The Rise of the Black Quarterback: What It Means for America by Jason Reid

The Rise of the Black Quarterback by Jason Reid, sports history, 4.25 stars, 282 pages, 2022

As a football fan, I was so excited when Trish asked if I’d like to be part of this book tour. I’m a Buckeye and I think it goes without saying that attending Ohio State means that you are going to be bombarded with football in the fall. Now that I live in Cleveland the Bucks help make watching the Browns more bearable.

If you’re thinking you have to like football to like this book you’d be mostly right. This is a book about the start of the NFL and other professional football leagues as they got started in the early 1900s and about the black players, but you can’t tell that story without talking about that period of time. I found the first half of the book just as interesting historically as anything else. Reid does an exceptional job of painting a portrait of the men. I really felt like I knew these men who broke barriers, like Fritz Pollard.

Even though I’m not completely naive to the the history of racism in the US and how it still rears its ugly head, I was surprised to see the barriers put up for black quarterbacks, like a 13 year period when some unspoken rule kept them from the NFL. But even after this ‘ban’ lifted so many great black athletes were passed over and the ones who weren’t faced so much backlash from fans. Warren Moon, the only black quarterback in the NFL Hall of Fame, was booed by his own college fans for years, before leaving to play in the Canadian league. He had to win up there for 6 years before an NFL team was willing to bring him home. This was the early 1980s. And the hate mail and death threats around that time period for many of the men were still shocking to me and I’m an 80’s kid!

There’s so much more here, but I can’t tell all of the stories! I am so glad I read it. Reid did a skillful job of telling the stories of the past and tying them to the current day NFL and it’s crop of black quarterbacks. He brings it full circle. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to Chicago Bears Justin Fields who is having a standout season after only two years removed from THE Ohio State University 🙂

“In September 2019, ESPN’s The Undefeated website (now Andscape) began a season-long series of articles on the emergence of Black quarterbacks in the NFL. The first article in the series was Jason Reid’s enormously popular, “Welcome to the Year of the Black Quarterback.” The series culminated with an hour-long television program in February 2020, hosted by Reid himself. The Rise of the Black Quarterback: What It Means for America will expand on Reid’s piece—as well as the entire series—and chronicle the shameful history of the treatment of Black players in the NFL and the breakout careers of a thrilling new generation of Black quarterbacks. Intimate portraits of Colin Kaepernick, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray feature prominently in the book, as well as the careers and legacy of beloved NFL players such as Doug Williams and trailblazing pioneers Marlin Briscoe and Eldridge Dickey. Reid delves deeply into the culture war ignited by Kaepernick’s peaceful protest that shone a light on systemic oppression and police brutality. Fascinating and timely, this page-turning account will rivet fans of sports, cultural commentary, and Black history in America.” from Goodreads.

I want to thank TLC Book Tours for sending me the book!

This Week – Vampires, Michael Jackson and Very Tired Eyes

That’s my vampire and his friend Michael Jackson trick or treating on a beautiful Sunday night. As has happened the last three years, our street set up outside before the city trick or treating began to spoil the kids. Gage turned 12 a few weeks ago (So hard to believe. I’m still in denial) so I wonder how many more years we have left for this duo.

What I’ve read this week

I’ve been reading for Cybils judging, my first time being a first round judge, and it’s no joke! I’ve read 81 books in the last month or so, with 98 more to go this month. And I’m reading books with Gage for homeschool. No idea how long it will take for my eyes to recover, lol.

I posted about my favorite October reads here, but I’ll post about my Cybils reading after the judging is over.

On the screen

Jason and I watched Enola Holmes 2 on Netflix last night and it was fun to see the cast back on screen.

Plans for the week

I’m working at the midterms on Tuesday. Please be extra kind to your poll workers 🙂

October Favorites

I’ve been reading like a maniac for Cybils judging (I think I’ve read around 70 and I’m not even halfway done!) but I’m going to wait and talk about them after judging is done.

These are my 5 favorite reads in October that aren’t up for Cybils judging.

Hector: A Boy, a Protest, and the Photograph that Changed Apartheid by Adrienne Wright

This one packs a punch. I wasn’t familiar with Hector or his story. The way that this story was told in three different first person segments made it all the more powerful. This was perfectly told for the older elementary or even early middle school set. So much to discuss. I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t give more details, but if you are talking about apartheid, this story of 12 year old Hector is a must read.

I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu by Moahloli and McDonald

This is a fabulous book for little kids about the beauty to be found in each other. I adored it. We we read this and compared the idea to other religious ideas. And it came full circle when we read the Mandela book and it talked about ubuntu, which means “I am, because you are.”

A Plan for the People: Nelson Mandela’s Hope for His Nation by McDivitt and Palmer

A great book that shows the amazing strength of this man as he brought about change for his people. We were lucky to have such a leader on the world stage. Intelligence, empathy, and courage are qualities too often lacking in leaders.

The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews

It’s the second book of the Belles of London series but is a standalone. To be honest, I wish there had been a bit more interaction between the four friends that we met in The Siren of Sussex, but that just means it works better for new readers to the series.

Julia has crippling anxiety in social situations and that’s a big problem since her huge dowry puts her on everyone’s radar. Enter Captain Blunt who has come to London to fetch a rich wife to support his estate and three illegitimate children. A mutual attraction is there from the beginning, but it takes a life-threatening situation to move things forward.

This is one of those sweet romances that features two decent people who are each to cheer for. There are mysteries and problems to unravel, but the goodness of the characters make this a comforting read. And the mysteries aren’t so hard to figure out early on, but waiting for Julia to learn the truth made it worth reading.

I first knew I’d like Julia when she took a book to a party and actually found time to read it! She was a mouse who became a lioness thanks in part to the man who first showed her love. While she was a quiet character Captain Blunt was full of mystery and seemingly bad choices so the two matched quite nicely.

Highly recommend for romance fans, especially ones who love historicals. I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series.

Alias Anna: A True Story of Outwitting the Nazis by Susan Hood

This 339 page middle school book told in free verse is fantastic. I mostly listened to the audio and it was great.

Zhanna and Frina are piano prodigies and live in Ukraine with their parents. One day the Nazis come and march them toward the killing fields. Both girls manage to escape at separate times but eventually find each other again. They change their names and birthdays in the hopes of hiding, but Zhanna’s piano genius couldn’t be denied.

Read the book. Watch these two Jewish girls stand in front of the Nazis night after night and survive.

Homeschool Happenings – Chicago and South Africa

Homeschooling in October is always a struggle. My birthday, Jason and my anniversary, and Gage’s birthday have all turned into a fall trip. Lot’s of celebrating, planning, and travel. I’m not complaining, I love the family time and the road trips with beautiful fall color, but I admit some of the homeschooling is…not as great as it could be. We spent a week in Chicago and had a fabulous time. We spent hours upon hours inside a variety of museums, so I’m counting it as a week well taught 🙂

This week to get back on track I was pretty strict with our schedule and feel better. We spent a week in South Africa and I loved these picture books…

Yoshi and the Ocean: a Sea Turtle’s Incredible Journey Home by Lindsay Moore – Fabulous story of a recued turtle who spends 20 years in a Cape Town aquarium before being freed. The information in the last few pages told more about her journey and how they tracked her. I read this one for Cybils Award reading so that’s all I’m saying for now 🙂

I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu by Moahloli and McDonald – This is a fabulous book for little kids about the beauty to be found in each other. Adored it. We we read this and compared the idea to other religious ideas. And it came full circle when we read the Mandela book and it talked about ubuntu.

A Plan for the People: Nelson Mandela’s Hope for His Nation by McDivitt and Palmer – A great book that shows the amazing strength of this man as he brought about change for his people.

Hector: A Boy, a Protest, and the Photograph that Changed Apartheid by Adrienne Wright

Mama Africa: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope With Her Song by Erskine and Palmer – Loved this story of a woman who left her country to try and change it through her music.

Living in South Africa by Perkins and Woolley This series is for a level 2 reader, but I like including them as a quick read for him to get some idea of the country we’re going to study.

We made this bobotie recipe from the Enchantment of the World South Africa book. While it doesn’t look anything like the picture it was very yummy. We followed this recipe to perfection, so I’ll have to look for a different recipe next time because it’s definitely going in our rotation.

Have you ever been to Africa? Not yet for us, but it’s fun to travel through books!

The Belle of Belgrave

The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews, Belles of London series #2 (Book 1), 4.5/5 stars, historical romance, 432 pages, 2022

A London heiress rides out to the wilds of the English countryside to honor a marriage of convenience with a mysterious and reclusive stranger.

Tall, dark, and dour, the notorious Captain Jasper Blunt was once hailed a military hero, but tales abound of his bastard children and his haunted estate in Yorkshire. What he requires now is a rich wife to ornament his isolated ruin, and he has his sights set on the enchanting Julia Wychwood.

For Julia, an incurable romantic cursed with a crippling social anxiety, navigating a London ballroom is absolute torture. The only time Julia feels any degree of confidence is when she’s on her horse. Unfortunately, a young lady can’t spend the whole of her life in the saddle, so Julia makes an impetuous decision to take her future by the reins—she proposes to Captain Blunt.

In exchange for her dowry and her hand, Jasper must promise to grant her freedom to do as she pleases. To ride—and to read—as much as she likes without masculine interference. He readily agrees to her conditions, with one provision of his own: Julia is forbidden from going into the tower rooms of his estate and snooping around his affairs. But the more she learns of the beastly former hero, the more intrigued she becomes…

from Goodreads

I loved The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews ❤️. It’s the second book of the Belles of London series but is a standalone. To be honest, I wish there had been a bit more interaction between the four friends that we met in The Siren of Sussex, but that just means it works better for new readers to the series.

Julia has crippling anxiety in social situations and that’s a big problem since her huge dowry puts her on everyone’s radar. Enter Captain Blunt who has come to London to fetch a rich wife to support his estate and three illegitimate children. A mutual attraction is there from the beginning, but it takes a life-threatening situation to move things forward.

This is one of those sweet romances that features two decent people who are each to cheer for. There are mysteries and problems to unravel, but the goodness of the characters make this a comforting read. And the mysteries aren’t so hard to figure out early on, but waiting for Julia to learn the truth made it worth reading.

I first knew I’d like Julia when she took a book to a party and actually found time to read it! She was a mouse who became a lioness thanks in part to the man who first showed her love. While she was a quiet character Captain Blunt was full of mystery and seemingly bad choices so the two matched quite nicely.

Highly recommend for romance fans, especially ones who love historicals. I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series.

I want to thank Austenprose for inviting me to be a part of this tour and sending me a copy of the book.

Cybils Awards Nominations are open

I’ve started perusing the first batch of Cybils Award nominations in the nonfiction category. Nominations are open to anyone and you have until October 15th. Books must be for kids to teens and published in the last year. There are lots of categories.

Go to https://www.cybils.com/…/2022-cybils-nominations-open… to nominate or even just to look at the nominations that have come in so far.

It would be fun to see some friend nominations 😁

Homeschool Happenings

Let’s talk about charity mail. This year as part of our homeschool I wanted to make giving a part of our school day. Jason and I came up with a weekly giving budget and asked Gage to kick in $1 a week of his money to make it an even number.

Starting in August each school day we looked at a charity request we received in the mail. We read the literature they sent and looked them up on Charity Navigator, making a note of their financials and how much they spend on programs, fundraising, and administrative costs. At the end of the week we put the 5 charities on a chart with relevant information (including whether they sent any ‘free gifts’). Then we discussed how we’d like to donate our money.

We kept track of every incoming request. In these last two months we received…61 mailings asking for money from 33 different non-profits. That’s right, 61.

I’m going to call out the worst three for the sheer amount of stuff they sent. World Wildlife Foundation sent many gifts along with their SEVEN requests for money. That’s right. They sent almost a request every week. Habitat for Humanity and The City Mission tied for second place with 4 requests each in a two month period. Three charities sent three requests.

And no, we didn’t give money to all of the repeat requesters. The worst is when they sent a letter thanking us for a donation and asking for more money at the same time ☹️
I’m going to give a shout out to Rescue Village for being the ONLY one to send us a thank you letter without a request for more money. Much appreciated.

This has been an interesting learning experience for us both. We’ll continue to track the information and requests, but we’ll be doing things a little differently in October.

I love making projects like this a part of our school day. It’s real world math education and decision making. How can this $1 make the biggest impact and what things are important in making the world a better place are discussions we had every single day.

And, yes, Gage was annoyed when a charity wasted the money we gave them to send more gifts and request more money. An important lesson learned.

A few excellent reads

City of Thieves by David Benioff, historical fiction, 4.5/5 stars, 258 pages, pub. 2008

This novel takes place during the Siege of Leningrad during WWII. I probably wouldn’t have picked this up on my own, but I bought it as a blind date book at a fundraiser. I’m so glad I did!

This coming of age story about the friendship between Russians, one a young looter and the other a seasoned soldier, is riveting. Lev and Kolya are sent out in search of a dozen eggs for the wedding of and official’s daughter. I’m not a huge fan of WWII fiction, but the siege of Leningrad books always fascinate me. The inhumanity up against real people and their will to live is always a story worth reading.

It’s at times harsh, crude, and absurd. I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it!

I listened to the audio and picked up the book to read the parts I wanted to think about a little more. The cannibal scene alone will have your heart racing.

The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka, 4.25/5 stars, thriller, 323 pages, pub. 2017

The Last Place You Look is set in the Columbus area, so that was a big draw.

Roxane is a private investigator dealing with grief and a drinking problem. This is not unique in this genre, but the addition of her relationships with both men and women added a new layer to her personal story.

She was hired to get her client’s brother out of jail and she’s pressed for time because he’s set to be executed in two months. When she starts nosing around the problems with the local police begin.

This was a fast paced mystery with a flawed lead character and dysfunctional family and I liked it I see that this is the first of four books (so far) about Roxane so there’s hope for her yet.

Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain, 4/5 stars. YA, 432 pages, pub. 2021

This was a fun, swampy, mystical thriller. Eleven teens bound together in the Louisiana bayou town known for its seers and those with special powers. When one of them disappears the one who got away, Grey,, comes home to find her.

The audio performance was great and I really liked it. It’s not a planned series, but I can see another book being written about these kids.

This Week – Banned Books Week

It’s Banned Books Week. I hope to get at least oft challenged book read this week.

This past week my book club met in person and we were all there! I don’t remember the last time all 10 of us made it to the same meeting. We discussed two books, but I only finished one, The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki. It’s a very interesting historical fiction about a woman who inherited a fortune and had better business sense than men sense. I liked it quite a bit, but would have liked it more if there had been more of a focus on her as a woman outside her four failed marriages. I’d still recommend it to historical fiction lovers, I learned a lot!

I posted about how our homeschooling is going so far this year here. These are the books we read for Peru. The two picture books and Where Is books were great.

Sharuko: Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Brown and Chavarri is a fantastic picture book, with the story told in Spanish and English. Tello is still much beloved, even all these years after his death in 1947.

Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme by Stewart and Jenkins shows the 14 monkey species that live at Manu National Park, one of the most diverse parks anywhere in the world. 

Where is Machu Picchu? by Megan Stine not only told of the country’s favorite destination, but also of some of the history of the Incas and the Spanish conquistadors.

Gage and I are also listening to The Series of Unfortunate events series and finished 3 and 4 this week. He’s addicted. Fiction isn’t his favorite so to see him excited and wanting to talk about them makes me very happy.

I’ve read 220 books of my 300 yearly goal.

On the Screen

Jason and have been watching the Sandman series on Netflix when we’ve had time, but hat hasn’t been often so I think we’re only halfway through.

We watched the first episode of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power with Gage.

This gave us all of the laughs we needed last night!

Plans for the weekend

Jason is staining our deck and then we’re headed to Lake View Cemetery at Gage’s request. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree 🙂 What’s going on with you this weekend?