WWW Wednesdays (19 Aug 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

No Win Race by Derek A. Bardowell

I bought the ebook of this one forgetting that I had a pending request on NetGalley for the audio book. So now I’m part listening and part reading this and it’s such an eye-opening book about race. The author is a black British man who grew up in London and was a huge sports fan. He documents his experiences of racism along with that in wider society and mainly through the eye of sports. His Jamaican father followed cricket and boxing and at the point I’m up to Derek is very into basketball. It’s shocking to see the racism documented in this book, and how insidious it is. The author is a bit older than me so the book is building on my very vague knowledge of the time. I recommend this one.

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

This is such a lovely book where the author is looking back on the books she has enjoyed and been influenced by in her life. I’m still at the part about her childhood but her descriptions of trips to the library and the books she was reading are so similar to my own childhood that this feels so nostalgic and joyous so far. I’m trying to read this one slowly so I can enjoy it for the longest possible time. It’s really wonderful though and I highly recommend it.

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

I only started this one last night but I’m fascinated by it. I requested it from NetGalley based on the premise but when I started reading I had forgotten the detail of what the book was about so it’s been brilliant finding my way through. It’s basically a novel about Grant who wrote a murder mystery short story collection years earlier and it’s been rediscovered by a small publishing house. Their editor Julia is now with Grant and they’re reading each story in turn and discussing it. We get each of the stories and their thoughts about them, plus Grant’s theories about murder mysteries. It’s such a good book and I think all murder mystery/crime fiction fans will love it.

Recent Reads

The Love Square by Laura Jane Williams

I listened to this on audio from NetGalley and sadly I didn’t really like it. It started off well and I liked the main character Penny. She has had a difficult time of it, her mum died when she was young and then she herself had cancer. Life is good now though and she’s looking for love. She meets Francesco and they quickly fall for each other. So far so good! However Penny then has to go away and this novel veers into tropes I hate where suddenly she doesn’t communicate properly with people and it leads to all kinds of dramas that could have so easily been avoided. I felt really let down by how much Penny changed from being so open and honest and I just didn’t enjoy the second half of the book much at all. The narrator, Carrie Hope Fletcher, was very good though. Her voice really suited the story and I would listen to more books narrated by her in the future.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

This is a novel told in verse and it follows two teenage girls who find out their father has been killed in a plane crash off New York. Camino lives in the Dominican Republic with her aunt and had been excitedly awaiting her father’s arrival for the summer. Yahaira lives in New York with her mother and had let her dad leave without a word. Over the novel the girls learn the secrets of this man and that they are half-sisters. I really enjoyed this book. I found the spare writing really suited the narrative. The descriptions of grief were visceral at times, and the shock of each girl realising the other exists felt so believable. I recommend this one.

The Holdout by Graham Moore

This was the last book on my NetGalley shelf from before 2020 so I wanted to get to it and I’m so pleased that I finally picked it up. It follows Maya who served on a jury ten years ago. It was a murder case and Bobby Nock, a black man, was accused of murdering his white student Jessica. Maya was responsible for persuading the rest of the jury to vote not guilty. Now it’s ten years later and the past is catching up with Maya. A TV show is being made about the case and the jury are all reuniting to film their thoughts now. This novel had so much more to it than I was expecting and I was gripped all the way through. I’ve already reviewed this one here if you’d like to know more – I highly recommend it!

Under a Starry Sky by Laura Kemp

This is a lovely novel, perfect for some summer escapism. It follows Wanda who has always wanted to travel the world but things keep conspiring to keep her in the Welsh town where she grew up. Her sister is pregnant and on her own, and their mum has just had an accident. Now Wanda has to face up to the past when she bumps into her ex-best friend Annie in the town. I loved this book, it’s such a feel-good read and is one I recommend. I’ve reviewed it here if you’d like to know more.

What I Might Read Next

I have so many books that I want to read but I’m often struggling to settle to read anything at the moment but these four books are the ones that most appeal to me as I’m writing this. The first is a library book and one I’ve wanted to read for a long time. The second is an Audible book I treated myself to very recently. The third is a kindle book I bought not long ago and is a collection of essays, which I’m keen to get to. The last one is a NetGalley book that I’m so intrigued by!

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

True Story by Kate Reed Petty

Stacking the Shelves with a brand new Book Haul (15 Aug 20)

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

Review Books

Life in Pieces by Dawn O’Porter

Dawn O’Porter has been thinking about life. In lockdown. Mostly from a cupboard. From reflections on grief and identity, bad hair and parenting, sleep and spirituality, to the things we can control and the things we cannot, Dawn’s daily diaries track the journey – for a hilarious, heartbreaking and highly entertaining glimpse into the new normal. LIFE IN PIECES is a book for anyone who’s been thrown into a life they didn’t plan, or who just wants to stick it to 2020. When it looks like everything’s falling apart, we’ll piece it back together.

Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink

‘Reading has saved my life, again and again, and has held my hand through every difficult time’ For as long as she can remember, Cathy Rentzenbrink has lost and found herself in stories. Growing up she was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, books kept her afloat. Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help. Dear Reader is a moving, funny and joyous exploration of how books can change the course of your life, packed with recommendations from one reader to another.

In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

Alexandra is 25, mixed-race and from Essex. As a trainee criminal barrister, she finds herself navigating a world and a set of rules designed by a privileged few. This is her story. We follow Alexandra through a criminal justice system still divided by race and class. We hear about the life-changing events that motivated her to practice criminal law, beginning with the murder of a close family friend and her own experiences of knife crime. She shows us how it feels to defend someone who hates the colour of your skin or someone you suspect is guilty, and the heart-breaking cases of youth justice she has worked on. We see what it’s like for the teenagers coerced into county line drug deals and the damage that can be caused when we criminalise teenagers. Her story is unique in a profession still dominated by a privileged section of society with little first-hand experience of the devastating impact of violent crime.

Library Books (BorrowBox App)

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

“Jarvious Cotton’s great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole.” As the United States celebrates the nation’s “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status–much like their grandparents before them. In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community–and all of us–to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams

The year is 1871. In Ashwell, Massachusetts, at the farm of Samuel Hood and his daughter Caroline, a mysterious flock of red birds descends. Samuel, whose fame as a philosopher has waned in recent years, takes the birds’ appearance as an omen that the time is ripe for his newest venture. He will start a school for young women, guiding their intellectual development as he has so carefully guided his daughter’s. Despite Caroline’s misgivings, Samuel’s vision–revolutionary, as always; noble, as always; full of holes, as always–takes shape. It’s not long before the students begin to manifest bizarre symptoms. Rashes, fits, headaches, verbal tics, night wanderings. In desperation, the school turns to the ministering of a sinister physician–based on a real historic treatment–just as Caroline’s body, too, begins its betrayal. As the girls’ conditions worsens, long-buried secrets emerge, and Caroline must confront the all-male, all-knowing authorities around her, the ones who insist the voices of the sufferers are unreliable. In order to save herself, Caroline may have to destroy everything she’s ever known.

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂