Candice Carty-Williams: QUEENIE

Queenie Queenie Queenie….

The was the first book that the entire book club group enjoyed, even those who hadn’t read it all the way through. It was highly entertaining….and so, so cringy.

The series of gross men and bad decisions that Queenie went through…I literally yelled at the book several times. The women in this book seemed to have such little self-worth and settled for the worst possible treatment. However, examining Queenie’s experiences prompted some really great questions which facilitated a great conversation with the group.

Here are some of those questions:

  • How important is it to share our “stuff” in our relationships, and how much should we share? (“stuff” being past trauma, or in general, things that we tend to keep hidden)
  • How do we make sure the person we’re dating, if of another race, is culturally sensitive/aware?
  • Is “want” as simple as do or do not?
  • How important is intimacy between female family members?
  • Why do Black people across the globe oppose mental health as a legitimate thing, particularly the older generations?
  • Are there really no happy endings for Black women?
  • Why do older generations (especially Caribbean people) think that because they suffered we need to suffer as well? Why do they think because they held onto their pain that we can’t let go of ours?


I read the book slowly over three days, more than half of it being read on the second day. I liked the way it was written, but I still had a lot of questions. I didn’t think Queenie’s trauma and sleep paralysis were ever fully addressed, and I couldn’t seem to understand why she wanted Tom so badly—he wasn’t that great.

This book sparked a lot of thought about how we relate to people we’re dating, how we cope with our own stressors and trauma, who we seek help and advice from when we’re going through something.

It has been the best book club read so far. You should probably pick it up.

Happy reading!



Book Club Update

I need to take more control.

One of my greatest qualities is my organizational skills, but I haven’t really implemented that into this book club we’ve got going on. We’re pretty much just winging it at every meeting. We touch on the book, but most of the conversation is really not about the book at all. I’d like to guide the discussion a bit more.

One of my lesser qualities is my difficulty in remembering plot points. I mentioned at our last meeting, when asked about my favorite book character, that I don’t store books in my mind. I have a diffucult time remembering authors and storylines of books that I’ve read. As a Lit major, I read a lot in college, and I developed the habit of purging a book from my mind after I was done with it. That is especially true of books I read quickly (which is every book that I really enjoy).

So I made it a point to write questions as I was reading our current book, Queenie. I read it in just over two days because it was really entertaining and flowed easily. I decided that I need to go into our next meeting prepared with questions to lead the group discussion. I’ve never been much of a discussion leader, I’m more of a listener, but this is a great group to practice these skills with.

I am really enjoying this book club, and I hope to grow it once we get the kinks sorted out. I need to develop a better method for choosing books with the group, and I think using the polls feature in our group chat (that was also implemented at the last meeting) will facilitate book selections.

I’ll let you know how we all liked (or not) Queenie after our next meeting at the end of the month. In the meantime I’m still reading through Octavia’s Brood. I’m not rushing through this one, I’m enjoying it slowly, but I’ll let you know when I’m done.

Until next time,

Happy reading!


Kathleen Collins: Notes from a Black Woman’s Diary

We did it guys! After three weeks of continuous rescheduling, we finally had our first book club meeting!

[And today is the 1st of July. Where has the time gone? Next thing you know it’ll be Christmas!]

But let me tell you…this book wasn’t a hit.

I’m always going to be honest with you because I value the time you spend with me here. This was a difficult read for me. It took almost two months of stop-and-go reading to get through this. There were pieces I enjoyed, but first let me tell you what the book club ladies thought.

In general, there was a lot of confusion about what was happening in the short stories at the beginning of the book. So much so that most of the ladies (and there were only four of us) didn’t finish the book.

The consensus was that reading the pieces in Notes from a Black Woman’s Diary reminded them too much of trauma and hardships they’d already experienced, and none of the characters seemed happy in the least.

Many people don’t like reading literature that reminds them of their lives. Instead, they want to escape from their stresses and be transported to worlds and lifestyles that are very much different from their own. It’s fair.

For me, it wasn’t so much reliving trauma, it was just that my attention wasn’t drawn in by most of the pieces.

I was into the short stories, though “Raschida” left so many questions…particularly about the farting. I couldn’t get into the novel excerpt “Lollie” at all, even after going back to read it again. The journal entries prompted a lot of questions about my own journaling habits, and one of the entries even prompted an interesting book club discussion about interracial relationships. “Remembrance” was the one play I really liked, especially this quote

“Colored people remember something from somewhere, sometime, someplace, and cry because they know it and recognize it at the same time.” (p.143)

which also prompted a good discussion with the ladies. I did like the screenplays the most out of all the pieces in the book, and I would like to watch Losing Ground at some point.

Overall this one was tough.

Our next book club meeting will be to discuss The Handmaid’s Tale. Since I’ve already read this one, I’m going to wait until the week before our meeting and borrow it from my local Library for a quick refresh.

In the meantime, I’ll be reading Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. It’s an anthology of science and speculative fiction, and it’s parallel to my favorite author, so I’m really excited to read it.

Well there it is folks, the review I’ve been promising for a month [smacks forehead emoji]. I’ll let you know how it goes with Octavia’s Brood.

Happy Reading!