February! Ah, the month dedicated for love and Black History Month. I must say that this year has been great for diverse reads.
First off, I’d like to honor Black History Month with three great books.
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou has always been one of my most loved and treasured autobiographies. Angelou’s story shows that love, strength of character, and kindness conquers hate, bigotry, and racism. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a classic piece of literature that everyone must read.
- Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers by Bobby Seale and Stephen Shames recalls the story of the Black Panther Party through words and photographs. Both Seale and Shames offer amazing insight into what the Black Panthers were about, their significant role in history and society, and their continued relevance today.
- Set in the 1920s during the Jazz Age, Arc of Justice by Kevin Boyle recounts the murder trial of Dr. Ossian Sweet, a proud grandson of a slave. Thanks to Boyle’s rigorous research, this small, half-forgotten event in American history and the impact it had on the Civil Rights Movement, can now be told. Arc of Justice is powerful, inspiring, and moving–highly recommended.
Here are my top 8 Book Picks for the month.
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi recounts her experience teaching Western literature to seven bold and committed female students in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Compelling and heart-rending, Nafisi tells us the power of great literature and the impact it provides on each of us. Her story is more relevant today than ever.
- Set in Tehran after the 2009 fraudulent election that produced an unforgettable revolt, Zahra’s Paradise by Amir and Kahil follows a fictional story of the search for a young man who has disappeared after participating in the protest. This graphic novel is a beautiful, powerful, and compelling testament of people’s will to fight against oppressors. Highly recommended.
- All That Man Is, written by David Szalay, is a literary fiction that focuses on the lives of nine men and how they are all intertwined. The essence of the book examines what it’s like to be alive in our perpetually changing world.
All That Man Is certainly gives you a lot to think about. It’s unique how Szalay laid the plot and how he gives each character an original voice. He also experiments with his prose, giving each chapter a life of its own. This book is a breath of fresh air. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest you do.
- Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson is the first in the Dark Iceland series featuring rookie policeman Ari Thor Arason. Set in Siglufjorour, a small and quiet fishing town in Iceland, Ari’s first case involves not just a murder of a young woman, but the discovery of a town’s sinister secrets and lies. As with most Scandinavian crime fiction, the protagonist is escaping a dark past and his current case has a way of bringing it all back. Snowblind is a riveting, thrilling, and claustrophobic story. A must read for everyone who enjoys crime fiction.
- Set in Basque, Spain, The Invisible Guardian tells the story of a series of gruesome murders and the old pagan beliefs that encircle them. Homicide Inspector Amaia Salazar is in-charge of solving the murder case. As she delves deeply into the mystery, she finds that dark memories of her past continue to haunt her.
- The Borrowed by Chan Ho-Kei tells the story of Detective Kwan Chun-dok’s fifty-year policing experience that provides a great perspective on history, politics, and economics of Hong Kong. A clever detective fiction with an equally clever plot–highly recommended.
- Autumn by Ali Smith is a literary fiction about mortality–how fragile we are and how we’re propelled by our desires and fears. Beautifully and unconventionally written, the plot follows Elisabeth, a young art history instructor, and Daniel, a gentle 101-year old man. Smith has created characters that delineates how we feel when our society goes through difficult changes. Poignant and meditative, Autumn is an unforgettable book.
- The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney is a story that centers around a dysfunctional family and how their shared inheritance shaped their lives. Witty, humorous, sharp, and moving, Sweeney has created a literary fiction that everyone can relate to. I recommend it to people who’s looking to read something different and unique.
There we go! I hope you all enjoy my February Book Picks. Please share your thoughts about these books. I’d love to hear from you.