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How the Word Is Passed
How the Word Is Passed: A Journey Across the Country That Black America Built | Clint Smith
In its simplest distillation, How the Word is Passed is the story of Clint Smith's visits to seven places that the work and lives of enslaved people built. Those places are Monticello in Virginia; Angola Prison in Louisiana; the Whitney Plantation in Louisiana; Blandford Cemetery in Virginia; Galveston, Texas, where the first Juneteenth was celebrated; Wall Street; and Goree Island, Senegal.How the Word is Passed is much more than a travelogue. What Clint Smith does is show us how the history of slavery is not only relevant today but alive today. He does this by revealing how slavery is hidden in plain sight, introducing us to the men and women who have devoted their lives to understanding what so many of us do not know and, finally, by letting us walk in his shoes as he learns these truths.It is important to briefly describe what this book is not - it is not a polemic, or another work of politics. It is not a sad procession of black death, or a weighty historical tome. What How the Word is Passed is is the living, breathing kind of history that is made unforgettable in the telling.
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Decalino
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In this powerful book, author Clint Smith explores the legacy of slavery by traveling to Monticello, Jefferson's plantation; Angola prison, where slavery transitioned to forced labor without missing a beat; a Confederate heritage celebration; & NYC's Central Park, where an integrated community of free Black residents & Irish immigrants once stood. By turns revelatory & disturbing, a must read for anyone interested in our country's true history.

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ncsufoxes
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I finished this one really quick. I loved Smith‘s style of writing. The project he started was examining different places throughout the US & one in Africa. He was looking at the impact of slavery in the past & now the current views on racism. He visited Monticello, Thomas Jefferson‘s home, & how the current tours are changing to reflect what we know now & understand more about the role Jefferson had in slavery. He did discuss about how some

ncsufoxes people are opposed to changes made to some of these tours or historical places to reflect changing views on racism. I really appreciated Smith‘s insights & it continues to give me things to think about as I am on my anti racism journey. This book gives me #bookspinbingo it is also my #bookspin book for the month. #litsylovereads (edited) 2mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 2mo
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Deblovestoread
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I‘ve read some amazing books this year.

Nonfiction: tagged, All the Young Men, Ten Steps to Nanette

Fiction: The Mercies, The Dance Tree, The Seed Keeper, Fresh Water for Flowers. Also, Unlikely Animals and Mary Jane, both on audio which I suspect added to their charm and made them top reads.

#Littenswanttoknow

Would you like to share your top reads so far @Cinfhen @Andrew65 @TheLudicReader ?

Cinfhen Thanks for the tag!! I need to scroll through my list !! Definitely feeling some of your choices 🥰 3mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 🙌🏻📚👍🏻📚 3mo
MelanieSolane The sisters of the lost marsh, Lucy Strange 3mo
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HeatherBookNerd
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How the Word is Passed
Remarkably Bright Creatures
Tru Biz
Book Lovers
Cloud Cuckoo Land
The Sentence

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swynn
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(2021) Brilliant idea, brilliant execution. It's a collection of essays based on visits to sites that commemorate slavery: Monticello, Whitney Plantation, Angola Prison, and others. Smith contemplates how history is represented and interpreted by visitors, how the representations compare to historical documents, and how the stories we tell continue to affect our lives. The audiobook is narrated by the author, in this case an excellent choice.

ChaoticMissAdventures Brilliant is the perfect word for this one. Clint Smith is outstanding. 4mo
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Lauren890
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This book is absolutely excellent. Smith visits different sites that pertain to the history of slavery in the US. I appreciated how he included his own personal perspectives, as well as the perspectives of the many people he interviewed. He approaches and discusses these encounters with compassion, regardless of their worldview. I think it‘s a must read - particularly for Americans, but also for anyone who is interested.

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Sharpeipup
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Despite the heat, there‘s something unique about reading outside in the summer, don‘t you agree? 😎

📸 NYTBooks IG

Larger article online too.

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BkClubCare
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Excited to finish this in time to count for July. Esther wonders if I read it too fast. I assure her that I learned new perspectives, enjoyed all the googling-research this prompted (the book references so many things that I wanted to SEE and provides no photos so I explored.) And will likely ponder the reckoning, the appreciation, the shifts required in action and thoughts.

BkClubCare 65th book of the year. 4mo
Ruthiella As long as Esther is satisfied with your reading comprehension, then OK. 😂❤️🐶 (edited) 4mo
BkClubCare @Ruthiella - she just wants to be included 🤷🏻‍♀️ 4mo
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BkClubCare
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Esther approves. “Yes, Mum, this smells like a good book.” #Important #NotonmyBingoCard

ReadingRachael Awww….Ester is so cute 🥰 4mo
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Sophronisba
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(Sorry, this is going to be long, Litsy does not give me enough room!)

I was struck by this passage -- which made me think of both my high school alma mater and my ancestor Asa Ladd, who was executed by the Yankees:

“. . . when they are asked to reckon with the fact that their ancestors fought a war to keep my ancestors enslaved, there is resistance to facts that have been documented by primary sources and contemporaneous evidence. . . .

Sophronisba They are forced to confront the lies they have upheld. They are forced to confront the flaws of their ancestors. As Greg Stewart, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, told the _New York Times_ in the aftermath of the 2015 Charleston massacre, 'You're asking me to agree that my great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents were monsters.' . . . 5mo
Sophronisba Accepting such a reality would, for them, mean the deterioration of a narrative that has long been a part of their lineage, and the disintegration of so much of who they believed themselves to be in the world.“

I don't know if I would call Great-Great-Great-Grandpa Asa a monster, exactly, but I have long reconciled myself to the idea that he is not a person I would want to hang out with. . . .
5mo
Sophronisba (Nor do I think he would enjoy my company, for that matter.) I confess it is puzzling to me that people are so desperate to believe in the goodness of ancestors they never met. I don't feel that Asa Ladd's behavior, or the behavior of anyone I never met, reflects upon me at all.

(Smith's book is just as brilliant as I expected it to be: highly recommended.)
5mo
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Sophronisba
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July 4th reading. Totally coincidental (I've been waiting for this hold to come in for months) but feels appropriate.

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DisneyFan
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DebinHawaii Welcome to Litsy!! 🎉📚🎉 6mo
tpixie Welcome to Litsy!! 🥳📚🥳 6mo
DisneyFan @DebinHawaii Thank you!! 6mo
DisneyFan @tpixie Thank you!!! 6mo
tpixie @DisneyFan ☺️ 6mo
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SweetP1967
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Insightful and powerful. There were many points made that made me think, and in many instances the author very effectively framed his viewpoint, especially related to racism, in ways that resonated.

DrexEdit Cool. My husband brought this home from the library the other day. Now it's on my TBR also! 6mo
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Cinfhen
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“The history of slavery is the history of the United States” but sadly most of us have been given a whitewashed education. So Clint Smith gives us the history lesson we all should of been taught. By visiting several historical sites linked to the Civil War, we first get the “official “guided tour version & then Smith respectfully & insightfully poses his own questions & observations. Very well done. A bit repetitive but that‘s the point.

Cinfhen I really think you‘re gonna like this @Megabooks 7mo
See All 11 Comments
Megabooks @Cinfhen thanks! I need to check it out from the library! 7mo
melissanorr This is going to be the citywide read from our library in September. My book club is very excited. 7mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 7mo
Cinfhen That‘s wonderful @melissanorr it‘ll make for great discussion 7mo
Chelsea.Poole Great review and I agree! I learned so much reading this. 7mo
Megabooks Looking forward to it! 7mo
MallenNC I‘m so glad you had a chance to read this one. I think it was my number one book choice of last year, and definitely one I still think about. @Megabooks I know you like audiobooks — this one is read by the author, and I really liked hearing his voice while I read my print copy. 7mo
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Cinfhen
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My #BookSpin for May
From @MallenNC #NYWD list….I still have a few more to read….

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 7mo
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Jfishtech
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Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

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Deblovestoread
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#WondrousWednesday

1)TBR shelfie with Rosko in his llama hut. 😻
2)Non-fiction is tagged, fiction The Seed Keeper
3) My first two bails of the year happened this month: How Much These Hills is Gold and North and South.

Everyone show us your shelves 😊

Eggs Love the llama!!! Thanks for joining in ❣️ 8mo
SilversReviews Nice photo!! 8mo
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TiminCalifornia
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Thank you @ncsufoxes - Jessica! Every choice is amazing and I really appreciate the note and personal connection you shared with the books and the gifts. I am looking forward to tomorrow morning‘s coffee, the chocolate and the notebook (which is not too large.) The Baldwin sentence diagram is brilliant. I was enough of an English nerd that I liked diagramming sentences in school. Love it all. #blitsyswap #bhms

Book reviews to come!

Chelleo You‘ve got some great titles there! Love the mug and journal too! 9mo
riversong153 💜💜 9mo
ncsufoxes I‘m glad you enjoyed everything! 😊 9mo
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Addison_Reads
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Having recently finished The 1619 Project, I was unsure about reading this so close to it. However, while it is similar subject matter, it's very different in execution.

Clint Smith deserves all the praise he is receiving for this book. His look into specific locations, like Monticello or the Whitney Plantation (background photo), was informative, heartbreaking, and just proves why accurate history needs to be taught.

Highly recommend!

Hooked_on_books I just love his approach. This book is SO good! 9mo
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HeatherBookNerd
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Smith travels the country, exploring sites connected with America‘s history of slavery. He examines the ways these stories are passed down, ignored, remembered, and distorted. He is a remarkable writer, weaving together well-researched history, a wide range of interviews, and his personal reflections as a black man. Smith questions when and how we as Americans will confront and reckon with this central part of our nation's identity. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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corireadslife
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Rating: 5🌟
Book: 7 of 2022

Purposefully planned a full morning of cleaning just so I could put my AirPods in and finish listening to this one. So worth it. Highly recommend.

P.S. I have finally caught up with all my #Litsylove letters since moving. I‘ve been slow but just put a stamp on the final one. Look forward to many, many more 💌

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks ❤️❤️❤️ 10mo
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Deblovestoread
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#2022ReadingBracket

Decided to play along with @chasjjlee and see where I end up at the end of the year.

See her feed for a blank bracket if you‘d like to play along.

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Deblovestoread
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#ItHadToBeYou #JanuaryStats

13 books
3 Non Fiction

Tagged was 5 🌟 as was All The Young Men.

Bookishlie This was an excellent book! 10mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Awesome 👏🏻📚 10mo
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LibrarianRyan
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ncsufoxes
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TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 10mo
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Deblovestoread
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#BookReport

Girl: 4.5 🌟 I have one small quibble about one scene that didn‘t ring true. See spoiler comment below
Snowflake: 4🌟
HTWIP: 5🌟 Will definitely be on my #NYWD list for next year. #Bookspin
H: perfectly portrays what happened when women lose out due circumstances beyond their control in 17th century London and need to survive. Really loved the characters 4🌟 #NYWD

Catching up on buddy reads today.

thewallflower0707 I‘m glad you liked H ☺️. I thought it was very refreshing to have, at the same time, a well-researched historical novel and a female character, who just made the best of her life and actually ended up happy and with friends 😍 11mo
Deblovestoread The scene where Big Momma goes on about hard work and never giving up on dreams to Adunni seemed out of placed. She did not for a minute care if Adunni had dreams. 11mo
Cinfhen I think you‘re probably right, but it‘s nice to imagine/ believe that Big Momma might of had an once of compassion. She was a terrible bitter person 11mo
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RaeLovesToRead @Kdgordon88 @Cinfhen I think Daré was trying to make Big Momma a moral grey area - abused turns abuser, successful woman in a man's world - but the violence that she meted out made any attempts at redemption seem completely ridiculous and out of place. It might have worked better to tone down the abuse and give her some nicer qualities. Still, I gave it 5 stars because it was an incredibly absorbing book. 11mo
megnews So glad to hear good things about HTWIP. I definitely want to read that one. 11mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 11mo
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Jas16
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Every bit as amazing as everyone has been saying. I listened to the audiobook but will be buying a copy for my shelves so that I can revisit the things that struck me the most and the places where my attention lagged (which tends to happen to me with audiobooks).

Cinfhen This is on my #NYWD list. I have the kindle book but I‘m thinking of adding audio narration 11mo
Deblovestoread @Cinfhen I finished the audio yesterday. It is excellent, the best book addressing slavery and enslaved persons I‘ve read so far. 11mo
Cinfhen Thanks @Kdgordon88 💜I‘ll definitely add audio 11mo
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vlwelser
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❤❤❤❤❤

#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

This was the bonus book for my IRL book club. I am so glad they brought this into my life.

TheBookHippie I read the ARC and flagged and underlined almost the entire book! 11mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 11mo
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Susanita
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The highest rated of the books I read in 2021. This is not a surprise to me. It‘s a very good book.

MallenNC This was my top book of last year. 11mo
TrishB Have it on my kindle ready 👍🏻 11mo
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mcctrish
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It‘s Epiphany so I took down the tree today and finished How the Word is Passed. I liked listening to CS read his book, I learned a lot about things I thought I knew, I learned a lot about things I knew nothing about. I like how he wove positive things about people making a difference now into horrendous historical events

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mcctrish
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Listened to Clint Smith while I drove out to the chicken farm for eggs and it makes me wonder how we will ever repair the damage. The section about the people who believe in the Confederate flag and that it doesn‘t mean they are racist and they can‘t understand why other people take offence baffles me

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Deblovestoread
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January #BookSpin #DoubleSpin and #Bingo

December: One bingo, 17 books off my shelves

Thanks, Sarah! You know I love this monthly challenge!

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! Fabulous month!!! 11mo
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HillsAndHamletsBookshop
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Smith‘s personal, intimate examination of sites of historical significance to slavery is as soulful and accessible as it is urgent & important. The opening chapter on Jefferson‘s Monticello is one of the best chapters of American historical writing in recent memory, & should be required reading on the legacy of America‘s founders. It‘s rare to encounter a work where every paragraph brims with significance, but Clint Smith does just that.

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MallenNC
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Now that it‘s the last day of the year I can finally call my reading done for 2021. I read a lot of good books this year (thank you, audiobooks) but these were my Five Star reads. Its interesting how many of them were nonfiction this time around. The tagged book is my number one favorite.

#MyYearInBooks

jlhammar The Lost Family was so good! 11mo
MallenNC @jlhammar It really was! I listened to it because @Megabooks posted a review and I am so glad she did. It wasn‘t on my radar until then. 11mo
Megabooks That book was FASCINATING! 11mo
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Scochrane26
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Both of these are favorites of this year. I read the tagged in September & Under the Whispering Door in October. Both so great for different reasons. #12booksof2021 @Andrew65

Andrew65 Great choices. 11mo
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mcctrish
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Started this on audio today

Scochrane26 I loved this one 11mo
mcctrish @Scochrane26 I am loving it from the beginning 11mo
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underground_bks
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In his debut work of nonfiction, poet Clint Smith journeys to and reflects upon landmarks and monuments relevant to the history of slavery in America: plantation and prison, Confederate cemetery and African burial ground, the Door of No Return in Senegal and Juneteenth‘s birthplace in Galveston, Texas. Every chapter is an illuminating, powerful, and beautifully written exploration of history, memory, and the legacy of slavery in America today.

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mjtwo
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13-18 Dec 2021 (audiobook)
Such a moving, educating and challenging book. It thoroughly deserves its position on so many best of 2021 lists.
Difficult to describe: the author journeys to sites in the US and Senegal significant to the history of slavery and uses his experiences to prompt the reader to question their assumptions and education about slavery.
Beautifully written and read in an almost poetic style, I would confidently recommend.

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Bookishlie
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This book was amazing! A New York Times top 10 book of 2021 - it totally earned it! He had some interesting thoughts and observations he brings to the table and you can hear the poet in his turn of phrase although it is not poetry. Everyone should read this!

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MallenNC
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One of my favorites of the year! Clint Smith is a poet, and you can see that in his writing in this book, in which he visits historic sites, including a plantation, a notorious prison, and a confederate cemetery, to see how the story of slavery is told. Very well done, with a mix of his own experience with the public history of these sites. Five stars #NonfictionNovember

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MallenNC
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I had a great #NonfictionNovember with eight books finished, and I‘m in the midst of a reread of The Warmth of Other Suns with a #BuddyRead here on Litsy. I need to do reviews of all of these but they were all worth reading. The tagged book is one of my top books of 2021.

Wake and Seek You are graphic memoirs/nonfiction and I‘m really beginning to enjoy nonfiction in that format.

vivastory Graphic memoirs are one of my favorite genres. I've really discovered some great ones this year. 12mo
MallenNC @vivastory I‘d love some recommendations if any are particular favorites! I‘ve read the ones on my Nonfiction 2021 card and this post. The only other I‘ve read is Good Talk by Mira Jacobs. (edited) 12mo
vivastory For some reason I'm only now receiving a tag notification about your reply. 😬 I have several recommendations for graphic memoirs. These are all graphic memoirs that I haven't been able to stop thinking about since I first read:
*Derf Backderf: Kent State (I also loved Backderf's gm Trashed, & although it is darker I also enjoyed his gm Dahmer- about him going to school with Jeffrey Dahmer).
*Thi Bui: The best We Could Do (cont)
12mo
vivastory *Radtke's: Imagine Wanting Only This
*March trilogy
*Nicole Georges“ Calling Dr. Laura (out of all of the books I've mentioned so far, this was the only 4 star. But it's def worth reading I think)
I have posted full reviews of each of these on Litsy if you're curious to learn more about each title
(edited) 12mo
32 likes4 comments
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ChaoticMissAdventures
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Have you read any of the 100 Notable books picked by the NYT?
https://vm.tiktok.com/ZM8sW26eW/

I have read 12 and have 8 on my TBR shelf.

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Cinfhen
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#USKindleDailyDeal #NewYearWhoDis #Winning Wow!! So glad I found this today 💜 @MallenNC @Blaire

Soubhiville This is definitely in my top 10 list for this year! 13mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen my library has it! I definitely need to listen! 13mo
See All 6 Comments
Cinfhen I‘m so excited @Soubhiville because it wasn‘t available on any of my library services 13mo
Blaire @Soubhiville @Megabooks @cinfhen it really blew me away. Even the history I knew was told in a way that gave me new insight. Make sure to read the epilogue. 13mo
MallenNC That‘s great timing! 12mo
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rsteve388
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Wow! What a eye opening, very real account of how slavery has impacted our country and our culture in the United States. It was a very profound book, one that should be read by everyone. Very powerful. The section about Angola Prison in Louisiana was heart stopping. Excellent. #NFN21 #NFN #NonFictionNov

Cinfhen Thanks for sharing. Sounds like an important read 13mo
Scochrane26 I felt the same way about this book. So eye-opening. 13mo
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Blaire
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Smith visits Monticello, a confederate burial site, Angola prison, and the Whitney plantation among other places to look at how enslavement impacts our history and present day. I found the Angola section to be particularly powerful and visceral. The epilogue about his own family made the whole book feel very personal. Highly recommend. And my 100th book of the year. ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

EvieBee 🎖#100 13mo
BkClubCare 💯 woot! 13mo
DivineDiana 👏🏻😲👍🏻 13mo
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rsteve388
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#NFN #NFN21 Point Check In! @coffees

tdrosebud Hi Rachel, I filled out the form for this past week. However, I didn't listen to any podcasts but the form required an answer, so you can just ignore that one. Thanks! 13mo
rsteve388 @coffees ^^ @tdrosebud Thanks.for letting me know. 13mo
julesG Hey Rachel, we were thinking of doing a Buddyread in December, but I can't remember which book we wanted to read. 🙈🙈🙈🙈 13mo
rsteve388 @Jules Children of Earth can't remember who it's by. 13mo
rsteve388 Children of time... 13mo
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SW-T
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There was a lot in this one that I didn‘t know. I enjoyed the background and trivia on the landmarks and places he visited. It‘s interesting to see how two people can look at the same thing and come away with vastly different impressions. The epilogue made me want to cry when he spoke of how he saw his grandfather versus how his grandfather had been treated as a child growing up during segregation. One to think of long after finishing.

lele1432 I need to pick this one back up! 13mo
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ChaoticMissAdventures
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5⭐
This should be required reading for Americans. This is truly an outstanding book.Smith is a poet and he uses language to make a terrible history lesson a beautifully written book.His research is impeccable, and no matter how much you think you know you will learn something. I had no idea the "United Daughters of the Confederacy" helped build a disgusting, hateful traitors park just an hour from me in Washington state.
Blown away by this book.

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AlizaApp
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A non-fiction book that examines how America deals with the legacy of slavery in the 21st century. As you might imagine, the findings are mostly grim, but I learned a lot.

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ChaoticMissAdventures
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#weeklyforecast it is a heavy reading week. Next week I should make sure to add some fun books!