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Color Online promotes women writers of color. Find poetry, profiles and women's studies trivia quizzes. Win prizes and read reviews. Our aim is to encourage young women to discover stories that reflect their lives and aspirations.
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I was talking with a friend last week, and somehow we started talking about 2012 television shows that were cancelled. I was sad to hear that GCB (abc) Prime Suspect (abc) and Alcatraz (fox) were cancelled. I am not surprised about GCB it was a very funny show with a lot of potential to get better, but it never stood a chance that that unmemorable title. Though I was surprised Prime Suspect and Alcatraz are off the air.
I am always bit sad when shows I enjoy get cancelled, (Arrested Development, Wonderfalls anyone) I suppose I could write letters to the network, but it is not that serious. Though it's a shame when good shows get pulled off the air.
A few days after that conversation I started reading Vanity, Vengeance, & A Weekend in Vega$
by Kyra Davis
. This is the sixth book in the Sophie Katz series and the first one that the author self published. I love me some Sophie Katz (and her friends) . And I gotta love an author that can work references of Alice Walker, Ayn Rand, David Sedaris and Emily Bronte.''What part of the mafia do you think Fawn objected to? She's in jail for attempted murder so obviously it wasn't the violence." Maybe she didn't like working with other people?" " Yeah," Dena replied, "maybe she just didn't like the corporate culture. She's an individualist. Like Ayn Rand with a Quentin Tarantino edge."
Sophie Katz is a bestselling mystery author/ accidental sleuth. Somehow she is always stumbling across dead bodies. Her Russian boyfriend Anatoly could give Ranger from the Stephanie Plum series a run for his money. Both characters have that dangerous/mysterious sexy vibe. Halfway into Vanity, Vengeance, & A Weekend in Vega$, I could not help but be thankful that books can not be cancelled.
If an author can't come to a contract agreement with their publisher, they can always submit their work to another house or self-publish. Of course the latter option is not easy and the financial gain is probably small. Yet some authors go this route, I am very happy Kyra Davis is one of them and that the Sophie Katz series could not be cancelled. I don't normally do disclaimers, however since this is boarding on fan gushing beyond what is decent I will do one now. I purchased Vanity, Vengeance & A Weekend in Vega$, and it was money well spent.
Mother's Day is on this Sunday on May 13th. I thought it would be fun to put together a few book pairings that would make great gifts. I wish I could say this was my idea but remembered Mother Readers annual holiday post Ways to Give a Book and was inspired.
Carleen Brice's Orange Mint & Honey with a Nina Simone CD. The main character Shay Dixon is always asking herself what would Nina Simone do.
Kyung-sook Shin's Please Look After Mom with a hand written thank you note. After the mother goes missing the family realizes how much she did for them but they never took the time to thank her. I can't take credit for the thank note, which is a perfect pairing for Shin's novel. That's all Vasilly
Thirty Umrigar's The World We Found with tea/new mug. Mothers who enjoy tea while reading will love the taste of a new flavor has they devour this wonderful novel. Never underestimate the joy a new mug can bring, especially one that has been personally selected, and not simply picked up.
Alice Randall's Ada's Rules with a spa certificate. Ada' Howard is rediscovering herself at 50, a perfect read to enjoy while getting pampered.
Kathy Cano-Murillo's Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing with sewing lessons or certificate to their craft store of choice.
Ernessa Carter's 32 Candles with 16 candles DVD, The main character Davie Jones loves the classic John Hughes movie and dreams of her own Molly Ringwald ending.
Cristina Garcia's The Lady Matador's Hotel with an outfit or one piece of clothing that screams sexy and strong
Jacqueline E. Luckett's Passing Love with a French CD, the Putumayo collections are always nice. As a bonus include a nice bottle of French wine.
Caronlina De Robertis's Perla with The Secret in Their Eyes DVD, Argentinean history connects this pairing. The movie won the academy award for best foreign film in 2009.
Ada's Rules: A Sexy Skinny Novel by Alice Randall
Ada Howard is the wife of the preacher and has a lot of responsibilities. She hasn't been making time for herself recently. After Ada hears that her 25 yr college reunion is coming up she decides to lose weight to impress an old boyfriend. Ada outlines her journey and new ways of living healthy in each chapter. This was an excellent read. The author manages to keep it light and fun as Ada rediscovers herself and her body.
Author Pearl Cleage's blurb says it best " Ada's Rules might be a diet book disguised as a novel, and it might be a novel disguised as a diet book, but I guarantee it will make you laugh and make you think, while it nudges you oh so gently in the direction of a brand new way to think about and celebrate your body"
Beyond the laughter, Randall has created a very realistic character in Ada Howard with valid concerns that readers will easily cheer for as she tries to for something better at 50. This would make an excellent Mother's Day gift. Read the first three chapters
via the publishers site Starred Publishers Weekly review
One great thing about my new job is I get to read a lot when there's down time. Some people at work are even starting a book club and I'll give the good and bad of it, after sharing some great books I've read recently. All of which I'd highly Recommend.1.The Boy in the Suitcase
by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friss - After Nina picks up a suitcase from the train station for a friends, she discovers a little boy inside. I loved this one.2. Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall the Groveland Boy, and the Dawn of a New America
by Gilbert King . This was excellent. I don't read much nonfiction but I couldn't put this one down. It was nice learning more about Thurgood Marshall.3The Reckoning by Jane Casey
- Another mystery, this is the third book in a series, featuring young detective name Maeve Kerrigan. Set in London Kerrigan in the first female officer in her department. I don't know how I've missed this series, but Kerrigan is one of the best new mystery protagonist out. Picking up the Burning by Casey from the library this week4 Equal of the Sun
by Anita Amirrezvani - This isn't something I would normally read but the publisher was kind enough to send a review copy. So I figured the least I can do is the give the book a try and I am so glad that I did. I loved it. The authors language is beautiful and the pages just flew by. Looking forward to reviewing this one here, closer to the release date in June. A must read for anyone who loves historical fiction or novels based around Royal families 5. Ada's Rules: A Sexy Skinny Novel
by Alice Randall - I loved the main character Ada Howard, who is on a journey to loss weight in time for her 25 yr college reunion. This was so much fun and very well done. At times I was reminded of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage. Will be reviewing this one here soon.
Back to the book club. Bad news first, the first book is Fifty Shades of Grey by James. I decided to be a good sport and join in anyway.
The good news, I brought four other books from amazon. Into the Wise Dark by Meminger, Ship of Souls by Elliott, Chulito by Rice- Gonzalez and Forgotten Country by ChungSince I've already read and very much enjoyed
Into the Wise Dark (My review
And Ship of Souls (My review
3 Comments on Reading While Working (Giveaway, In a Sharing Mood), last added: 4/15/2012
Perla by Carolina De Robertis
As a little girl growing up in Buenos Aires, Perla never wanted for anything. At a time when Argentina's government used violence to silence the public, Perla's father had a position of power as a naval officer. He was responsible for many of people who "disappeared" during the Dirty War. Perla's parents kept this truth a secret. The novel is set in the present (2001) after Perla receives an unexpected guest. His presence has Perla thinking about her life, her fathers deeds, and remembering a time in Argentina that the country would rather forget.
When I found out De Robertis had a new novel coming out I was very excited because I loved her debut Invisible Mountain. The author once again written a gorgeous piece of historical fiction. The story is wonderfully layered by the end I was so invested that several of the scenes had me in tears. And Perla had my heart from the very beginning.
Starred Library Journal review
Starred Publishers Weekly review
O Magazine review
Read an excerpt
The author's tour schedule. An autographed book makes a great gift. De robertis first event is on April 2.
This month, YA author Neesha Meminger released Into the Wise Dark , it's her third novel and the second one to be self published. I really enjoyed it and absolutely loved the second half which was very intense and visually amazing. I will review it later but right now I simply wanted to talk about the female characters. Part of what I love about Meminger's writing is her desire to create realistic female characters of color, that have an inner strength that shines through. If someone asked me to define feminism I couldn't formulate a concise answer. However, I could easily point to one of Meminger's novels and say " This book was written by an author concerned about feminist ideas and how her female characters are perceived." This applies even more so to Into the Wise Dark.
"When I look closely at the little cards underneath each image I see that they are all of different goddesses. Under one, an image of a large rotund woman with full breasts and the entire world in her lap." Another small carved statue of a woman with rounded hips and big thighs. I walk around to look at the third, a colossal image of a golden woman in profile. She holds a baby out in her hands and rays radiate from them both." - (from advanced readers copy*)
I loved that the author equates size and curves with beauty. Meminger's newest novel is also filled with beautifully crafted moments that are not meant to stand and for that reason do just that; thanks to the authors continuous commitent to well rounded female protagonist.
*edited, I left out the names of the goddesses.
Earlier this month the small town of Henryville, Ind. was hit by a severe tornado, to aid the schools which were destroyed, YA authors Julia Karr and Ashley Hope Perez with the help of other authors kind enough to donate books to the cause launched Authors for Henryville. You can head over to the site and simply make a $10 donation and be entered into a giveaway. Also books authors have contributed will be auctioned off this week.
1:16 minutes into you can see where the schools used to be.
I prefer to keep the content on my personal blog and what I contribute to Color Online separate, though every once in while I'll make an exception.
The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate
I actually meant to review this one last year but didn't get around to it. This review is coming mainly from memory so bear with me. Josie was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, though she was far from any large bodies of water she fall in love with it and made a career out of it. Josie is the only Black senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. In this way The Taste of Salt reminded me of Intuitionist by Whitehead. The novels are stylistically very different, however both feature a Black female protagonist in workforce positions that are predominantly held by men.
Since Josie is telling this story and because of much of who she is is defined by her chosen field, everything has a straightforward scientific analytical feel though the author is still able to give it a nice literary rhythm.
"I'm a scientist. I like to get to the bottom of things, to state the working hypothesis quickly. Narrative is not my specialty. But when I stop to think about it, in some ways, telling a story is like science. Trying to understand how a system works, what makes it function or not function, that's part of what a story does. Nothing is unrelated to the things that came before it. it's true of evolution and it's true of a family."
The quiet life Josie has carefully built is tested when her brother Tick is released from rehab for the second time. Josie must return to her childhood home in Cleveland, a place she rarely visits because of all the bad memories. The families experience with addiction began with the father. Josie shares her story, from marriage to growing up in a house with an unpredictable alcoholic father. She also gives the reader insight into the early years of her parents courtship and marriage. The latter I believe is the scientist in Josie, trying to pinpoint that one moment or event that would change the course of her parents lives and her own in the process. The city of Cleveland is an essential part of the story as well, it's describe and visualized with purpose from its years of promise to the lean ones.
Southgate skillfully explores how addiction can destroy a families dynamic. What stood out for me most was the strength and pain of Josie's voice. Taste of Salt had a quiet beauty that I loved and a rhythm worth getting lost in.
One of the big differences between blogging and book selling (besides a salary) is knowing your actually selling a book or two. Anyone who has ever hand sold a book can appreciate how good that feels. Even more so when the person comes back for another recommendation. I enjoy talking about books online and anyone who does this must (please refer back to no salary comment) but its so hard not knowing if people are actually, buying, borrowing, reading, or downloading any of the books that are mentioned.
I recently listed 2012 titles by female authors of color it's received over 500 hits, however without anymore information (especially with so few comments, only 3) I simply must have faith that some of the visitors will seek out one or two of the titles, or even print out the list for future reference. But I just don't know, and this makes finding the motivation to blog a little difficult sometimes. Am I really making a difference? All bloggers ask themselves that question from time to time. However I do not like to dwell on it because when I do the book world and its readers seem ocean large and that's a tad overwhelming.
I couldn't resist showing the George Michael video
The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar
I've heard a lot of great things about Umrigar's writing. When I worked at Borders many customers would come in to buy The Space Between Us by the author. It was a very popular book club read. Having recently finished The World We Found, I understand Umrigar's appeal.
Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita and Nishta grew up together and were once very close. In the 1970's when things were changing in India, the four friends questioned and challenged authority. The novel begins in present day, they have grown apart and leading their own lives. Only Laleh and Kavita the two still living in Bombay are in regular contact. Though when Armaiti's reaches out to tell them she has a fatal from of cancer, Laleh and Kavita promise to find Nishta. Armaiti wishes to see her friends one last time.
The strength and beauty of Umrigar's writing is present from the start.
"The tooth broke three days after she received the awful news. There was no blood. No pain, even. For three days she had believed that it was her heart that had broken into tiny fragments, but turned out it was another part of her body that decided to mourn the news. No pain, no blood. Just a moment of puzzlement as she bit into the soft French toast she made for breakfast this morning and felt something hard and brittle in her mouth. She spat out two small pieces into her cupped hand. She rinsed her mouth with cold water, and only then did she look up into the mirror. Until now, her teeth had been as sturdy and even as piano keys; but then, until now her oldest friend in the world had not been dying. It was right somehow, in this week of reminders of mortality, that she sacrifice something too."
Before Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita and Nishta can be reunited, they must come to terms with and address an event that changed the course of their lives and friendships. Umrigar has crafted a beautifully emotional story. This was one of those novels that I loved falling into completely. I highly recommend The World We Found, and look forward to reading more by the author.
Read the first five chapters via publisher.
A few professional reviews via author's site.
I was looking forward to writing a few new post for Color Online but not this. And yes its impulsive and not book related but doing it anyway. Still trying to process the news. Information travels so fast now, sometimes I long for days when you could sleep one more night without knowing. Houston's wikipedia page as already been updated. The finality of that makes this all the more real.
Greatest Love of All is my favorite song by Whitney Houston -Something about this song as always touched my heart. When it comes on the radio station that plays hits of the 80, 90's and today I still crank it up. Houston crushed the Bodyguard soundtrack.
Houston crushed the Bodyguard soundtrack.
Houston was cast in a remake of Sparkle and I only hope that meant she was able hold down her monkeys at least a little and exhale.
Hey guys! It's been a while since anyone has posted here. We definitely need to change that!
In case you didn't know, yesterday I put up a post on my blog about February's African American Read-In.
It's a tradition that's been going on all over the United States for the past twenty-three years. Groups all over the country get together to read and discuss a book by an African American author. Doret, Edi, and I have decided to host our own online read-in.
Six books were picked and readers can vote on which book we discuss next month. Our list:
- Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes
- Good Fortune by Noni Carter
- Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks
- A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines
- Fences by August Wilson
- Pull by B.A. Binns
For more information on the read-in, click here
Lost in Language & Sound by Ntozake Shange
This collection of essays was released earlier this month. Essays are usually hit or miss for me,overall this collection worked very well for me. I especially loved the first half, in which much of it read like a homage to African American dance,dancers Jazz. I only recognized a few of the dancers mentioned, I did a little better with the Jazz artist (though barely). But it did not matter either way, Ntozake Shange wrote in such a way that it made me feel like I knew them, or at the very least I felt their love of movement and that was more then a enough. The author reminisces about the beginning of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered When the Rainbow is Enuf. One of the messages I got from this collection was that you can try to steal or silence the African Americans but we will always new way to speak and be heard, be it through dance, music or any other artistic avenue of our choice.
"We must sing and dance or we shall die an inert, motionless, "sin ritmo" death. "Negros muertos," killed by a culture afraid of who we are and what we have to say with our bodies, our music, and our brains. Black folks do have brains. We even have ideologists, scholars, choreographers, and always the grace of the goods. "
Reading this collection reminded me how much I love Ntozake Shange's work, there's a beautiful rhythm to her words which always have purpose. The author reveals much of herself in each piece. I truly enjoyed this lost in language & sound, though I did question the inclusion of one piece entitled "2 live crew" Black men demoralizing Black women is still an issue but I just felt the exploration of 2 live crews exploits was dated. Its in inclusion always halted a bit of the flow of the collection. However I still highly recommend lost language & sound without missing a beat.
The National Book Award Winners were recently announced of the four winners three were female authors of color.
Jesymn Ward for Salvage the Bones (Fiction)
Nikkey Finney for Head off & Spilt (Poetry)
Thanhha Lai for Inside Out & Back Again (Young People's Lit)
Esi Edugyan, was the winner of the 2011 Giller Prize (a distinguished Canadian literary award) for Half Blood Blues. The novel was also shorlisted for Man Booker Prize. Unfortunately it won't be available in the States until March though if you can't wait you buy it now via amazon uk.
Much congratulations to Ward, Finney, Lai and Edugyan This congratulatory post is a tad late and I'd to look at it as more of a strategic delay as opposed to being too busy. I am anxiously awaiting the release of all the best of list for this year. If they are lacking in female authors of color I will be very dissappointed and will revisit this post to cheer me up and this one.
Tayari Jones novel Silver Sparrow has made it the semifinals round of Goodreads Choice Awards for Best fiction as a write in. If you loved Silver Sparrow and you haven't done so already head over to Goodreads to vote for it and please spread the word. If you are not a goodreads member it takes five seconds to join. Voting for the Semifinal round ends on November 20th.
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
Heidi W. Durrow
Publication Year: 2010
Source: Bought it
It’s a funny thing to think about: moving toward extinction. And I think of how maybe I’m already extinct in a strange way – there’s no way to make another me: at least I can’t do it. But that doesn’t matter anyway because I never want to have kids.
The Girl Who Fell From The Sky is the debut novel from Heidi W. Durrow. It’s also the winner of the Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, which was founded by Barbara Kingsolver.
The story tells the life of Rachel, the only survivor of tragic, mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of her three siblings and their mother. Rachel is also biracial, the daughter of a white Danish mother and African-American father. After the death of her family members, Rachel is sent to live with her paternal grandmother and has to learn how to navigate in a country where she’s considered black, something she didn’t think much about before. Told from the perspective of Rachel, her mother Nella, and those who knew her family, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is an engaging read of one girl’s struggle to live after the death of those she loved most.
This year I’m learning a lot about my reading. I’ve learned that I don’t read many books that feature: