The New Jim Crow (#22/50)

This is a must-read book.

I knew I was ignorant about parts of my country’s history (regarding slavery, the Civil Rights movement, Supreme Court legal precedents, etc), but I didn’t how just how much I didn’t know.

Title – The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Author – Michelle Alexander

Page count – 248

At first I was skeptical and thought this book would give off conspiracy theory vibes. I mean, it seems utterly impossible that we could be using our criminal justice system to oppress an entire group of people in the same way that Jim Crow laws were explicitly racially discriminatory. That, my friends, is where the issue of “colorblindness” comes in Continue reading “The New Jim Crow (#22/50)”


A Northern Light (#21/50)

This is my favorite book.

I don’t say that lightly because there are many, many books I have loved dearly. But if I could only read one book for the rest of my life and enjoy just as much every time I read it, this one would be it.

Title – A Northern Light

Author – Jennifer Donnelly

Page count – 383

The year is 1906. The place is the northern backwoods of New York state. And our narrator-heroine’s name is Mattie Gokey, a sixteen-year-old girl and talented writer who dreams of going to college but is faced with Continue reading “A Northern Light (#21/50)”

Pride and Prejudice (#20/50)

My last book has inspired me to read some of the “classic” novels of English literature. I was one of those kids who actually did read Pride and Prejudice in high school (Billy Budd, Sailor was the only one I ever SparkNoted, I swear!), and anyone who didn’t read it is missing out on some truly entertaining commentary by Miss Austen. This was a novel I quite enjoyed revisiting!

Title – Pride and Prejudice

Author – Jane Austen

Page count – 314

**NO spoilers for who marries who, I promise 🙂 Continue reading “Pride and Prejudice (#20/50)”

Reading Lolita in Tehran (#19/50)

Well, friends, we are officially halfway through the year. As far as my Book Challenge numbers go, I should be at 25, and I’ve actually read 19…so not where I need to be, but it’s still do-able. Even if I don’t actually get to the Magic Number 50, this challenge has kept me focused on finishing books at a decent pace, and it’s definitely pushed me to read new genres and authors I might not have otherwise. Speaking of which…

Title – Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

Author – Azar Nafisi

Page count – 343

Although this book is technically a memoir, it often reads almost in the realm of fiction (Perhaps because I’m an American, and this book is set in Iran, it seems like an unreal world). Nafisi divides her story into four sections. Each is based on an author or book she teaches in her English Literature classes Continue reading “Reading Lolita in Tehran (#19/50)”

Statistics update #2

As I said in my first post outlining my Rules for this Fifty Book Challenge, I was to have 1) no more than half the books be re-reads, 2) at least half be by women, and 3) at least one quarter be by people of color. Here’s an update on how I’m doing…

The No Complaining Rule (Jon Gordon), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K. Rowling), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J.K. Rowling), No god but God (Reza Aslan), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling), A Gathering of Finches (Jane Kirkpatrick), The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Michael Pollan), The Awakening (Kate Chopin), Reading Lolita in Tehran (Azar Nafisi)

Second Quarter:

Re-reads 3/9 (Much better this time!)

Women 6/9

POC 2/9 (Could still use improvement)

Year to date:

Re-reads 8/19

Women 15/19

POC 4/19

The Awakening (#18/50)

This is a short book so, naturally, I thought it would be a quick, easy read.


The word choice and style of speaking make it deceptively difficult. It seems to be a character study which, for me, is always harder to follow. But the intrigue of delving into our main character’s personality made up for the lack of entertainment and escapism you might find in a more traditional plot-based novel.

(CW: The main people in this book are wealthy, white, and from the Old South. Be aware that while they never use the n-word, they use some…less-than-respectful names for racial minorities.)

Title – The Awakening

Author – Kate Chopin

Page count – 116

As far as a description goes, I’ll let the back of the book speak for itself: “First published in 1899, this novel shocked readers with its open sensuality and uninhibited treatment of marital infidelity…It tells the story of a New Orleans wife [named Edna Pontellier] who attempts to find love outside a stifling marriage.” You can definitely see some of Chopin’s own experiences come out in her writing, namely her marriage into a wealthy Louisiana family and her self-sufficiency after her husband’s death. Continue reading “The Awakening (#18/50)”

The Omnivore’s Dilemma (#17/50)

As the title suggests, the main aim of this book is to take a look at the so-called “Omnivore’s Dilemma.” A koala that eats only eucalyptus leaves, or a bee that strictly looks for nectar, doesn’t have any decision to make when it’s time for dinner. When an animal is an omnivore – like humans are – it faces a dilemma every time it eats. We face both a blessing of options and a curse of choices. The book gets very philosophical, and I swear this isn’t a cover for trying to convince you all to become vegetarians, but it is a good book if you’re interested in looking at the true costs of what you eat – costs that go beyond the number on a grocery store label.

Title – The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Author – Michael Pollan

Page count – 411

This book is divided into three parts. Our first stop is the cornfields of Iowa (!!) and the “Industrial” Food Complex to which corn has become both a catalyst and a dependent. Continue reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma (#17/50)”