Day 7 – Current Read
My current reads are keeping me glued to the pages. The Last Thing You Surrender by Leonard Pitts, Jr is the Read Soul Lit 2020 Read Along pick. It is captivating everybody. So glad to discover another interesting black American writer that I hadn’t read before. I’ll definitely be combing the rest of his backlist, starting with Freeman which I’ve heard a lot of good about. It’s not too late to join us in reading and discussing it on Goodreads It’s called ReadSoulLit Readalong 2020 – The Last Thing You Surrender. Those first fifty-five pages knocked me on my ass! The accuracy of his descriptions are downright accurate and undeniably moving. It’s as if the reader is there. It’s a 500-page novel that reads very quickly, so those that have difficulty reading long books you won’t have any trouble getting through this one. I’ve already started trying to cast the characters in my mind for a movie or a Netflix series. Who do you see playing Luther? How about Kofi Siriboe from Queen Sugar?
The second book I’ve just started is called Seeds of Deception by Arlene L. Walker. This book came across my Instagram timeline last year and its cover attracted me immediately. With it’s striking cover and storyline pitch I was sure this one would be for me. I’ve only just started but it’s promising first line has got me very curious. “If poverty was slavery, then wisdom was wealth.” (Seeds of Deception, p. 1). This book contains a family secret, Cherokee Indians and their former African slaves, and a protagonist called Spit Louie McClendon. Sounds like a winner to me. Will keep you posted on what I think about this one. Check out the video below of Leonard Pitts, Jr talking about race and The Last Thing You Surrender.
Day 8 – Delightful Dish & Book
Today’s book post was Tar Baby by the Queen Toni Morrison who I still can’t believe is gone. Tar Baby was one of the first few novels I read by Morrison and one that I remember sparked much conversation in my college course on black women writers. Tar Baby was our 2018 ReadSoulLit Readalong. And our live discussion was lit. We had so many ideas about the ending, discussing the characters, the setting, etc. For such a short book Tar Baby is dense with ideas and meaning. One of the best scenes in this novel is the dinner scene. Morrison really said a lot in that scene and it’s one I could read over and over. As for the food in the picture, it’s a simplistic meal, a bit of grilled chicken and some Swiss chard and mushrooms cooked in garlic and olive oil – a sain meal low in calories. I’m trying to eat healthier in 2020 and beyond…..
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!
Day 3 – Roots and Books made me start looking deeply into my shelves. Having started this year with the powerful memoir, Heavy by Kiese Laymon. I felt like roots had to be taken figuratively and literally. Combing my shelves I fell upon How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. I forgot I had that one. This is a collection of essays by Laymon where he covers race, family, coming of age in Mississippi, violence, etc. I’m sure this is going to be another powerful read that will continue on from the depth of Heavy. So if I manage to get through my hefty TBR this month I’ll be adding this one to round off my Black History Month reading. Have you read this one? Frankly I’ve seen no one talk about it. I’m so tempted to throw something off my TBR just so that I can read it. I can’t really do that because the Booktube Prize books are calling. I’ll just be watching a lot less Netflix this month, in hopes that that will give me the ample time necessary to finish this massive TBR. Check out this video with Kiese Laymon discussing How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America and Long Division.
Day 4 – Black Book Stack was easy to choose for the photograph. I grabbed all the black books I had in my reach. What did I find? Of course three Octavia E. Butler novels (Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents, and Fledgling), the second J. California Cooper I read A Piece of Mine, and a few others. I can solidly recommend A Piece of Mine and Water Street. If you’ve never picked up books by J. California Cooper or by Crystal Wilkinson you don’t know what you’re missing. Both of these short
story collections are soulful gems and must reads. A Piece of Mine draws on a common theme which plays on the collection’s title. You can check out my review here. Water Street is one of the extraordinary backlist short story collections from a black author writing from Appalachia. I highly recommend you check out my review here.
Black History month is nearing and I’m writing today to let you know about what I have planned to celebrate it literarily. Of course I’ll be hosting the 2020 #ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge over on Instagram. Get your books and picture ideas ready. This is one of the best moments to get book recommendations of black American authors. It’s a blast and it promises to be very Lit! Check out the monthly challenge below. If you don’t have Instagram don’t worry you can follow what I post over there here on the blog as well.
Next I want to mention the ReadSoulLit 2020 Readalong. This February we’ll have the honor of reading The Last Thing I Surrender by Leonard Pitts, Jr. I can’t wait! I’ve wanted to check out a book by this author for a while now. It’s great giving attention to an author that seems to have been unnoticed by the book blogger community. Hopefully this read along will get people interested in Leonard Pitts, Jr’s backlist. If you’re interested in reading with us you can join the Goodreads reading group, under the rubric Community, called ReadSoulLit Readalong 2020 – The Last Thing You Surrender. You just have to request to join and I’ll confirm you.
There’s also another group you can join over on Goodreads called ReadSoulLit 2020. This group operates all year long where people can exchange over books from the diaspora. #ReadSoulLit focuses on black American authors in February, black British writers in October, and the entire diaspora the rest of the year.
Hopefully this February you’ll enjoy the videos, photo challenge, and discussions in the reading groups on books by African-American authors. There will surely be more surprises so I urge to follow me closely on here, on YouTube, and Instagram. Let’s have fun!
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!