Two book reviews in one week — that’s a first! I guess that’s what happens when your writing can’t keep up with your reading. This week, I published my book reviews for Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West and Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel on the blog. Check them out if you’re deciding what book you’re going to read next!
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I’m thinking about so many folks out there affected by Hurricane Harvey, and I’ve been debating how I can best help. One thing’s for sure though — do not donate to Red Cross! After this report from NPR and ProPublica came out, I’m not sure I trust the organization to actually do its job. Instead, check out this list compiled by the Crunk Feminist Collective which features organizations focused on people of color and other marginalized communities.
I know most folks are heading out this weekend since it’s a long way, in commemoration of Labor Day. Don’t forget though that this holiday was only invented after governments around the world decided to take the historical significance of the labor movement away from May 1st, away from any Communist ideology. Instead, we get a random date on the calendar which has been synonymous with picnics and retail sales.
Fret not though, Libromance got something for you: read up on posts around the struggle of workers around the world and get educated.
Speaking of workers, here’s a story that brought me to tears this week: as Hurricane Harvey pummeled Texas, I came across an article about four Mexican workers at the El Bolillo Bakery trapped by the heavy rain.
What Alvarado didn’t know was that the four bakers trapped inside the bakery would grow restless.
“They were desperate to get to their families and they couldn’t,” Alvarado said.
So they turned to what they knew best: baking.
For two days, the trapped bakers churned out hundreds of pieces of bread, filling the shelves again with bolillos (a Mexican sandwich bread), kolaches and their signature pan dulce.
You can donate to the workers and their families here directly — a great way to honor workers like Jorge at the bakery this Labor Day.
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Here’s a quick update on my #FinestFiction reading challenge: I am on book no. 8, Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire! So far, my top picks are (still) Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West and Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. I’m also thinking of Ali Smith’s Autumn, which I have yet to review. I’ve got about a month until the winner is announced (October 17)!
Happy Fall reading!
Pia Cortez is a writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She runs a book blog called Libromance where she reviews books and publishes literary features with a queer Filipino immigrant lens. She is a contributor at Hella Pinay, an online magazine for Filipino-American women and at New Life Quarterly, a literary magazine based in Oakland, California. She is currently working on her first novel.