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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Bingo 2016 | Mid-summer Update.

my card this morning
This is the third summer we've played bingo (and read a lot of books); I keep thinking there's no way this year's summer reading can possibly be as good... and I'm happy to be wrong (again!).

Here's my Summer Bingo 2016 shelf on Goodreads, sorted by rating (and some date algorithm I'm not quite sure about)
see this shelf on Goodreads here
Those first two on the top row are my 5-star reads, favorites not only for this year, but also all-time; and also books I could've read in high school or college, but am just now getting around to.

The next 16 (!!!!) were 4-star reads. I loved them all and would definitely recommend them to others. I love how diverse that collection is - fantasy, science fiction, romance, classics, narrative non-fiction, verse, memoir. This is, in a nutshell, what I love about Book Bingo.

I've written short reviews on Goodreads for each book; please click over to my shelf  if you want to see more details about any of them.  I just wrote about Invisible Man this morning. I finished it Monday evening, but needed to let it marinate a few days to decide what to write. This book rocked my world for the six days I read it.

Monday afternoon I abandoned the audio and picked up Sara's high school copy (marginalia and all!) If you haven't read this book, I think you should. Maybe my little review will tell you why.

Ellison wrote this in his 1981 introduction 
"my task was one of revealing the human universals hidden within the plight of one who was both black and American, and not only as a means of conveying my personal vision of possibility, but as a way of dealing with the sheer rhetorical challenge involved in communicating across our barriers of race and religion, class, color and region -- barriers which ... still function to prevent what would otherwise have been a more or less natural recognition of the reality of black and white fraternity."
I think he succeeded in his task. This book got inside me (as did Joe Morton's fabulous narration - I listened to the first 3/4 on Audible); it's made me look at racism differently and it's made me very sad to realize that the "truths" Ellison wrote about 60 years ago are still that. 

I finished the last 1/4 reading Sara's much-annotated edition from high school. Her notes were helpful and insightful (and made me glad I wouldn't have to take a test or write a paper). But she wrote nothing next to one of my favorite passages 
"Diversity is the word. Let man keep his many parts and you'll have no tyrant states. Why, if they follow this conformity business they'll end up by forcing me, an invisible man, to become white, which is not a color but the lack of one. Must I strive toward colorlessness? But seriously, and without snobbery, think of what the world would would lose if that should happen. America is woven of many strands; I would recognize them and let it so remain." (emphasis mine) 
A powerful message still.

In summary, I've read 20 books for a Bingo square since Memorial Day. And finishing Invisible Man gives me four Bingos.  Five more to go to cover my card. I'm guessing  Louise Penny's newest (due out on August 30) will be the last - and sitting in that key lower left corner, will give me my last three Bingos.

How's your summer reading going? I hope you're enjoying it...and maybe even finding a few surprises!

(remember, by my rules, you have until midnight on Labor Day (Monday, September 5) to play; you can read more about Book Bingo here.)

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Blogger Bonny said...

Look at those bingos and all those 4 and 5 star books! I haven't read The Outsiders or Invisible Man since high school so it may be time for rereads, and I love that you have Sara's annotated copy. I've had a couple of two-star duds, but I'm also finding delightful surprises - like the four incredible books I'm reading right now, and the hopefully exceptional nonfiction I have queued after that. I'm happily enjoying how books seem to be presenting themselves this summer. Happy Reading and enjoy that last Louise Penny!

Thursday, 14 July, 2016  
Blogger margene said...

I'm closing in on a couple of Bingos and should have at least one or two more by summers end I plan on finishing the card for a blackout by years end. Invisible Man rocked my world 20 years ago when I read it. I also read James Baldwin and Toni Morrison (all of her books) and find them some of the greatest minds of our century. We lose so much by not celebrating ALL of America's people.

Thursday, 14 July, 2016  
Blogger Debbie said...

I've read 12 books and will finish the 13th later today, but don't have any bingos yet. I'm pondering what to read for the square "a subject that challenges me" and after reading your reviews, I'm considering either Invisible Man or The Outsiders; I haven't read either of them.

Thursday, 14 July, 2016  
Blogger Carole said...

I finally got my first Bingo this week! I've got a few more in the works, too. I love the challenge this presents for summer reading. Invisible Man is fabulous.

Thursday, 14 July, 2016  
Blogger Lydia said...

I am doing much better on this year's BINGO card than last year. Definitely a good mix of books and authors for me.

Thursday, 14 July, 2016  
Blogger Sara said...

In my defense, I was annotating in preparation for term papers and AP tests...

Thursday, 14 July, 2016  
Blogger alexa said...

Wow, that's a very impressive selection, and great recommendation. Cheering you on!

Friday, 15 July, 2016  
Anonymous Patty said...

You are rocking it Mary! I've slowed down a bit (Doug is painting and I feel guilty sitting on my duff so I try to be "productive". I've got vacation ahead still though and hope to crank out a few then.

Friday, 15 July, 2016  
Blogger Honoré said...

I'd read your review of Invisible Man on Good Reads and decided , yes, given today's worldly climate and especially that here in the USA, I'd re-read Invisible Man! You are spot on that it is a timeless read, I submit because we humans don't manage our fears and stupidity and intolerance very well, if at all. Book Bingo and the events over these past few weeks, converged... and certainly give us cause to stop and reflect... my BB is progressing but not nearly as well as yours; however, in my book (pun intended), every step counts.
Thank you again for bringing this summer treat to our attention! And kudos to you for your progress.

Sunday, 17 July, 2016  

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