Read Soul Lit Photo Challenge 2021 – Days 10 – 13

Day 10: Book and Bookmark

Children of the Night The Best Short Stories By Black Writers 1967 to the Present is an edition I was lucky enough to purchase in a used book sale in Paris for a whopping 1€! The book sale was selling paperbacks for 0.50€ and hardcovers 1-2€. I grabbed this one as soon as I saw it. This edition was edited and commences with an introduction by the late great Gloria Naylor. Big thank you to @booksandrhymes 🤗for reminding me that I had this book on my shelf. 🤦🏾‍♀️ Clearly I have a lot of books. No worries because I’ll be trying to read this one at some point in the year over a month or two. It falls into that big book category 500+ pages. You know I’m reading one of those a month and I’m reading one short story collection a month too. So this kills 2 birds with one stone. I can’t just stop there. I have to talk about this watch bookmark called Clock Artmark from @bookartbookmarks which actually works. Love it!❤️ So if you’re interested in one you can go to their website bookartbookmarks.com to purchase it and so many beautiful other bookmarks.

 

Day 11: Four in a Row

I can’t wait to see what everyone posts today because you can post so many different ways on 4 in a row. I’ve decided to Spotlight one of my favorite series and that’s Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series. These are the first 4 books of the series and I need to continue on by getting to book 5, A Little Yellow Dog. This series is so suspenseful and full of larger than life characters but most of all it features a protagonist black man who solves mysteries/crime beginning in the mid forties. The best thing is that time advances with each novel. This series currently contains 15 books. Book #15 is called Blood Grove and was released this month February 2, 2021.

 

Day 12: Kids Corner

Today is another moment to spotlight excellent black stories for our children. I’ve spoken about The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis before, but I couldn’t resist mentioning it again. It’s a wonderful novel crafted with a very touching and informative story of the difficulties of a black family to survive during the Depression. Full of emotional twists and turns, you won’t be able to forget The Mighty Miss Malone. And this cover is everything! I actually pull it out regularly just to admire it.😍

 

Day 13: Real Life Heroes

100 Amazing Facts About the Negro was first published in 1957 by Joel Augustus Rogers. It’s original title was “A Negro ‘Believe It or Not’”. Rogers was delivering pride and enlightenment with this book. « You could say Rogers was African-Americans’ first black history teacher. » The excitement and pride Black people must have felt reading the wonders of this book and during Jim Crow. It surely helped keep hope alive. Not to mention, Henry Louis Gates is definitely reminding Americans everyday how much Black History is American history.
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If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate links for Blackwell’s or The Book Depository.  It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!

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Read Soul Lit Photo Challenge – Day 8 & Day 9

Day 8: Book with a View
Head Off & Split is my Spotlight of the day. Yes! Yes! Wow this poetry collection by the talented Nikki Finney! This poetry collection is a moving read that takes you through African American culture and history. You’ll just want to keep rereading. As a matter of fact, I’m due for another reread myself. I’m no expert on poetry but I know what I love.😍 How about you? Name a few of your favorite poetry collections.

 

Day 9: Spine Poetry

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
Nowhere is a Place
The Last Thing You Surrender
Erasure
Becoming
A Small Place
Lost in the City

 

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate links for Blackwell’s or The Book Depository.  It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!

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Read Soul Lit Photo Challenge Day 6 and Day 7

 

 

Day 6: Plant and a BookI will always mention Bedrock Faith by Eric Charles May when some ask for recommendations of Black American authors. This book is so damn underrated! I hope one day Eric Charles May decides to release another book. I’d be the first one to purchase it.Bedrock faith has everything that makes a great novel – larger than life characters, good writing, suspense, and a complex plot.
What’s it about?

“After fourteen years in prison, Gerald “Stew Pot” Reeves, age thirty-one, returns home to live with his mom in Parkland, a black middle-class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. A frightening delinquent before being sent away (his infamies included butchering a neighbor’s cat, torching another neighbor’s garage, and terrorizing the locals with a scary pit bull named Hitler), his return sends Parkland residents into a religiously infused tailspin, which only increases when Stew Pot announces that he experienced a religious awakening in prison. Most neighbors are skeptical of this claim, with one notable exception: Mrs. Motley, a widowed retiree and the Reeves’s next-door neighbor who loans Stew Pot a Bible, which is seen by Stew Pot and many in the community as a friendly gesture.
With uncompromising fervor (and with a new pit bull named John the Baptist), Stew Pot appoints himself the moral judge of Parkland.”(Bedrock Faith, cover description)

 

Day 7: Next Read
Well I’m back to serial reading since I’m reading a huge doorstop. I don’t mind because I’m enjoying everything. The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison is a treasure trove of info on life back in the day and on writing, life, attitudes, and creativity. I’m enjoying reading about his friendship with Richard Wright and others. I started Bebe Moore Campbell’s What You Owe Me and I’m intrigued for the moment. This is an oldie but I have high hopes for it. Last but not least I’ll be picking up Song of Solomon for the second time in eons. So I’ve got my work cut out for me this week but so far so good…. What are you reading? Do you usually read more than one book at a time?

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate links for Blackwell’s or The Book Depository.  It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!

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Read Soul Lit photo Challenge – Day 4 & Day 5

Day 4: Young Adult

If you’ve been following me for a while you know I don’t really get into Young Adult so much. I feel like it’s written for young people so I don’t have to like it.  This being said I had to think on what I had that was different from the typical Angie Thomas and company. So I started combing my shelves and found X by Ilyasah Shabazz, Malcolmp X’s third daughter and Kekla Magoon. Haven’t read it yet because not a priority but I feel like this one would be great for YA readers.  Here’s what it’s about:

“I am Malcolm.
I am my father’s son. But to be my father’s son means that they will always come for me.

They will always come for me, and I will always succumb.

Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s nothing but a pack of lies—after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer.

But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory when what starts as some small-time hustling quickly spins out of control. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can’t run forever.

X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.”  (X, cover)

 

Day 5:  Literary Fiction

Literary Fiction is my favorite. So I had no trouble choosing Colson Whitehead which has slowly become my book bae since I started reading him.  I really do admire his capacity to tell all sorts of important stories in different ways. I decided to go with The Intuitionist because it’s probably one of the titles by Whitehead that is the least spoken about.  This copy was a gift to me and I’m finally going to make room for it on my TBR this year, to be specific next month. Have you read The Intuitionist? What book by Colson Whitehead do you love the most?

“Lila Mae Watson, the city’s first black female inspector and a devout Intuitionist with the highest accuracy rate in the department, is at the center of the turmoil. An elevator in a new municipal building has crashed on Lila Mae’s watch, fanning the flames of the Empiticist-Intuitionist feud and compelling Lila Mae to go underground to investigate. As she endeavors to clear her name, she becomes entangled in a web of intrigue that leads her to a secret that will change her life forever.

A dead-serious and seriously funny feat of the imagination, The Intuitionist conjures a parallel universe in which latent ironies in matters of morality, politics, and race come to light, and stands as the celebrated debut of an important American writer.” (The Intuitionist, inside flap)

 

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate links for Blackwell’s or The Book Depository.  It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!

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Read Soul Lit Photo Challenge – Day 2 and Day 3

Day 2: The day’s prompt was Outside. I was so happy to see all the beautiful pics of books in the snow or with snowy backgrounds. Absolutely beautiful! I decided to take a picture of The Living is Easy by Dorothy West in my garden in front of the only beautiful thing left.  This was her debut novel and was reprinted last year in November with this beautiful cover. It was originally published in 1948. The Living is Easy is definitely on my TBR list of books to get to this year and I hope to follow it up with The Wedding, which seems to be the title that most people seem to be familiar with. So what’s it about:

“The Living Is Easy tells the story of Cleo Judson, daughter of Southern sharecroppers, determined to integrate into Boston’s black elite. Married to the “Black Banana King” Bart Judson, Cleo maneuvers her three sisters and their children—but not their husbands—into living with her, attempting to recreate her original family in a Bostonian mansion.” (The Living is Easy, the cover)

 

Day 3:  Shelfie was the prompt today and the pictures I’ve seen on Instagram have been inspirational. Inspirational in me trying to make my own reading room, but first I have to finish organizing my shelves.  I took  a picture of one of my favorite shelves (one of the most organized) and that’s the one which contains Bernice McFadden and J. California Cooper books.  I decided to use Dr. Morayo Da Silva as an example from the Cassava Republic published novel Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun. The main character, Dr. Dasilva arranges her books together if she thinks they could be friends. So some of my shelves are organized in this fashion.

I feel like J. California Cooper is an author that isn’t spoken about enough and that’s mostly because backlist books aren’t really popular. You can’t get better short story collections than hers. I recommend you start with Homemade Love and Family which is a novella, an uplifting story you won’t forget. Of course, Bernice McFadden is another author that you should read if you haven’t. Some of my favorites from her are Gathering of Waters, Nowhere is a Place, and The Book of Harlan.  Literally everything she writes is excellent.  You can’t go wrong no matter whatever you decide to read.

 

Read Soul Lit Photo Challenge – Day 1: #ReadSoulLit TBR

 

Better late than never! I’m finally back at the beginning of this new year with the Read Soul Lit Photo Challenge.  I’ve linked the photo challenge here so that you can follow along. I promise to be back with at least one post a week but this month I’ll be here everyday with my photo pic from the Read Soul Lit Photo Challenge in honor of Black American writers for Black History Month 2021 that I’m hosting over on Instagram.I’ll be doing weekly videos on YouTube as well covering what I’ve photographed for the challenge.

 

As for my TBR, I’ve chosen quite the big stack this month because I truly do want to get through all of these great books and more if possible. I’ll be laying off the extra Netflix watching, besides when I watch when I’m having lunch or dinner. I’m also going to try to read everyday this month. I didn’t do that last month. There were 11 whole days when I didn’t read a thing and that’s why I didn’t finish one of my books last month. Totally unacceptable if I want to get through 8+ books this month.

So what have I decided on reading:

Firstly I’ll be reading A More Perfect Union by Tammye Huff. It’s a fictionalized retelling of the meeting and life of her great great grandparents. This is the book I’ve chosen for the Read Soul Lit Readalong for this month. If you’re interested in joining you can purchase the book through The Book Depository and you can join the Goodreads group where month long discussions will be happening. The group is called A More Perfect Union Read Soul Lit February Readalong 2021

The 2 biggest books I’m reading this month are What You Owe Me by Bebe Campbell (533 pages)  and The Selected Letter of Ralph Ellison (1,002 pages). I so hope I can manage to finish these two.

The Read Soul Lit Book Club on Patreon, we will be reading Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. It will be my second time picking it up in a very long time, since college. I’m wondering what my thoughts will be. More on that as it happens….. If you’re interested in joining the Patreon book club you can click here.

Since I’m trying to read one short story collection a month I’ve decided on The Awkward Black Man by Walter Mosley. An oldie by the great Leonard Pitts, Jr., Grant Park. It is a story of race relations in the United States set between two eras 2008 and 1968. And last but not least two new releases: The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr.  It’s a story set in the Deep South on a plantation that explores a relationship between two men. The other book is called Yellow Wife and it is also a slave narrative that follows slave Pheby Delores who has been promised to be set free on her eighteenth birthday.

Come back tomorrow for Days 2 and 3 of the photo challenge.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate links for Blackwell’s or The Book Depository.  It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you, I really appreciate it!

Blackwell’s Affiliate (Independent Bookstore/ Free Delivery)

https://www.blackwells.co.uk?a_aid=BrownGirlReading

The Book Depository

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My Merch Shop

The Brown Girl Reading  March shop has Read Soul Lit mugs and tote bags! Get into the mood with a great book and a Read Soul Lit mug with your fave hot drink.

 

#ReadSoulLit 2019 in Honor of Black History Month

February always gets me so excited about reading.  Black History Month always makes me want to delve deeper into the books written by black Americans and to learn more about my culture.  I feel that black literature, is getting more recognition these days although I still feel that more consideration is given to African Literature.  We have ways to go to get to the same level of recognition.

This is why I’m hoping that the photo challenge on Instagram and my videos this month on YouTube will give African-American authors the spotlight they so desperately need.  I’d love to be able to mention Bernice L. McFadden, Dolen Perkins-Vladez, Gayl Jones, and so many others and have everybody know who they are and what their writing is about.

As you can see in the picture above, this is just a fraction of one of my book shelves that contains quite a few books by African-American authors – 11 to be exact including the June Jordan novel that’s just at the edge of the picture on the right.  There are a few of these that I plan on reading this year that frankly I should have read many years before.  I’m looking forward to reading So Much Blue this month by Perceval Everett.  It will be my first attempt and I hope I’ll love it, having heard so many great things about this author and how he tells stories.  Another one on this shelf that is long overdue is Perfect Peace by Daniel Black.  So many people have recommended this one to me over the years and I’m not sure why I have continued to neglect picking it up.  Promise to myself and others that this one will get read this year.  Ann Petry’s The Street is another one that I’d like to finally read completely.  I had one failed attempt during a buddy read.  I didn’t finish because I didn’t like it. It was mostly because I was too busy to concentrate on it.  The classic The Wedding by Dorothy West has been on my list for ages and I finally picked up a copy 3 years ago but have been putting it off.  The Darkest Child I’ve been putting of because of its story.  I’ll definitely need a pallet cleanser after reading it. I’m sure it’s going to make me mad as hell.  So these are just a few books among many others that will continue my #readsoullit reading of African-American writers throughout the year.   I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing these as well as checking out a few new ones this year.  Happy Black History Month and reading!

#ReadSoulLit Tag

I created this tag so that people could get more recommendations of books by black authors.  I’m tagging all of you bloggers out there to do it and to add to the list of growing recommendations of African-American authors and their works this Black History Month.  Enjoy!

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations please consider clicking my affiliate link for The Book Depository, where shipping is free! It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!

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The Seal of Approval

What’s in a seal?  Prestige, praise, protection, a blessing.  Seals have existed for many centuries.  They date back to some of the world’s first civilizations.  Today we use them mostly to award prizes.  If you’re a book lover of literary prizes, then you’re used to seeing seals on winning books and runners-up.  Seals are now also showing up on new releases and back list books for book clubs.  Oprah’s Book Club, Reese’s Book Club, Emma Watson’s Book Club, even Jimmy Fallon, and the list goes on.

I hope this trend isn’t going to continue but it seems as though people are really catching the reading bug because of them .  That’s fantastic!  However the thing that annoys me about some of these celebrity book clubs is that when the book is published there has to be a giant seal printed on the front cover for the book club.  This drives me mad!  Why is it that publishing companies have to put Oprah’s seal on every book she chooses for her book club?

When the public decides to buy a book that happens to have the Oprah book club seal, it looks like we’re all joining her book club when we aren’t.  It’s great for the author who gets loads of publicity because his/her book was chosen to be discussed for the club.  Sadly for collectors, like myself,  the Oprah and Reese cover seals don’t cut it.

November 13th, 2018 Becoming by Michelle Obama was released.  I was ecstatic but when I heard that Becoming was chosen for Oprah’s book club, I hoped that there would be some pre-orders that were published without the seal.  First edition hardcover books with a book club seal on the front is just disheartening.

The 13th I looked at all of the pictures on Instagram that rolled through my feed of Becoming.  Everybody was so proud and overjoyed by the release of this book.  But there was a common feeling lurking under many of these posts. “I would have preferred that the cover didn’t contain a Oprah Book Club seal.”  Now this is a very common thought contrary to what most people would think.  It’s time that publishing companies start listening more to their customers, the avid readers and book collectors on this one.  We are all prepared to buy books but we’d prefer you omit publishing them with book club seals.

I know publishers probably think that the seal of approval encourages the public to buy more books.  Avid readers who buy a lot of books don’t need a seal of approval on a book to be convinced to buy it.  Most of us do our research and we know what we want to buy and read.  There are people who just refuse to buy any books with book club and literary prize seals on them.  In my opinion, these so-called seals of approval make the value of the first edition decrease.

Now after pre-ordering my copy of Becoming from Amazon, it arrived sadly with the dreaded Oprah seal.  So I had to hunt for a copy with no seal.  I realized that the British copies do not have any seals on them.  On the hunt for a British copy, I found and ordered a copy of Becoming from The Book Depository.  My copy came from the UK and it doesn’t contain the Oprah seal of approval.  Thank goodness was my sigh of relief once the box was finally opened.  Becoming looking perfectly beautiful.

So what can we do to try to get books to not contain seals of approval from celebrity book clubs?  I think we should all take to our computers and write letters to publishing companies, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc and urge them to stop printing book club seals on book covers or at least print only half of them with seals.  At least this way there would be a possibility for book lovers to be able to buy a book without a seal.  This could be done since now we know that they produced all of the UK copies without seals.  What’s stopping publishing houses from publishing only half the books with seals?  Comment below and let me know what you think about this.