The Good Immigrant

Finally Fall Book Tag

As I’ve said quite recently, I love Autumn. And look what I found that puts two of my favourite things (books and autumn) together – the Finally Fall Book Tag! This tag was created by Tall Tales, it features 11 questions and I’m just going to get stuck right in.

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!
The Gunslinger by Stephen King. This is the first book in The Dark Tower series and not a lot really happens in it but you definitely get a vivid description of this place that the Gunslinger roams. It’s like a desert in a dying world, and it feels incredibly lifeless and harsh.

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.
The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinsborough. This is a short story about death, grief and the ties that binds a family until they don’t anymore and it’s beautiful. It’s very sad as a woman is basically with her father, in the family home, waiting for him to die as her siblings briefly visit them. It’s a great look at family connections and how they can break so easily while also being about how hard it is to see someone you love slip away.

3.Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.
The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla. I learnt so much about what it’s like being a person of colour in Britain today, and no matter how much I read up on it I’ll probably never understand it because I’m white. (more…)

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Books of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. As 2016 is coming to a close, this week’s theme is all about our favourite books of the year. I didn’t really get much reading done in the last few months of the year, I started a new job and couldn’t really get into any of the books I was picking up but I did read some good books in 2016. So below, in no particular order, are my ten favourite books I read this year – the links in the book titles go to their reviews where you can find out more about why I liked them so much.

The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet
This book was unlike anything I’d read before. It’s the perfect commentary on the fantasy genre and it’s a very funny read as well.

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
This was one of the first books I read this year and it stuck with me a long time after I finished it.

Asking for It by Louise O’Neill
This was such a tough read but it was still a really good and important book. It is often a frustrating book with a frustrating and unlikable protagonist but that makes it all the more interesting and memorable. (more…)

REVIEW: The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla

the-good-immigrantWhat’s it like to live in a country that doesn’t trust you and doesn’t want you unless you win an Olympic gold medal or a national baking competition? It’s this question that The Good Immigrant goes about trying to answer. This collection of essays from twenty-one black, Asian and minority ethnic voices in Britain today, explores what it means to be an immigrant or a child of an immigrant in the UK.

The Good Immigrant is an important book. Each essay is only around ten pages long and they are all very different in how they talk about race in Britain. Some essays are anecdotal while some are more fact-based, some are humorous as the authors attitude and voice shines through while others are more distant and to the point. Naturally I enjoyed some essays more than others, some pulled me in quicker and shared the same humour as myself, but they were all interesting and enlightening in different ways.

The writers in The Good Immigrant are from a range of backgrounds and careers, there’s actors like Riz Ahmed, whose essay “Airports and Auditions” can actually be read on The Guardian’s website and I really would recommend it, and there’s comedians and journalists and writers and teachers and poets and they all have something to say.

The writing in The Good Immigrant is honest and heartfelt. It shines a light what it’s like being a person of colour in Britain today, especially when you don’t fit into societies neat categories and have to tick “Other” on application forms more often than not. The Good Immigrant can be a tough read if you don’t want to see societies differences – it’s quite easy for us Brits to say “oh we’re not as bad as America” but we really do have our own set of problems that we should face up to.

My favourite essays were Ahmed’s “Airports and Auditions”, Bim Adewunmi’s essay “What We Talk About When We Talk About Tokenism” which is about representation in popular culture, Inua Ellams’ essay “Cutting Through (On Black Barbershops and Masculinity” whose title speaks for itself but it is a really interesting look at barbershops in Britain and in various countries in Africa, and “Is Nish Kumar a Confused Muslim?” by Nish Kumar who talked about how his image got turned into a meme.

The Good Immigrant is an important and timely book. It doesn’t necessarily have all the answers but that’s not what it set out to do. It’s an honest look at people of colour in Britain today and how their thoughts and views are just as contradictory as anyone else’s, and they should be listened to and valued, not just when they’ve done something extraordinary to impress the nation. 5/5.