So my first (week late) post shared six books set where I live, and my second post of the day focuses in books set somewhere else in the world!
Books set elsewhere in the world
Tonight’s post I’m focusing on books sitting on my TBR, of which there are a lot… Probably unsurprisingly I have a lot of US based books but I’ve tried to pick out some from other parts of the world!
The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed
This coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots. Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year. Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.
As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?
I’ve been sitting on this book for far too long, based around the very real LA Riots it’s something I think I definitely need to make sure I’m in the right frame of mind to read this one, but I think it will be such an important book to read.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah, one of the comedy world’s fastest-rising stars and host of The Daily Show, tells his wild coming-of-age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. In this Audible Studios production, Noah provides something deeper than traditional memoirists: powerfully funny observations about how farcical political and social systems play out in our lives.
“Nelson Mandela once said, ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.’ He was so right. When you make the effort to speak someone else’s language, even if it’s just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, ‘I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being.'” (Trevor Noah)
Attuned to the power of language at a young age – as a means of acceptance and influence in a country divided, then subdivided, into groups at odds with one another – Noah’s raw, personal journey becomes something extraordinary in audio: a true testament to the power of storytelling. With brutal honesty and piercing wit, he forgoes an ordinary reading and, instead, delivers something more intimate, sharing his story with the openness and candor of a close friend. His chameleon-like ability to mimic accents and dialects, to shift effortlessly between languages including English, Xhosa, and Zulu, and to embody characters throughout his childhood – his mother, his gran, his schoolmates, first crushes and infatuations – brings each memory to life in vivid detail. Hearing him directly, you’re reminded of the gift inherent in telling one’s story and having it heard; of connecting with another, and seeing them as a human being.
The stories Noah tells are by turns hilarious, bizarre, tender, dark, and poignant – subsisting on caterpillars during months of extreme poverty, making comically pitiful attempts at teenage romance in a color-obsessed world, thrown into jail as the hapless fall guy for a crime he didn’t commit, thrown by his mother from a speeding car driven by murderous gangsters, and more.
This is Trevor Noah’s biography so I’m not quite sure how I feel about describing it as a book set in South Africa given it’s not a fictional story. That said he did grow up in South Africa so that where his stories, that part of his life are based. I downloaded the audiobook version of it, so I really must give it a listen
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.
In a dual narrative novel in verse that brims with both grief and love, award-winning and bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.
I’ve been sitting on this one for ages now (or at least it feels like it, maybe that’s a symptom of this Covid world). The premise really intrigues me, but I’ll be honest I didn’t realise it was written in verse when I ordered it and maybe subconsciously that’s what’s stopped me from picking it up when I’m looking for my next read…
Murder On The Safari Star by M. G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman
Join Hal and Uncle Nat as they plunge straight into an exciting mystery – this time while on Safari!
All-aboard for the third amazing journey in the bestselling Adventures on Trains series from M. G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, illustrated throughout by Elisa Paganelli.
Uncle Nat is taking Hal on the journey of a lifetime – on a Safari Train from Pretoria to Victoria Falls. Drawing Africa’s amazing wild animals from on board a spectacular steam train described as a luxury hotel on wheels, should be enough excitement for anyone. But something suspicious is happening on board the Safari Star and when a passenger is found mysteriously killed inside a locked compartment, it’s up to Hal, along with his new friend Winston and his pet Mongoose, Chipo, to solve the murder mystery.
I’m currently reading the second book in the series which is set in the US, but the third book is already sitting on my bookcase. Travelling through 4 African countries on their journey from Pretoria to Victoria Falls I’m really looking forward to reading this one!
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Alaine Beauparlant has heard about Haiti all her life…
But the stories were always passed down from her dad—and her mom, when she wasn’t too busy with her high-profile newscaster gig. But when Alaine’s life goes a bit sideways, it’s time to finally visit Haiti herself.
What she learns about Haiti’s proud history as the world’s first black republic (with its even prouder people) is one thing, but what she learns about her own family is another. Suddenly, the secrets Alaine’s mom has been keeping, including a family curse that has spanned generations, can no longer be avoided.
It’s a lot to handle, without even mentioning that Alaine is also working for her aunt’s nonprofit, which sends underprivileged kids to school and boasts one annoyingly charming intern.
But if anyone can do it all…it’s Alaine.
This is another I feel I’ve been sitting on for ages. I think partially because I read about this ahead of its US publication date in a Buzz Books and there was an extra year and a bit until it was released in the UK. I love the sound of it and I’m looking forward to picking it up!
Grown Ups by Marian Keyes
They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.
Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.
Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . .
Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.
In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?
I went through a phase as a teenager of reading every Marian Keyes book I could get my hands on after I got a copy of Angels free with a magazine when I was maybe 17… Watermelon, Rachel’s Holiday, Sushi For Beginners, The Other Side Of The Story I read them all and then I’ve not read anything since… I did love them so I’m keen to dive back in
They were my second #SixforSunday of the day! Let me know if you’ve read any of these and I should be prioritising them! If you’ve taken part leave a link to your post below and I’ll be sure to check it out!