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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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!

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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.

 

Interview with Suzette Webb the author of Blues to Blessings: Moving from Fearful to Faithful

I had the pleasure of reading Blues to Blessings:  Moving from Fearful to Faithful by Suzette Webb at the beginning of this year.  I don’t usually read books like this which would be classified as self-help, but this one I found interesting and I could see how it could be a big help to a lot of women who are in doubt of their paths and looking to revive their lives in the right way.
Blues to Blessings is written in a diary format in the author’s first person point-of-view.
We follow Webb’s search for herself and her eventual reconnection with God.  Through the book, we see how she struggles to find herself in her work and family life  present and past, as well as how she finally opens up and faces everything head on.
I found this book helpful in getting me to reflect on a lot of things about my work and family life past and present.  Moreover, I was still interested even though I’m no longer particularly religious.  I especially enjoyed the diary sections because Webb’s honesty about aspects of her past were moving to read.   Each chapter ends with a Coming Full Circle section where she analyzes what was discussed in the chapter and ends on a quote from the Bible which relates to it.
After finishing Blues to Blessings, I was drawn to the idea of getting an interview with Suzette Webb to find out more about the book and what’s to come.  I urge you to follow Suzette Webb on here different social media platforms where she gives great motivational talks regularly.  You can find her on Instagram, YouTube, and of course on her website.  Click the video below to here one of her motivational talks.
Blues
Interview with Suzette Webb:

1.  When did you decide to write this book?  How long did it take and is it your first book?

I had this book on my heart a couple of years before I actually put pen to paper.  It took me 5 years to complete Blues to Blessings — far longer than I ever expected.  No, this isn’t my first book.  I self-published an affirmations book in 1997 titled Moments of Truth.  This one is currently out of print.

 

2.  What were some of the problems and/or difficulties you ran into while writing Blues to Blessings?

Getting to a place of peace about exposing my deepest secrets, struggles, flaws, etc. for all the world to see and likely judge.  I also wanted to tell a truthful story without hurting my family members.  For example, if I tell readers that my parents were never married and my father played no role in my upbringing, I am also telling my mother’s story that she had a child out of wedlock — a taboo for her generation.  This is why in the acknowledgment section I say something to the effect — “Thanks to my mother, husband and family members for allowing me to tell their story, so that I might tell mine.”

3. How did you come up with the title? It  fits the book perfectly.

Thank you.  “Blues to Blessings” was the second affirmation in Moments of Truth and it was the one that seemed to resonate with readers the most.  After the affirmations book, I knew that my next book would be about transformation and ‘blues to blessings” seemed to be the perfect fit.  The alliteration also didn’t hurt.😊

 

4.  I don’t usually read self help books and I have to admit I’m agnostic, but despite those things I thoroughly appreciated Blues to Blessings.  How do you explain that?

First, I am so glad to hear that you really appreciated Blues to Blessings!  It was not written for the devout religious.  One evening I was attending my small women’s group (a group of women who experienced some form of abuse during childhood) when one of the participants, Marilyn  shared that she had been raised as a Catholic but no longer believed in a loving God.  She simply reasoned what loving God would allow a little girl to experience the horrific pain and trauma that she had endured.  

Personally, I believe the measure of a good book (especially a non-fiction book) is enlightening the reader’s perspective…inspiring them to think and act in different ways.  That night, I tasked myself with writing a book for the Marilyns of the world.  If I could inspire Marilyn even in the slightest way to see her relationship with God differently, I had written a good book.  

Rather than write a religious or spiritual book that was centered around me telling others what they should and shouldn’t do, I was much more inspired to use my vulnerable voice to write about my own transformation and to show how God’s hand was riddled throughout my process.  I consistently hear from Amazon reviewers that B2B was hard to put down.  I think it’s this aspect of the book that draws the reader in. 

By the way, Marilyn ended up giving me a quote for my 1st edition:

“Suzette’s book immediately captured my attention.  It helped me find what I was seeking – insight into my relationship with God.  While Blues to Blessings focuses on the author’s beliefs, each of us experience God, our Higher Power, in our own way, myself included.  This book challenged me to re-evaluate my beliefs, gave me new perspective and helped  me see that God has been and will be right next to me, guiding me as I go through life.”  Marilyn D., Chicago, Illinois 

5.  Your consulting company is called LOM (Light of Mine).  Could you explain how you started it and what it’s all about?

When I finished college, all I wanted to do was enter the corporate world.  After spending several years there, all I wanted to do was leave it.  I had been conforming and dancing to everyone else’s tune for far too long, and it was time for my little light to start shining.  After earning my MBA at Northwestern, at a minimum, I knew I could consult — hence, Light of Mine (LOM) was born on my knees at my tub.

Today, LOM is actually a small manufacturing company where we supply lights for armored vehicles.  I also speak as it relates to the book and re:  women’s issues.  I often say that I am in the world of lighting and enlightenment.

6.  How has your family reacted to you writing this book?

Initially, they were concerned that I would tell too much of their story, but they are all very pleased and supportive of the final product.

7.  New Orleans is your hometown and you speak candidly about the tragedy of New Orleans after Katrina in Blues to Blessings.  How do you feel about how the city is developing since the storm.

Unfortunately, I have only been back to New Orleans a handful of times after Katrina, so it’s hard for me to assess just how much the city has changed.  Although, I will say that some parts of the city were unrecognizable to me given the new developments.

8.  Do you have any plans for writing a second book?

If so, what subject matter would it treat?  Would it be nonfiction or fiction?

I think another non-fiction book may be in my future, but I really want to maximize the exposure of Blues to Blessings to as many  potential readers as possible.  I recently received a 250+ word 5-star review on Amazon and I often think there are a million more readers out there just like that reviewer in search of a book like B2B.  I have been razor-focused on finding those readers.  This has been my #1 priority before embarking upon a new project.  A new book would likely be non-fiction but I haven’t given the topic much thought.

 

 

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 and/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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The Last Thing You Surrender – Leonard Pitts, Jr. Live Discussion

This was a great discussion to end Black History Month.  We were also blessed to have Leonard Pitts, Jr for the second half of the discussion.  He’s really brilliant! This live discussion contains spoilers so if you haven’t finished reading you might want to wait until you do. Enjoy!

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate link for 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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ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge - Days 25 & 26

Day 25 – Drink & Book(s)

Today I decided to take a picture of one of my favorite mugs (New Orleans – Bourbon St. mug) and a nice chunk of my ReadSoulLit shelves.  It always makes me very happy to drink a great cup of tea and to read a good book.  Nothing can beat that.  This last week has been colder and raining and being sick hasn’t helped.  If anything I’ve definitely got the reading in.  February is coming to a quick close and hopefully ReadSoulLit books will continue to remain in our minds for the rest of 2020.  What do you like to drink while you’re reading?

 

Day 26 – Happy Feet & a Book

I couldn’t resist. I had to take a picture of some great books, my J. California Cooper collection, and my Dr. Marten dupes.  Those books are so underrated. If you haven’t read a short story collection from Cooper, what rock have you been living under. Go out right now and get your hands on one of her brilliant short story collections.  You won’t be disappointed.  I recommend Homemade Love. It’s one of my favorites.

 

ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 23 & 24

Day 23 – Eternally Classic 

Phenomenal Woman Four Poems Celebrating Women is definitely eternally classic….. The video below is of Maya Angelou reciting Phenomenal Woman.  It’s hard to believe she isn’t here anymore.                                                 img_2258

Phenomenal Woman

By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

 

Day 24 – Starts with the First Letter of your name

img_2266Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore  is not one of the titles I hear readers speak about from Walter Mosley.  Released in 2014, its provocative cover attracted me immediately.  I was curious and even more intrigued about reading it.  Debbie a famous porn star tries to change her life, after her husband is found dead in a hot tub at their home.  The novel revolves around her attempts to change what is expected if her and how the adult industry and fans react to her change.  Mosley really tries to put himself in a woman’s shoes.  It’s an interesting exploration on life change and how difficult that can be to succeed.  This is one that flew under the radar but that was a lot better than I thought. I rated it a 3,5 stars and am anxious to read more books by Mosley with female main characters in stand alone novels. Great video below of Mosley talking about Debbie Doesn’t Do it Anymore. Excellent!

 

 

If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate link for 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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