My Thoughts on Women’s Prize 2020 Longlist

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The Women’s Prize 2020 longlist was just announced very late in the evening few days ago.  I woke up to the news on Twitter the next day.  As disappointed as I was with the prize last year, you’re probably wondering what the heck am I doing on here posting about it this year.  I couldn’t resist checking out the longlist.  I wanted to see who they included and who they left out.  This is the Prize’s 25th year so I secretly hoped they’d get it right, but no.  They chose 16 books but as always there is at least one that makes you scratch your head and say to yourself, “What’s that doing there?”  Yes, I’m referring to Queenie, the book that the British are marketing as a black Bridget Jones Diary.  Smh… The last time I checked that book was NOT funny at all.

Of the 16 books on the longlist I’ve only read 2: Queenie ♥ and Red at the Bone ♥♥♥♥♥ (loved, beautifully written).  Despite that there are a few that I actually own and are planning to read like Girl, Woman, Other, Fleishman’s in Trouble, The Most Fun We Ever Had, and lastly The Dutch House.  I would like to eventually pick up Girl, Dominicana, and The Mirror and the Light (I haven’t read Bring Up the Bodies yet), but I don’t own these books yet.  So no pressure for me. I won’t be reading through the entire list this year, just the ones I’ve got.

Combing this list the first time I was shocked to see that Ducks Newburyport, The Parisian, The Confessions of Franny Langdon, and Patsy weren’t on the list. I was thrilled to see that The Testaments wasn’t on the list. Whew! What a relief! The judges say they are looking for something different and something that they’ll find hard to put down.  Well we’ll see the real direction they go in when they announce the shortlist on April 22.  The winner will take home a 30,000£ check and limited-edition bronze figurine called Bessie created by the artist Grizel Niven on June 3.  I’m already predicting that Queenie, The Mirror and the Light, and Actress will make it on the shortlist. Let’s see if I’m right. 😉

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As for the judges, we have:

Martha Lane Fox (The Chair of Judges): businesswoman, philanthropist, public servant

Scarlett Curtis:  writer, activist

Melanie Eusebe:  co-founder of the Black British Business Awards

Viv Groskop:  author, comedian

Paula Hawkins: international bestselling author

 

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The Last Thing You Surrender – Leonard Pitts, Jr. Live Discussion

This was a great discussion to end Black History Month.  We were also blessed to have Leonard Pitts, Jr for the second half of the discussion.  He’s really brilliant! This live discussion contains spoilers so if you haven’t finished reading you might want to wait until you do. Enjoy!

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 11 & 12

Day 11 – 2020 Newbie

As every year there are so many new releases and new authors appearing on the scene img_2113and 2020 is no different.  I decided to go with Stateway’s Garden by Jasmon Drain, gifted to me by Penguin Random House.  This debut work is a memoir of connected short stories that take the reader into a housing project on Chicago’s South Side.  For the moment I’m finding it very interesting but will be back with a review once I’m done.  Jasmon Drain grew up in Chicago in the Englewood neighborhood.  He was a Pushcart Prize Nominee in 2010 and 2011.  Having never heard of this literary prize I want to their website to find out more about the prize. The Pushcart Prize is an American literary prize which honors the best “poetry, short fiction, essays, memoirs published in the small presses over the previous year. “They welcome up to six nominations (print or online) from little magazine and small book press editors throughout the world.  They welcome translations, reprints and both traditional and experimental writing.  The nominations are accepted between October 1 – December 1.” (pushcart prize.com)

 

Day 12 – Musical Genius took me a little more effort to find a title.  I originally thought of James McBride’s Kill ‘Em and Leave:  Searching for James Brown and the American Soul, however it was impossible to find it among my books. Trying to combing throughimg_6439 when you have as many books as I do, you find forgotten treasures.  That’s when I fell upon Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is #3 in The Century Cycle by August Wilson.  Now I really want to read all 10 plays in order but sadly I only own this one and the first play of the series called Gem of the Ocean which I read and enjoyed a few years ago.  I think I gave it 3 stars.  Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is about a legendary blues singer so fits the photo challenge perfectly.  Just from reading what this play is about I’m sure it would be fantastic to see at the theatre.  It covers themes of self-hate and racism. Check out the videos below where you can see a few scenes being performed.

 

 

 

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate link for The Book Depository.  It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!

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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge 2020: Day 1 & 2

Black History Month is finally here and has taken off with a blast!  Here’s where the photo challenge is at the moment for me:

Day 1: ReadSoulLit TBR

I’m a Booktube Prize judge this year and will be judging the first round which is happening this month.  This won’t deter me from picking up these three novels I’ve chosen to honor reading black American authors during Black History Month.  The Last Thing You Surrender is by seasoned writer Leonard Pitts, Jr.  This is the ReadSoulLit Readalong pick for February.  This is the first book I’ll be reading by Pitts, Jr.  I’m really looking forward to it.   This time period (the 1940s specifically World War II era) is one I find most interesting to read about in fiction novels.  If you’re still interested in joining the read along group on Goodreads click this link to join us.  It’s not too late.  I’m sure the reading is going to be engrossing and the discussions thought-provoking.

The second book on my TBR is a debut called Stateway’s Garden by Jasmon Drain. IMG_1989 Gifted to me by Penguin Random House, whom I thank graciously, I look forward to seeing how this memoir compares to the poignant, unforgettable, and brilliantly written Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon that was my first read of 2020.  Stateway’s Garden takes place in a housing project on the south side of Chicago.  It’s set in the mid-eighties and is a collection of linked short stories.

The third book in my stack is called Seeds of Deception by Arlene L. Walker.  This is another debut novel which was released last summer.  I don’t remember hearing a thing about it but after I caught a glimpse of the cover on the author’s Instagram page I was immediately interested.  “A clash between Cherokee Indians and their former African slaves come to a head in the tribal town of Feather Falls.” (back cover Seeds of Deception).  How could I pass on a story like this.  I’ll be keeping you informed once I’m finished on what I think about Seeds of Deception in an upcoming review.

 

Day 2:  Sci-fi High

If you’ve been following me for a while you all know that me and sci-fi just don’t get along when it comes to reading. I’m fine with it if it’s a film but for some reason I have IMG_2002-1trouble absorbing all the world building that goes along with the enjoyment of complex sci-fi stories.  In spite of this, last year I had the pleasure of reading the Xenogenesis series by Octavia E. Butler and really enjoyed it.  In particular I enjoyed Dawn which is the first book of the trilogy.  Dawn was mysterious, psychological, and sociological with just the right amount of science fiction to keep me interested throughout.  Lilith is a character that the reader can immediately relate to and root for.  The mystery in Dawn is at an all time high and will keep you riveted to the pages.  I highly recommend it.  Check out the video below of N.K. Jemisin talking about Dawn and her reactions to reading it for the first time.

 

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate link for The Book Depository.  It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!

http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=browngirlreading