Hello and welcome to #Bookvember.
If you live under a rock… just kidding. If you have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, just chill. I’m gonna tell you.
Back in October, Nicole Brinkley, an editor at YA Interrobang, posted this tweet to Book Twitter calling for the community to “book [the] place up” during the month of November using the hashtag #Bookvember. And thus a revolution was sparked!
I encourage all of you fabulous people to join in on the fun on the platform of your choice. Besides, it’s not like my TBR wouldn’t just LOVE the extra company. It’s not like it’s overflowing or anything with unread books that have been glaring at me since day one.
I’ll be sharing my recs both here and Twitter (<– dat me). Here mostly because I’m a blabbermouth who doesn’t like being confined to 140 characters… and partially because I don’t have 30 books to rec. Also, if you wanna pencil in when these rare unicorn posts will be gracing your presence, that’s Mondays and Fridays throughout the month of November. Obvs if the spirit moves me, I’ll post more recs on Twitter. But you’d just have to follow me to see (I’m literally joking. I’m way more awkward on Twitter than I am here).
Without further adieu…
Here’s my book recommendation for the day:
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
“You know what weakness is? Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.”
trigger warning: rape and extreme violence
Never in my entire life have I experienced a book quite like this one. Homegoing took one moment in history and turned it into a tale, depicting the great impact of slavery and colonialism on one Ghanaian family throughout the generations. I don’t even know if I can put into words how this made me feel… Aside from the fact that sometimes I was literally sobbing in my car on my way to and from work while the audiobook played on in the background (God bless Dominic Hoffman, tbh).
Usually with stories that try to cram generations upon generations of characters and stories into one neat little book, everything gets to be way too much and results in a fail of epic proportions. That didn’t happen with Homegoing. Instead, I got a story that artfully illustrated many different characters without anything feeling forced. Each was so well-developed with his or her own ambitions and experiences to the world around them, I almost thought I was watching a movie play out right before my eyes instead of listening to the written word.
The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indelibly drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.
Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
If I had to describe Homegoing in one word it would be: real. I know. You’re sitting there like “STOP BEING FUCKING VAGUE!” but I promise I’m not. This story told ALL sides– the good, the bad, and the ugly. And the writing. UGH. It was so perfect. I can’t wait to see what more Gyasi has in store for us.
By the by, I’m participating in NaBloPoMo this month. *knocks on wood* Expect a post from me every day for the month of November (assuming I don’t die of exhaustion first).