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Review: Endangered by Jean Love Cush

Review: Endangered by Jean Love Cush thumbnail

The subject of Jean Love Cush's novel is one that is close to my heart. Not only are the state of our prison system and our criminal justice system's inherent racial bias topics that I am very passionate about, but there are also many, many people whom I care about who have to worry about this on a daily basis. This is not okay.

The gist of the story in Endangered is this: Malik is a fifteen-year-old Black boy living in Philadelphia. Twenty-eight murders have been committed in Philly in the twenty days since the new year started. When Malik's friend, Troy, becomes murder victim number twenty-nine, an anonymous call to police names Malik as the murderer. When the police show up on the street corner where Malik is hanging with some of his other friends, Malik's friends run while Malik does exactly as his mother has told him--he doesn't resist, he doesn't say anything, and he allows the police to rough him up, arrest him, and take him to the local detention center. They charge Malik with First-Degree Murder, with no further investigation.

What Malik and his mother failed to understand is that according to Pennsylvania law, minors charged with murder are automatically tried as adults. If convicted, Malik could spend the rest of his life in an adult prison, where he will surely be turned into the hardened criminal that he currently is not.


Review: Chasing the Sun by Natalia Sylvester

Review: Chasing the Sun by Natalia Sylvester thumbnail

Chasing the Sun is set against the backdrop of the civil unrest that was taking place in Lima, Peru, in the early 1990s. I knew relatively nothing about Peru before reading this and I learned quite a few interesting things in the process. For example, did you know that Mario Vargas Llosa ran for the presidency of Peru in 1990? Llosa is one of those writers whom I've been meaning to read for a long time and just haven't gotten to yet. I had no idea he was also a politician (I didn't know much about him, period, until I looked him up while reading this book).

In 1992, as I understand it, Lima was in a state of upheaval, politically, civilly, and economically. There was a new president (who had been elected in 1990--he defeated Llosa in the elections) and there was an insurgent group called the Shining Path who opposed the current government. Chasing the Sun doesn't give very many specifics, but Lima was on a curfew, bombs were exploding every day in different parts of the city, and people were being kidnapped and ransomed for large sums of money.

This is where Andres' story begins.


Review: Sweet Tooth by Tim Anderson

Review: Sweet Tooth by Tim Anderson thumbnail

Sweet Tooth is all about Tim's experiences growing up in the 80s and early 90s in North Carolina, being a believer in God, being gay, and being diabetic. Without saying anything else about the book, that is one interesting combination, wouldn't you say? I almost don't know what else to say about the book without giving away the best parts. As a kid, Tim honestly thought that God gave him diabetes to punish him for stealing gay nudey magazines and masturbating to them whenever he could.

Sweet Tooth gives readers the funniest parts of Tim's life from just before he was diagnosed with diabetes through his time in college (and then a brief epilogue describing his life as an adult). Of course, I think it's funny because I didn't live it. I can imagine that it wasn't too funny for Tim while he was actually experiencing everything he writes about, and that it took him a lot of hindsight to be able to find the humor in all of it. I mean, the man doesn't take care of himself at all after he finds out he's diabetic. In between each chapter is a mini-story about different diabetic crashes he experienced and the ridiculous things he did while they were happening. He didn't check his sugar levels like he should have, he gave himself extra insulin shots to counteract all the sugar he continued to eat...it's just ridiculous. But he writes about it in a way that makes it all hilarious, even though he was putting himself in a lot of danger at the time.

Bout of Books button

It's time for Bout of Books 10! This readathon runs from Monday, May 12th through Sunday, May 18th. Click on through to see my reading list, goals, and daily updates.


World Book Night 2014

World Book Night logo

I was a giver for World Book Night this year. It was my first time so I was a bit nervous, but I was also excited and knew I'd have a good time. As someone who has been in love with books for as long as I can remember, I can't think of anything more fun and rewarding than sharing my love of books and reading with others by being able to give them one of my favorite books.

I was already having a hard time thinking of different places where I could give away the books. It's not that I'm unfamiliar with the area, but I'm not as familiar with it as I could be. I planned on handing them out in downtown Hollidaysburg around lunchtime--that's where the courthouse and other independent businesses are, and there are always people walking around at that time of day. I just figured I'd play it by ear and think of ways to give them out as I went along.

The weather had other plans for me.


Okay, I’m In: Bout of Books 10

Bout of Books logo

Yep, I'm in.

This readathon is more up my alley because it's a week long and I have the house mostly to myself Monday-Friday until 3pm (three cheers for kids being in school!). I'll still have to break for dinner-making and time with Eric in the evening, but I'll get a ton of reading done during the day.

The Eye of Zoltar

Guess I slacked off on my reading wrap-ups for a couple of months, so now I have three months worth to share with you. Wow.

WINTER IS OVER. I can't express in words how truly happy this makes me. It's still been pretty chilly here for spring, but I'll take temperatures in the 50s over temps in the 20s any day.

Let's see...what has been going on...

sj has gotten me back into reading comic books after years and years of giving them up, and I have to say that I have no idea what took me so long to get back into them. I am thoroughly enjoying myself. ARTWORK. PRETTY COLORS. I bought an iPad Air back in March and reading comics on it is just the best.


Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon Master Post

Readathon logo

And so begins Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon. This post may have already been published, but I guarantee I haven't even gotten out of bed yet. Three cheers for scheduling posts ahead of time!

I wasn't expecting to participate, but sj decided to join and convinced me to join, too. There was a whole ton of tiny bit of arm twisting involved, but it's been a while since I've participated so I'm looking forward to it.


Review: Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates

Black Chalk cover image

Six young adults meet at Oxford University in their freshman year and become friends--one American and six Brits. Chad and Jolyon decide to start a game and invite the other four to play. The stakes are relatively large: each participant in the game must make a deposit of 1000 pounds at the beginning of the game (and being college freshmen, they don't really have any money to spare). On top of that, the friends have found a group called Game Soc to sponsor their game--Game Soc will give 10,000 pounds to the winner (the last person standing, so to speak). If any of the friends walks away from the game in the middle of play, they lose their deposit and it gets added to the winnings. The game must stay within the group and be kept a secret from all others.

Black Chalk reminds me a bit of The Secret History by Donna Tartt: small group of close friends, a kind of secret society thing going on, infighting, crushes and love among the group members...but Black Chalk is a bit simpler in idea and scope (which is definitely not a bad thing).


Happy World Book Night Day!

World Book Night logo

Today's the day!

Today and this evening I will be giving away twenty copies of one of my all-time favorite books (This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff) to people in my area. This is my first year as a giver, and I'm both excited and nervous about it.