I don’t often choose to read non-fiction because the world of fiction is so vastly appealing to me personally. Maya Angelou, however, was such a fantastic person that I chose to jump into the world of non-fiction just for her. I didn’t want to miss out on the wisdom that I was sure to find in her writing. It was a great decision on my part because I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is something that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime.
In her autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Angelou crafts a deeply moving piece of writing. She tackles extremely difficult issues including rape, racism, homelessness, and self-doubt but manages to keep the tone light enough to not overwhelm the reader. The issues of the book could easily become too heavy, but Angelou works within the theme of growing up to make them manageable. Her ability to write from the perspective of a child is what helps to balance the seriousness of the issues because it masks them in the innocence of childhood. Although few of us will have experienced difficulties to that extreme, we can all identify with the pains of growing up. It is difficult for anyone to navigate the transition from childhood to adulthood and Angelou guides us through her own experiences within this common ground.
French Vanilla tea is both sweet and poignant much like the writing in I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I recommend that you sweeten the tea with sugar, not honey. If you prefer a smoother taste then add a splash of milk after the tea is brewed. Settle in with your cup of tea and get lost in the sweet and poignant writing of Maya Angelou.
If you are looking for an engaging crime mystery, I recommend The Alienist by Caleb Carr. He crafts an intriguing historical mystery hunting down a gruesome serial killer. The combination of complex characters working through new psychological and crime solving tactics places a new spin on the typical crime novel. Engaging writing allows the reader to uncover the identity alongside the detective team while the historical setting serves as a nice balance to the gruesome nature of the crimes committed by the unknown assailant.
The Alienist focuses on an unlikely team, composed of an Alienist (psychologist), Journalist, two detectives, and a female who is challenging stereotypes by trying to become a detective. The team faces not only the challenge of finding the serial killer, but also they must fight the interference of various groups who do not want them looking into the killings.
This story ties in famous characters like Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan to give the story a believable tie to the real world. It also exposes the grim conditions that immigrants faced while talking about taboo subjects like child prostitution and cannibalism. The morbid nature of the novel piques the interest of the dark corners of the human mind and makes for quite a page turner.
When devouring this book, I recommend a whiskey flavored tea because it matches the deeper and darker tones of the story. Whiskey tea is best flavored with a local honey.
Caleb Carr’s The Alienistis one of the best crime novels that I have ever read and I certainly recommend it for your to read list.