Rabi-I Book Club Recap
Updated: Oct 7, 2021
Bismillahi ar-rahmani ar-rahim...
Assalamu aleikum waramatulahi wabarakatuhu Dear Readers.
Welcome to this month's edition.
Summary: There’s nothing like a Black salesman on a mission.
An unambitious twenty-two-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother, who wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential as the valedictorian of Bronx Science. But Darren is content working at Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building, hanging out with his girlfriend, Soraya, and eating his mother’s home-cooked meals. All that changes when a chance encounter with Rhett Daniels, the silver-tongued CEO of Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech startup, results in an exclusive invitation for Darren to join an elite sales team on the thirty-sixth floor.
After enduring a “hell week” of training, Darren, the only Black person in the company, reimagines himself as “Buck,” a ruthless salesman unrecognizable to his friends and family. But when things turn tragic at home and Buck feels he’s hit rock bottom, he begins to hatch a plan to help young people of color infiltrate America’s sales force, setting off a chain of events that forever changes the game.
Black Buck is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce; it is a propulsive, crackling debut that explores ambition and race, and makes way for a necessary new vision of the American dream.
Thoughts: Weaved with beautiful inspirational quotes, we thought that based on the snow bunny "theory" or superstition, Buck still got jinxed plus interest in this book. The author is a salesman, too. Overall, a fun and witty read.
The Heart Principle
Summary: When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.
That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.
Review: Book three of the series deals with a used-to-be people pleasing protagonist who had no idea she was on the Asperger's syndrome spectrum. When it all makes sense, she comes undone and has to work hard to stitch herself back together slowly with self-motivation, supporting friends, and her partner. It's a very relatable experience. Re-education camps and other Historical Asian traumas are lightly touched upon.
Hoang's writing is sultry as usual even for a character who is not that sexually active due to her mental illness. Well-written.
The Tourist Attraction
Summary: He had a strict "no tourists" policy...until she broke all of his rules. When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he's stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless parade of resort visitors who couldn't interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way...
Two weeks in Alaska isn't just the top item on Zoey Caldwell's bucket list. It's the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she's smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham's world, she may just find there's more to the grumpy local than meets the eye...and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.
This story of Alaska marries together all the things you didn't realize you needed: a whirlwind vacation, a friendly moose, a grumpy diner owner, a quirky tourist, plenty of restaurant humor, and a happy ending that'll take you away from it all.
Review: Zoey is a walking disaster. By that, we mean that she is very clumsy and always finds herself in sticky situations. The romance story also mimics more what many people who date experience in a sense that there is less poker face and mind games. The love interests obviously hit on each other without being indirect and too covert; they playfully tease one another. Aside that, the book puts the lights on the "side effects" of tourism. Bluntly put, it disturbs the life of the locals even if these people need the money the traffic brings in. Tourism can also lead to unplanned deaths because mother nature can be a double edge sword. Above all, this book is an eye-opener and a fun read.
Thank you for tuning in and reading. Dear Readers & Members, see you in Rabi-II 1443 AH insha'Allah.
Our Usual Book Club Questions Are:
1. What did you like most?
2. What gave you pause?
3. What didn't you like?
4. What are your other thoughts?
5. What question (s) do you have for the author(s)?
6. What questions about the book(s) do you have for the moderator or other members of the discussion(s)?
We look forward to hearing from you.
G E T I N T O U C H !
Books, Teas & Coffees
Until next time, subhanaka Allahumma wa-bihamdika ash-hadu anla ilaha illa anta as-taghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka. (O Allah, You are free from every imperfection; praise be to You. I testify that there is no true god except You; I ask Your Pardon and turn to You in repentance.) Aameen.
The Fofky's Book Club