Tag Archives: Diversity

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

kin5c9746fddc976b25938673955514141414c3441 Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Beacon Press, Boston,  1988

A young black women, Dana Franklin is living in California in 1976. Suddenly, after a bout of dizzyness, she finds herself in Maryland sometime in the early 1880’s.  She is  dragged through time by Rufus, a white man, son of a slave owner.  Anytime he is in danger of dying Dana is drawn sickeningly to his side.   There is a deep connection between these two and an intense love hate relationship.  Dana is thrown into a slave owning household and must contend with everything that entails.  Why?

Dana eventually realizes that Rufus is her great great grandfather and that she must help him, at least until the birth of his daughter, Hagar, whose mother is a slave in Rufus household.  Hagar will start Dana’s family line.  As Dana travels through time again and again,  Rufus grows older and becomes more hostile and abusive.  Dana and those around her suffer the back-breaking work, verbal battering and physical cruelty that is slavery.  What a realization, that your ancestor was a slave owner who raped women, sold children and beat  people for the slightest miss-step. What a horror, knowing that you must keep him alive.

An intensely researched and well-written book, Octavia Butler argued that Kindred was not science fiction, the time travel element is never explained.  Kindred is more like horror and Dana’s dilemma left a sickening  feeling in the pit of my stomach.  This book is a striking presentation of the mix of power, race and gender that was slavery in the United States.

From an interview with Octavia E. Butler found at the Writers&Books web site:

W&B: You said that Kindred was the first novel that you knew of that tried to make readers understand what it felt like to be a slave.

Butler:Not so much make a person understand, but confront a modern person with that reality of history. It’s one thing to read about it and cringe that something horrible is happening. I sent somebody into it who is a person of now, of today, and that means I kind of take the reader along and expose them in a way that the average historic novel doesn’t intend to, can’t.

Other reviews:

Adventures In Reading

Jenny’s Books




Filed under Challenges, ColorMeBrown

Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

lococe69d917dba13f85931676355514141414c3441 Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

G.J. Putman and Sons, New York, 2003

Jacqueline Woodson has written a beautiful novel in verse for middle grade readers.  Lonnie Collins Motion, named after his Mom’s favorite song, Locomotion,and his sister Lili have lost their parents in a fire and are living in different foster homes. This separation, the memory of his parents and their death and the fact that he lives with Miss Edna, who likes him to be quiet, make life very hard.

He is lucky though, he has a great teacher, Ms. Marcus, who has introduced his class to poetry and given Lonnie a way to express himself.  He writes about his loss, his family and his love-hate relationship with poetry. He writes about the sky, about basketball and about God. The touch here is light and endearing, never mawkish, and the mixed styles of verse are very fun to read.

Poetry Poem

You don’t just get to write a poem once

You gotta write it over and over and over

until it feels real good to you

And sometimes it does

and sometimes it doesn’t

That’s what’s really good

and really stupid

about poetry.

Page 62

Lonnie’s voice rings true.  Through these poems we watch him grow up and gain some understanding .  We see joy and peace begin to enter his life.  Woodson has written a sequel, Peace Locomotion, as well as many other young adult and children’s books.  Please visit her wonderful web site here.

Other reviews:


Maw Books Blog


Filed under Challenges, ColorMeBrown, Review, Young Adult

Color Me Brown Book Challenge

zeeSusan at Black-eyed Susan and Color Online has issued a challenge to majority bloggers to read and review books written by people of color.  The challenge runs through the end of August and there will be a random drawing for prizes.  If you have difficulty getting books Susan has made many available at Color Online. I’m joining the challenge and hope you will too.

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Color Online Summer Book Drive

AFGOpenHouse035 Black-eyed Susan, a women committed to education and an inspiring blogger,  runs a community library at a non-profit, Alternatives For Girls,  in her fair city, Detroit.  Color Online is running  a summer book drive to support the library at AFG.  Please visit the web site, take a look around and consider sending a book or two.

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Filed under Culture

Sunday Salon – A Diversity in Reading Meme

tssbadge3Information on The Sunday Salon is found here.

After a week of beautiful weather it is raining in Seattle.  It does that a lot here. This week I  read several books and wrote some reviews.  Should have The Forever War review done by Wednesday.  I finally got The Language of the Night and When They Severed Earth from Sky from the library and will read them for CarlV’s Once Upon a Time III challenge.8888b654372ea23eee067e0a70bd0677069112774301_sx140_sy225_sclzzzzzzz_

I came across an interesting meme having to do with diversity in reading on Claire’s blog Kiss a Cloud . She found it at Pages Turned.  I am pretty happy with my results, how about you?

Diversity in Reading Meme

1. Name the last book by a female author that you’ve read.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

2. Name the last book by an African or African-American author that you’ve read.

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill.

3. Name one from a Latino/a author.

Half of The World In Light by Juan Felipe Herrera

4. How about one from an Asian country or Asian-American?

Steer Toward Rock by Fae Myenne Ng

5. What about a GLBT writer?

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

6. Why not name an Israeli/Arab/Turk/Persian writer, if you’re feeling lucky?

Palestinian Walks by Raja Shehadeh

7. Any other “marginalized” authors you’ve read lately?

I have People of the Whale by Linda Hogan on hold at the library and will read it next month.  I read quite a lot of Native American and First Nations literature.  Talk about “marginalized”  Try Sherman Alexie, Leslie Marmon Silko , Gerald Vizenor , Louise Eldrich or Thomas King.

Have a great week!


Filed under Sunday Salon