Earlier this year, I resolved, as I am sure many of us did, to read more. And I didn’t just merely set that intention, it came complete with a hard stop declaration (and in hind-sight), a super lofty goal of completing one book per week. I chose my first batch of works in mid January, even raised the stakes by documenting the moment with a mini-photo shoot near my home and went even further by proclaiming on social media that I was kicking off a book club. I’m ambitious, what can I say?
Before I finished selecting my reads, all the obligations of work, parenting plus the old habits of procrastination creeped in. My excitement waned and those brilliant books gathered dust on the shelf yet again.
Fast forward a couple of months, I’m now confined to the house, yearning for entertainment (in whatever private down-time I can sketch out time between Zoom calls and toddler art projects) and behold, I return to my books!
So let’s give ourselves permission to begin again – same goal – only this time I have the space, and time to commit and want to bring Sugaberry readers along for the ride. Drum roll, here are my first picks:
1. Red At The Bone by Jaqueline Woodson
When OPRAH MAGAZINE selected Red at the Bone as one of the “BEST BOOKS OF 2019”, Tayari Jones, bestselling author of An American Marriage, summarized it as
“This poignant tale of choices and their aftermath, history and legacy, will resonate with mothers and daughters.” – which sounds PERFECT for the Sugaberry audience.
I chose this after coming across an interview that Nipsey Hustle did with Clash. The late rapper, entrepreneur, philosopher and change-agent, cited Power vs. Force as one of the books that really changed his life. He shared, “Reading that just gave me a completely different view…when I deal with people and we’re having a disagreement, I [ask] myself…, ‘Are you arguing this to be right? Or are you really trying to reveal the truth here?” Hustle went on, “Anybody that I [connect] with over [authentic and meaningful] conversation, I always tell them, ‘…go get that book, Power vs. Force. It’s an incredible read.’ ”
This New York Times best seller is a re-read for me. This book of poetry is dripping with beautiful language, aching stories, and healing anecdotes. It may sound strange but you will soon see why I can’t wait to bask in its bitter sweetness again.
Memphis native Katori Hall is an Olivier Award-winning playwright and the showrunner of P-VALLEY, a new Starz drama based on her play Pussy. I’ve been seeing Hall’s name a lot in the trades and couldn’t recall why it sounded so familiar. Imagine my delight when I discovered this collection of plays tucked away in my home library. Mentally, I immediately went back to the day I first thumbed through it at a West Village bookstore and her vivid language pulled me in with magnetic force. I love shopping my own shelves for new inspiration.
A friend recommended this selection to me, which is based on the Mexican-born novelist, Valierie Luiselli’s time working as a translator for dozens of Central American child migrants who risked their lives crossing the Mexico border. The book is structured around 40 questions Luiselli, translates and asks undocumented Latin-American children facing deportation. As a mother, it’s hard to imagine but critical to stop and consider, the face and experience of undocumented children in this country.
Confession: Before entering the advertising field, my dream was to attend film school to become a screenwriter. I’ve always promised myself I’d get back to writing. Who better to learn these skills from other than the late, great leading writer, producer and actor, the master teacher of visual storytelling himself, Sydney Alvin Field.