Category Archives: Marion’s Favorite Books

Marion’s favorite books that he has reviewed.

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 80: Planting Stories (The Life of Librarian & Storyteller Pura Belpre) by Anika Aldamuy Denise & Paola Escobar

The joy I get in reading with my daughter Norah is you learn about someone that you have never heard of before.  This is the case with the book, Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar.

Pura Belpre was the first librarian of Puerto Rican descent in the New York City Public Library.  Planting Stories told a quick overview of her journey into becoming a librarian and storyteller that served the brown and black communities of New York City. She came to America in 1921 and started as a bilingual assistant. Her popular retellings of Puerto Rican folklore and puppetering made everyone feel welcomed at the library.

She was one of the first librarians to championed bilingual literature and expanded the range of the city’s librarian collection. Pura was an author and wrote one of the first Puerto Rican folktales published in English titled Juan Bobo and the Queen’s Necklace: A Puerto Rican Folk Tale. It was published in 1962.

I enjoyed reading Planting Stories and learning about Mrs. Belpre.  Also, the artwork by Paola Escobar was excellent, and I told Norah several times while reading the book how much I loved the illustration. I recommended Planting Stories for readers between the ages of 4-8. However, this book was good enough for a late 40s father to want to have for his own personal library. Pura Belpre was someone that deserves to be known to the wider reading public and the American culture at large.  Her contribution to literature was important and must be recognized as such.

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 79: Respect-The Life of Aretha Franklin by David Ritz

Sometimes after reading one book will make you want another book with a similar topic. My previous review was a fictional music documentary in a novel titled The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton. Opal Jewel was one half of a groundbreaking punk rock duo from the early 1970s that nearly made… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 78: The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton

“The easiest thing in the world is to be yourself. The hardest thing in the world is to be yourself.” Those two sentences were appropriate for one of the two major characters, Opal Jewel, in Dawnie Walton’s excellent debut novel, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev. Walton told the story of the early 1970s… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 75: Invisible Men by Ken Quattro

Black History Month is in full swing and I have seen many social media posts recognizing the achievements of African Americans throughout the nation’s history.  However, I have always wanted to find out something that does not get much recognition or overlooked during this annual celebration in February. Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 73: The Dark Fantastic by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

“The principles of the dark fantastic are so ingrained in our collective consciousness that when the expected pattern is subverted, most audiences cannot suspend disbelief. Readers and viewers complain that dark heroic protagonists are not likable. Critics observe that the characters, settings, circumstances, and resolutions are unbelievable. Agents regret that they just cannot connect with… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 72: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

  If your spouse was wrongly accused of rape and went to prison for five years but gets released, would you remain married? That was the question An American Marriage by Tayari Jones attempted to answer in her popular novel.  An American Marriage was selected for Oprah’s Book Club in 2018 and has been a… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 69: Silver Surfer #1 (1968) by Stan Lee & John Buscema

As a teenager, I had a huge comic book collection.  It was mostly Marvel and DC Comics with a few independent comic book publishers like Image, Dark Horse, and Valiant Comics. I read Avengers, Green Lantern Mosaic, Green Arrow, The Spectre, Sandman, and Icon (from Milestone Comics) during that time.  The Silver Surfer (along with Icon)… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 68: The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John Le Carre

John Le Carre passed away earlier this month.  I posted on social media my respects and fondness for The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, the only Le Carre novel I had read. I was going to read A Perfect Spy in honor of his death.  However, I got about fifty pages into that… Continue Reading

Marion’s Favorites: Marion’s Favorite Reads of 2020

2020 is mercifully coming to a close, and it has been probably one of the most challenging years that I can remember.  A global pandemic.  A contentious American presidential election.  Big time celebrity deaths. So on and so on.  Reading has been choppy.  However, I read fifty books this year.  Here are my favorite reads… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 63: The Practice by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is becoming one of my favorite public thinkers. I read his blog daily and listen to his podcast, Akimbo, as often I can.  Also, I have read several of his books like Tribes, Permission Marketing, and This Is Marketing.  He’s had a pulse on the business world for over three decades. His latest… Continue Reading