2014- Top 5 Authors of Color (No Order)

As 2014 wraps up, I thought I would share my top five favorite authors I read this year. I want to note that this list of books I read this past year and not a list of books that came out this year. Some of these books are backlist books that I finally got around to reading. If you don’t know what backlist reading is, I suggest checking out Book Riot’s video about backlist reading.

These aren’t really reviews just a list books with a little bit of added information here and there.

1.  Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, and So Much More by Janet Mock

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I discovered her book the way most people did. She appeared on Piers Morgan Live, and Piers Morgan disrespected her gender identity throughout the interview. I bought the kindle version of this book instantly and regretted it. This book was so good. I wished I bought a hard copy instead. My suggestion, if you have the cash, buy a hard copy of this book. She is an amazing writer.

Sidenote: She appeared on a podcast called Black Girls Talking. I suggested listening to this particular episode of Black Girls Talking, because I feel as though you get more of a sense of who she is in this podcast than you do with her mainstream media persona. I’d like to emphasize that this is my opinion and not accurate information. The interview turned me into a fan of the podcast, and now I listen to it when I have the chance.

2. My Nature is Hunger: New and Selected Poems:1989-2004 by Luis J. Rodriguez

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I read a book of Luis Rodriguez’s short stories about four years ago, and I instantly fell in love with his writing. He has a way with words. I know this that’s a cliche expression, but he really does. I’m not the only one who thinks so, because he was named Los Angeles’s poet laureate. The poem that struck a chord with me is called “Piece by Piece”, which you can read here. However, I strongly suggest going out and buying any of his books. You won’t be disappointed.

3. The Absolute True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

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I was introduced to Sherman Alexie back in 2006, when a friend at the time made us all watch Smoke Signals. After that movie, I was hooked. I read the short story the movie is based off of. Then years later, I read The toughest Indian in the World. Needles to say, Alexie is funny as always in The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian. Alexie will convince you to believe stereotypes about Indians, then twist the stereotype just to prove how wrong and ignorant you are. However, he does so with humor which is why his books are fun to read.

4.  Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley

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Everyone knows Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work, because of Scott Pilgrim series, which I hate to admit, but I still haven’t read those books.  I have read a few of his other books, which I loved. I  react to O’Malley’s graphic novel’s the same way. I’m reading the books thinking this is a nice book, but then I hit the ending:

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It becomes one of the best books I’ve ever read in that moment. Here’s a sample image of what you get in his books:

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5. Fresh of the Boat by Eddie Huang

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This memoir is an acquired taste, but I loved it. I plan to buy a hard copy, when I get a chance. He talks about social justice, and what challenges he faced growing up. Like most people, I discovered this book when I learned that ABC is coming out with a TV show based of his book.  The book is funny, and worth checking out. I was already looking forward to the TV show, reading the novel made me even more excited to watch the show.

*This was written December 31, 2014, but was not published until January 2, 2014.

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I don’t know what is worse…

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When a white author describes a person of color as exotic or compares them to food?

Book I had to put down to make this quick post: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

P.S  She is guilty of using the word exotic…

I love the artwork, but the plot wasn’t that great. (The New York Four by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly)

The New York Four Cover

Honestly, the plot line didn’t really impress me. The New York Four is about four young college freshman living in New York. The main character, Riley, is shy and has trouble making friends. However, this book starts after she realizes the three other girls she hangs out with are her friends and she has no idea how she made them. This sounds like the way I make friends as an adult, haha. Now that she has friends, all she does with her time is spend it texting when she is around them. While this is happening, she is also reunited with her estranged sister.

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Overall, the book had potential, but all it did was disappoint me in the end. The plot is trite. However, it’s worth a read and it’s a fast read. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to buy this book. As I said before, the artwork is killer and worth checking out. My favorite part about this book is that the writer understands that New York is a diverse place live. Unlike other writers who often exclude characters of color, this book has two women of color. They are a little stereotypical, but they are characters that fit in well with the rest of the cast. There is Merissa Vasquez “the tall loud one” who is “superior [and] has  five boyfriends right now.” Then, there is Lona Lo whose “status [is] 300 miles from home (Canada)….[and she] doesn’t like the way coffee tastes.” Aside from that, the book portrays Lona as quiet and docile. Actually, if I remember correctly, I think about it the author used the word docile to describe her later on.


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Actually, the more I think about the way this books portrays women I’m starting not to like it. As I sit here and write this out, I remember why I didn’t like the plot between Riley and her estranged sister. I realize Wood has no idea how to write women characters, especially women of color. Wow, I’m so glad I did a review of this. Although I won’t back down on the art, I do like it.  I’d say check this book out from the library, if you want to read it. I’m definitely glad I did, and didn’t buy it like I originally planned too.

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Here’s the link to where the pictures came from:

http://thequarterbin.com/2011/04/21/the-new-york-four/

http://www.comicartfans.com/gallerypiece.asp?piece=583886

I’m a reader because I made my mom pay library fines for Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

I know, I know this blog is called Media in Color. Why are you focusing on a white author? First of all, it’s my blog so :p. Secondly, I can’t imagine my life as reader without it.

The earliest book I can remember falling in love with is Harold and the Purple Crayon. I use to check it out from the library to the point my mom had to pay the price, literally. I lost the book and my mom had to pay the fine. I felt horrible because I loved that book so much and to think that it would never be read again scared me.  I hated the possibility that no other child could read the book. For me, it felt as if  I lost the only copy in the world that existed. Plus, I knew my mom couldn’t afford to pay for it, even at that age. So my heart broke in different ways over one book. Years later, my senior year of high school, my mom bought me a copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon as a graduation gift. It felt good to know other copies existed (kidding).

The  formula is simple, but the book is not. It is much more than a boy, his crayon, and his imagination. It gives kids (it gave me) the feeling that as long as I create something then it is real, it’s possible, and it’s at the tips of my fingers. The best part of all is that Harold’s biggest weapon is his mind. Every obstacle he faced, Harold uses his imagination to overcome it.  In some ways, Harold taught introverts that it’s okay to want to be in your own mind, because the world you create is way more interesting, anyway. This book has always held a special place in my heart because of that. I guess, it’s why I read so much after that. I wanted to be like Harold and use my mind as a weapon. God, it sounds so cheesy, but it’s true.

This brings me to my next topic…While wondering around online, I found this:

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Las Hijas de Juan by Josie Mendez-Negrete

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Trigger Warnings For this book and Post include: Domestic abuse, violence against mujeres, incest, and rape.

This text was a really rough read, because of the topic. It’s about these girls who grow up with an abusive father.  It starts out with how their parents met and fell in love and it slowly and gradually turns into one of silence. Silence in the sense that, no one talked about what was happening.

**Slight Spoiler**

This book is great, because it doesn’t end with the dad getting caught. Instead, it takes a new turn. It’s a story about how Josie survived her father’s abuse. She talks about how it affected her life afterwards, which isn’t a kind of story I’ve ever come across before.

**End of Slight Spoiler**

 

As far as the writing goes, it is well written and the author is not afraid to take you into the place she had to live through. For those who have never lived this kind of life, I think it’s important to read. It’s a true testament to why rape jokes aren’t funny.

The author says it best, when she writes:

With Las Hijas de Juan I did not intentionally go about exposing my father’s contempt for women, something that seemed to come from his primordial self, as I had not been exposed to such violence among my k in. Rather, with this book I set out to reveal the social power vested in my father by a society that sanctions or, at best ignores men’s violence against women and children. His treatment of us remained hidden in a culture that still collides with the reproduction of domestic and sexual violence that kill children’s spirits and denigrates women even as it venerates them because of their gender.

–Josie Mendez-Negrete, Epilogue: Purging the Skeletons, Bone by Bone, p. 185.

You can find her book here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1717119.Las_hijas_de_Juan

Purchase it Here:

http://www.amazon.com/Las-hijas-Juan-Daughters-Otherwise/dp/0822338963/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1398289351&sr=8-1

 

 

Old Review from a different blog, with some minor editing.

I’m lucky I can talk to my favorite writer, whenever I want.

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How many people are lucky enough to say their favorite writer gave them a nickname?

I don’t know, but I’m one of them.

The first time we met I wore a green jacket. According to Michele Serros,  it looked like the one Linsay Weir had on Freaks and Geeks. I took it as a compliment, because I love Freaks and Geeks. Linsay Weir is cool, but Michele Serros is cooler. When Serros gives you a nickname, you take it. If she wants to call me butt face, I’d smile happily.

CLICK HERE CLICK HERE!! 😀

Read her latest article, entitled “An Unexpected Heirloom” on Huffingtonpost now!.

Ever wanted to love a book, but couldn’t?

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Well, this was the book for me.

The story opens with Esmeralda growing up in Puerto Rico and it explores the different pieces of her life as a child. This is the entire premise of the book. At least, this is how it felt to me. These stories  range from her mother giving birth to her brothers and sisters, to language barriers, and exploring your body as a child. I kept thinking this book would start from her childhood and end with her as an adult. It sort of did. However, most of the book takes place in her childhood. I guess, my disappointment lies with the back cover of the book. It made me believe most of the book would take place in New York. Overall, the book is well written and I did enjoy it. I loved the story of her overcoming language barriers. How she fought against a system that tried to hold her back, because of it.

 

(This is my first book review from my former blog with some minor editing).