#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 28

Day 28 – Favorite Author:

My favorite author is extremely difficult to pin down to one person.  So, I decided to site an author that I IMG_1486discovered last year that I’ve fallen head over heels in love with. J. California Cooper.  She was an incredible storyteller and sadly she died last year.  I’ve read two of the novels that are pictured here and absolutely loved them.  I don’t know how this author managed to fly completely under the radar and not get the acknowledgement she deserved.    If you haven’t picked up a book by Cooper I recommend checking out Family.  It’s short but poignant.  It will suck you in, break your heart, and leave you with lots to think about.  Here are a few other titles that you might want to have a look at too:  Homemade Love,  Life is Short But Wide, Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime , and  A Piece of Mine, among others.  Nobody knows what the J stands for in J. California Cooper.  She wanted it that way.  Could she have not gotten noticed because she was so discrete?

Who’s your favorite author?

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 27

Day 27 – Favorite Line/Paragraph: 

As you know Another Country was one of my favorite books that I read last year.  It was such a revelation to me – from the writing style to the complex characters and to all the societal themes that are still relevant today.IMG_1479  There were so many great lines from this book I had difficulty choosing.  I went with the scene on page 279 where Ida is trying tell Cass how it really is for black people.  Of course Cass thinks things are always exaggerated.  “Kept you here, and stunted you and starved you, and made you watch your mother and father and sister and lover and brother  and son and daughter die or go mad or go under, before your very eyes?  And not in a hurry, like from one day to the next, but, every day, every day, for years, for generations?  Shit.  They keep you here because you’re black, while they go around jerking themselves off with all that jazz about  the land of the free and the home of the brave.  And they want you to jerk yourself off with that same music, too, only, keep your distance.  Some days, honey, I wish I could turn myself  into one big fist and grind this miserable country to powder.  Some days, I don’t believe it has a right to exist.  Now, you’ve never felt like that, and Vivaldo’s never felt like that…..if he hadn’t been born black.” (Another Country, p. 279 Penguin Modern Classics Edition)  If you want to know more about what I thought click here.

What’s your favorite line/paragraph?

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 26

Day  26 – Funny Book:

I had to go with The Supreme’s at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat.  It really has been the funniest book I’ve read in a while.  I think I should search out funny books in the future.  It’s good to laugh between a few serious, IMG_0285_2heavy books.  The thing that is so brilliant with this book is the way Edward Kelsey more writes the three black female characters.  It’s so perfect.  He must have been a black woman in another life.  Brilliant lines!  Touching scenes.  He manages to put a bit of everything in it.

“Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat diner in Plainview, Indiana is home away from home for Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean. Dubbed “The Supremes” by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they’ve weathered life’s storms for over four decades and counseled one another through marriage and children, happiness and the blues.

Now, however, they’re about to face their most challenging year yet. Proud, talented Clarice is struggling to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband’s humiliating infidelities; beautiful Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair; and fearless Odette is about to embark on the most terrifying battle of her life. With wit, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together three devoted allies in a warmhearted novel that celebrates female friendship and second chances.”

What’s your funny read?

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 25

Day 25 – Favorite Male Character:

It was difficult to choose my favorite male character because there are so many. I decided to choose one IMG_1477that I read not so long ago.  It’s Kai from The Memory of Love.  I absolutely loved this book but particularly loved Kai’s character.  He’s developed with a sort of mystery that keeps you hooked.  He’s never really described physically but from everything we learn about his personality, his mannerisms, and how he works it’s like I can see him perfectly.  That writing capacity has always impressed me.  Kai is a young brilliant surgeon that doesn’t like to show much emotion.  He’s complex on all levels and full of faults.  That’s what makes him so appealing.

In case you don’t know what The Memory of Love is about here’s a blurb from Amazon:  “Freetown, Sierra Leone, 1969. On a hot January evening that he will remember for decades, Elias Cole first catches sight of Saffia Kamara, the wife of a charismatic colleague. He is transfixed. Thirty years later, lying in the capital’s hospital, he recalls the desire that drove him to acts of betrayal he has tried to justify ever since.

Elsewhere in the hospital, Kai, a gifted young surgeon, is desperately trying to forget the pain of a lost love that torments him as much as the mental scars he still bears from the civil war that has left an entire people with terrible secrets to keep. It falls to a British psychologist, Adrian Lockheart, to help the two survivors, but when he too falls in love, past and present collide with devastating consequences. The Memory of Love is a heartbreaking story of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.”

Who’s your favorite male character?

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 24

Day 24 – Children’s Book:

There are so many excellent ones out there but I had to go with this four-time literary winner (Scott O’DellIMG_1469 for Historic Fiction, Newberry Honor, National Book Award Finalist, and the Coretta Scott King Award – One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. Check out my review here of it. I really liked it and could see children enjoying the story.  It is definitely worth giving as a gift or to borrow from the library.

“In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

In a humorous and breakout book by Williams-Garcia, the Penderwicks meet the Black Panthers.” (One Crazy Summer, Goodreads description)

What children’s book do you recommend today?

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 23

Day 23 – Favorite Poem:

Lighthead’s Guide to the Galaxy

And if you are addicted to sleep, a bay of fresh coffee may help.IMG_1467
If you are addicted to coffee, teach yourself to breakdance.
If you are addicted to dancing, polio will cure you.
If you hear that the last black man alive will be burned at sunset
find an underground railroad.
If you are addicted to railroads: try wearing undersized shoes.
No one knows where your mother has gone with her tax refund.
If you are addicted to shoes, move to a provincial village in Japan.
If you are addicted to Japan, try eating with no teeth.
If you are addicted to teeth, visit the wife beater’s widow
She will be upstairs awaiting your caress.
I often wake up horny. If you are addicted to masturbation, seek company.
If you are addicted to company, try starlight and silence.
If you are addicted to silence, find guard dogs, traffic or infants.
If you are addicted to infants, try reliable contraception.

Or try asking yourself, What’s wrong with me?

If you are addicted to contraception, try recklessness.

Try riding an unsaddled horse until you are thrown into a bed of gravel.

If you’re attracted to recklessness, try a spoonfed disease.

My mother loves imagining the day she’ll die.
If you are addicted to disease, visit an old world doctor.
If you are addicted to doctors, try war.

If you are addicted to sorrow, all my talk about loss is not lost to you.
No one knows why your father built the shed for his weapons.

Probably with some hellified form of addiction.

If you are addicted to weapons, please find the people who plan to burn

the last black man alive at sunset for me.

Or try learning a little history.

Obviously, I’m addicted to repetition. Which is a form of history.
If you are addicted to history, try a blindfold of razors or buy a Cadillac.
If you are addicted to Cadillacs, try poverty.

No one is addicted to poverty but if you are, try wealth.
If you are addicted to wealth, you’ll need money.
If you are addicted to money, you’ll need money. Try that.

 

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 22

Day 22 – Set Where You Live:

I had to choose two novels for today’s theme – one that I read and loved and one that I can’t wait to read.  Well if you’ve followed me on here for a while you know that I read and loved Giovanni’s Room which I picked up last year.  I don’t know how I managed to get my BA in English Literature without having to read the illustrious James Baldwin.  There is something seriously wrong with that.  Reading Giovanni’s Room last year IMG_1466opened the flood gates to Baldwin’s brilliant mix of adept writing style and pertinent social commentary.  What’s so amazing is how modern and relevant his work has remained.  This is as good a place as any to begin reading Baldwin.  It’s a short novel of only 159 pages and chock full of layers of meaning on all levels.  If you decide to read the Penguin Modern Classics edition there is a very informative introduction written by Caryl Phillips that I suggest you check out after reading the book.

The second book I’m suggesting is  Black Girl in Paris by Shay Youngblood.  She is a well-known contemporary African-American writer of novels, short stories, and plays.  She’s been published in numerous magazines and spent some time abroad in Peace Corps and in Paris as an au pair.  I hope to really make an effort to read this one this year because I’d say it could almost be a modern classic when I hear people talk about it.

“Any writer who makes a writer the protagonist of a novel is just asking for trouble. If the protagonist in question is a young African-American woman in Paris, following in the footsteps of such well-known black expatriates as Langston Hughes, Josephine Baker, and James Baldwin, it’s double jeopardy. And yet in Black Girl in Paris, Shay Youngblood manages to avoid clichés even as she steers a course straight through them.”(Black Girl in Paris, Goodreads description)

 

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 21

Day 21 – Would Give as a Gift:

I would definitely give The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou as a gift.  This collection nourishes and comforts the soul.  The late great Dr. Maya Angelou was a woman wise beyond her years. IMG_1465 She is so terribly missed.  Most of her life was spent supporting and teaching humanity the hard lessons of living life to the fullest and well.  You won’t be able to resist picking this book up all throughout your life for inspiration and encouragement.  I love and refer back to it regularly.  It fills me with so much emotion.  This hardcover edition is the perfect gift because it’s beautifully published with its colorful dust jacket.

 

 

#ReadSoulLit – Photo Challenge Day 20

Day 20 – Best Cover:

Looked through the shelves and found quite a few choices for best cover but couldn’t resist this one.  Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  This cover isn’t so common but it best shows off the book.  I was so happy when I saw it while browsing on Amazon – Beautiful and just the right pop of hot pink on the spine. IMG_1461 Now that’s the way black authors should have their books published – with creativity and care!

Now unfortunately I haven’t yet read Purple Hibiscus, but it’s definitely in the reading works for this year, along with The Thing Around Your Neck.  What’s Purple Hibiscus about?

“Fifteen-year-old Kambili’s world is circumscribed by the high walls and frangipani trees of her family compound. Her wealthy Catholic father, under whose shadow Kambili lives, while generous and politically active in the community, is repressive and fanatically religious at home.

When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili’s father sends her and her brother away to stay with their aunt, a University professor, whose house is noisy and full of laughter. There, Kambili and her brother discover a life and love beyond the confines of their father’s authority. The visit will lift the silence from their world and, in time, give rise to devotion and defiance that reveal themselves in profound and unexpected ways. This is a book about the promise of freedom; about the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood; between love and hatred, between the old gods and the new.” (Purple Hibiscus, Goodreads description)

What’s the best cover in your collection?