; Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg, his tempestuous, death-obsessed betrothed; and Abby, a feral beauty he discovered tossed out with the trash; are forced to flee everything they've ever known. As they wander toward the scalded heart of the city, they face fire, conspiracy, mayhem, unholy drugs, dragon-worshippers, and the monsters lurking inside themselves. In this bombshell of a novel, Chandler Klang Smith has imagined an unimaginable world: scathingly clever and gorgeously strange, The Sky Is Yours is at once faraway and disturbingly familiar, its singular chaos grounded in the universal realities of love, family, and the deeply human desire to survive at all costs.

The Sky Is Yours is incredibly cinematic, bawdy, rollicking, hilarious, and utterly unforgettable, a debut that readers who loved Cloud Atlas, Super Sad True Love Story, and Blade Runner will adore.
Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Let's Talk About Love, Claire Kann, Book Scoop, InToriLex
Let's Talk About Love
Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting--working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she's asexual). Alice is done with dating--no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.
Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below
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Review: The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N. K. Jemison

January 22, 2018
The Fifth Season, The Broken Earth #1, N. K. Jemison, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Orbit on August 5 2015
Format Read: Paperback Edition (468 pages)
Genre: Fantasy/ Dystopia/ Sci-fi
Series: Book One of The Broken Earth Series
Source: Purchased
Rating: FIVE STARS
The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)
~Amazon~ 
THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS. AGAIN.

Three terrible things happen in a single day.

Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world's sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes -- those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon -- are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back.

She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

VERDICT:

REVIEW:

I don't read much fantasy, because the fantasy writers I've read  fall in love with their world building and muddle the character development because of it. This was a delight because the world building and character development flowed seamlessly. The journey into the Stillness leads us into polygamous relationships and relateable identity masking. The Stillness is a place where seasons can last years, The Fifth Season which is the title of this book is a terrible winter that causes drought. The people in this world have learned to adapt to these seasons. Orogenes are powerful characters who are able to manipulate the energy around them, at times causing massive earthquakes. We can all understand how isolating it feels when you're feared for being who you are. Minorities are often stereotyped and misunderstood because the unfamiliar makes people fearful. Fear is what separates us and keeps us apart even in the face of so much evidence that we are stronger together.
“For all those that have to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question.”
The book shifts between three main characters who each are grappling with how to control their power and find a way to control their future. In this world there are also other species who can hide themselves and secrets that kept me guessing. The world building is phenomenal and intricate in creative ways. This book explores how relationships can shape us and people can sometimes be the best resource we have. There is book also explores how ideology and political power can be harmful.
“There passes a time of happiness in your life, which I will not describe to you. It is unimportant. Perhaps you think it wrong that I dwell so much on the horrors, the pain, but pain is what shapes us, after all. We are creatures born of heat and pressure and grinding, ceaseless movement. To be still is to be… not alive.” 
While this was a grim adventure filled with tragedy I connected with this book on many emotional levels. The powerful female characters and surprising twists makes this a great start to a series. If you enjoy fantasy this book gets all of the world building right while keeping you invested in the characters. The exploration of outcast characters finding ways to survive at the end of the world makes this a book I would recommend to everybody.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo By Laura Hannifin, N. K. Jemison
N(ora). K. Jemisin is an author of speculative fiction short stories and novels who lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been multiply nominated for the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy Award; shortlisted for the Crawford, the Gemmell Morningstar, and the Tiptree; and she has won a Locus Award for Best First Novel as well as several Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Awards. In 2016, she became the first black person to win the Best Novel Hugo for The Fifth Season. In 2017, she won Best Novel again, for The Obelisk Gate. 
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Book Scoop January 12- January 19, 2018

January 19, 2018
InToriLex, Book Scoop, Weekly Feature
 Book Industry News,  Links & Book Releases

HEADLINES

Elena Ferrante to become Guardian's Weekend Columnist

Margaret Atwood Faces Backlash for #MeToo Response 

Catch 22 Comes to Hulu 

Fire and Fury to Be Adapted to TV
LINKS

Tips on How to Get Out of A Reading Slump

Dr. Martin Luther Kings Fight for Economic Freedom Illustrated

American Prisons Afraid of The New Jim Crow 

Best Reviewed Books of the Week  

BOOK RELEASES

 Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
Red Clocks, Lenia Zumas, Book Scoop, InToriLex
Red Clocks
~Amazon~
Five women. One question. What is a woman for?

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro's best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath, or "mender," who brings all their fates together when she's arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.
Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
Love Hate & Other Filters, Samira Ahmed, InToriLex, Book Scoop
Love, Hate & Other Filters
~Amazon~
A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape--perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Asha Bandele, Book Scoop, InToriLex

~Amazon~
The emotional and powerful story of one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter and how the movement was born.

From one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement comes a poetic memoir and reflection on humanity. Necessary and timely, Patrisse Cullors' story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have been called terrorists, a threat to America. But in truth, they are loving women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful. In this meaningful, empowering account of survival, strength, and resilience, Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele seek to change the culture that declares innocent black life expendable.
Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga #4) by Pierce Brown
Iron Gold, Red Rising Saga #4, Pierce Brown, InTorilex, Book Scoop
Iron Gold (Red Rising, #4)
They call him father, liberator, warlord, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the pale blue planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-second of his life.

A decade ago, Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk everything he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?

And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever:

A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.

An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.

And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe, and Iron Gold is the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.
Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below
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Top Ten 2018 Bookish Resolutions

January 16, 2018
Top Ten Tuesday, InToriLex, Weekly Feature
  1. Read More Non-fiction- I really enjoy non-fiction. I feel obligated to finally dedicate more of my time to titles I've been meaning to read for years. 
  2. Stick to Book Buying Bans- I have accumulated far too many books in 2017. I feel guilty because I know there are so many people who would love to read and review the books I own. However I still get sucked into the hype surrounding new releases and I want to set more limits on how many books I buy.
  3. Support other Book Blogs- I do visit some blogs regularly, but I want to spend more time supporting blogs because there's great content I know I'm missing out on. 
  4. Plan Out More Blog Posts- I am very disorganized about what and how often I post to my blog. I want to change that by being more deliberate and consistent with my posts.
  5. Read More Poetry- I write poetry in my free time. However I have only read a few poetry books last year. It will make me a better artist to continue to read and learn from more writing styles.
  6. Post More Book Recommendations- I enjoy scouring book lists of and find myself reading better books because of it.  I want to create more book list of my own this year. I even a new page dedicated to that in my header.
  7. Limit the Amount of Author Requested Reviews- I feel really bad when I'm in a reading slump, but I've agreed to review an author's book for my blog. I want to limit how many requests I take this year, so I can focus on the giant TBR pile I already have.
  8. Be Comfortable Not Finishing Books I don't Enjoy- I really hate to DNF books. I usually just painfully read books I don't like slowly. This benefits no one and leads me into a reading slump. 
  9. Catch Up on Backlog of Books- I have books I pre-ordered last year that I have not touched. I 'm still excited to read them so I want to be more deliberate about that. Iim also not going to pre-order any books this year.
  10. Read More Books than Last Year- I only read 42 Books last year. That is plenty for some readers. But there was many months when I didn't read a book at all. I'm really hoping not to go through a very long reading slump again. This year I'm aiming to read at least 75 Books.
What are your 2018 Bookish Resolutions?
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Essential Non-fiction: Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018

January 15, 2018
If you haven't read the Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr you should let it inspire you today. It's important to reflect on how we can help each other fight for economic gender and racial equality for everyone.

Below are my essential non-fiction book recommendations focused on race, economic and gender inequality.

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color Edited by Cherríe L. Moraga & Gloria E. Anzaldúa  
This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color
~Amazon~ 
Originally released in 1981, This Bridge Called My Back is a testimony to women of color feminism as it emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Through personal essays, criticism, interviews, testimonials, poetry, and visual art, the collection explores, as coeditor Cherríe Moraga writes, “the complex confluence of identities—race, class, gender, and sexuality—systemic to women of color oppression and liberation.”

Reissued here, nearly thirty-five years after its inception, the fourth edition contains an extensive new introduction by Moraga, along with a previously unpublished statement by Gloria Anzaldúa. The new edition also includes visual artists whose work was produced during the same period as Bridge, including Betye Saar, Ana Mendieta, and Yolanda López, as well as current contributor biographies. Bridge continues to reflect an evolving definition of feminism, one that can effectively adapt to, and help inform an understanding of the changing economic and social conditions of women of color in the United States and throughout the world.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
~Amazon~

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered. Her older sister was shot. Her mother was then slowly poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror,” roamed – virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau. They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history.
The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist
The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
~Amazon~ 
Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution—the nation’s original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America’s later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy.

As historian Edward Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Until the Civil War, Baptist explains, the most important American economic innovations were ways to make slavery ever more profitable. Through forced migration and torture, slave owners extracted continual increases in efficiency from enslaved African Americans. Thus the United States seized control of the world market for cotton, the key raw material of the Industrial Revolution, and became a wealthy nation with global influence.

Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history. It forces readers to reckon with the violence at the root of American supremacy, but also with the survival and resistance that brought about slavery’s end—and created a culture that sustains America’s deepest dreams of freedom.

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
~Amazon~ 
Americans like to insist that we are living in a postracial, color-blind society. In fact, racist thought is alive and well; it has simply become more sophisticated and more insidious. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, racist ideas in this country have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.

In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti–Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the lives of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists. From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W. E. B. Du Bois to legendary anti–prison activist Angela Davis, Kendi shows how and why some of our leading proslavery and pro–civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America.

As Kendi provocatively illustrates, racist thinking did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Racist ideas were created and popularized in an effort to defend deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and to rationalize the nation’s racial inequities in everything from wealth to health. While racist ideas are easily produced and easily consumed, they can also be discredited. In shedding much–needed light on the murky history of racist ideas, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose them—and in the process, gives us reason to hope.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The Fire Next Time
~Amazon~
 A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as "sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle...all presented in searing, brilliant prose," The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature.

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson



~Amazon~

Short, emotional, literary, powerful―Tears We Cannot Stop is the book that all Americans who care about the current and long-burning crisis in race relations will want to read.
As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man's voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion. In his 2016 New York Times op-ed piece "Death in Black and White," Michael Eric Dyson moved a nation. Now he continues to speak out in Tears We Cannot Stop―a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

The time is at hand for reckoning with the past, recognizing the truth of the present, and moving together to redeem the nation for our future. If we don't act now, if you don't address race immediately, there very well may be no future.
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates



~Amazon~

We were eight years in power" was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. Now Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America's "first white president."

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period--and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation's old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective--the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates's iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including "Fear of a Black President," "The Case for Reparations," and "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration," along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates's own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.
 Panthers in the Hole by Bruno Cenou & David Cenou

~Amazon~

In 1972, inmates Robert Hillary King, Albert Woodbox, 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.

The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates (Foreword)


The Origin of Others
~Amazon~ 
America's foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid?

Drawing on her Norton Lectures, Toni Morrison takes up these and other vital questions bearing on identity in The Origin of Others. In her search for answers, the novelist considers her own memories as well as history, politics, and especially literature. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Camara Laye are among the authors she examines. Readers of Morrison's fiction will welcome her discussions of some of her most celebrated books--Beloved, Paradise, and A Mercy.
If we learn racism by example, then literature plays an important part in the history of race in America, both negatively and positively. Morrison writes about nineteenth-century literary efforts to romance slavery, contrasting them with the scientific racism of Samuel Cartwright and the banal diaries of the plantation overseer and slaveholder Thomas Thistlewood. She looks at configurations of blackness, notions of racial purity, and the ways in which literature employs skin color to reveal character or drive narrative. Expanding the scope of her concern, she also addresses globalization and the mass movement of peoples in this century. National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates provides a foreword to Morrison's most personal work of nonfiction to date.
March (March #1-3) by John Lewis &Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell (Illustrator)


~Amazon~ 
Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president.

Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole).

The award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling trilogy is complete! Celebrate with this commemorative set containing all three volumes of March in a stunning new slipcase designed by Nate Powell and Chris Ross and colored by Jose Villarrubia. "  
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

A People's History of the United States
~Amazon~ 
Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of—and in the words of—America's women, factory workers, African Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers.

Nobody: Casualties of America's War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill, Todd Brewster (Foreword)

~Amazon~
In this “thought-provoking and important” (Library Journal) analysis of state-sanctioned violence, Marc Lamont Hill carefully considers a string of high-profile deaths in America—Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and others—and incidents of gross negligence by government, such as the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. He digs underneath these events to uncover patterns and policies of authority that allow some citizens become disempowered, disenfranchised, poor, uneducated, exploited, vulnerable, and disposable. To help us understand the plight of vulnerable communities, he examines the effects of unfettered capitalism, mass incarceration, and political power while urging us to consider a new world in which everyone has a chance to become somebody. Heralded as an essential text for our times, Marc Lamont Hill’s galvanizing work embodies the best traditions of scholarship, journalism, and storytelling to lift unheard voices and to address the necessary question, “how did we get here?"
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