March 1, 2017
I committed to reading 43 books in 2017 as part of the Perspectives Book Project in an effort to “explore points of view to which I’m otherwise not sufficiently exposed.”
February is designated as Black History Month and I chose the above five books to read. How did I pick those? Well, first I ruled out all the incredible books I have already read about black history and there have been money. My all-time favorite is Roots by Alex Haley. If you think you know the story because you’ve seen the mini-series, well, no. Read the book. You won’t be sorry. Many people would recommend Colson Whitehead’s highly-acclaimed and recent release The Underground Railroad. I read it in December, and it was terrific.
The books this month cemented my commitment to the Perspectives Book Project. I love being educated by magnificent and important literature, seeing new worlds I have never experienced and understanding cultures and lifestyles I have never been exposed to. These last two months of reading have been incredibly enriching. On to the books in the order I read them…
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This book is a long-form letter from Coates to his teenage son. It is raw, honest, and eye-opening. It is incredibly powerful, important, thoughtful, and profound. Coates is a brilliant writer and this is a must-read for anyone who wants to better understand racism in America.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
This was my second-favorite book of the bunch. I loved how Picoult used three different perspectives to tell a truly riveting story. On the Reading with Robin podcast interview with Picoult, I learned that she used sensitivity readers to ensure that her characters’ voices were authentic. You will not forget this story. I highly recommend it!
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
The Mothers was part of a tremendous marketing campaign. I feel like I saw its cover everywhere, and I was excited to read it because it was so highly reviewed. Bennett is a great writer, and I look forward to seeing what she does next.
The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou
Apparently Angelou has written five autobiographical books. I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (her first) a very long time ago. Reading The Heart of a Woman was a huge treat. It was a fascinating look into the life of a fascinating woman. My goodness, Angelou lived a rich and full life filled with twists and turns and love and heartache and so many interesting jobs and careers.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This was not only the best book I read this month, it’s up there as one of the best books I’ve read ever. Homegoing is Gyasi’s debut novel and I was blown away. First, the structure. Admittedly, it gets a bit confusing following eight generations from two families, but Gyasi’s handy family tree at the front of the novel helped. But what was brilliant was that the structure of the novel mirrored the structure of reality. Each chapter was a different generation and sometimes the reader didn’t know what happened to the generation prior because, in reality, because of the shameful history of slavery in this country, sometimes children didn’t know what happened to their own parents. The storytelling was breathtaking. I was captivated by Gyasi’s ability to show, over a span of more than 200 years, the progression of slavery and being African-American from Africa to America using characters who were all related. So well-crafted, -told, and -written.
I finished Homegoing on the very last day of February so I didn’t have any time to read a non-Project book this month.
Now I’m on to March: Women’s History Month. I’ll be reading these books:
Have you read any books from the Perspectives Book Project? If so, let me know in the comments below or help share on social media by using the hashtag #PerspectivesBookProject.
More from The Perspectives Book Project: