logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: borrowed
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-02-28 02:59
Barracoon (Audiobook)
Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” - Zora Neale Hurston

This is an odd one to rate. This is a short piece and once you get into the narrative, it's a series of interviews that author Zora Neale Hurston did with the last survivor of the last "black cargo" Kazoola, renamed Cudjo Lewis by his master.

 

The interviews start with his life as a free man in Africa and goes over his life from the tribal wars that decimated his country and resulted in him and his other tribespeople being sold into slavery. He tells about his stay in the barracoon, awaiting transport to an unknown country. This was in 1860, long after the transport of human cargo was made illegal - not that this resulted in his freedom of course. Nope, just a fine for his buyers! He tells about his freedom, and how he and his other former tribespeople founded Africa Town, now called Plateau, Alabama. He gets married, they have several children

who all die through illness or violence or accident before their parents.

(spoiler show)

 

He had a fascinating life and getting to hear it through his own words and vernacular was really amazing. Hurston was right to insist that she keep his words intact. It could be difficult to read, but listening to Robin Miles's narration made it very easy to understand him.

 

What fell short for me was everything else. The running time on the audiobook is just under four hours, and only half of that is Cudjo talking about his life. The intro goes on for about an hour and details the accusations of plagiarism on Hurston's initial essay, published in 1928, before the majority of the interviews took place. The last forty minutes are Cudjo telling folktales or about games he used to play as a child. It was nice, but not really what I wanted to listen to. 

 

While I'm glad that Cudjo's words remained intact, I would've also liked for his testimonies to be expanded on with historical data. Being told that everything he said was verified isn't quite enough. We're not even told when he or his wife died. If we can be given an introduction that goes on and on about the plagiarism allegations, we can also get an afterword with supplementary information about Cudjo's life.

 

Still, this is an invaluable piece of history, and a remarkable man who lived through more trials than any one person should.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-02-23 21:56
Arrow's Flight (Heralds of Valdemar #2; Valdemar #2)
Arrow's Flight - Mercedes Lackey

I liked this one more than the first but I still found some things unsatisfying. 

 

I liked that we got a more contained story than the first one, and things are still being set up for the intrigue at court even though we don't spend any time in court during this book, since Talia's starting her internship which means a year and a half on tour in one of the border sectors. They don't leave court behind entirely since some rumors about Talia's Gift follows them, and this causes problems for Talia and her mentor Kris. It was good to see the ethical and moral implications of Talia's Gift addressed but the conclusion to all that was sort of a letdown since the book spends pages on Talia's struggles with it and then very little time on how she eventually improves. Then there's the whole 

mind rape of a rapist, making him see through his victims eyes. No sympathy for the rapist or anything, but Talia served as judge, jury and executioner without even at least conferring with Kris first.

(spoiler show)

 

Then there's the weird direction Talia and Kris's relationship takes, all the while they're worrying about Dirk, who Talia likes and who likes her. It just really didn't seem necessary. I did really enjoy their friendship though.

 

If the ending hadn't been so rushed, I would've given this a full four stars, but for now, the issues with Talia's gift seems to have either been put off for later or resolved in an uncomfortable way. Since a lot of the conflicts in the first book were solved off-page in the first book, it could go either way.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-02-23 19:36
Yellow Crocus
Yellow Crocus - Laila Ibrahim

DNF @ 27%

 

This wasn't actively offensive or anything like that, but it was such a sugary-sweet watered-down version of slavery that I couldn't buy into it. Add on the simplistic writing style and this was a no-go. I was already getting tempted to skim, but decided to DNF instead after learning more about the ending.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-02-22 03:06
Another Country (Audiobook)
Another Country (MP3 Book) - Dion Graham,James Baldwin

Once again, I find myself not really sure what to think of a book. It was undoubtedly well-written and an interesting examination of liberalism in the 1950s, the struggles between the races and how the anger and confusion and incomprehension of everyone's varying struggles and outlooks can make a group of friends - if you can even really call them that - do pretty horrible things to each other. 

 

I can't really say I liked any of the characters. They were all self-involved assholes who could only see their own pain, but then, that was also the point of the story, so I guess it was successful, lol. But people who cheat because they can't figure out what they want -and everyone here cheats at one point or another - are just not very good people. They're dishonest and unfaithful, to themselves as much as their partners and families. I could sympathize with some of them, especially Ida. The constant misogyny made me uncomfortable, even more so than the brutal examination of racism and internal homophobia.

 

The interpersonal relationships of the various characters were used to examine the larger world these characters lived in, to really look at what it meant to be alive in this time and place. What did it mean to be white? To be black? To be male or female? To be queer? And how was this group of people going to meet these challenges, how would they struggle with the old ways while trying to create new ones, if that was even possible?

 

It's an uncomfortable read, and it's meant to be, but not being able to really connect with the characters prevented me from really getting into the story.

 

The narrator, Dion Graham, was very listenable and did a good job with all the voices, male and female. I listened at 1.20 times and it was perhaps still just a tad too slow.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-02-22 02:56
[REVIEW] 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
99 Percent Mine - Sally Thorne

It was fine. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. Tom was a sweetie pie and not gonna lie, Darcy got on my nerves more than once, but I couldn't hate her. She's got issues but then again, who doesn't. I knew she was a wounded character and her way of dealing with the world was to snap at it. Jamie felt like this gigantic shadowy monster that was going to kill Tom and Darcy if they hooked up. 

I saw Truly and Jamie hooking up a mile away which FYI would make Jamie a hypocrite for having an issue with Darcy and Tom hooking up. Except, he didn't really care in the end, so everyone was worried over nothing, wha wha. 

(spoiler show)


The biggest problem with the book is the pacing and also the fact that there isn't a discernible plot per se. Also, it bothered me that I had no idea where the book was set (I assume the United States). There were too many nebulous things that detracted from the reading experience.

Only thing I can say that I loved without fail was Tom's senior chihuahua, Patty. She's my MVP.

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?