Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners but is now currently being hosted by Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.

This week’s book:

Yonder by Jabari Asim

Blurb from Goodreads

The Water Dancer meets The Prophets in this spare, gripping, and beautifully rendered novel exploring love and friendship among a group of enslaved Black strivers in the mid-19th century.

They call themselves the Stolen. Their owners call them captives. They are taught their captors’ tongues and their beliefs but they have a language and rituals all their own.

In a world that would be allegorical if it weren’t saturated in harsh truths, Cato and William meet at Placid Hall, a plantation in an unspecified part of the American South. Subject to the whims of their tyrannical and eccentric captor, Cannonball Greene, they never know what harm may befall them: inhumane physical toil in the plantation’s quarry by day, a beating by night, or the sale of a loved one at any moment. It’s that cruel practice—the wanton destruction of love, the belief that Black people aren’t even capable of loving—that hurts the most.

It hurts the reserved and stubborn William, who finds himself falling for Margaret, a small but mighty woman with self-possession beyond her years. And it hurts Cato, whose first love, Iris, was sold off with no forewarning. He now finds solace in his hearty band of friends, including William, who is like a brother; Margaret; Little Zander; and Milton, a gifted artist. There is also Pandora, with thick braids and long limbs, whose beauty calls to him.

Their relationships begin to fray when a visiting minister with a mysterious past starts to fill their heads with ideas about independence. He tells them that with freedom comes the right to choose the small things—when to dine, when to begin and end work—as well as the big things, such as whom and how to love. Do they follow the preacher and pursue the unknown? Confined in a landscape marked by deceit and uncertainty, who can they trust?

In an elegant work of monumental imagination that will reorient how we think of the legacy of America’s shameful past, Jabari Asim presents a beautiful, powerful, and elegiac novel that examines intimacy and longing in the quarters while asking a vital question: What would happen if an enslaved person risked everything for love?

Why I Want To Read It

Happy Monday everyone, the first of February. I hope you are all doing fine despite the things that have been happening, with the virus and all. While a month has already passed, uncertainty still looms but I am still hopeful that things will look up as the year moves along. I am hopeful that we are making it towards the end of the tunnel. I am fervently praying that the pandemic will end soon. Even if it will take time for things to get back to the “old normal” so long as we can move around sans any fear of the invisible enemy that has been lurking these past two, going to three, years. Nevertheless, I am hoping that you are all doing well, in body, mind, and spirit.

I know, many will say that Monday is their least favorite day of the week. But Mondays also represent fresh starts, new opportunities, new doors. It is a chance to be a better version of ourselves. It symbolizes starts and starts, I have learned, can be the most difficult part of a journey. On another note, Mondays also give me chances to share books that are part of my (perpetually) growing reading list. Thankfully, I am still nearly done with my 2021 Wrap Up posts but I still have several backlogs. Still, it is no excuse to skip a Goodreads Monday update. For the past few weeks, I have been featuring 2022 books that I have recently added to my reading list. For this week’s update, I am featuring Jabari Asim’s Yonder.

I have never heard of Jabari Asim prior to 2022. A quick Google search yielded a prolific career, with works ranging from nonfiction to poetry to short stories to children’s stories to adult novels. He has quite the resume and I am surprised that it was only this year that I have heard of him. I guess because his debut novel, Only the Strong was published in 2015. His latest work, Yonder, was only his second novel. I have to thank HappymessHappiness for introducing me to Asim and his latest work. Even though I have not read any of his works before, I am always up for a new reading adventure. Reading the synopsis further piqued my interest in the book. It is a work depicting the antebellum south. While I have read a couple of literary works dealing with this dark era, I don’t profess to be an expert on the subject. This makes me look forward to reading books like Yonder for they broaden my understanding of this era and how it has altered the landscape of history.

Recently released this January 2022, I am crossing my fingers that I will get to obtain a copy of the book without much trouble. How about you fellow reader? What 2022 books are you looking forward to? I hope you could share it in the comment box. For now, happy Monday, and as always, happy reading!