Poetry from Spine to Spine – I am Charlotte Simmons

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I am Charlotte Simmons –  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/231.I_am_Charlotte_Simmons

Loving Frankhttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/898885.Loving_Frank

An Accidental Affair – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11737273-an-accidental-affair?ac=1

Between Lovershttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/339698.Between_Lovers/

The Alchemy of Desire – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/328470.The_Alchemy_of_Desire

Perfect Chemistry – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4268157-perfect-chemistry

Poetry From Spine to Spine – Love

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Love – Toni Morrison  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11326.Love

In the Kitchen – Monica Ali  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6065178-in-the-kitchen

Sexy – Joyce Carol Oates  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12523.Sexy

Warm Bodies – Isaac Marion  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7619057-warm-bodies

Tumbling – Diane McKinney-Whetstone  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/429931.Tumbling

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37781.Things_Fall_Apart

Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11869272-behind-the-beautiful-forevers

Books you should read?

Yesterday, a book I’d ordered from TheBookDepository.co.uk came and as usual I found one of their original IMG_1626paper bookmarks inside the package next to my spanking brand new book, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal,and the Real Count of Monte Cristo.  Love these bookmarks!  I already have a collection of them; even one that glows in the dark that has a Halloween theme.  This time the bookmark was labeled on one side ‘International Books you should read as voted for by our customers’.  The titles were marked in different languages.  The other side was marked ‘Books you should read as voted for by our customers’.  I’m not sure when this survey took place but I would guess within the last year.  From what was listed, I’d personally like to finish Harry Potter, and read The Fault in Our Stars, A Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and The Road.  What do you think of the list?  Is there anything that surprised you on this list?  What would you like to read on this list? Here is what was listed:

Life of Pi                                                      The Lord of the Rings

Great Expectations                                       The Hobbit

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy            The Slap

Catch-22                                                       Tomorrow When the War Began

The Alchemist                                               Little Women

The Book Thief                                              A Game of Thrones

Pride & Prejudice                                          The Catcher in the Rye

Jane Eyre                                                      The Hunger Games

The Thorn Birds                                            Wuthering Heights

1984                                                              The Great Gatsby

Cloudstreet                                                    A Fortunate Life

Harry Potter                                                   American Gods

To Kill a Mockingbird                                    Alice in Wonderland

Animal Farm                                                  My Sister’s Keeper

Dracula                                                          The Road

The Help                                                        We Need to Talk About Kevin

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo                     Twilight

The Time Traveler’s Wife                                The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Fault in Our Stars                                    The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Reading Resolutions in 2013….

New Year’s resolutions are becoming nothing more than pressure.  If we’re not promising ourselves to honour our gym subscription, lose 5kg., to learn how to speak a foreign language, or to go through those random boxes in the attic, you can count on bibliophiles gearing up to fix the number of books they’re planning on devouring in the new year. I’m guilty as charged.   I hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew.

2012 has finally come to a successful end since I managed to finish my Goodreads goal by reading 51 books.  Here’s the part where you hear some cool music and of course lots of cheering for me.  I tried to choose different types of books and added some YA novels to my repertoire, with some reservation in 2012.  I’m still trying to like it as much as some but it seems just a little on the predictable, light side for me.  I’ll continue to read YA to give it a chance and I’m not giving up on finding some good ones.  Moreover, the YA titles I’ll decide to read in the future will hopefully be chosen with care.  If you have any recommendations please write them below.  Be careful not to suggest too many trilogies and series because you know how much they get on my nerves, although they seem to be the thing to publish at the moment.  There’s always one book that disappoints in them. With that said from the 51 books I read, my 12 Best Reads of 2012 in no particular order were:

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I was lucky to have chosen such interesting books, but unfortunately there were a few duds –1. Fifty Shades of Grey, 2. Fifty Shades Darker, and 3. Fifty Shades Freed.  They were the worst.Henceforth, another one of my goals of 2013 is to try to pick high calibre books no matter what genre and to enjoy my reading.  Speaking of resolutions, this year my goal is to read more African-American literature, more classics, more detective/thriller novels, a few rereads, more graphic novels, and more books from The Guardian Weekly’s 1000 novels everyone must read http://didibooksenglish.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/, which includes a bit of everything previously listed .  My challenges this year will be 55 books for the Goodreads 2013 reading Challenge and 5 books for the Big Book Challenge on Goodreads. That’s probably a few too many since I’m pretty busy, but I love a challenge and I gotta try.  So, I’ll certainly give it a good go.

As for my blog, I’m also adding a new rubric called Teacher Feature where I feature an EFL teacher working here in France each month.  These posts will contain information on what it’s like teaching EFL in France in different environments.  There will also be more posts on book related subjects, whether it be on book events, authors, new releases, and maybe even some other stuff.  I’d also like to thank all my subscribers immensely for supporting ReadEng. Didi’s Press this year and hope that 2013 here keeps your interest peaked about books and the literary world, and urges you to continue to comment or to begin to comment if you haven’t done so yet.  I wish you all very Happy reading, but most of all, I wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR with much love, friendship, health, and prosperity in 2013!! 

20. Not A Day Goes By

John “Basil” Henderson is a smooth, fine, chocolate brother who’s turned the head of Yancey Harrington Braxton or is it the other way around.  Needless to say, they both come from dysfunctional families and are looking for love.  Yancey is a beautiful, arrogant, highly competitive Broadway star, who spends money as if it’s water running freely from a faucet.  Their love story seems to be unshakable and passionate until we as readers learn of Basil’s secret love for men.  Basil is a man on the down low.  What does on the down low mean?  On the down low is an African-American expression used to describe men who identify as heterosexuals but that hide the fact that they also enjoy having sex with men.  Could they be described as bisexual? Possibly.  It’s also possible that they are men having difficulty fully accepting  their homosexuality.  As the story goes on, it’s obvious that it is very hard for Basil to squelch his desire for men and he partially uses his relationship with Yancey to do so.  We also realize that Yancey is a perpetual liar and has a perplexing relationship with her mother Eva.

Not having read E. Lynn Harris before, I was pleasantly surprised.  I felt his use of the narrator got to the crux of the ambiguous feelings that Basil was having about his sexuality.  Basil’s narrator voice is very strong and precise.  So much so that  when there was narrating for Yancey, it seemed to be very neutral.  I think this is done on purpose to make Basil a more sympathetic character and to express his feelings in an impressionable way.  Harris’ hopeful writing style is inviting and very African-American culture based.  It flows and is vivid.  Some people may find this slightly isolating, but in essence it’s refreshing.  I enjoyed his clever lines like, “Life is full of required courses; it’s the electives that are a bitch.” (Not A Day Goes By, p. 276) or “You didn’t eat all that, did you?  Honey, you better watch it or your little narrow hips are going to spread faster than a rumor.” (Not A Day Goes By, p. 245)  The characters’ names were maybe a bit over the top – Windsor, Zurich, Yancey… I was thinking who would have these names and do I know any African-Americans with names like these.  All in all it’s a fast paced, light read with frequent plot twists.  I give it three and a half stars.  I can’t give it more because I think it went a little too fast and I would have also prefered a better ending because frankly it was a little predictable.

E. Lynn Harris died in 2009 at the age of 54.  He was really known for portraying fairly affluent African-American gay men often tormented about hiding their homosexuality and leading double lives.  Invisible Life is the trilogy that got him famous.   In the beginning, he found no one who would publish Invisible Life so he published it himself and sold it in African-American owned bookshops, book clubs, and beauty salons.  Finally, Anchor Books discovered him and published Invisible Life in 19994 and Harris’ career soared.  Some of his other known novels are And This Too Shall Pass, A Love of My Own, Any Way the Wind Blows, Just As I Am, If This World Were Mine, I Say A Little Prayer, and many more.  Two of his books were published posthumously – Mama Dearest(2009) and In My Father’s House (2010).  I think the majority of his enthusiastic fans are African-American women, but anybody who likes reading a well-written story with twists, and is a little interested in African-American culture would easily become a fan.  His writing really does transcend all groups of people.  Harris is surely being missed in the literary world because of the fresh honest content of his novels about being gay and African-American.  I’m sure I’ll read something else by Harris surely before the end of the year.  Stay tuned…..  If you’ve read Harris comment below and tell me which novel was your favorite and why?  Happy reading….