Blackathon Book Tag (and Challenge)

The Blackathon Book Tag is a tag created by Jesse at Bowties and Books where you talk about seven books, one of each of the following tags:

  1. Mirror Image: Cover recreation or homage
  2. Slept On: a book no one talks about
  3. Call and Response: A Community Recommendation
  4. #BlackBoyJoy: A lighthearted comfort read
  5. #BlackGirlMagic: SFF with a black protagonist
  6. POSE: Black LGBTQIA+ author or character
  7. My Kitchen: Book covering black mental health and/or disability

This was created for YouTube, but I’ve decided to do a blog post for it as well. Part of the reason I am doing that is because I also used this as my own reading challenge/readathon. The idea is you would pick a book to satisfy each challenge above, and I just used that as the framework for a readathon. Where instead of talking about books I had already read, I choose books too read that I thought would fit.

My goal was to read these 7 books over the course of one week. That didn’t actually happen. My initial plan ended up spanning ~2.5 weeks, and it led to me falling behind in my monthly reading plans. However, I still pushed through and finished the challenge. Below I’ll give a brief review of each book (rather than make a unique post for each.

Mirror Image: Cover recreation or homage

Lagoon was the first novel I read by Nnedi Okorafor, and I absolute loved it. This is the story of an alien visiting Earth in Legos Nigeria. The story was a unique take on the alien invasion/contact idea. What’s more, Okorafor makes use of the Nigerian culture to provide a compelling backstory outside of the main plot. Part of that was the connection of spirituality between our characters, the alien, and life itself. Sometimes, religion can be heavy handed in science fiction, but I thought it was handled well here.

Really the only flaws here was I didn’t absolutely love the characters. It wasn’t a major issue, but some of them were one dimensional. To be clear, I loved the book overall, and I highly recommend it.

Rating Break Down

Writing Style: 9/10, Plot: 8/10, Characters: 8/10, Ending: 9/10, Engagement: 8/10, Enjoyment: 8/10, Comprehension: 8/10, Pacing: 7/10, Desire to Reread: 3/10, Special: 3/10, Calculated Rating: 3.78/5
Final Rating: 4/5

Slept On: a book no one talks about

Let’s Play White was one of my most anticipated books of 2020. It is a collection of horror short stories that explore race in a variety of different ways. That was the best part of this collection, but even with that new look a lot of these stories still felt unoriginal. What’s worse, most of them weren’t scary or creepy (with a couple exceptions). Most of them were just fine.

You might still consider reading this because I don’t think enough horror stories cover the topic of race. Plus, there are good stories, and those that aren’t so good aren’t terrible. I will still be keeping an eye out for more works by Burke because I’m hopeful that maybe her next work might be more consistent throughout.

Rating Break Down

Writing Style: 7/10, Plot: 7/10, Characters: 7/10, Ending: 6/10, Engagement: 7/10, Enjoyment: 7/10, Comprehension: 9/10, Pacing: 7/10, Desire to Reread: 0/10, Special: 0/10, Calculated Rating: 3.345/5

Final Rating: 3.5/5

Call and Response: A Community Recommendation

I loved this book. When I first heard about this concept I was very intrigued. During the Jim Crow (1900’s) thousands (10s?) of black Americans migrated from the south to the north and west to escape segregation and racism. This is a story that does not get told. It is one of (if not the biggest?) migration of Americans in our history, yet it is ignored in our history classes.

That is probably because it reflects on the racism in this time and the harm it and segregation had on black Americans. Wilkerson follows 3 different families as she details these travels. They are meant to represent the different types of people that migrated and the experience they each had. I thought that approach worked really well. We got a diversity of views on how this migration can and did effect families, but it also gave us a few individuals to connect to directly to really relate.

The result is a compelling and fascinating read that I highly recommend to everyone.

Rating Break Down

Writing Style: 10/10, Content: 10/10, Structure: 9/10, Summary: 9/10, Engagement: 8/10, Enjoyment: 8/10, Comprehension: 10/10, Pacing: 8/10, Desire to Reread: 10/10, Special: 10/10, Calculated Rating: 4.6/5
Final Rating: 4.5/5

#BlackBoyJoy: A lighthearted comfort read

Sadly, this was a very disappointment read. Angelou’s first two memoirs were poetic and moving, but her third memoir loses a lot of the charm. Her writing didn’t feel as poetic. What’s more, the story lacked much substance. I don’t want to dismiss her experience; she is still a single black mother trying to make a life for her and her son. However, the story focuses less on her relationship with her son than on a period of her life where she joins a traveling dance act.

It builds nicely on the last memoir where she explores her love of dancing, and the actual main story isn’t that bad. The issues I had was that it was still bland, and the ending felt abrupt. It ends with her leaving the job to return to her son. However, she never really touches on her feelings of being away. It felt like an excuse to change the story. It seems like the kind of thing that should be a more overarching theme. If it was there, clearly it didn’t stand out as a big part of the story.

There are still 3-4 more memoirs in her series, and from what I’ve read, this one is her worst. I’m hopeful for a return to her poetic style in books to come.

#BlackGirlMagic: SFF with a black protagonist

In the first book in Okorafor’s Binti trilogy of novellas, a Nigerian women leaves her home to explore what the galaxy has to offer. I really like this book. Okorafor is a creative science fiction writer who does a great job writing science fiction in a way that is accessible to pretty much anyone. Whats more, she’s written a character that is equal parts intelligent and curious. she makes for a fantastic and strong female protagonist. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series (and her books outside it!).

Rating Break Down
Writing Style: 9/10, Plot: 8/10, Characters: 8/10, Ending: 8/10, Engagement: 10/10, Enjoyment: 9/10, Comprehension: 8/10, Pacing: 8/10, Desire to Reread: 4/10, Special: 0/10, Calculated Rating: 3.91/5, Final Rating: 4/5
Note, each rating is weighted based on personal importance to calculate a final score that is rounded to the nearest half.

POSE: Black LGBTQIA+ author or character

This is a classic novel about a young black women who grew up with an abusive father then husband. As she slowly grows to learn more about herself she falls in love with anther women her husband and her are taking care of. It was a poignant narrative from a unique perspective. It’s also set in my home state of Georgia. However, I did struggle to connect with the story and stay engaged. I read this while traveling, and that may have effected how well I retained what I was reading. Overall, I enjoyed this novel. 3.5/5

Rating Break Down
Writing Style: 8/10, Plot: 8/10, Characters: 10/10, Ending: 9/10, Engagement: 6/10, Enjoyment: 7/10, Comprehension: 7/10, Pacing: 7/10, Desire to Reread: 3/10, Special: 8/10, Calculated Rating: 3.745/5, Final Rating: 3.5/5
Note, each rating is weighted based on personal importance to calculate a final score that is rounded to the nearest half.

My Kitchen: Book covering black mental health and/or disability

This book wasn’t what I was expecting. This is a memoir about a black man who grows up overweight. He eventually loses the weight, but we see how it shapes his mental state well into his adulthood (as well as the troubles associated with being a black man already). His story was profound and well told to boot. 4.5/5 stars.

Rating Break Down
Writing Style: 9/10, Content: 10/10, Structure: 9/10, Summary: 8/10, Engagement: 9/10, Enjoyment: 9/10, Comprehension: 9/10, Pacing: 8/10, Desire to Reread: 5/10, Special: 7/10, Calculated Rating: 4.41/5 Final Rating: 4.5/5
Note, each rating is weighted based on personal importance to calculate a final score that is rounded to the nearest half.

Jesse at Bowties and Books doing the Blackathon Book Tag

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: