A Mind Spread Out on the Ground – Alicia Elliott

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground
A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: March 26th, 2019
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Recommended Age: 15+
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Essays, Indigenous Issues, Canada, Racism, Coming of Age, Poverty, Sexual Assault


REVIEW:

I try to read both fiction and non-fiction books with a variety of themes – love, friendship, family, coming of age, racism, discrimination, abuse – but I think this is the first time I read essays from an indigenous author. I know she’d rather I didn’t label her but I needed to mention this because I try to read everything and anything and yet it’s very rare I encounter written works from native peoples. This has to change for me. I need to actively seek them out, because reading about poverty, abuse, sexual assault, racism and discrimination from different perspectives provides you with new understandings of these issues. If I only read about social issues discussed by white authors or African Americans as I tend to do, I am limiting myself to specific perspectives. Continue reading

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One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter
One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: 2017
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Fast/Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Essays, Nonfiction, Feminism, Culture, India, Humor


BLURB:

In One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi deploys her razor-sharp humour to share her fears, outrages and mortifying experiences as an outsider growing up in Canada. Her subjects range from shaving her knuckles in grade school, to a shopping trip gone horribly awry, to dealing with internet trolls, to feeling out of place at an Indian wedding (as an Indian woman), to parsing the trajectory of fears and anxieties that pressed upon her immigrant parents and bled down a generation. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of colour, where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision or outright scorn. Where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, forcing her to confront questions about gender dynamics, racial tensions, ethnic stereotypes and her father’s creeping mortality–all as she tries to find her feet in the world. Continue reading

We’re Going to Need More Wine – Gabrielle Union

34884359We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: October 2017
Publisher: Day Street Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Memoir, Essays, Race, Growing Up, Abuse, Celebrity Life, Beauty Standards,  Relationships


BLURB:

In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support. Continue reading