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Browsing Tag: book reviews

Leah Reads: Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age centers its story on a late evening in Philadelphia, when a young Black woman’s boss calls her in a last-minute emergency to babysit her young daughter. Emira, the babysitter, is asked to take the toddler to the neighborhood’s upscale grocery market, where she is accused of kidnapping the white child. The story spirals from there: Emira’s acceptance of, then resistance against, the societal expectations that had immediately deemed her guilty, her boss’s over-the-top obsession with proving herself a nonracist, all set against the backdrop of Instagram culture and coming-of-age adulthood. This novel is different than anything I’ve read–that’s a good thing–in that it’s very rare one reads a book where she’s not quite sure how to feel about the villain character: Do I like her? the reader thinks. Is it okay if I like her? Such a Fun Age is Kiley Reid’s debut novel, and she writes her characters with such a gentle pen that it’s not until I was halfway through the book that I figured…

Leah Reads: Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I looked it up on a map. I lived two miles from where the author Ta-Nehisi Coates grew up. I was twenty-five and living in a loft apartment on the corner of Eutaw and Centre Streets in Baltimore. That apartment had security cameras and gates and a sentry at the front desk. Camden Yards was a mile south, Lexington Market a couple of blocks away, and West Baltimore, where Coates had lived, lay just past Seton Hill to my left. When I went running every morning before work, I ran right, always right, out of the alley next to my building, then through the beautiful stretch of Mt. Vernon and down around Inner Harbor. I never went left. I loved where I lived. I loved my tiny spiral staircase and my view of Johns Hopkins and the drive through Roland Park to get to my classes at Notre Dame of Maryland. I loved the restuarants I couldn’t afford and the buildings and my walks along Charles Street. I felt alive there. At this time, I was working full-time for my uncle downtown so I could pay for my grad school full-time uptown. Like all…