Book Review: Ain’t I a Women:Black Women and Feminism-bell hooks


Racism is the barrier that prevents positive communication and it is not eliminated or challenged by separation.

Labeling oneself as a feminist has its demands and repercussions. People constantly challenge your ideas, your stance on feminism, picking and preening you until you become “their” idea of what a feminist is and should do. But part of being  a feminist is being able to open your dialogue to be inclusive, to challenge yourself, and the world’s ideology. While taking on the term feminist, I’ve known that many a times there is a clear distinction between white feminist ideology and black feminist ideology. Although there has been significant changes to the “feminist doctrine,” white feminism still is clinging to much of its sexist and racist paradigms. It raises the question if  you can still be a feminist if you strive to acquire white patriarchal privilege, or if you mold your feminist dogma to fit just one race, while leaving out the other voices and races. Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism breaks down the underlying problems in the feminist movement and discusses the brief history of the African American woman’s role in society. We get to see the eye opening view of how America and the rest of the world truly view black women, and we get to stand in awe of the progress they have made on behalf of the black community and for feminism itself.

Sexist-racist attitudes are not merely present in the consciousness of men in American society; they surface in all our ways of thinking and being.

bell hooks is a genius for creating this piece of work. Ain’t I a Woman is everything you need to know about how black women have evolved in American society and how the feminist movement purposely excluded them from the changes made in society. The book is broken into five parts: 1. Sexism and the black female slave experience, 2. Continued devaluation of black womanhood, 3. The imperialism of patriarchy 4. Racism and feminism 5.Black women and feminism. Each section hooks compiles all of her research and writes about the plight of the black woman. She addresses sexism, racism, appropriation, stereotypes, social injustice, and economic welfare. It’s interesting to see how the “feminist movement” didn’t really include everyone. Instead it focused on how white women should progress in America. “Unfortunately , despite all the rhetoric about sisterhood and bonding, white women were not sincerely committed to bonding with black women and other groups of women to fight sexism,” hooks writes. She puts into perspective every feminist theory that surfaced and really calls on women, specifically white women to look at their feminism, to examine their goals of their cause. The book is not a light read , and will have you questioning and researching more into what being a true feminist means.

Change occurs only when there is action, movement, revolution.

This book definitely shook me, and even though I consider myself abreast on black feminist theory, it dove deeper into things I myself was unaware. This was not an easy read, as it is extremely academic and very analytical. I literally held a highlighter in one hand and took in each and every word bell hooks wrote. It’s educational and such an important book not only for black women but for all women everywhere. It will make your head swim with answers to your unanswered questions. I challenge everyone to give it a try; your outlook will definitely change as did mine. This particular body of work really allows me to see that I’m not the only one that thinks many feminist arguments leave out the black and other minority groups’ voice. hooks wrote this while she was just an undergraduate, and to see how “woke” she was at such an early age, gives me hope for the kind of work I intend to do. She pushes black women to continue being pioneers for womanhood. If you’re interested in feminist critique and theory, I urge you to read this book. It’s for everyone and every voice.

… I choose to re-appropriate the term “feminism,” to focus on the fact that to be “feminist” in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female, and male, liberation from sexist role patterns, domination, and oppression.





Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows-V.E. Schwab


Schwab did it again. She looped me in with just a few words in her previous novel A Darker Shade of Magic, and she has managed to do it again with her latest sequel A Gathering of Shadows. V.E. Schwab  does fantasy extremely well, and has a real talent for the genre. Although I’m not sure if people would classify her book as YA or Adult (based on the content and slight language I would say Adult), this story is one that can be enjoyed with various ages. Now that I have finished reading A Gathering of Shadows, I only want more of Schwab’s magic touch and can’t wait to read the next novel in the series. This novel is on the brink of something great, and it may be the next big fantasy monomania.

Something in the air and water change from the last time we read about Lila Bard and Kell’s adventure. They are both in Red London, however they have parted ways; Kell staying close to the throne and to Rhy whose life is bound to his, and Lila wandering the seas and finding trouble per usual. New friends and enemies are made, a past is awoken, pirates set sail, and a tournament brings everything and everyone together; all the while ripping everything apart. I don’t want to give much away, as it is becomes easy to do as I soon I start discussing it. If you were a fan of A Darker Shade of Magic then no doubt you will enjoy A Gathering of Shadows. The characters are back and better than ever, drawing you in with every fight, kiss, scream, and spell.

What I like about A Gathering of Shadows, is that Schwab focuses on the magic and action in the story, and makes any romantic notions very small and minimal. It’s almost an undercurrent in the book. So many times in fantasy novels, the love interest completely dominate the story and snuff out the plot. Schwab does something different for her audience. She creates a ploy heavy novel and draws the reader in by how fast paced the actions is. The characters are deep and complex, and they all have a history to them. My favorite is Kell, as he seems to be most complicated and mysterious of them all. However this novel was extremely Lila focused as she drove most of the story. I liked the perspective of Lila, and although at times her predicable unpredictable ways are a little irksome, she really shines as a standalone character. Schwab spends time on the characters, and you can experience the fruits of her labor when you read her work. There is a major cliffhanger that  will probably upset you, or if you’re like me, biting your nails to sheer nubs. I don’t have any complaints about this novel, and it received five stars on Goodreads from me. This is definitely a series worth getting in to.

Did any of you read A Gathering of Shadows? Let me know your thoughts!

Happy reading!


A Cold Glass of Lemonade-Preparing for a Summer Full of Reading


It seems just about everywhere, the word “lemonade” is constantly escaping people’s lips. Whether in reference to Beyoncé’s album, Lemonade, or drawing a glass of the chilled drink to a parched mouth; lemonade is in everyone’s life. In more ways than one, Beyoncé has contributed to an ongoing discussion on blackness in the world and in society. She’s using her platform to talk about hard issues that women, especially black women have faced and are continuing to face today. While I know she’s not the only one heralding about black womanhood, I do like that she is making everyone come to attention with black womanhood. Scholars and academics have been discussing this topic for ages, however not everyone is in the position to access this erudite outlet. Beyoncé on the other hand is very accessible as she is in the forefront of media and entertainment.  By her stepping out and announcing that black femininity and the disparity within that complex is important and valid, it allows all to have access to the conversation. Everyone has a seat for them at the table.  More and more girls and women are becoming unapologetically black, embracing their flaws and fortitude.

No, this isn’t another think piece into the inner workings of Lemonade. Rather it’s how I will use the momentum of Lemonade to create a space for my summer reading. This summer is all about the lemonade, drawing inspiration from Beyoncé’s album and reading books that are just as innovative and self (black) loving. Does this mean that I go pick out a whole bunch of books that are written by black people? No, it means carefully crafting my reading conspectus to include works that deal with all of the many subjects Lemonade discusses. Sisterhood, black femininity, black masculinity, motherhood, fatherhood, popular black tropes, depression, infidelity, and so much more. It’s being able to read the novels, poems, etc., and then having a participation at the table. It’s about pushing representation on all platforms. Lemonade created a much needed dialogue men and women need to have among each other and with themselves.

This summer I’m taking a big swig of lemonade and pressing the art the album created and placing it in my reading agendum. I’m filling my shelves with books that not only bare the pain and despondency of black people, but the history, the backbone to it all. There are texts upon texts that touch on black literary theories and feminists critiques. While I can’t read every book this summer, I will read plenty that evoke all the Lemonade-esque vibes. The literary world is one place where the information is plentiful and doesn’t require a prerequisite in order to turn a page. Beyoncé is pouring artistic and literary tangy goodness, and I’m here to take a sip.

Here are just some of the books I added to my summer roster.

  1. Ain’t I a Woman-bell hooks


2. Summer of the Cicadas-Cole Lavalais


3. Between the World and Me-Ta-Nehisi Coates


4. Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship-Aimee Meredith Cox


5. What is Not Yours is Not Yours-Helen Oyeyemi


6. We Love You, Charlie Freeman-Kaitlyn Greenidge


7. Blackass-A. Igoni Barret


While the list may seem small, the content inside is momentous. I encourage all of you to get in formation and join in on reading texts that are Lemonade worthy.

What are you reading this summer?

Happy Reading!



Book Review: Rebecca-Daphne Du Maurier


Now I know it’s been a while since my last bookish post, but sometimes life gets in the way and makes you way too busy for the things you love (unfortunately). However I’m back and better than ever. During the time of busyness I was reading, just very v e r y slowly. Sometimes reading at a slow place is okay, especially when it’s a book that is worth every bit. I found the novel Rebecca  to be completely mesmerizing. It’s one of those books that pull in you and before you know it, you can’t stop turning the pages.  Written in the early twentieth century, the author Daphne Du Maurier creates a riveting story that captures the reader. du Maurier’s style is much like Brontë-dark, mature, yet lingers on the tongue as you turn the pages. I was happy to pick up this classic and be brought into the enigmatic world that is Manderley.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

Rebecca focuses on the story  of a young women (whose name is never given) who serves as the companion to an old and rather sufferable rich American woman. When she meets the wealthy, handsome, and recently widower Maxim de Winter, she is swept off her feet by his mature and sober dominance. Soon they marry, and move to his estate, Manderley, where more than bones are buried beneath the floorboards. The new Mrs. de Winter finds out the story behind her husband’s previous wife, Rebecca. Drowned in a sailing accident, mystery lurks in the water and walls.  Mrs. de Winter finds herself living in the shadow of Rebecca everywhere she turns. Even the servants of the house look at her as if she is an intruder, especially Mrs. Danvers-the loyal servant of the late Rebecca. There are deep secrets rooted in Manderley, and Mrs. de Winter slowly uncovers the twists and truths that are buried within. We follow her progression of the strange story behind Rebecca and Manderley, and we discover that every perfect marriage is not what it seems.

This novel is absolutely satiable. I enjoyed every bit of this page turner, as it provided plot twists after plot twists.  Although the main character can be described as a bit weak and sophomoric, her callowness quickly develops into maturity the more she discovers about Rebecca. The author writes a classic mystery, romantic, and thriller all in one and honestly this is the kind of novel that can be transferred through the ages; a true classic. If you are a fan of Brontë, you will love Rebecca. I gave this novel five stars on Goodreads. There are so many underlining themes and questions in this novel, and I love how du Maurier pairs it with a mystery to uncoil some of the literary themes. I found giving the main character having no name really brilliant, and helps the audience see how the ghost of Rebecca permeates everything includes people. A fantastic novel, worth the slow read indeed.

Have any of you read Rebecca?  If so, what are your thoughts?

Happy reading!