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dear mr. hemingway’s 2020 holiday books & pairings 

Own Voices Ring True Under Skies That Are Blue

Kwanza candles and decorations

The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Dare (Dutton Books)

This book! This book! This book!  It is a five star, take your breath away incredible story that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.  Adunni will stay in your heart forever.  EVERYONE should read this!

From the publisher:  “The unforgettable, inspiring story of a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself, The Girl with the Louding Voice is a simultaneously heartbreaking and triumphant tale about the power of fighting for your dreams. Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her path, Adunni never loses sight of her goal of escaping the life of poverty she was born into so that she can build the future she chooses for herself – and help other girls like her do the same.  Her spirited determination to find joy and hope in even the most difficult circumstances imaginable will “break your heart and then put it back together again” (Jenna Bush Hager on The Today Show) even as Adunni shows us how one courageous young girl can inspire us all to reach for our dreams…and maybe even change the world.”

P.S.  Mark your pages with one of these gorgeous bookmarks from The Seasonal Pages.  Such a perfect combination.

Against The Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa (Atria Books)

Wow. Eye-opening and thought-provoking, Abulhawa’s book is POWERFUL. I no doubt entered a different world from where I live in this book.  I felt moved and informed all at the same time. The complexity of the world never ceases to amaze me. A read for everyone!

From the publisher: “As Nahr sits, locked away in solitary confinement, she spends her days reflecting on the dramatic events that landed her in prison in a country she barely knows. Born in Kuwait in the 70s to Palestinian refugees, she dreamed of falling in love with the perfect man, raising children, and possibly opening her own beauty salon. Instead, the man she thinks she loves jilts her after a brief marriage, her family teeters on the brink of poverty, she’s forced to prostitute herself, and the US invasion of Iraq makes her a refugee, as her parents had been. After trekking through another temporary home in Jordan, she lands in Palestine, where she finally makes a home, falls in love, and her destiny unfolds under Israeli occupation. Nahr’s subversive humor and moral ambiguity will resonate with fans of My Sister, The Serial Killer, and her dark, contemporary struggle places her as the perfect sister to Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties.

Written with Susan Abulhawa’s distinctive “richly detailed, beautiful, and resonant” (Publishers Weekly) prose, this powerful novel presents a searing, darkly funny, and wholly unique portrait of a Palestinian woman who refuses to be a victim.”

P.S.  Strength is needed in  Abulhawa’s book.  A stainless steel tumbler from Akakpo & Co. decorated with the “STRENGTH” symbol is an excellent gift to pair with this read. 

Mother Land:  A Novel by Leah Franqui (William Morrow)

I loved Rachel and her mother-in-law Swati. At one point in the book, I truly wanted to taste some of Swati’s tea or Rachel’s french press coffee and hang out with these women for a morning. Rachel and Swati’s journey to understanding and friendship was as rocky as riding in a rickshaw.  I loved this bumpy ride with all my heart and learning about a culture different from my own is always an added bonus.  A beautiful story with strong and determined women….perfect afternoon read.  

From the publisher:  “When Rachel Meyer, a thirtysomething foodie from New York, agrees to move to Mumbai with her Indian-born husband, Dhruv, she knows some culture shock is inevitable. Blessed with a curious mind and an independent spirit, Rachel is determined to learn her way around the hot, noisy, seemingly infinite metropolis she now calls home. 

But the ex-pat American’s sense of adventure is sorely tested when her mother-in-law, Swati, suddenly arrives from Kolkata—a thousand miles away—alone, with an even more shocking announcement: she’s left her husband of more than forty years and moving in with them. Nothing the newlyweds say can budge the steadfast Swati, and as the days pass, it becomes clear she is here to stay—an uneasy situation that becomes more difficult when Dhruv is called away on business. 

Suddenly these two strong-willed women from such very different backgrounds, who see life so differently, are alone together in a home that each is determined to run in her own way—a situation that ultimately brings into question the very things in their lives that had seemed perfect and permanent…with results neither of them expects.

Heartfelt, charming, deeply insightful and wise, Mother Land introduces us to two very different women from very different cultures…who maybe aren’t so different after all.”

P.S. The ultimate book lover’s journal by Erica Gelabert Designs is the absolute greatest to pair with this book. Every book lover will adore this combo! 

Dear Mr. Hemingway’s 2020 Holiday Books & Pairings

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