The Black Parade & Other Stuff – quick reviews

The Black Parade by Kyoko M.

The Black Parade by Kyoko M.

(The Kindle version is available for FREE at the time of this writing.)

Whoa. Not quite what I was expecting. Jordan Amador sees dead people. She talks to them, and helps them cross over I’m an effort to save her soul. With 24 hours left on the clock to purge a major sin from her record, a poltergeist names Michael strolls into her life. Thrown face first into chaos, Jordan must solve the mystery of Michael’s death, stop a horde of demons, and try not to get too drunk to function. Drawing on Christian scripture and mythology, The Black Parade offers the classic good vs evil story, with a bit of family secrets and a pinch of forbidden romance for flavor. A couple of awkward transitions in the very beginning, but I didn’t have much trouble following it. Read it. Read it for guilty pleasure after the kids go to bed.

I tried to see what they hype was about Teju Cole’s Open City.

Open City

From Goodreads: “Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor doing his residency wanders aimlessly. The walks meet a need for Julius: they are a release from the tightly regulated mental environment of work, and they give him the opportunity to process his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past. But it is not only a physical landscape he covers; Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey—which takes him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth, and into the most unrecognizable facets of his own soul.” A glimpse of other reviews will show a large divide in opinions. People either love this book, or want to kill it with fire. A friend posted “It really has no plot!” I have a 50 page limit before I typically make a decision on finishing a book; I didn’t make it page 12.

Meh.

So then I tried to read Dinaw Mengestu’s All Our Names.

All Our Names

I managed to get a bit farther in this book than the last, but I still couldn’t finish it. I quickly found myself confused. Was this story about Issac? Was it told BY Issac? It moves back and forth between a university in Africa (if they named the country, it escaped me) and a midwestern town in the States. From Goodreads: “All Our Names is the story of two young men who come of age during an African revolution, drawn from the safe confines of the university campus into the intensifying clamor of the streets outside. But as the line between idealism and violence becomes increasingly blurred, the friends are driven apart—one into the deepest peril, as the movement gathers inexorable force, and the other into the safety of exile in the American Midwest. There, pretending to be an exchange student, he falls in love with a social worker and settles into small-town life. Yet this idyll is inescapably darkened by the secrets of his past: the acts he committed and the work he left unfinished. Most of all, he is haunted by the beloved friend he left behind, the charismatic leader who first guided him to revolution and then sacrificed everything to ensure his freedom.” I’ll probably give it another shot in the future when i can concentrate on it better.

I came across a beautifully written novel by Sofia Samatar titled A Stranger in Olondria.

A Stranger in Olondria

From Goodreads: “Jevick, the pepper merchant’s son, has been raised on stories of Olondria, a distant land where books are as common as they are rare in his home. When his father dies and Jevick takes his place on the yearly selling trip to Olondria, Jevick’s life is as close to perfect as he can imagine. But just as he revels in Olondria’s Rabelaisian Feast of Birds, he is pulled drastically off course and becomes haunted by the ghost of an illiterate young girl.” There’s more, but that’s as far as I got in the book. Lyrical, image rich, but not the most exciting or endearing read. Once again, I feel as though I was being kept at arm’s length from the book. Ah, well. It’s on my re-read list, so I’ll enjoy the imagery at a later date. For now, I’m finishing up this book:

Where Are You Really From?

Where Are You Really From?  , a memoir from the journalist Tim Brannigan. This story of his life begins with a bang. From the very first page: “I was born on Tuesday 10 May 1966. I died the same day.” If that doesn’t intrigue you, nothing else will.

Happy reading! …because Sumayyah Said So.

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