ANTOINETTE SCULLY runs the amazing blog Black & Bookish. She is a Black feminist scholar, professional reader, editor, and project consultant living in Los Angeles, California.


1. What was the first book you read?

I have no idea. But it would have been when I was very young. One of the earliest I can remember is Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse. It's a little girl asking her mother a million different ways if she would still be loved if she were different. It's also illustrated with Indigenous American cultural art and I remember being fascinated by it. 


2. What’s your favorite quote from a book?

“There was something immodest about her modesty: it announced itself.”  ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah 


3. Which book would you recommend to everyone?

Most recently that book is So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. I read it this year and it's the only book I'm telling people about. It's well-written, it's to the point, and it's honest without being condescending. Everyone should read it. 


4. What do you prefer reading: fiction or non-fiction and why?

I use to think it was non-fiction because I love to learn new things, but it's Science Fiction by a long shot. I love the way sci-fi writers build complex worlds, or even better, how they take our current world and make it special. Octavia Butler is a magician in that way. 


Antoinette Scully | Bookish Interview | Market FiftyFour

5. What’s your favorite place to read a book?

I usually read in bed. I use to have an armchair that I love, but right now, getting cozy in my pjs is my favorite. 


6. What’s your favorite word in your native tongue and why?

Circumlocation. It gets used a lot in science fiction and young adult novels to show the reader and the narrators have had similar experiences but without saying what that "thing" is. I always feel more a part of the story when the author uses this to navigate their story and characters. 


7. Which three books should be mandatory for everyone?

I don't think I have three ULTIMATE books, but just this year, I can say that everyone should read So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez, and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. 


8. Can you name a book that you’ve never read but always planned on reading someday?

Desert Flower by Waris Dirie. I actually own it and someone gifted me a copy in 2010, but I haven't read it yet. It's always been on my TBR list since then. 

Antoinette Scully | Interview Bookish | Market FifytFour

9. What do you look for in a book? Besides a great story?

I look for a profound emotional response from the characters. That the people or whatever have deep feelings and beliefs, no matter what those beliefs are. Conviction is something I need in my stories.  


10. What do you prefer: audio book or e-book?

Oh I prefer hard copies. But if I had to choose, I would say audio because some of the narrations are amazing.  


11. What was your favourite African story growing up, and why?

I don't know if it's accurate but Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe is one I grew up with. I had it as a kid and when I became a parent, I bought it for my daughters. It connects them to me through a book I loved at their age. 


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