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Search tags: Class-Issues
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review 2019-03-15 23:49
I'm not the audience for this one
New Kid - Jerry Craft

New Kid by Jerry Craft is a middle grade graphic novel that tells the story of a boy named Jordan who has (against his will) been enrolled in a prestigious private school in the upscale (and predominantly white) neighborhood of Riverdale. While he didn't necessarily feel like he fit in among his peers at his old school in Washington Heights he really feels like the outsider at this school being one of only 3 students of color. (There's a lot of mixing up of names by the teachers + bullying by peers.) In classic 'rebellious preteen' fashion he feels that the world (i.e. good ol' mom) is set on ruining his life because she won't let him go to art school instead of this place where it seems like everyone is either rich, white, or both. To help him sort through his frustrations and rage he takes to working on a sketchbook detailing his experiences. [A/N:These comics are interspersed throughout the book.] New Kid is a coming of age story about classism, racism, and finding out where you truly belong. 

 

Honesty compels me to tell you that I didn't necessarily love this book because of its predictability and slow moving pace. However, this book wasn't written with me in mind as its audience and therefore I think for the young person who is feeling 'other' and beaten down by circumstances out of their control this could be quite an important book. I liked the illustrative style particularly how it worked so well with the sprinkling of Jordan's comics with their very different artistic approach so no complaints on that front. For me it's a 4/10 but in terms of readability for that audience I'd say 8/10.

 

Source: Amazon

 

An example of Craft's style. [Source: iTunes]

 

 

What's Up Next: Remember? Remember? by Charles Beaumont

 

What I'm Currently Reading: ElfQuest Archives Volume 4 by Wendy & Richard Pini

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-12-28 02:51
Space Chicken sounds like the name of a new wave band
Space Dumplins - Craig Thompson

Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson utilized all of the keywords that normally make me sit up and take notice: space adventure, hi-jinks, talking chickens... I absolutely loved the super colorful illustrations but as far as the story...it didn't completely blow me out of the water. Our main character, Violet, is a little girl living in the Roids which is a space community comprised of members of the working classes (classism is an issue). Her father is employed in a dangerous (and morally suspect) line of work gathering space whale nuggets (poop) which are manufactured to be used as fuel. Things have become increasingly dangerous especially for those living on the fringes as the whales have started to invade populated areas of space and cause massive damage in their wake including Violet's school. So when Violet's mom is offered a swanky job in fashion at the space station (where the extra swanky live) she snaps it up without hesitation and takes Violet with her hoping to earn more money and get her daughter a high class education. But things go from bad to worse in the Roids while they're away and Violet's father is somehow all mixed up in it. With the aid of her friends Zacchaeus (looks like a talking bean) and Elliott (actually is a talking chicken) Violet sets off on a mission to save her father and bring an end to the destruction and terror wrought by the wild space whales. Why are they on a path of devastation and mayhem? And what exactly does her father have to do with all of this? If you're interested in finding out the answers then check out Space Dumplins. My take: 6/10 mostly for the awesome illustrations. 

 

Slightly spoiler-y warning: There are vivid depictions of animal cruelty in this book so if you can't deal with that (and I don't blame you because I had a lot of difficulties) then give this book a pass.

 

An example from the inside of the book. [Source: Craig Thompson Books]

 

What's Up Next: Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-07-18 02:58
So much hidden meaning
The Intuitionist - Colson Whitehead

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead is included in the list of 100 titles chosen by American citizens for The Great American Read hosted by PBS. (More info on the books on the list and how you can vote for America's favorite novel can be found here.) In an effort to read more diversely (and to have the ability to recommend books for the adults in my branch) I started with this book as I had never heard of it despite it being listed as a 'classic'. The story follows Lila Mae Watson who is the first female person of color to be an Elevator Inspector. In the world created by Whitehead elevators are the height (ha!) of technology and the majority of the population see them as somewhat mystical and beyond the realm of ordinary comprehension. (There are even guilds which seek to elevate the status of Elevator Inspectors in society to those in political office.) Even more confusing to discern are the two distinct sects of theory as to the maintenance and future of these machines. One school of thought is firmly rooted in the reality of the technology while the other views them as metaphysical creations that can be 'sensed'. Lila Mae belongs to the second school of thought which further compounds the problems that she faces among her coworkers and the public that she encounters on her daily rotations. This sci-fi novel is rooted in the reality of race. What drives the story are the veiled discussions of race but it is told through the lens of technology innovations. It is ultimately a story of hope for a better world where we are 'elevated' from the weaknesses and barbarisms of our current reality. Whitehead challenges our perceptions of our accepted reality as he argues that established views are not solely based on what we see with our eyes. This is a book with a seemingly simple premise about elevator manufacture and maintenance in a world so very similar (and familiar) to our own but instead what we get is a complex discussion of race and how we can (hopefully) rise above. 9/10

 

What's Up Next: The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th Edition) by Jim Trelease

 

What I'm Currently Reading: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-02-17 23:56
Politics, drama, and horses...not necessarily in that order
South Riding - Winifred Holtby,Shirley Williams,Marion Shaw

I decided to tackle a rather formidable bit of fiction pretty much on a whim in the form of South Riding by Winifred Holtby. It took me much longer to read than I had anticipated but that's just a good lesson that sometimes you need to take your time with a book. :-) Apparently this book is a literary classic although I had only heard about it recently through a YouTube channel (Mercy's Bookish Musings if you're curious). What drew my interest (besides the gorgeous cover art) was the setting which is a small area of Yorkshire. (As some of you may know, I'm kinda obsessed with the English countryside and I had the very good luck to visit Yorkshire in 2015 and fell a lot in love with it. THE MOORS, YA'LL.) South Riding is a fictional area of Yorkshire where city councilmen (and a councilwoman) pretty much run the show. If you've ever lived in a small town, particularly a rural one, then you'll recognize the intricate balance between government "officials" and their fellow townspeople. This was set in 1933-35 right at the start of WWII when the country was still harboring hope that the war could be avoided. Our main character, Sarah Burton, is a headmistress who is a revolutionary (at least to the people in South Riding) and ready to shake things up. The lone female on the City Council, Mrs. Beddowes, sees in Sarah a chance to improve the reputation of the school but she also feels that she can muster some amount of control over her (spoiler alert: this is doomed to fail). There are quite a few side stories such as that of Lydia Holly who lives in poverty but aspires to be an academic success the likes of which South Riding has never before seen. Not to mention the rather despicable men who like Mrs. Beddowes are on the City Council. One of them really turned my stomach. *shudder* I went into this book thinking that it was likely to be a romantic tale but if anything the romance was between the characters and their town. It's quite plain that Holtby harbors a nostalgic love of the Yorkshire where she grew up and it's palpable on nearly every single page of this book. If for nothing else, I enjoyed South Riding because of this. Otherwise, it wasn't exactly a life changing read (read Dickens for that). I'd give it a solid 6/10.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-10-07 16:30
In for a Penny by Rose Lerner Review
In for a Penny - Rose Lerner

Grand Passion…or epic disaster?

 

Lord Nevinstoke revels in acting the young wastrel, until his father is killed in a drunken duel. Never one to do anything halfway, Nev throws off his wild ways to shoulder a mountain of responsibility—and debt—vowing to marry a rich girl and act the respectable lord of the manor.

Manufacturing heiress Penelope Brown seems the perfect choice for a wife. She’s pretty, proper, and looking for a husband.

Determined to rise above her common birth, Penelope prides herself on her impeccable behavior and good sense. Grand Passion? Vulgar and melodramatic. Yes, agreeing to marry Nev was a rare moment of impulse, yet she’s sure they can build a good marriage based on companionship and mutual esteem.

But when they arrive at the manor, they’re overwhelmed with half-starved tenants, a menacing neighbor, and the family propensity for scandal. As the situation deteriorates, the newlyweds have nowhere to turn but to each other. To Penelope’s surprise, she begins to fervently hope that her first taste of Grand Passion in her husband’s arms won’t be her last.

 

 

 

Review

 

Everything you would ever want in a historical romance.

 

The historical details are spot on paired with crisp prose. The characters are compelling and so well developed you can imagine knowing them.

 

The class conflict is thoughtfully explored

 

And the romance...Oh, so good. You believe in the love.

 

A classic reread.

 

I was given this book for my honest review. So, there you have it.

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