Pick any of the keywords for this month from the Monthly Keyword Challenge or the Monthly Motif Challenge, and make connections. This month choices are Boy, Last, Day, Into, Dear, Summer or a place IN or OUT of this World. My choice – DAY.

best day ever

1 – DAY. One of the words for the July Key Word Challenge is “DAY” and I decided to read a psychological thriller, Best Day Ever, Kaira Rouda which I found out about from 10 of the Most Morally Bankrupt Narrators in Fiction. It’s about Paul who has planned the “best day ever” for his wife as he whisks her away for a romantic weekend. He has it all planned out … but we quickly learn that ulterior motives are afoot.

2 – READING CHALLENGES. I’m having the best month ever for reading challenges! I’m doing the 3 challenges that we host here at GXO and I’ve read a book for each of them already – and it’s not even the 15th yet. For the July Monthly Motif “Around or Out of This World”, I read The Troop, Nick Cutter – straight up gory horror which takes place on Prince Edward Island, Canada. And for the July Book Awards Reading Challenge, I read Long Shot, Kennedy Ryan, a contemporary romance, and winner of the 2019 RITA Award. The author is the first African American winner in the history of the RITA Awards.

3 – IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME. Long Shot is the first contemporary romance book I’ve read in ages and I loved it. Warning though, there were some really graphic descriptions of the domestic abuse. This must be the year for pulling out long lost but loved genres because I also read a few historical fiction novels recently and it has also been ages since I read anything like that. The books were all by Kate QuinnThe Borgia Chronicles series and The Huntress – which is about hunting a Nazi murderess known as … the huntress. There’s a very simplistic description of a very complex story (read this interview with the author).

Black Lives Matter Sign

4 – “MAY DAY” – OPPRESSION. I read The Huntress in May – a time when I wasn’t feeling like reading anything at all. The book was about the hunt for former oppressor (Nazis). May was also the month when protests against oppression in the form of systematic racism started. This was largely in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man, because of police officers kneeling on him with a foot on his neck for more than 8 minutes; video of Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting emerges 3 months after he was hunted down by a pickup truck and shot for “jogging while black” in a “white neighborhood”; and a Central Park bird watcher has the cops called on him by a woman who says she felt “threatened” by a “black man” while in the park … he was at least 6 feet away from her and she was in the wrong.

5 – BOOKS BY BLACK AUTHORS. One of the reactions I’ve seen to people being “woke” to systemic racism is a more conscious effort by many to read books about the experience, or just to read more books by black authors. One book that I’ve bought in the past (and lost track of since moving a few times in the past few years – so I just bought it again) – is What Color is My World by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld, Illustrated by A.G. Ford and Ben Boos. It is a beautifully illustrated children’s book that can and should be read by everyone. The US education system NEVER discusses the inventions of people of color. Think about what this does to our kids … conditioning children through 12 years of education that only white people have contributed positively to the World. So, I always recommend and gift this book.

And I leave you with this video of one of the greatest cricketers of all time – Michael Holding – breaking it down for you – and he talks about Lewis Howard LatimerAlthough Thomas Edison is generally credited with inventing the light bulb, his design used a paper filament which would burn out quickly. In 1881, Latimer (a black man) invented and patented a carbon filament which allowed lights to shine continuously.

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