Celebrating Women Authors

I have had the great fortune in my 40 years of life of being surrounded by powerful, impression making and deeply impactful women. From my girlfriends, to former and current co-workers, to the strong women I am lucky enough to be related to. I can easily pinpoint a nugget of truth I have learned from each of them. Likewise, I have the distinct honor (and pressure, let’s be honest) of raising two little ladies, so when it comes time to celebrate Women’s History Month, I’m giving a standing ovation and clapping the loudest. Where’s the cake?

February, Black History Month, is always a bittersweet reading month for me. The content is heavy (one of the books I read in February was titled Heavy... literally and figuratively), but I always end the month having gained knowledge and a fresh perspective. March ushers in Women’s History Month and I thought it would be easy for me to pick a book from a female author, but as I was looking through my lists of books I could review, I discovered that 90% of the books I read are by WOMEN! Let’s go girls! Which makes it hard to narrow down a singular choice for March. Of course, that sounds like every month for me. It is hard for me to not over share all that I love, so let’s try this. I will review one I hoped to love and one of my all-time favorites.

Hoped to love: Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke. Two unsolved murders in East Texas off Highway 59 in Texarkana got two shutouts in this one! #famous. I assumed I would plow through this one since it is set so close to home and is a who done it. Bluebird is about a black Texas Ranger who has been put on leave and heads back to his hometown to solve the murder of a black attorney and a white woman. There were parts I enjoyed. I liked when she went deep in the seeded roots of racism and how it lingers in East Texas to this day. The characters were likeable, but I didn’t miss them when the book was over. Do y’all do that? Do you have book friends you think about when the book is over? I do. I think I would have preferred there be a little more romance or love connection from any of them. I also think it could have been a little more twisty. I like when a book makes me gasp (if it’s a twisty cliffhanger kind of book) and Bluebird left me with an “oh, ok” in the end. Not in an unbelievable kind of way, but a teetering on the edge of boredom kind of way. The story was not all together boring, but I think I will forget about this book before I recommend it to anyone.

(One of my) All-time favorites: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I lived in Mississippi, which, geographically, is the very similar neighbor to Alabama, for ten years before returning to Texarkana. Mockingbird has a familiar, easy-to-picture cadence when I read it. I believe I am drawn to Mockingbird because of the richness of the characters. They are all intricate and unique, but definitely endearing book friends. Mockingbird, set in the 1930s, is the story of a young girl, Scout, coming of age with her widowed father, Atticus, who is a white attorney representing a black man who has been falsely accused of raping a white woman. As the racial injustice plays out in the courtroom and the heaviness of racism clouds the entire town of Maycomb, Scout learns from Atticus the value in treating everyone equally. “Atticus, he was real nice.” “Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.” And the quote that never fails to stick with me and challenge me... “People generally see what they look for and hear what they listen for.” This seems like a terribly oversimplified review of one of the all-time greats, but if you haven’t read it, I hope you will. And then call me and we can chat about it over coffee.

It took me until this point to realize that I chose two books with birds in the title… birds on the brain and incredible female authors. What a time to be alive to have so many female authors to celebrate and fill our bookshelves. Bluebird has its rightful place, and I think many of you would enjoy it. It’s worth checking out for the touch of home. Mockingbird is a classic and definitely deserves revisiting if you haven’t picked it up since high school. Happy reading, friends! I will see you in April.


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