alisa alering

Writer of fantasy and other fictions


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Orange Mint and Honey, by Carleen Brice

Ack, almost out of time on the August Color Me Brown challenge and Carleen’s book deserves to be included.

briceShay (not LaShay, never LaShay, never ever ever!) is having trouble in graduate school. An unspecified trouble, but a trouble serious enough that her adviser firmly suggests she take a year off. She agrees to take a semester, and because she has nowhere else to go, moves in with her mother in Denver. Her AA-attending, new-baby having, flower-gardening mother who, when Shay was a baby, left her home alone at night while she went out and partied down with random men. Shay, not too surprisingly, has therefore learned to take care of herself, and to hate her mother. She has also learned to pull her hair out by the roots whenever she feels anxious.

This is a funny book. The cover makes it seem nice and inspirational, and Shay will get her groove back and make up with her mother and they will drink a lot of herbal tea and learn to bond. Okay, maybe they do, but it doesn’t start out that way. Shay has some seriously reasonable hatred festering in her and she brings it with her in a big old sack of grievance, starting on page one.

I really, really sympathized with Shay. If that were my mom, NOTHING, would make me more insanely furious than her getting her act together and becoming “the chocolate Martha Stewart.” Despite the many “serious” themes, this book was a fun, quick read.

Recommended reading:

Postcards from the Edge — Carrie Fisher

The Untelling — Tayari Jones

Amy’s Answering Machine: Messages from Mom — Amy Borkowski

(Color Me Brown is an August challenge by Color Online)

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Decmber is ‘Buy a Book by a Black Author and Give It to Somebody Not Black’ Month

I couldn’t believe it when I ran across this video and blog the day after researching my posts about how we all need to make the effort to stop reading so white. The astral plane whirls in my favor!

Carleen Brice, author of Orange, Mint & Honey, has made a video welcoming white folks to the African-American section of your local bookstore.

She makes the very good point that many non-black readers of black fiction only read authors already elevated to ‘classic’ status – Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, etc. To help you out with finding contemporary black authors, she’s got a blog, Welcome Whitefolks.

I’ve already put:

mj1Incognegro, by Mat  Johnson

slp2Getting Mother’s Body, by Suzan-Lori Parks

sy2Black Girl in Paris, by Shay Youngblood

on my to-read list.

pe Erasure, by Percival Everett would be on there too, except I have already read it. Why haven’t you?