Good books I’ve read recently

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

First line: Babygirl doesn’t even cry when I suck my teeth and undo her braid for the fourth time.
Last line: With love & a sprinkling of cinnamon, always, E
Keywords: YA, cooking, a little bit of magic, high school, a new boy, family, best friends

I’ve read other YA books about teenagers reacting to unexpected pregnancies, but in With the Fire on High, Emoni’s baby girl, Emma, is already old enough to go to school (preschool I think?). Being Emma’s mom has been a part of Emoni’s life for a few years now. I think this is the first YA book I’ve read about a high school mom who is already in the rhythms of being a parent. Another part of the story is Emoni dealing with her mother-in-law and Emma’s dad, who are in the picture and take care of Emma on the weekends. That is also something I haven’t seen in YA before. Both were really cool to read about.

And then there was Emoni’s unique sense with food. But that’s all I’m going to say there.

The following is part of Elizabeth Acevedo’s acknowledgeme1nts section at the end of the book. I wanted to include it because I thought it was as well written as the book itself:

To my beloved, Shakir, here’s an ode to Philly haircuts, traveling the world, and the only adage that matters: if I eat, you eat. Thanks for never letting me doubt myself, for reading everything I write, and for reminding me to celebrate even the most simple Tuesday. I love you.
Ancestors: always. Gang, gang. Who would I be if you were not? What are my stories if not but a continuation of the threads you unspooled? What do I owe you if not everything? And yet, you remind me time and again I owe you nothing but this honest, brave, full self.

Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, Then and Now by Gary M. Pomerantz

First line: Because we see sports dynasties through the prism of stopped time, the players never grow old.
Last line: Now they live with it.
Keywords: narrative non-fiction, football, underdogs, Pittsburgh, winning, after effects

I haven’t read a sports non-fiction book in a long time, and then Their Life’s Work reminded me why that genre of books is what got me into non-fiction in the first place. I think it has something to do with how sports as a whole is really good at being a backdrop for almost unbelievable stories with almost unbelieveable characters. Then when an author is able to get enough details to make those stories and characters become real and not just facts and names on a page, non-fiction becomes just as fascinating as fiction. Gary M. Pomerantz definitely did that.

I really like how this book and its goal was different from other narrative non-fiction books I’ve read. Their Life’s Work wasn’t only about the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers and their amazing team (which I previously knew nothing about). It was also about what happened to that team when those football players grew older and the effects football had on their bodies and lives.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

First line: You’ve probably seend this scene before: Ladies in black church dresses, old men in gray suits, and hood kids in white tees with some blury picture printed on the front under the spray-painted letters RIP.
Last line: When you hear me everywhere!
Keywords: YA, Brooklyn 1998, hip hop, best friends, siblings, an unsolved murder

I didn’t know anything about this book until I was alerted to its presence by Elizabeth at RedGalMusings, so thank you, Elizabeth 🙂. The cover caught my attention (how cool are those colorful designs??), so I looked it up on Goodreads. That’s when I saw it had it had a solid four point something rating on, so I was like, done deal. This is the second book I’ve read this year that had signing with a label as a crucial part of the story and rap lyrics throughout. (The first being On the Come Up, which was also so good.) I’m hoping that isn’t just a two time thing.

What good books have you read recently?
What are your thoughts on non-fiction books?

Do you read the acknolwedgements?
What are you reading right now?

P.P.S. If you’re reading this post on the day comes out (7/11), 7/11 the gas station is giving away free slushies!

19 thoughts on “Good books I’ve read recently”

  1. I’ve heard some good reviews on With The Fire On High! It sounds like a perfect book for me. This post reminds me, I haven’t read non-fiction in such a long time! However, I do have The Secret Barrister and am hoping to read that this summer. I may have previously mentioned to you but I’m rereading Harry Potter because I’ve forgotten most of it 😂 The childhood magic is reignited!
    Erin x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh, I hope you love With the Fire one High if you read it! What makes it sound like the perfect book for you?? Wow, I just looked up The Secret Barrister on Goodreads and added it to my tbr list. Have you started it by any chance? Ohh, you didn’t! Ahhh, which books have you read so far?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh, I’m so happy you loved With the Fire on High. It looks so good and I’m obsessed with the cover. I’ve never really read a book either where the teenage parent was already in the swing of being a parent, so that sounds interesting and different to read about! Aww, the acknowledgment section is beautiful. The part to the ancestors, wow!!
    What you said about nonfiction becoming as good as fiction is so true. When an author can truly present the facts as a story, it can have awesome results. I haven’t read much nonfiction lately (I read Becoming by Michelle Obama a while ago) until I just started reading a book called Quiet Power. It’s about the strengths of introverts and, being an introvert, I’m really enjoying it. Although I think extroverts would also enjoy reading it!
    Let Me Hear a Rhyme looks really good!
    Ahh, did you end up going to 7/11 today? I live near quite a few, but I’m probably not going to go because I went last year and so many people had already gotten a slushie that it ended up being mostly a watery liquid, lol.
    Yes, I always read the acknowledgments! It’s nice to prolong the reading experience a little bit, especially if the book was really good. I also just like to see what the author says and it feels like I’m getting to know them a little better.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know the color of the cover! Bright but not in your face, which I just realized is perfect for Emoni. I know! It was very cool. The most different part was that her being a teenage parent wasn’t a major conflict at all. It just felt like part of regular life, which was new in a YA book for me. I know!!!
      Yes, exactly! I recommended Becoming to my sister and she liked it, and I also got it as a present for a friend last week. I saw somewhere that Becoming is the best selling memoir ever or something! I think I have it on hold? If not, I need to get on that. Oh, cool! Oh wait, I looked on Goodreads and saw it’s by Susan Cain. I’ve heard a lot about her other book, Quiet!
      Ahh, I didn’t! Haha, I will just have to roll it over to next summer’s mental bucket list. Me too! Ahh darn, that makes sense. I have a friend who actually went twice that day, haha.
      EXACTLY. I literally said that in my comment response to The Temperamental Writer before I read your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s awesome! It sounds so good.
        Whoa, that’s so awesome that Becoming is the bestselling memoir. It really deserves it, and it just made me happy to read about all the good Michelle Obama did in the world. Let me know what you think of it when you read it! Ohh, I think Quiet is the adult version and Quiet Power is geared towards kids and teens. I might read Quiet eventually, but I’m glad I’m reading the younger version because it talks a lot about school situations, which is relatable and helpful.
        That’s so funny! And smart, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Okay, I will! I also heard she read her own audiobook, and the audiobook is also good, so maybe I’ll try it that way too? But the book is pretty too with the light blue color! We will see.
          Ohh, that makes sense! Wait, that sounds fascinating. What are some of the school situations it talks about? I am sure I could use the advice also.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. If you do the audiobook, let me know how it is!
            It talks about how to approach having to do speaking in front of this class, getting randomly called on, or working in group projects, etc. I really liked how it acknowledges that some of these things can be harder for introverts, but also gives real advice instead of just saying it’s okay to shy away from these situations!

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooh, all these books look good. I love the snippet of the acknowledgements from With the Fire on High. I didn’t used to read acknowledgements, but recently I’ve started reading them and they can be pretty cool. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but I’ve read a few that I like (The Hiding Place is the one that comes to mind, but I know there are others…). It’s funny because I don’t read a lot of books about real life, but some of my favorite movies are based on real life, like Catch Me if You Can, Saving Mr. Banks, and McFarland USA.
    I recently read The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon, which was quite good. It was about refugees living in a detention center in Australia.
    Free slushies?? I wish there was a 7/11 near where I live!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! Yes, I agree. I don’t know when or why I started reading the acknowledgments-maybe because I wanted the book to keep going? I’ve read The Hiding Place also! I LOVE McFarland, USA so so much. One of my favorite Disney movies. I cried so much during the end and my friend is always like why, it wasn’t even sad? And I’m like, I know, but ahhhh! I am almost positive Saving Mr. Banks is on my Netflix watch list because of you and your sister :)) Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever read a story like that before. From the Goodreads description, it sounds like it has some fantasy elements in it?
      Haha ahh, I wish I could’ve teleported you one!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I’m so glad you liked Let Me Hear a Rhyme! I’ve read about 50 pages and just need to sit down and finish it. And I LOVED With the Fire on High, Elizabeth Acevedo is such a gifted writer. Have you read her other book, The Poet X?
    Free slushies??? Someone get me to 7/11 today, haha

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad you enjoyed With The Fire On High! It sounds so good and I have it on my tbr! Let Me Hear A Rhyme also sounds really good although this is the first time I’m hearing of it! I loved On The Come Up too so I’ll definitely have to look into this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is! Ohh, I’m excited to be the one to tell you about Let me Hear a Rhyme :)) Wait, I need to ask: did you like On the Come Up better or THUG? I think I have to go with On the Come Up. It was so good!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Ahh haha, I was guessing it was going to be hard. I can’t wait for Angie Thomas to write more books. I’m predicting after she writes a few more, somebody will write one of those books lists that rank author’s books and everything will all be basically tied.


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