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Marginalized Authors

Posted: Sun May 20, 2018 1:51 pm
by Shiloh Adlar
Since last summer, I have been reading more and more books from authors that fall under this category of marginalized authors. This category includes women, people of color, LGBQT+, people with disabilities, as well as ethnic, cultural and religious minorities. Other authors may fit into this category as well for other reasons. Reading books from authors that fit this has been very enlightening for me as yes, I am female, but many of the trials people who fit this category go through, I have not experienced. While I have definitely experienced my own share of significant trauma, it is hard for me to fathom what others have gone through as it may be hard for them to fathom what I have experienced. Understanding is so important and knowledge is crucial.

I recently read One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia which is a book about three little girls, Delphine, Vonetta and Fern who are going to Oakland, California to meet their mother who Delphine hasn't seen since she was at five years old. Their mother is said to have just up and left after Fern was born so she never got to know her daughters. The girls grew up believing she had abandoned them and was a "good for nothing." Their father decides it is time for them to meet Cecile (what they call their mom). In Oakland, they spend their time learning at a Black Panther's summer camp where they learn about the cause and what it means to be a part of a revolution.

The Black Panthers received a lot of bad press due to the fact that they carried weapons and were a part of other things, but what they news rarely showed was how much good they brought to the poor black communities and the change they were trying to instill. This book gave me a greater insight to this time in American history and a different picture than what many people were led to believe just like it does for the girls.

I have always loved historical fiction, and the best historical fiction is from writers with a background different from my own. I highly recommend reading more of these works because not only are they beneficial to understanding more of the world around you and how it got to be the way it is, but they are also incredibly good reads.

Re: Marginalized Authors

Posted: Sun May 27, 2018 3:47 pm
by Shiloh Adlar
I was finally able to finish an excellent novel called Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. The most I can say about this novel is, wow! When I first picked this book up last summer, I didn't know if I would actually like it or not considering its length and the premise it held, but when I picked it up again a week or so ago, it was hard to stop reading! I found it for kindle so I could read whenever I wasn't home, and any chance I had, my eyes were glued to it. The novel tells the story of one Korean family through four generations beginning in the 1930s until about 1989. It speaks highly of the discrimination in Japan for the Koreans that fled there during the war and talks about the separation of North Korea from the South. The history involved in this novel is truly in depth, and I learned so much that I did not know because these things are often not taught in American schools.

Through the four generations, we see this family go through hardship, worry, war, success and grief, and by the end, my first words were actually, "Is that the end???" Lee develops the characters in such a way that the reader learns to love them and like Sunja, where our main storyline first begins to develop, want the best for the family. There are other themes brought up in this book such as the one "A woman's life is to suffer," which the women firmly believe. But there is even a catchier line at the beginning which says, "History has failed us, but no matter," and this line really depicts the entire book.

Re: Marginalized Authors

Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:13 am
by Shiloh Adlar
My latest book in this category is called Song for Night by Chris Abani. It takes place in West Africa during the middle of a civil war. The main character, known simply as My Luck, becomes lost from his platoon after a mine explosion. My Luck is 15 years old and like the rest of his platoon of mine diffusers, is unable to speak.

He goes on a sort of spiritual journey while detailing the horrors of the war he has experienced and continues to see. It haunts him like ghosts. Song for Night is a glimpse into the psyche of what war does to children and those who are young but must fight to survive.

A harder read for me due to hating violence and the fact that I try to always promote love, peace and harmony, but I also know that is not the world most live in. Of course the writing, however, is tragically beautiful and often times hints of an ethereal poem.

Re: Marginalized Authors

Posted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:20 pm
by Maxim Trevelyan
One of such books that also stayed with me for a long time was Slave by Mende Nazer, written with the help of Damien Lewis. I picked it up by chance one day at a library in my late teens and the story still resonates with me.

Slave tells Mende Nazer’s story, first some tales about her childhood in a Nuba village before it was shattered one night in 1993. That night, her village was raided by Arabs, most of the adults killed and the children taken away, later to be sold to slavery.

The book goes into excruciating detail of Mende’s life as a slave for a wealthy Arab family in Khartoum where she stayed for seven years. She only manages to escape her situation when her family sends her off to London when Mende was supposed to start working for a diplomat.

The subject matter is very intense, naturally, and that is why I think it resonated with me so strongly coupled with my age when I first read it. It is also very detailed, yet simplistically written, which helps to send a message even to a larger group of people. A very beautiful, if haunting, story that makes you realize slavery is not just something in the past, but is still happening today.