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SheReads: Zora&Alice's Ope

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SheReads looks at the reading lists of cool chicks. If you want to be featured, send an email to uptown.literati@gmail.com.

Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith

“Zadie Smith novels are beautiful but I’ve always admired her as an essayist. This collection is everything I love about Smith – she writes fluidly and easily moves from literary criticism to journalism to movie/pop culture criticism. In my favorite essay, she discusses reading Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and her struggle to reconcile her desire to an objective critic with her “extraliterary” affection for the book as a black woman. The essays are scholarly yet funny, and fun to read – she writes beautifully on a wide range of topics, from the merits of reading David Foster Wallace, to her father’s role in WWII to the disappointment in Get Rich or Die Tryin’.”

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“I wanted to love this book before I even read it because Adichie is a fellow Nigerian and it’s about time that another African book besides Things Fall Apart gets on the school reading list. The novel is set in the 1960s and tells the story of three characters during a violent period when citizens of eastern Nigeria fought unsuccessfully to establish an independent state of Biafra. I love historical fiction and this one is so well written. For a book that focuses on war and its ugliness, it captures the beauty of Nigeria and Africa so well.”

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

“I try to read this book once every year. I love it because it introduced me to Bryson whose works I love. His books are funny, light, non-fiction that’s great for a plane ride or the beach. This is probably one of Bryson’s heaviest works (both in its size and subject). It tells the scientific story of everything, starting with the Big Bang Theory to the rise of Homo Sapiens. I love the clarity of the writing and the fact that Bryson doesn’t just delve into the science (astronomy, paleontology, physics, etc.) but also into the lives of the people who discover and test these theories. I’m always humbled by how little science I know when I read this book — it definitely makes me wish I paid more attention in science class.”

How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Borenstein

“I read this book my first year of college and it had a profound influence on how I see the world. It tells the story of different social entrepreneurs, people who are applying business-based principles to bring about social change. This book was the start of a fascination with social change that led me to Muhammad Yunus, Ashoka, the Acumen Fund, Marjora Carter, and so much more. The stories are an inspiration and remind me that, no matter what I do, I need to make sure it matters and brings some sort of social value.”

Opé Bukola lives in New York City. She is the Founder/Editor of Zora&Alice an upcoming online magazine for young, black women. You can read about the magazine and writing opportunities here or follow Zora&Alice on twitter (@ZoraAlice).


Written by whitney teal

February 19, 2010 at 10:57 am

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