October reads 2015 – Writers of Colour month

Although I ended up being too busy with other things to blog (or read) as much as I would have liked this month, I did read some really great books. I had been planning to have some guest posts from other bloggers for Writers of Colour month, but I think asking people just the month before wasn’t enough time so it didn’t happen. Next time I do something like this I’ll plan and get organised a couple of months before. Anyway, books!

meatspaceMeatspace by Nikesh Shukla (novel)

This really wasn’t for me. I just don’t enjoy books/films/tv that makes me cringe (I should like Alan Partridge but I don’t, I hate cringing), and there’s a lot of cringing for the main character Kitab in this. I could see that ‘Kitab 2’ was partly a real-life version of the stories he would tell about his brother, but I found the character ridiculous and annoying (and cringe). I also really didn’t like the ‘twist’ at the end. So, yeah, not for me at all.

signs preceding the end of the worldSigns Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera (novel – Spanish in translation)

Translated by Lisa Dillman. I loved this short novella. It’s ambiguous and beautifully written, and about language, borders, family and immigration. I need some more people to read it so I can discuss the ending! Full review here.

citizenCitizen by Claudia Rankine (poetry & non-fiction)

This is an incredible collection of poetry and non-fiction essay interspersed with artwork and photography. It’s raw, powerful, angry, and, at times, tinged with a kind of resigned sadness. Even if you aren’t much of a poetry reader, I urge you to pick this up. My pick of the month. Full review here.

giovanni's roomGiovanni’s Room by James Baldwin (novel)

Just devastatingly beautiful. It’s only 150 pages long, but packed full of beautiful prose and aching emotion. Even though I was frustrated with the narrator and his actions most of the way through, I could understand why he was acting the way he was – that intense brilliant/horrible feeling of loving someone made even more intense by the fact it was a forbidden love and one that he consequently felt ashamed of. Oh Giovanni.

liliths broodDawn by Octavia Butler (novel)

I really enjoyed this. Despite the fact it was slightly longer than most other books I read this month (still only 250 pages!), I finished it the quickest. It’s a proper page-turner, but with a lot to think about too. Having read The Book of Strange New Things so recently, I couldn’t help but compare the two. Even though I know they are supposed to be different genres (TBoSNT is literary fiction with sci-fi elements, while Dawn is sci-fi), I felt Dawn did everything I wanted TBoSNT to do and didn’t. I bought it as the whole trilogy (Lilith’s Brood) in one volume, and the end definitely felt like the end of a chapter rather than the end of a book, so I’m going to get stuck into the rest of it very soon.

the silence and the roarThe Silence and the Roar by Nihad Sirees (novel – Arabic in translation)

Translated by Max Weiss. This novella takes place over one 24-hour period of the life of Fathi, a writer in Syria who is considered a traitor for his views on the regime and so is no longer allowed to write. It’s about how a dictator must be adored, and how the hysterical crowds and the dictatorship feed into each other. It’s about what it’s like, and how, to be standing on the outside of that, and if it’s possible to stay on the outside. You can really feel the oppressive heat, mirroring the inescapable oppression of the unnamed dictator. I wanted a little something more from it, perhaps a little more subtlety, but it’s definitely worth a read.

Also on the blog in October:

A list of my favourite comic book creators of colour (though to be honest they are just general favourites anyway)

Some more Booktube recommendations #3

Currently reading: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (non-fiction)

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This entry was posted in In translation, Non-fiction, Novels, Poetry & Plays, Wrap-ups and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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