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Falcon's Bookshelf

The Lone Star College-CyFair Library book blog. Discover the great books our LSC-CyFair faculty and staff are reading!

The Falcon's Bookshelf

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August 2022 • Jennifer Bourgeois, Professor of Criminal Justice

Do you have a guilty pleasure book?headshot of professor jennifer bourgeois
Not that I can think of.

What is your favorite genre? Which do you avoid?
My favorite genres are African-American fiction and non-fiction. I typically avoid sci-fi. I haven’t found a sci-fi book that has held my attention.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book coverWhat is a book that you’re afraid to read?
Harry Potter. I’ve heard that once you read one, you might as well block off your calendar because you’re going to be dedicated to read the entire series. 

Do you remember the last time you put down a book without finishing?
For the longest, when I started a book I had to finish it; regardless if it held my attention. Nowadays I am quick to stop a book if I’m not enjoying it and move on to another one. Can’t think of the last book I put down, because I tend to read lots of reviews about a book before I invest the time read it.

What book is currently sitting on your nightstand?
Decolonizing Wellness by Dalia Kinsey, Breath by James Nestor, Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race-Based Stress by Dr. Gail Parker, and Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

What’s the last great book you read? The last book you recommended to everyone you know?Finding Me by Viola Davis book cover
That’s a hard one! I’ve read several books this year, but the ones that I kept telling myself “just one more chapter” before bed were: Finding Me by Viola Davis and Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. Both of these books I immediately told my fellow book lovers to add to their 2022 must read list.

Are there any classic novels you read recently for the first time? 
Eat Pray Love. I’ve seen the movie, but I finally found the time to start reading the book. It’s one of the books currently on my nightstand. 

Describe your ideal reading experience.
In bed curled underneath my favorite blanket with a lavender candle burning.

Do you have a favorite book no one else has heard of?
My Brother’s Keeper by ReShonda Tate Billingsley 

Which writers – novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets – working today do you admire most?
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, Victoria Christopher Murray, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jesmyn Ward, Tayari Jones, and Carol Anderson

What’s the last book you read that made you laugh?
Will Smith’s autobiography. I listened to it on audible and it was like a production. There were a lot of moments when he’s recounting something from his past that is hilarious.

What’s the most interesting thing that you learned from a book recently?
Black Women’s Yoga History: Memoirs of Inner Peace by Dr. Stephanie Y. Evans. This book by far one of the best books that I read In 2022. I was unaware that historically the extent that yoga and mediation were used by Black women to manage stress. As a Black woman, yogi, and yoga teacher this book resonated within me deeply. I have recommended this book to several women in my inner circle, and this amazing book has allowed me to dive deeper into my wellness practices. 

Do you prefer books that reach you emotionally, or intellectually?
Both. Depending on the mood I’m in determines which book I decide to read for the day. If I’m in a writing mode I tend to gravitate towards books that stimulate me intellectually. For example, my two favorite books that led me to a rabbit hole of diving into research were Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot, and The Black Agenda: Bold Solutions for a Broken Systemedited by Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman. Then sometimes during this year I enjoyed reading a good romantic comedy that tugs at my heart emotionally such as By the Book by Jasmine Guillory or The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley.

What book might people be surprised to find on your bookshelf?
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. I remember reading this book randomly on a Sunday. This was a quick afternoon read with lots of nuggets throughout it. It’s a great book about diving into your creativity, and perfecting your craft. Don’t ever let anything deter you from pursuing your goals and dreams. 

Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Your favorite antihero or villain?
Switching from books to comics, I remember having a yellow briefcase that I used to keep up with my comic books. I definitely remember some of my favorites being Superman, Batman, and Wolverine. As an adult, I remember when Black Panther premiered. It was a celebration for my culture! A comic hero that looked like me! Black Panther quickly became one of my fictional heroes. My favorite antihero is the Joker. I enjoy the seeing the evolution of the character in movies, and how in each Batman series the actor has taken on the role in different ways.

Roll of Thunder by Taylor book coverWhat kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you the most?
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor is by far my favorite childhood book. Roll of Thunder was a young teen book that I read in elementary school that stuck with me. It was the first historical fiction book that I read in elementary school. The book narrates a family's battle to retain their integrity, dignity, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice in Mississippi during the Great Depression.

Have your reading tastes changed over time?
Absolutely. I used to read a lot of fiction books during my spare time; however, in 2017 I returned back to school to pursue my Ph.D. For nearly 5 years, I mostly read journal articles and non-fiction books focused on my areas of research. Now that I am finished with school, I am enjoy reading a variety of different genres. It also feels pretty good to be in the groove of leisurely reading without having a highlighter and pen nearby to jot down notes.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?
Maya Angelou, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison.

What do you plan to read next?
I plan on reading the stack of books that are currently scattered throughout my house. I literally have a books laying around in every room in my house lol. Therefore, I never have a problem trying to find a book to read; it’s more or less which book to read. At the beginning of the year, I was set on reading 40 books this year since I turn 40 in 2023. However, I have already finished reading 32 books, and I’m currently reading about 3 books right now.

What book would you most like to see turned into a movie or TV series that hasn’t already been adapted?
My childhood favorite book, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

What’s the last book you read that made you cry?Take My Hand by Perkins-Valdez book cover
Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. This book mad me cry and furious. The forced sterilization of young African-American women was addressed in this historical fiction narrative. The story was loosely inspired by the case Relf v. Weinberger (1973). Regrettably, this book remains relevant in today's world with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

What’s the last book you read that made you furious?
See above

Where do you find your books? Where do you look when you’re searching for your next great read?
I tend to surround myself with fellow booklovers, and the recommendations are non-stop. If I’m ever wondering what I should read next I can always post on social media and the suggestions flood in. I also enjoy popping into independently owned bookstores in person, or virtually to see a list of book recommendations.