Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Grit – no, not the kind you normally find at the bottom of your shoe or floating around in dirty water or in the air on a particularly windy day. This kind of grit is the sum total of qualities that see you through life, that will kept you going when you’re faced with the toughest challenges, that will give you faith in yourself when no one else believes in you, that will compel you to try just on more time after the last attempt failed. We often assume that it is just the talented and the lucky few who ‘make it’. In this book renowned psychologist, Angela Duckworth, purports that it is not always about talent or luck, that oftentimes having both is no guarantee for success. Apparently, this thing called grit is just as important, if not more so to get ahead and make one stand out as a high achiever.
The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips
To be honest, it is is the title of this particular book that first drew my attention. I imagine it would be the same for anyone who grew up being mocked for being dark skinned. It’s no secret that for the longest time, having a darker hue has been equated with being ugly. That is just one of the myriad of challenges faced by the protagonist and the other characters in the story. In 1950s America, specifically in the South, how does a single mother of 10 children sustain herself and her children; how does the initial attempt to integrate schools play out in the local community; how does a young girl-child begin to live up to the potential of rising above the cycle of poverty through education?
Colour Me Yellow: Searching for My Family Truth by Thuli Nhlapo
A few weeks ago I caught the tail end of a radio interview with the author of this title and I promptly downloaded the podcast for the full conversation – that is just how compelling I found Thuli’s story to be. From what I heard, the descriptor ‘searching for my family truth’ is no exaggeration because from childhood there seems to be this mystery around her, one that is perpetuated by even the closest members of her family and manifesting in how she was treated, spoken to and of. Thuli carries this burden into adulthood and when she finally does get a big piece of the puzzle, it only leads to even more unsettling questions. At least, that’s how much the story was shared on the interview and, needless to say, my curiosity was piqued – to learn my of the life of a child who grew up being openly resented by members of her own family, her mother included and the women who, in spite of all of that, grew up to become a successful, award winning journalist but still lived with gaping holes when it comes to her sense of self.