The Ultimate Tragedy

Blackathon/Black History Month TBR

February is Black History Month in USA and Canada (it’s in October here in the UK) and Jesse from Bowties & Books has brought back Blackathon – a month long readathon celebrating books by Black authors and Black creators and businesses on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. There are teams depending what type of books you read – Team Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Team Literary/Contemporary/Non-fiction, and Team Thriller/Horror and different YouTube and Instagram hosts for each team. You can find out more about Blackathon on Twitter and from Jesse’s announcement video.

There are prompts for each Team/genre but the overarching theme of Blackathon is “travellers/traveling”. That can be interpreted in different ways; a character could physically travel to different places, cities or countries, a character could go on a spiritual journey, a character could go on an emotional journey. It’s up to you how you apply or interpret the theme.

While the exact prompts for Blackathon didn’t really inspire me or I didn’t think I currently owned any books that would fit those prompts, I thought the general theme of “travel” was something present in a fair few of the books on my TBR. So, this is a Blackathon-inspired TBR/general Black History Month TBR as I make books by Black authors a priority in February.

In Praise of Love and Children by Beryl Gilroy
After false starts in teaching and social work, Melda Hayley finds her mission in fostering the damaged children of the first generation of Black settlers in a deeply racist 1950s Britain. But though Melda finds daily uplift in her work, her inner life starts to come apart. Her brother Arnie has married a white woman and his defection from the family and the distress Melda witnesses in the children she fosters causes her own buried wounds to weep. But though the past drives Melda towards breakdown, she finds strength there too, especially in the memories of the loving, supporting women of the yards.

The Ladies Are Upstairs by Merle Collins
From the 1930s to the new century Doux Thibaut negotiates a hard life on the Caribbean island of Paz. As a child there is the shame of poverty and illegitimacy, and there are the hazards of sectarianism in an island divided between Catholic and Protestant, the rigidity of a class and racial system where, if you are Black, your white employer is always right. When Doux is an old lady moving between the homes of her children in Boston and New York, she wonders whether they and her grandchildren really appreciate what her life has taught her.

The Ultimate Tragedy by Abdulai Silá
Ndani leaves her villages to seek a better life in the capital, finding work as a maid for a Portuguese family. The mistress of the house, Dona Deolinda, embarks on a mission to save Ndani’s soul through religious teaching, but the master of the house has less righteous intentions.

An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie
Tété-Michel Kpomassie was a teenager in Togo when he discovered a book about Greenland – and he knew he must go there. Working his way north over nearly a decade, Kpomassie finally arrived in the country of his dreams.

Do you set your TBR around events like Black History Month? Or what books are you generally hoping to pick up soon?

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. I love to look back at previous TBR’s and see what books are still waiting to be read. There were definitely a lot of books for my Read the World Project I didn’t manage to get to and my reading slump at the end of 2020 (which I’m slowly getting out of) didn’t help matters.

The first five on this list are books that featured on various Top Ten Tuesday’s or readathon TBR’s in 2020, and the other five are books I was looking forward to reading but I don’t think I’ve mentioned them here before.

An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie
This is my book for Togo in my Read the World Project. I think it’ll be really interesting to see how a Togolese man becomes fascinated by Greenland and his determination to go there.

Beyond the Rice Fields by Naivo
This is the first novel from Madagascar to ever be translated into English and it’s set in the nineteenth century and it’s about the relationship between a slave and his master’s daughter.

How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Saša Stanišić
I actually started to read this before 2020 but I only got a few pages before I realised I wasn’t in the mood for it. I always meant to get back to it soon.

Mama Hissa’s Mice by Saud Alsanousi
This will be my Kuwait read for the Read the World Project and is about friendship and protest.

Palestine+100 edited by Basma Ghalayini
This is a short story collection which has a range of genres, science-fiction, dystopia, noir and is about what the future of Palestine might look like.

The Ultimate Tragedy by Abdulai Silá
This is the first novel to be translated into English from Guinea Bissau and is about a girl who leaves her village to seek a better life in the capital, finding work as a maid for a Portuguese family.

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
The Old Kingdom series is one of my favourites and is a formative influence but I haven’t really read any of his recent books and I want to fix that.

The Madwoman of Serrano by Dina Salústio
The first novel by a female author to be published in Cape Verde, and the first to be translated into English. Serrano is an isolated village where a madwoman roams. But is she really mad or is she marginalised because she is wise and a woman?

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
While I have heard this book isn’t as good as the first, and I’m unsure if this series is a duology or more it has more books to come, I did really like Children of Blood and Bone (except the romance/love interest) so I’m interested in seeing what happens next.

The Cost of Sugar by Cynthia McLeod
It follows two Jewish stepsisters, Elza and Sarith, descendants of the settlers and their pampered existences become intertwined with the fate of the plantations as the slaves decide to fight against the violent repression they have endured for too long.

What books did you mean to get to last year?