Books I’ve Read… September 2017

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With carnival signalling the official end of summer, September is the perfect time to get back into reading. I decided to treat myself to new books, despite having (several) unread books at home.

It was only right that I rekindle my passion with a book by my favourite writer, James Baldwin. I also rediscovered my love of sci-fi through another of my favourite authors, Octavia Butler. I’ll definitely be reading more science fiction novels in future.

If Beale Street Could Talk – James Baldwin

This brief work of fiction is explored through the eyes of Tish, a pregnant nineteen year old in Harlem. The father of her child, Fonny, is in jail and the two families are at odds. There are no chapters which makes it hard to take breaks, but the story is captivating. I love James Baldwin’s vivid descriptions of the black church, this isn’t Go Tell It On A Mountain but he still takes us to the sanctified church.

It’s an excellent portrayal of family and intimacy, with a great representation of being Black in America. You’ll laugh in parts and gasp in others, but overall it’s great quick read. I’d recommended this to anyone looking for an easy read, but if it’s your first time reading Baldwin opt for Go Tell It On A Mountain or Giovanni’s Room.

Parable Of The Sower – Octavia E. Butler

Where do I begin? I’ve been a fan of Butler’s work since reading Kindred and this book solidified my love of sci-fi novels. The world as we know it has ended and it’s survival of the fittest: walled communities, drugs, guns and poverty everywhere. Lauren Olamina is desperate for better life further North where living conditions are far better.

Parable of the Sower is a gripping read that explores the possible future of America. One thing’s for certain, I wouldn’t be anywhere near as generous and trusting as Lauren but her activism is admirable.

I’d highly recommend this if you enjoy dystopian fiction. I plan to read the sequel Parable of the Talents and explore the work of other black science fiction writers such as Nalo Hopkinson and Nnedi Okorafor.

Contagious – Jonah Berger

A marketing/advertising book that explores why things go viral. It’s a highly-rated bestseller, so I was keen to read it despite having mixed feelings toward business books; quite a few would be better of as papers/case studies. I was wrong. I was hooked within the first chapter. Berger explores they why and the how via the six components aka STEPPS that make ideas worth spreading.

The video game concept is my favourite, especially as it relates to airmiles. I was amazed but not surprised by how few airmiles are redeemed in comparison to those collected. We lose our heads and play the game for bragging rights without reaping the benefits. I can also relate to desire of exclusivity and how it manifests in the real world with committee fetes and bands on the carnival scene.

This book is for curious minds and anyone interested in creating or selling a product/service. It’s concise, interesting and explores the ‘why’ in great depth.

I have no idea what I’ll be reading next month, but I enjoy having a balance of fiction and non-fiction. Maybe I’ll read one of my (many) unread books…who knows…

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