Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Crayons: What's New On Our Shelves

Remember when you were a kid and getting new crayons was a big deal? Getting new books holds the same kind of magic for some of us big kids. Every week on Sunday, I post what's new in our box. I think crayons is a pretty cool metaphor for multicultural lit. Every week we receive a book is a good week. New on our shelves:

The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin. Really stoked to get this. I follow this poet/feminist on Twitter. She's an activist and like all activists, she has plenty to say. The downside is I can't afford to buy every book I want so I requested my library did and I got a call yesterday. Before getting the book, I was impressed but when I read Dorothy Allison and Walter Mosely both endorsed the memoir, I was, "Hot damn!" If you don't know who Allison and Mosely are let it suffice to say they are highly respected writers.

Staceyann Chin, acclaimed and iconic performance artist, now brings her extraordinary talents to the page in a brave, lyrical, and fiercely candid memoir about growing up in Jamaica. She plumbs tender and unsettling memories as she writes about drifting from one home to the next, coming out as a lesbian, and finding the man she believes to be her father and ultimately her voice. Hers is an unforgettable story told with grace, humor, and courage.

My Life As A Rhombus by Variance Johnson. Happy to have this donation. For reviews, read Tashi's at Taste Life Twice and Ari's at Reading in Color.
This novel contains lessons about love, loss, friendship, and teen pregnancy, without feeling forced. Reading this, I felt that I was getting a peek inside the mind of an ordinary teenage girl, rather than an adult male author, writing what he thinks teenage girls are like. This is often the painful case when males try to write from the female perspective, especially the teenage female perspective. Varian Johnson doesn't give an inkling of his own gender when writing from the perspective of Rhonda. In fact, I was quite surprised to realize, halfway through the novel, that the author was male. Read Tashi's full review here.

Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann. Another donation. I'm ashamed to say I haven't read this yet. I am interested. Recently read a great interview with the author at Cynsations.
more impressed with Lyn Miller-Lachmann’s Gringolandia; her writing is wonderful, and this story is sophisticated, nuanced, and compelling. At times, I even forgot that I was reading a young adult novel, which might be the ultimate compliment (in my opinion, at least, because that means the writing doesn’t pander to a teen audience and so has wider, universal appeal). My research focuses on racial violence and representations of trauma, so I was particularly interested in the ways Miller-Lachmann presented Nino’s torture at the hands of Chile’s military dictatorship; she doesn’t shy away from the violence, yet still manages not to turn the reader into a voyeur. You can read Zetta's post in its entirety here.

The Untelling by Tayari Jones. I enjoy reading Ms. Jones' blog. Haven't read her book (I hate admitting not reading books). This week I received a second copy so we have one for our Prize Bucket and one is on our shelves. Must push this up the pile.
Teens will appreciate Ariadne's dilemma as she wrestles first with the implications of a child out-of-wedlock and then the more difficult truth that she will never bear her own children. School Library Journal

When Heaven Fell by Carolyn Mardsen. As I've mentioned elsewhere, Colleen is hosting One Shot SE Asia Round-up. Saw this title recommended so I picked it up from my library.
Looking over this region would be woefully incomplete without including books by Carolyn Marsden. She’s written about girls from and in Thailand, China, and Vietnam. When Heaven Fell is set in present-day Vietnam with a girl, Binh, who sells fruit and sodas from a cart instead of going to school. See Pam's full review at Mother Reader.

What did you get this week in your mailbox, at the bookstore or from your library? Drop us a link.


Tarie said...

When Heaven Fell sounds lovely. I will try to read it too!

This week, I got the ARC of Night Runner by Max Turner from the publisher. :o)

Windowpane Memoirs said...

I like the cover of: The Untelling. Happy Reading!


Jaime said...

Looks like you have some good reading on your hands!


The Brain Lair (KB) said...

The Otherside of Paradise sounds great and I will be adding it to my Wanna Read it list. My Life as A Rhombus is on my diversity bookshelf and will be getting a read soon!

Color Online said...

Hi KB,

Chin's memoir is a very good read. Do read Ari's and Tashi's review.

gautami tripathy said...

Wonderful books, these!

Mondays: Musings/Whereabouts

Bluestocking said...

Sounds like you got some good ones. Here is mine

Karen Strong said...

You will LOVE "The Untelling." It's a great book. I read an excerpt of "The Other Side of Paradise" and definitely want to read it. "My Life as a Rhombus" is also on my TBR list.

Color Online said...


I wanted more with Rhombus. Tashi and Ari, who are teens though were very happy with it. I'd like to know what you think.

The Story Siren said...

these sound great! a few i knew about and others i didn't! happy reading!

susan said...

I finished When Heaven Fell. Really enjoyed it. Only a third in with The Other Side of Paradise. I really identify with Staceyann the child. It's painful to read. Well written.