I’m Still Here Review

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for WhitenessAustin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion.

In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value “diversity” in their mission statements, I’m Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

This was definitely an important novel in this day and age. Mrs. Austin really talks about important issues that stem from being black in everyday life and being black in the business world. Little things that most people would just ignore really hurt Austin, such as when a girl at her school says that a black person took her place at her dream college due to affirmative action and no one decided to correct her. She had to learn how to fight through the silent prejudice at work, like when her coworkers thought she was being impersonal by leaving right after the meetings and not staying to chat, even though other people did the same thing. She even had to fight the racism within the church, the last place that she thought she would see it.

This powerful story truly shows how deep people’s prejudice could be, and revealed the subtle ways that they choose to show it. By calling people out on it and letting others know that this type of racism is still occurring, things might actually start to change for the better.

I appreciated the fact that this book was written completely in chronological order. This allowed me to see how Austin went from not understanding the racist ideals around her, to feeling as if she couldn’t escape them. Even as a reader I felt depressed reading about Austin’s work and church environment.

I also know the church racism all too well. Many people don’t know that I am a Lutheran, and have been all of my life. I have also gone to a mixed-race church and a predominantly island/African American church. Honestly, I have seen more discrimination in the predominantly island/African American church! People who are Christians might claim to love each other, and they might accept other black people coming to the church, but they don’t want anyone “different.” If someone is “too poor”, white, hasn’t come to church often enough, or gay, they wouldn’t even try to hide the fact that they aren’t welcome. If we want to work together towards ending these thigns, we can’t say “no discrimination and racism as long as you fit these conditions,” we have to say No Discrimination and Racism PERIOD.

This book has a lot to say, and I hope that more people pick it up to hear its message. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for an inspirational novel discussing racism and prejudice in modern America and the modern church.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 stars

The Passion of Dolssa Review

The Passion of Dolssa

Song I Listened To While Reading This Book

Wow. That is all I have to say about this book.

Dolssa is on the run, ash she was supposed to be burned at the stake with her mother as a heretic. However, as she used to be a gentlewoman, she has no survival skills to rely on, besides praying that her beloved Jhesus will come and save her.

Botille is a motherless girl who makes a living off of matchmaking. Her sisters and her also run a tavern, which makes them a fairly successful family, even though their beginnings were rather humble.

When Botille finds half-dead Dolssa while walking during the night, she has to decide whether or not to save her. However, she is going to at least nurse her back to health and hide her from the men going after her, before she lets her go.

This story takes place in 1241 Provensa France, a city still damaged and recovering from the Catholic Church’s Christian Crusades. These wars tore apart families, diminished their spirits, and changed the area forever.

I loved this book so much. I personally love historical fiction, and I feel that there is not enough new historical fiction about how religion really affected the medieval times. This story talks about how religious figures would take advantage of village women, even though they weren’t supposed to be married or doing anything of that sort as holy men. This story talks about how it was difficult for poor men to provide for their families, and the women that had to be loyal to them and raise their children. This story talks about how the Church acted as the judge and jury during these times, based on what people believed in.

Secondly, the multiple points of view in this story worked so well! It has been awhile since I wasn’t confused by a story told in more than one point of view, but I never felt lost or confused as they changed. I also felt that the testimonies spread throughout also gave the story a unique feel, as I was thrown into the minds of various side characters in the story.

Lastly, I loved the fact that the book had a glossary and a list of names and information about characters in the back. I always loved the American Girl Series, and would reread the historical books, so this threw me back to the days of which I would stare at the character lists so that I could picture them in the story.

Overall, this book was an amazing historical fiction story, and it did not push romance throughout but instead focused on the importance of the actual plot, and highlighted many historical events often forgotten by history books.

Overall Rating: 6/5

Random Book Sale Book Haul

So as I was out with my family, we were headed to the mall for some shopping. I was slightly dreading the trip because I just knew that it would be extra crowded for Mother’s Day, but I wanted to go anyways  simply because I needed some stuff from said mall. Then on the way there, we saw a sign on a church saying that there was a book sale happening there every Sunday after church indefinitely. We decided to stop there just to see if they had anything good simply because the items were only a dollar for paperbacks, 2 for hardcover, and select ones for free. Boy was I glad that I stopped by. I ended up spending 15 dollars, and I got 17 books.

Free Books

I could not BELIEVE my eyes when I saw Scarlet on the free table. It looked in a bit of a rough condition, but its still a fairly new book and popular at that. I picked up the second one randomly because, well it was free and I was looking for a few new book reading ideas. Then I went onto the rest of the sale.

Outlander Series

outlander-book-series

Out of these, the only books I don’t own now are Outlander and Written In My Own Heart’s Blood. The rest of the books were there, in near-perfect condition, for a dollar apiece! I almost died. Even on Amazon 1 book is about 9 dollars on kindle and in paper. This was probably the best deal, but I still got more.

Twilight

thetwilightsagacollectionbooks

Breaking Dawn must have been bought already but I snagged the first 3 books of the series for 3 dollars. This will be sitting on the shelf looking nice and shiny with my new copy of Life and Death, the genderswapped retelling.

Random Books

All of these books were in perfect condition, and I got about every book I could find there. There may have been more, particularly some small paperback series’ that I had to overlook simply because I didn’t have the money to buy it all. But since this place wants to do it every Sunday, I will be able to definitely go there again sometime to see if they will have more.