Unexpected snow day but expected reading

I had today off anyway since I work tomorrow, but I had planned to go to the local state university library, about 20 minutes away, to read. Really, the only thing that has changed is that I’ll be reading at home and, let’s be honest on a day like this, napping.

I’m starting my day this morning with a poem through the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day service that I’ve signed up for for the Poetry Reading Challenge 2020. The challenge, as outlined by Serena, is to read a poem-a-day for a week once per month and write about which poems were your favorite and why on your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or your blog. I am adjusting it to pick out my favorite from each week and write about it here on the blog, providing a link to the poem. So here’s a link to this week’s favorite, “Entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral” by Malachi Black.

These are the lines that stuck out for me:

and there, brightly skeletal beside it,
the organ pipes: cold, chrome, quiet 

but alive with a vibration tolling
out from the incarnate 

source of holy sound. I turn, shivering
back into my coat. 

especially the middle couplet there, with the way the line breaks: out from the incarnate” before striking the next line, like a note “source of holy sound.”

I’ll be continuing my reading this afternoon with:

  • Heaven, My Home, the second in the Highway 59 series, by Attica Locke.
  • How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi,

both of which I started last Sunday. I am about three-quarters through Kendi’s book, but to be honest, while I like it, I don’t love it because I am finding the structure offputting and overall more academic than I wanted. However, I am maybe a quarter through Locke’s book and am loving it. She continues to impress.

On Sunday as I mentioned last week, I would to begin digging into Pillar of FireAmerica in the King Years 1963-65, the second part of Taylor Branch’s history of the Civil Rights Movement in America. I had planned to begin reading the latter on MLK Day but that didn’t happen (I finished a book of King speeches instead). Based on the length of Pillar of Fire, it will be one I’ll be delving into over several weekends, not just this weekend.

I didn’t do as well with my planned short bursts of reading during the past week with the Sherlock Holmes short stories, but I’m hoping to do better this coming week. I’ll let you know on next weekend’s Sunday Salon.

Until then….

How is your reading going this past week? Anything to recommend (or not)? Please share in the comments.

This week’s shout-out goes to Chris Wolak and Emily Fine of the podcast Book Cougars. The two went to see Jeanine Cummins, author of American Dirt, which I’m sure by now you have heard about, on January 23 of this year at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut. They shared their thoughts on the book, Cummins’ talk, and the controversy surrounding the book on Podcast 95 (click the link to be taken to a page where you can download the podcast).

Nonfiction November: A list of books on a topic I’d like to read

For the past two weeks, I have been joining in with other book bloggers for an event called Nonfiction November. The first week, Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, I looked back at my year in nonfiction. Last week, I paired a nonfiction book with a fiction book. This week, I am sharing a list of books on a topic that I’d like to read or “become the expert,” as host for the week Katie from the blog Doing Dewey explains the prompt.

However, I’d like to start with a caveat because the topic that I’d like to read more of than I have is race in America. As a white male, who admittedly lives in a county that is 97 percent white, and without being in a dialogue with a person of another race, I don’t believe I can become an expert. I do hope to gain knowledge of other races, specifically African American and/or black, depending on the preference of wording or to what group is being referred, and maybe through this knowledge, learn how not only to not be a racist, but also to be, as author Ibram X. Kendi puts it, an “antriracist.”

With that caveat, the first book on my list is Kendi’s book, How To Be An Antiracist, which I recently checked out of our local library, where I work. I have two others on hold on ebook from the Free Library of Philadelphia: So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper.

The other nine I already have on my Kindle, two through Prime Reading, and seven that I own are pictured below.

The two from Prime are:

  1. Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northrup
  2. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois.

The other seven are:

  1. The Defender: How The Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America by Ethan Michaels
  2. Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dysom
  3. What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America, also by Dyson
  4. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  5. When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matters Memoir by Patrice Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandela
  6. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
  7. The Sun Does Shine Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton.

In keeping with the theme for this week’s Nonfiction November, and Katie’s prompt: What topic based on what you have read do you consider yourself an expert? If so, share the books we must read on the topic. What would you like to be an expert on? Maybe some of the other commenters here will have ideas for you too.

Author’s Note: I already have read Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. In fact, that is somewhat what prompted my interest in the subject.