The Parking Lot Attendant | Book Babble

Taking a break away from Batwing because honestly…I totally just remembered why I don’t do the superhero comic book thing, but that will be discussed later on!

I picked up The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat from work on Thursday and started reading it on Saturday and finished it roughly 20minutes ago. I enjoyed the first chunk of it. I found it interesting, a tad bit creepy, and almost relatable.

The main character is a young Ethiopian girl who is the daughter of two immigrants who came to America to make better lives for themselves. Straight up, they are lowkey horrible parents. The father isn’t present for the first 6 years of the girl’s life and the mother disappears as soon as the father is semi-present.  The girl remains nameless throughout the entire story, which I actually didn’t mind that much. She felt like the kind of character who would have rebelled against a name anyway and just changed it depending on who she thought she was; which I thought was super cool writing on Tamirat’s behalf.

The girl forms a close friendship/bond with a parking lot attendant named Ayale who’s the unspoken leader of the Ethiopian community in Boston. The relationship is…creepy, but almost understandable as the story unfolds.

However, I started losing interest in the story as it became more and more about the main character’s feelings toward Ayale. I’m always uncomfortable being in the mind of a teenage girl, especially when that teenage girl reminds me occasionally of teenage me. The desire to be loved, to be special, to be something more to someone who you know damn well is dangerous for some reason is something that hit a little bit too close to home for me.

I did finish it though. I stuck it out and when I got the end I was just confused. The whole story became so insanely confusing and slightly unrealistic and just…odd. This was one of those books where I loved the author’s writing, I loved the way how the characters unfolded, but I didn’t love the story because I felt like it just fell apart and was only being held together by words that fit perfectly with each other but didn’t actually mean anything.

If you’ve read this book before, let me know what you thought about it! And if you haven’t, have you ever read a book that finished simply on the strength of the writer’s way with words even though the story made absolutely no sense?

Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book!

Rae.

A Foggy Land’s End Wander

Land’s End is on my favorite “I just need some outdoor time” morning walks. It’s a beautiful place with beautiful coastal and oceans views, flowers, and just general peacefulness. It was a little bit foggy/overcast today when I went for my walk, but I love that whole vibe so it wasn’t a bad thing. Usually, I walk down to Mile Rock Beach and then turn around but today I decided to just walk the entire trail which ends at Sutro Baths/Ocean Beach.

Enjoy the photos!

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For thee longest, I’ve been trying to guess why that rock was painted white. I had my theories that it had something to do with boats and shipping but I wasn’t sure, and then I was convinced that some prankster had just thrown white paint on it and through some weird urban legend it became known as Painted Rock, but now I know. Anywho, back to the pictures.

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And that pretty much sums up my Land’s End to Sutro Baths walk! I’m planning on visiting Sutro Baths pretty soon because I saw there was some new graffiti painted on the ruins so keep an eye out for that post if you’re interested in San Francisco graffiti!

Round trip it was 3.29 miles and it took me about an hour and twenty minutes.  Of course, I’m forever stopping to take pictures or videos of stuff so that probably adds to my walking time too.

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Hope you have a lovely day, read a wonderful book and see a beautiful sight,
Rae

 

Alamere Falls Hike

I’ve been dealing with mild depression for a few weeks and one of the ways that I manage to keep it at bay is by getting out into nature as often as possible. Monday was the day I decided to finally make the drive up to Bolinas to seek out the Alamere Falls.

I’m not going to lie, I was super nervous about embarking on this hike solo. Usually, I go on these types of trips with my boyfriend, but he’s currently in South Africa for a decent chunk of the month and I’ll be starting my second job at the end of the month so I won’t have time for my usual adventures.

The Palomarin Trail is about an hour away from San Francisco via the Shoreline Hwy and is located in a pretty isolated part of Bolinas. In fact, the entire last mile to the trailhead is on a dirt road – that’s how far out the way it is. The hike itself can range from 8-14miles roundtrip depending on which trail you take to the Falls, oh! and there’s absolutely no cell phone service.

The trail was absolutely beautiful and just the right combination of coastal and inland hiking. The only part that was ~meh~ was the very beginning which featured eucalyptus trees…I’m really not a fan of eucalyptus trees. Thankfully that chunk only lasted for a quarter mile before the trail opened up to beautiful skies, coastal views, foresty vibes, flowers, and greenery.

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Now, this was the point of my hike where I had to double back because I had realized I had passed the “trail” that actually goes to Alamere Falls. Aaaaaaand lemme tell you, the trail was literally just marked by a really sketch rock arrow on the ground which is why I passed it up the first time. Any logical city kid will tell you that an arrow on the ground is most likely going to lead to your stuff getting jacked sooooooo, I feel like I was justified in my wariness. However, it was so worth it! Along with the terrifying scramble down two cliffs to the beach (I DO NOT ADVISE THIS AT ALL. IN FACT, I HIGHLY WARN AGAINST IT).

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It was stunning and I honestly can’t believe I made the hike by myself, nor can I believe I asked a random person to take a photo. My total distance was 11.51 miles and it took me 4hrs and 36minutes.

As a word to the wise, I would strongly suggest NOT climbing the cliff and instead taking the extra 2 miles and go down to Wildcat Beach. People get horribly injured climbing the cliffs and I was pretty lucky to have only scraped my knee after a horrible misstep on my return climb. Seriously, my life damn near flashed before my eyes.

I track my hikes through the FitBit app (totes not sponsored) and this is what my Alamere Hike looked like. You can totally see where I realized that I all sorts of went the wrong way…several times. Hiking alone can be scary y’all. Take plenty of water, stay on the trail, and make sure you let someone know where you’re at!
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The “Old West” Trilogy by Beverly Jenkins

Thoughts On the Series As A Whole

First off, I loved the entire series. I never thought that I would seriously sit down and read a romance book and not scoff at every other word, much less an entire series. The Old West trilogy by Beverly Jenkins has caused me to completely look at romance novels in an entirely new light. The development of the stories, characters, and the general flow of the series was absolutely lovely.

The Old West Trilogy follows a family of motivated and headstrong black women in the late 19th century and showcases their struggles with being both black and women, along with their ~struggles~ with the men who they find As each book follows a different member of the Carmichael family in a different area of America the issues being showcased slightly change.

One of my absolute favorite things about the series were the covers. I thought it was so amazing to see black people happily in love (or lust) on the covers of a genre that is so dominated by white bodies and faces. It was amazing.

Thoughts on the Individual Novels

Forbidden (Old West, #1)In the first novel in the series, Forbidden, Eddy Carmichael, dreams of opening her own kitchen/restaurant in California but ends up stranded in Nevada where she meets businessman and real estate, mogul. Rhine Fontaine. Rhine has been passing as a white man in order to make his fortune but his attraction to Eddy causes him to reconsider passing. The book addresses topics such as white-passing, marital, business, and real estate laws, and what types of communities African-Americans formed after the Emancipation.

Breathless (Old West, #2)

The second novel, Breathless, follows Portia Carmichael, one of Eddy’s nieces as she fights to prove that she’s just as intelligent as any man, doesn’t need a man and that she’s completely capable of managing her uncle’s hotel. Temptation comes in the form of a man named Kent Randolph who’s a black rancher and occasionally reffered to as a “cat-house king”. The novel explores themes of racism toward Native America’s, further struggles of being black in the West (both on the side of men and woman), and woman’s suffrage rights. It wasn’t my favorite in the series, but I found it interesting enough to move me on to the third and final book.

Tempest (Old West, #3)

The last novel, Tempest, follows Regan Carmichael, (sister to Portia and Eddy’s other niece), as she follows her dream of becoming a mail-order bride. She travels to the Wyoming Territory to become the wife of the widower, Dr. Colton Lee, who is looking for a strong female figure to take care of his daughter. Regan however, might be a tad bit too strong of a female figure and Colton has his doubts. However, those are soon overridden and Colton starts to feel his heart melting for Regan. The novel explores themes of propriety, gender roles, and life in the territories. It even briefly touches on the treatment of Chinese-Americans and immigrants. This book definitely had the most “sexy time” out of the trilogy and was my favorite in the series (not for the sexy time, but just because Regan is such a dope ass female character!)

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So, there you have it! Those are my thoughts on The Old West trilogy as a whole by Beverly Jenkins and on the individual novels. Let me know if you have read these, and also, let me know what some of your favorite romance novels are! Especially let me know if they’re written by a PoC!!

Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book,

Rae