Coffee Will Make You Black

“Mama, are you a virgin?” When readers first meet Jean “Stevie” Stevenson, she’s an innocent Black girl growing up in 1960s Southside Chicago. In the early 1960s, when Stevie is still young enough to do as she’s told without question, she soaks in a lot of different messages about her culture and the way she looks:Continue reading “Coffee Will Make You Black”

An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris

Most children latch on to the security of objects, but I went further. I was obsessed with cabinets of curiosities, historical efforts to catalog and control nature’s oddities….Collecting information and talismans is a way of exercising magical control. You can hold a lucky charm and know everything about nature’s creatures yet still be terribly lonely.Continue reading “An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris”

Quickies: Shortcomings & Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine Publisher/Year: Drawn and Quarterly, 2007 Format: Hardcover Pages: 104 Source: Library What it is: A graphic novel that explores the sticky issues of cultural identity. Ben Tanaka is a 30-year-old Japanese American who runs a movie house in Berkeley. His longtime girlfriend is Miko, who is also a Japanese American but embraces her culture way more thanContinue reading “Quickies: Shortcomings & Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”

The Orchardist

Since the death of his mother and mysterious disappearance of his sister several decades ago, William Talmadge has lived alone on his apple orchard, carefully tending his crops and riding miles into town to sell them at the market. It is now the turn of the twentieth century, and aside from his acquaintances in townContinue reading “The Orchardist”