Recovering from a Book Hangover (Friday Reads)
Friday Reads is a social media hashtag that connects people by talking about the books they're reading as we head into the weekend. I like to use it as a roundup of the books we spent the week with, which includes authors of all heritages.
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I'm in a bookish rut
Oh, woe is me! Take pity on this bookish extrovert because I have a book hangover. And not just one, but from TWO books I finished this week.
Do you ever get these? It happens when I finish a book that affected me deeply and leaves me unable to tell up from down. It's like the same disorientation from an actual hangover but without the physical pain. Or a phantom numbness that you're unable to wake from.
The last major one I had was when I finished Kindred by Octavia Butler. And the saddest thing about this is that I have library books that are due soon and I don't want to read any of them. I want to step away from books for a few days so I can get my emotions back in order.
I won't have too much time to read this weekend anyway because I have family visiting from out of town. All the excitement of touring Los Angeles should cure me of this and set me on the right path by Monday. So what books have got me all out of sorts?
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
This is the second time I've read this book but the first time I did it by audiobook. I rented it from the library and the girls used it on our commutes around town.
This series was made for me. I was 13 when this book was released but I didn't hear about it until after the third film had been released some seven years later. After that, I followed the series religiously and would pre-ordered the books in advance. I bought and lived in Harry Potter merchandise, almost exclusively purchased at Hot Topic.
After all the books and films of the original series had come and gone, I (metaphorically) hung up my Harry Potter robe. I think my life just moved in a different direction and I learned of new Fandoms I could be a part of (namely Doctor Who).
I know many people who reread the entire HP series every year and I never understood the fascination. Then Astrid asked if we could watch the first movie and I supplemented it with the audiobook.
And when the book ended, I wiped tears from my face on the 405 interstate. I spent the month of April laughing at clever writing my kids didn't get ("mom what's so funny") and wishing I had revisited these books much sooner.
I don't think we will rush right into the next one but it will be soon enough.
An American Marriage
Funny enough, I also listened to this book all month on audiobook. I used Hoopla to check it out.
I thought I hated audiobooks. I don't like people reading to me because I like to read the words on the page. But I tried it because it was available and because it is popular. And rightfully so.
An American Marriage is about the relationship between Roy and Celestial, and their close family and friends when Roy is accused of attacking another woman. Although he swears his innocence, he is found guilty and sentenced to 12 years. That is where all of this starts, but things change must faster for everyone on both sides of the jail bars.
This book has two narrators, one male, and one female. The story is told from multiple points of view, and through letters and dialogue. There was so much to unpack about incarceration, the relationships between Black men and women, and the view of wealth in affluent Black families.
One of my bookish confessions is I rarely read the dust jacket synopsis of a novel, especially if it's popular to be on everyone's shelf. I had no idea what this book was about and was unprepared for the gravity of the subject matter. I wasn't moved to tears but I was stopped from doing anything else.
Many people look at this kind of book and this kind of story like you have to take sides. I couldn't find a ride to sit on. Did everyone get their happy endings? Maybe. It's hard to tell when the characters felt so real that no one could have survived the traumas they had been put through.
This is not a full review of this book but I would highly recommend it. Beautiful writing and a solid story unfold in Tayari Jones's tale.
Want an even more comprehensive look at what I'm reading? This isn't the whole list!
Check out my Goodreads page at www.goodreads.com/blackandbookish.
Book Hangovers are one of my worst bookish problems. What stops you from enjoying your next great read?
About the Author
Black & Bookish is the brainchild of Antoinette Scully, educator and lover of all things bookish. She is on a quest to fill your bookshelves with beloved authors of the African Diaspora. When she's not hanging out online, she's living it up as the mother of two rambunctious girls and wife of a local filmmaker.