For book #40, I reread Running on Empty by Barbara Bancroft this year. It’s a wonderful book that I will probably read often. My write up from last year is here. I got to meet Bancroft at our denomination’s General Assembly back in June and fangirled all over her; she took it very kindly.
I also got to meet and hear speak author Angie Thomas at the Mississippi Book festival in August. I was excited to read her novel The Hate U Give, which came out earlier this year, because she is a Jackson native and a former student of my father-in-law. Though pegged as a Young Adult novel, the content is quite weighty. The story is about Starr, a black teenager that lives in a poor black neighborhood but attends a mostly white private school. Her life is difficult enough navigating the differences of these two worlds, and it gets even harder when her best friend, a young black man, is shot by a white cop and Starr is the only witness. Starr tries to come to terms with the loss of her friend as well as the opinions and reactions in her different worlds. Honestly, it was a difficult book to read. Thomas took me into a world and culture that I am not familiar with and helped me understand from a different perspective these tragedies that too often flood our news. It certainly challenged my assumptions and preconceptions, and helped me be more empathetic. I think it’s a helpful book for those that have difficulty understanding the outrage at cop killings and the Black Lives Matter movement. And, based on the feedback and questions from the crowd when I heard Thomas speak, it’s an important book in the lives of young teenagers, of any race, as they try to navigate their way in the world.