review

How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read an ARC of this book. This is the first book I’ve ever read about racism, I was one of those people that didn’t think that racism was predominate in my country. Wales, U.K.  I’ve never been told otherwise until after recent events made me really look and want to educate myself. This book taught me a lot.

Synopsis from Netgalley:

Not being racist is not enough. We have to be antiracist.

In this rousing and deeply empathetic book, Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of the Antiracism Research and Policy Center, shows that when it comes to racism, neutrality is not an option: until we become part of the solution, we can only be part of the problem.

Using his extraordinary gifts as a teacher and story-teller, Kendi helps us recognise that everyone is, at times, complicit in racism whether they realise it or not, and by describing with moving humility his own journey from racism to antiracism, he shows us how instead to be a force for good. Along the way, Kendi punctures all the myths and taboos that so often cloud our understanding, from arguments about what race is and whether racial differences exist to the complications that arise when race intersects with ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality.

In the process he demolishes the myth of the post-racial society and builds from the ground up a vital new understanding of racism – what it is, where it is hidden, how to identify it and what to do about it.

My Review

This book is a mix of biography, history and essays about being racist or anti-racist. It gives a very in depth and well researched look at racism and it really is eye opening. 

This books suggests the idea that you may be racist because of the racist ideas that are in our society but we don’t become racist and we can change through “persistent self awareness, constant self criticism and regular self examination.” People may not realise they’re racist because it’s how the world is, it’s the norm but they can change. “Racist ideas define society.”

Each chapter presents a different aspect of racism and how it can be divided by things like gender and class. The personal story is interesting and engaging, exploring how the writer himself considered himself racist and wants to be anti racist.

This book made me look at things differently. It helped me to understand “privilege”  privilege means that you are not judged by the colour of your skin.  Another thing that made me think was his explanation about black living spaces that they are not full of crime, racism has built up this image of fear in these communities and you see it on tv and films often. 

Although this book taught me a lot I did find it hard to follow at times, so many quotes and facts. It could be very wordy and the narrative went off on tangents. It’s about America and I don’t know enough about American history and past events to be able to understand some of this book. 

Sometimes the repetition  was off putting, just the repetition of a word or a certain sentence structure. I think that the author was trying to get his point across using repetition but I am of the opinion that less is more. I think that this book might not be accessible to everyone because the ideas are in a round about way. I think it would be a lot more influential if it was presented plainly.  However this is the author’s style and helps shows his enthusiasm and main messages do get across. 

I think the ideas are very important and it’s an educational book that is well worth taking the time to read if you’re looking for a book to learn more about racism. 

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Coming Soon…. Update on My Summer Reading Challenge, this book is included. 

 

 

challenge

20 Books Of Summer Update

Well, I’ve only read 2 out of 20 books so far. The Strawberry Thief took me to France and My Family And Other Animals took me to Corfu.

 

The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris

The Strawberry Thief

*Some Spoilers Ahead*

The Strawberry thief is the latest in the Chocolat books which I love. We go back to Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, and this time Rosette has grown up, Anouk has gone to Paris and Vianne doesn’t seem like herself anymore. I enjoyed the story, although it didn’t seem to have the same sensory magic as the others. It was great to revisit the characters even if Vianne is disappointing. She ends up becoming like the people she hates the most and treats a fellow traveller/witch like she was once treated.  I was engrossed by the story, although there were quite a few different viewpoints this time around, you don’t get to see much of Anouk or Roux either. I also didn’t like how the story ended, how Rosette’s character changed. Debating whether or not to explain this but I think I’ve given enough spoilers. 

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

(Book one of the trilogy, my copy is this big thick book. I decided to read the one novel for the moment, regretted not having a separate copy as this thick book kept slipping out of my hands and it was awkward to hold the book and a cup of tea)

This was a reread, I read part of it when I was in school and then must’ve had a copy from the library to read years later. Since the tv series on ITV started I’ve been meaning to buy my own copy and read it again, the series finished and finally I bought one. It’s a memoir about the time in his childhood when Naturalist Gerald Durrell and his family left their home in England and moved to Corfu. 

It’s a fun and engrossing story, you never know what funny thing is going to happen next. It’s also very interesting to read about different animals and the people are such characters too. This time around I was a bit annoyed with Gerry stealing a birds egg and did think that he shouldn’t capture some Magpie chicks from their nest. But in the time all this was happening it was normal. Today we want to leave animals alone and not put them in cages. That aside it’s a lovely book. Gerald Durrell captures the magic of Corfu, his descriptive skills are beautiful. I felt that this book was the perfect choice for this moment, a bit of escapism and humour.

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And now I get to pick my next book. After reading My Family And Other Animals I want to read something completely different, a fictional story. Where shall I go next?

Uncategorized

20 Books Of Summer

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So because I don’t blog much these days I was wondering whether to do this but I enjoyed it so much last year. I have so many books  and so many I keep adding to my list.

I need to thank Shayney for posting about this on her blog here and reminding me about this reading challenge.

About the challenge

This challenge is run every year by Cathy at 746 books you just pick how many books you want to read 10, 15 or 20 from now until September. It’s completely flexible too. Last year I managed to read 14/20. I was mainly trying to get through my tbr last year, but I’ve bought so many books since lockdown began that I’m not really bothered about my tbr too much. I’m aiming for 20 and I’ve already started reading (and will soon finish) my first choice.

Currently Reading

The Strawberry Thief: The new novel from the bestselling author of Chocolat (Chocolat 4)

My choices so far

The books I’m definitely going to read are:

Love After Love I bought about a week or so ago after signing up to a Hay Festival session that the author Ingrid Persaud was doing. I read a sample of the book on Amazon and I was just hooked, so I bought it from an indie bookseller straight away (sorry Amazon).

Gallowglass has been on my tbr for a while, it’s a trilogy I’m finally finishing (I never seem to get through trilogies) .

My Family And Other Animals I read this book in school and loved it, every since the tv series started years ago I’ve been meaning to reread it, so I finally bought the trilogy (not sure if there’s more books) this year. I almost forgot about the next Poldark book,

The Stranger From The Sea, I’ve been reading one book a year, usually in the summer, to coincide with the events of the tv series. It’s finished now but I still have the book series to finish.

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I love reading books set in Wales, I bought The South Westerlies a story collection, last year. The other three books are on my tbr, The Maginogion I’ve had for years, don’t think I ever finished it, but I love folklore.

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And these are must reads: the next Witcher book, The Mermaid’s Call by Katherine Stansfield out this year, indie author/publisher. I read the second book The Magpie Tree last year for my 20 Books Of Summer Reading Challenge so it’s worked out well that I’ve got this one now.

Stim, an Autistic anthology is a crowdfunded book I backed, wanting to learn more about Autism, where better than from those who are on the spectrum?

I have a few books on my Kindle and I’ve picked this one as a definite to read:

Once Upon a River: The dazzling Sunday Times Bestseller Kindle EditionI’ve read The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and got this on offer recently.

A book I need to buy:

Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty (author) (9781908213792)

I missed the Hay Festival session but I’ve heard a few of the extracts on Radio 4 and I need to read this book. I love reading books about people travelling and nature books (I read The Salt Path last year, was tempted to reread it loved it so much, sequel out in September I recommend it!).

I’ve picked 13 books I’m definitely going to read, I should really add the ones I’ve got on my Netgalley which would take it up to 16.

Hmmm I could easily add another pile to this list. Finding 20 books is not a problem, will I manage to read 20 books by September? And will I stick to this list?

Are you doing the challenge? Comment below, links appreciated 🙂

Happy Reading 🙂

review

Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

This is a belated review, sometimes you just can’t find the words and need to be in the right headspace to really do a book justice in a review. So I’ve tried. 

Wild Spinning Girls

“If it wasn’t haunted before she came to live there, after she died, Ty’r Cwmwl made room for her ghost. She brought magic with her.

And the house, having held its breath for years, knew it. Ida Llewellyn loses her job and her parents in the space of a few weeks and, thrown completely off course, she sets out for the Welsh house her father has left her. Ty’r Cwmwl is not at all welcoming despite the fact it looks inhabited, as if someone just left..

It is being cared for as a shrine by the daughter of the last tenant. Determined to scare off her old home’s new landlord, Heather Esyllt Morgan sides with the birds who terrify Ida and plots to evict her. The two girls battle with suspicion and fear before discovering that the secrets harboured by their thoughtless parents have grown rotten with time. Their broken hearts will only mend once they cast off the house and its history, and let go of the keepsakes that they treasure like childhood dreams.” – from GoodReads

My Review 

“I’m a bit Welsh myself as it happens.”

Ida inherits a house and goes to Wales, after losing her job and her parents, intending to take a look and get it ready to be sold. I am always looking for books set in Wales and this is another such book by Carol Lovekin.

It’s not just the place it’s set in that attracts my interest but the atmosphere of the book. Reminiscent of folklore with superstition and magic, nothing I write can really do justice, this book seems to mirror that mystical image of Wales/Welsh folklore. I don’t know if that was intended, or whether the magic and superstition is just part of describing the magic of the characters’ worlds.

This same atmosphere was prevalent in GhostBird and I just can’t get enough of it. The house with it’s haunting feeling, the wildness of the land it sits on, the poetical writing style…Everything just ties together to create this wonderful place and story. 

The plot of the novel is intriguing and I felt bad for Ida, I thought that the characters were brilliant personalities (Roni’s a fun character), all different.

“What was it with all the tea?” 

(Loved this quote, it’s so accurate, a lot of Welsh people drink a lot of tea)

The book is never dull, the story always moving on at an addictive pace. I liked Heather (the girl who Ida can’t get rid of) and I found the relationship between her and Ida interesting. At times I wanted to scream at her which I guess it how most people feel about teenagers. I was eager for them to find a solution to their problems but like in reality problems take time to solve sometimes. I enjoyed the story and Ida’s journey to solve her problems, the way it ended was perfect. 

Sometimes when you’re reviewing a book, it’s hard to really explain what makes it special. I hope I’ve managed to. What always stands out about Carol Lovekin’s books is the beautiful sense of place that stays with you, the realistic characters and that poetic style that is just so hard to describe and do justice to. 

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If you’d like to know more about Carol Lovekin’s books you can find out more here and also discover more books by Welsh authors from indie publisher Honno. 

My next post will be about this years Summer Reading Challenge.

Happy Reading 🙂 Hwyl am nawr.