Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

With June coming up, it’s time for another Reading the Rainbow BINGO. My friend, who I’ve been doing this Reading Challenge with the past two years, isn’t up to it this year- although we’re going to have a Pride month book club- but I love continuing a tradition even if it’s by myself! Feel free to join me if you’re interested!

Come up with 25 different categories (24 if you want to use the center square as a free space.) As you can see, I also put in some non-reading categories like “watch a documentary” or “attend an (online) event.” Basically, it should challenge you a bit but it should be fun for you. Then use a random number generator to fill in your board. Officially, it starts and runs through June but you can backlog with anything you’ve read starting May 16th.

Here’s my simplified game board for this year and the categories I’m using…

I noticed most of my reviews of the James Baldwin books I’ve read started with “I’d been meaning to read this…” so I just decided to dedicate some time reading his books which I’m dubbing the Season of Baldwin. The bulk of this reading challenge would be to get through all his novels and maybe read other works that people recommend. Usually I’ll set up other rules like read them in chronological order but I’m treating this with the impression that I’ll read the right book at the right time. And, starting off with Going to Meet the Man proved it was the right decision because… wow!

Going to Meet the ManGoing to Meet the Man by James Baldwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This collection of short stories were incredible. I liked all of them except “The Man Child.”

I enjoyed “The Rockpile” and “The Outing” and because they involved the same characters I thought all the stories were going to be related and loosely interwoven. I’m excited to stick with these characters for my next Baldwin read, Go Tell It to the Mountain.

“Sonny’s Blues” contains some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read so I think everyone should read that.

The titular story was ugly, horrible, and difficult to read- subject-matter wise. The writing was superb as usual.

“This Morning, This Evening, So Soon” was probably my favorite. I felt lots of the experiences the narrator shared stemmed from Baldwin’s real life. But I admit I don’t know much about his life so I have to remedy that, too!

Here are the other James Baldwin books I’d read in previous years…

Giovanni's RoomGiovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’d been meaning to read this and I’m glad I finally did because it’s become one of my favorite favorites. The writing is superb immediately drawing you into the story. And even though you know how it’s going to turn out, James Baldwin has created something so alive that you think it might somehow change.

The Fire Next TimeThe Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d been meaning to read this and admittedly I didn’t know much about it coming into it. I thought this was a collection of essays but it was actually just two works. The first is a short letter to his nephew on the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. The second, which is the rest of the book, is about his faith and the racial injustice in the US. Both are powerful in their own ways that reveals a cold hard look at the realities of his time- and sadly our time as well.

Little Man, Little Man: A Story of ChildhoodLittle Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood by James Baldwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A most unique picture book- James Baldwin’s sole children’s book. Leave it to him to capture experiences that are hardly told- and maybe at the time of its original publication, never told at all. It may seem gritty to our older sanitized selves but the honesty is refreshing. Adult situations and adult problems can never truly be separated from children’s lives as much as we would want to protect them from it as long as we possibly can. I wish there was a more cohesive thread to these vignettes and a stronger sense of a story structure to give it some sort of closure.

You can view all the books I’ve read on my Goodreads page.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

5 thoughts on “My Reading Week #IMWAYR- May 24, 2021/ Reading the Rainbow BINGO

  1. I admire your persistence for reading all the Baldwin, Earl. I will try to find at least one of them! Thanks for sharing these titles!

  2. Your Reading the Rainbow Bingo sounds like a great challenge, and I’m glad you’re keeping it up this year! The James Baldwin books you’ve been reading sound great as well. Thanks so much for the great post!

  3. I too love reading Baldwin. I’ve read The Fire Next Time, Go Tell It to the Mountain, and Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood. I love that he used the vernacular of his nephew’s Harlem community in Little Man. I read somewhere that the nephew asked Baldwin when he was going to write a book about him and this is what came out of it.

  4. The Reading the Rainbow challenge sounds fun. I have only read a few of Baldwin’s works, but have appreciated much of what he had to say in those. I think I need to read more. Thanks!

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