For the past 12 days we have been doing a read-along of the BAME anthology, A Change is Gonna Come. It’s a wonderful book filled with short stories and poems by diverse authors, some well known, others slightly less known – all of which are amazing to now know of! As by now we have read the whole book, we are going to do a joint review of the book!
I absolutely adored this read-along and I’m so glad we chose this book! My personal favourites are pretty much the same as in my update post earlier, but I will expand on that! So my absolute favourites are The Elders on the Wall by Musa Okwonga, Hackney Moon by Tanya Byrne and We Who? by Nikesh Shukla. I wrote about these already in my update on day 9! I also have a big soft spot for Fortune Favours the Bold by Yasmin Rahman. I thought the story was very emotional and shows how what seems to be a small act of defiance can actually make all the difference in the world. I just wanted to yell at the awful boys and stick up for Zaibah. I related to her anxiety too (although I am not a Muslim, and so have not been discriminated against for this, I thought the way it was written was very powerful and I react in ways she does to many confrontational and aggressive situations).
To be honest, I liked something about all of the stories and poems; every single one had something unique and inspiring to offer. I enjoyed the contemporary and slightly more “realistic,” non-fantasy ones slightly more but this is my personal taste and I normally do prefer contemporary settings anyway!
I’ve found new authors, most of which I want to read the other works of. I admit I have not read enough diverse books and I’m going to change that. Often white characters and white authors are predominantly known in the mainstream but that’s no excuse as it’s not hard to go out of the mainstream and find diverse authors. Own Voices books are so important and I need to read more – there are such hidden gems that you just don’t know are there because you’re so used to sticking with books and authors you’ve heard of and read previously.
I was expecting great things from this anthology, admittedly. Everyone has been talking about A Change Is Gonna Come and i was ready for this to be very impactful on my life. I was a little disappointed when that is not what really happened.
There were definitely a few stories which i adored. We Who? by Nikesh Shukla, Hackney Moon by Tanya Byrne and Marionette Girl by Aisha Bushby were my three most favourite stories from this collection. I seemed to favor the contemporary types that were a little more realistic. Because this anthology sells itself as a ‘BAME’ anthology, i thought it might focus a little more on the struggles of being BAME, that’s where i was wrong. Each story features a diverse character in very different genres of story and poetry.
I really did end up appreciating the different styles of stories and the amount of diversity within an already diverse anthology. The poetry specifically broke up the anthology nicely. A Change Is Gonna Come starts and ends with poems, that really get you in the mind set and make you think about what you will be reading/have just read. Elders On The Wall by Musa Okwonga in particular made me want to annotate all over my book.
Overall i did enjoy reading these stories, however there were some that didn’t click with me at all and one in particular that i DNF’d. I need to go back now the pressure is off and try read it again. By far this was not my favourite anthology i’ve ever read, but it was wonderfully diverse and one of the only ones i’ve read that had such a range of genre’s all attached by one spine.
On this read-along we had some other blogs involved in sort of a ‘blog tour’ style. Gemma from Gems Curiosity Blog was first up with her review on day 5. Kelly from This Northern Gal took over next with a review of Dear Asha. And finally Charlotte from Wonderfully Bookish caught up reading fast enough to give us her review a few days later.
Thank you to everyone that got involved and read-along with us. It was such a fun read-along and we cannot wait to get started on the Christmas read-along with you all!