When We Rise

If you haven’t yet seen Dustin Lance Black’s masterpiece mini-series, When We Rise, please do. I spent my long weekend on my couch taking in this amazing, inspiring, heart-breaking, spirit-lifting (insert every adjective you can think of here) story and I still haven’t fully processed through it all. But I’m going to try to explain why this is such an important work.

When We Rise follows the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement from its conception in the ’70s in San Francisco up to the Supreme Courts monumental decision on marriage equality in 2015.  The events are seen through the eyes of three prominent social activists within the movement – Cleve Jones, Roma Guy, and Ken Jones.  These three individuals have seen and lived through it all – the fledgling civil rights movement, Harvey Milk’s campaign and murder, the AIDS epidemic, DOMA, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell…. basically if you can think of it and it involves equal rights in the US over the last 40 years you can bet one of them was involved in it. Continue reading

The Epiplectic Bicycle

Edward GoreyHave you heard about our Bike into Spring event taking place at the Dufferin Clark library? It’s taking place Saturday April 29th,  which is in just over a week, so mark your calendars! Bring your bike and helmet for a bicycle-filled day of games, DIY workshops, stories, an obstacle course, and a whole lot more! The event starts at 1pm and ends at 4pm, and there are going to be lots of community participants there, including the York Region Cycling Coalition, Pedalheads, velofix Mobile Bike Shop, and more from the City of Vaughan & York Region.

Now, if your biking style is anything like Embley and Yewbert from The Epiplectic Bicycle, I don’t know whether to be envious of or worried for you. If we were looking at it as a regular story, I’d say that the two aforementioned are the two protagonists, but this is no regular book, so arguably, there are actually three protagonists – Embley, Yewbert, and the Epiplectic Bicycle – and the former two go on a trip using the latter, around… I’m not really sure around where, to be honest. Just around. (One might even say it’s not that the two take the third for a ride, so much as the bicycle takes Embley and Yewbert for a spin.) They go here and there, and (as Victoria pointed out to me) they explore so many things outside of the scope of this book that Gorey cuts out entire sections of their journey altogether, as you can see by the skipped chapters throughout. They even meet an alligator, who – on second thought, I won’t spoil it for you. The only way you can find out is if you take your bike around to try to meet that same alligator, or if you go and read The Epiplectic Bicycle!

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Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Author Jacqueline Woodson is best known for her award-winning books for children, including her memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, which was a Newbery Honor book in 2015. Her latest release shares a setting with that book, and may also be inspired by some of Woodson’s childhood memories, but Another Brooklyn is fiction for adults.

Another Brooklyn Cover

August has returned home for her father’s funeral when she catches a glimpse of a face from the past on the subway. The sighting transports her memory to 1970s Brooklyn, a time and place when she and her girls–Sylvia, Angela, and Gigi–were walking the fine line between childhood and womanhood. Brooklyn is a city also in the midst of change: August doesn’t know the names of the white people moving out of her Bushwick neighborhood, but she knows their moving vans. Where the four best friends once jumped double dutch and cavorted in the spray of a fire hydrant on a hot day, they now see strung out veterans and men whose eyes linger just a little too long on their young bodies. Having moved to the city from Tennessee with her father and brother, August is waiting for mother to join them, “tomorrow and tomorrow…”

On Goodreads, no less an author than Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist) called Another Brooklyn a “love letter to black girlhood”. Though this novel is a short read, it is a powerful one that will stay with you after you turn the last page. The writing is poetic, as befits a writer named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. If, like me, you enjoy well-written novels that examine female friendship, even if they break your heart, you will love Another Brooklyn.