I could not for the life of me figure out what to write about for this year’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge, though I got some very good suggestions from friends (bucket list, books, pop culture, things you would want on a deserted island). I didn’t want to rehash topics I have done before, but I also couldn’t think of new topics either–or enough things to fill the topic suggestions. Everything just seemed so overwhelming, and I realized that all I wanted to do was NOT and just sit on the couch and watch TV or something and then *boom* my topic was so obvious: comfort watches and reads for these here pandemic times. This topic also seemed like a good fit because last year I did devote one of my blog posts to book recommendations, so this seems like the perfect time to do a blend of books and visual media as well as a deep dive into why I would recommend the things I do.
One of the other struggles I had with the suggested topics was that I couldn’t come up with anything for A. When I was doing some light journaling to figure out what I might write about for comfort watches/reads that would start with A–because SERIOUSLY WHAT ON EARTH STARTS WITH A–my brain literally went “Anne of Green Gables, duh,” and honestly, if it could pull the perfection that is Anne of Green Gables out of the ether, then the rest of the challenge is going to have to be easy breezy, right?
I like to think so.
“Akilah,” you may be thinking, “when you say Anne of Green Gables, are you talking about the fantastic book by L. M. Montgomery or the fantastic movie starring Megan Follows?”
So my book club is doing middle grade mysteries for October, and unfortunately, I can only nominate one book. One! This is sad for me because I have a lot of books that I could recommend because I want the people in my book club to read and/or talk about them. Just for context (do I need more context?), after I taught the detective literature course at my school last fall, I said my dream would be to teach the class again and focus solely on middle grade capers or puzzle books. (I was sick of all the murdering and violence in the adult literature.) The point is that this topic lives close to my heart.
So, anyway, here are all the books I wanted to nominate for my book club to read and the one I did wind up nominating in the end.
Whew, it has been a minute since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday post. Did you know there’s a new host? And that today is the meme’s tenth birthday? Whew, time passes so quickly.
Today’s prompt is to pick a past TTT topic you’ve done and re-do/update it, which is perfect because I’m still mad about all the books/movies/TV shows being promoted as Black stories but that only show Black pain or Black poverty or just read my original post about it. In fact, I’m mad enough about it that I’ve had more than one conversation with friends about how stupid and annoying it is, and I have concluded (again) that Toni Morrison is right about racism functioning as nothing but a distraction.
There have been a lot of posts with anti-racist reading lists, which is great, and I appreciate people doing this work. In fact, my local independent bookstore posted such a list, and I wrote this response to their FB post since I have been thinking about this issue quite a lot.
I really appreciate this list, and I appreciate the inclusion of fiction, especially for young people here. I would like to remind you and your readers, though, that Black people think about things other than race and police/state violence and that adding in some fiction and nonfiction that show Black people just existing are also important. One of the issues Black people face is that we’re expected to constantly educate people about race and to exist as Black first, people second. Fiction books that don’t center race as the primary narrative are essential to building empathy in readers. Perhaps you can create a list that centers those fiction and nonfiction narratives–written by Black authors–as well.
Books by Brandy Colbert, Varian Johnson, Samantha Irby, Liara Tamani, and others would nicely fill a list of that sort. I also created a Twitter thread during Black History Month that has several of the types of books I’m thinking of. Black lives matter not just to address racism but also as fully lived lives.
I love giving recommendations (book or otherwise), and I have been asked more than once for suggestions of what to read during this time. So, this is the post with all the recs! I was going to attempt to separate them into categories, but I just labeled them instead. I put pictures if I had them handily available because it would have taken forever to find pictures for all of them. Also, these are only the books I’ve read in the past five years. I mean, this list could go on, but I had to stop myself somewhere.
If you’re interested in any of them, please support a book and mortar bookstore that serves your neighborhood. Most are still taking orders and doing delivery. Bookstore Link can point you in the right direction if you don’t already have a bookstore in mind.
And this will be mostly children’s lit because you know how I roll. So here we go.
Comfort/Fun Books to Read during the Pandemic
Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot (middle grade, graphic novel)
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (YA)
Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot (mystery)
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (middle grade mystery)
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (YA fantasy)
Are you participating in the #SummerSoLit Book Bingo challenge and looking for some books to mark off the Graphic Novel with a POC in it square? Here are some books you may want to read to fill that square (all descriptions from Goodreads):
Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson (also fulfills Muslim Female Author square): Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!