What I Read in February 2021

Oooh February has been a rough month. It’s only 28 days long but somehow it’s been 3 years long or something? Woof. Things that happened this past month:
Ryan got his second Covid-19 vaccination! He’s protected and I’m breathing a little more easily.
We got a hotel and spent Valentine’s weekend out of town. Sometimes you just need to stare at different walls.
I attended the American Booksellers Association Winter Institute and it lit a fire in me and prompted us to make some big, big changes in our shop. Which I’m not ready to talk about publicly just yet but I will be soon. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram!

So, here’s a rundown of the books I read amidst all of that! Reminder that all the links in this post go to support Twice Told Tales. If you don’t want to support us and would rather give Jeff Bezos enough money to colonize the moon, you’re free to do so but you have to find those links on your own. 😉

Cover photo of “The Death of Vivek Oji” by Akwaeke Emezi

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
Click here to download the audiobook version.
Click here to order the hardcover version.

I knew nothing about this book going into it except that the author was Nigerian (I’ve been reading several books by Nigerian writers lately and I have loved every single one of them). And also someone brought this book into the store to sell it to me and when I asked whether or not the person liked it, they said “It… was… weird…” So I was like, “Cool. I’m reading this.”
I want to offer a content warning about this book–the center of it does hinge on transphobia. And while I’m tired of reading about queer trauma, there was something different about this. Vivek Oji was a beloved member of the community. Vivek Oji’s mother found Vivek dead on her doorstep and she’s on a mission to find out what happened. This could have read like a murder mystery but instead it read like an epic life story and a coming of age for so many of the characters.

The cover photo for “It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake” by Claire Christian

It’s Been a Pleasure Noni Blake by Claire Christian
Get the paperback copy here.
Download the audiobook version here.

Here’s another book that I didn’t know much about. But from the cover art I could tell that it was going to be fun and light hearted–which I sort of was craving after reading about Vivek and while dealing with sub-zero temperatures. Who wouldn’t want to pick up this book? I didn’t realize how very, very, very sexy this book was going to be. I usually don’t listen to romance books on audiobook because they make me blush too much. And I was blushing through 70% of this thing. Just be forewarned. I also didn’t realize how very, very, very bisexual it would be!! I NEVER JUST HAPPEN UPON BI BOOKS! I loved how perfectly normalized and trauma-free the queerness was in this book. I loved it so much for that.
Basically Noni decides she needs to make some big ole changes in her life and decides to go on a pleasure-quest where she just does absolutely anything that her pleasure tells her to do. LOL I couldn’t have written a more perfect-for-me book. And just because I keep things interesting, after I was done reading this book I picked up…

“The Awakening of Malcolm X” by Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson

The Awakening of Malcolm X by Ilyasha Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson
Download the audiobook version here.
Get the hardcover copy here.

I was so excited about this book because it was written by Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz and geared towards a Young Adult audience. (The cover art is stunning, too.) This book centers on his young adult life when he was in Charlestown prison. It talks a lot about the way that Malcolm X really came face to face with the need for true freedom for Black people. It chronicles the way that he joined the Nation of Islam as well as the prison debate team and these two things merged together at just the right time. Now, for me, this book ended right when I was getting really, really excited about the things Malcolm was getting ready to do! Which is the point, I suppose. It made me really want to read The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley.

Have you read anything you absolutely adored lately? I feel like I had a super great book month in February.

What do you think?

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