#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 19

Day 19 – Want to Read:

Today’s challenge was very hard to choose because actually I have way too many books right now that I’d just love to get into.  All I would need is a month off work to make a good dent in my TBR pile.  So after much thought, I decided on Bedrock Faith by Eric Charles May.  Interesting enough this book was published by Akashic Books, like Loving Donovan by Bernice L. McFadden.  Akashic Books was founded in 1996.  It’s a Brooklyn based independent publisher.  Its motto is Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World.  I like the way that sounds.

So here’s the run down on Bedrock Faith:

“After fourteen years in prison, Gerald “Stew Pot” Reeves, age thirty-one, returns home to live with his momIMG_1456 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. He discovers that a woman on his block is a lesbian and outs her to the neighborhood, the first battle in an escalating war of wills with immediate neighbors: after a mild threat from the block club president, Stew Pot reveals a secret that leaves the president’s marriage in ruin; after catching a woman from across the street snooping around his backyard, Stew Pot commits an act of intimidation that leads directly to her death.

Stew Pot’s prison mentor, an African-American albino named Brother Crown, is released from prison not long after and moves in with Stew Pot and his mom. His plan is to go on a revival tour, with Stew Pot as his assistant. One night, as Stew Pot, Mrs. Reeves, and Brother Crown are witnessing around the neighborhood, a teenager from the block attempts to burn down the Reeves home. He botches the job and instead sets fire to Mrs. Motley’s house. She is just barely rescued, but her house is a total loss and she moves in with a nearby family. Neighbors are sure Stew Pot is behind the fire. The retaliations against Stew Pot continue, sending him over an emotional ledge as his life spirals out of control with grave consequences. Through the unforgettable characters of Stew Pot and Mrs. Motley, the novel provides a reflection on God, the living and the dead, and the possibilities of finding love without reservation.” (Bedrock Faith, Goodreads explanation)

I’m really curious about this one because I can already see lots of places the author could go with this story.  I hope it’s worth the read and won’t be a let down.  All the same the book is beautifully published and has my favorite deckled edges, cool artwork, and French flaps.  What do you want to read?

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 18

Day 18 – Longest Read:

Today I had to choose Three Days Before the Shooting… by Ralph Ellison.  This is Ellison’s second unfinished novel.  It spans 1136 pages and looks to be intense and imposing on my bookshelf.  Can’t wait to one day get
into it.  I’m so curious about this masterpiece that was in the making.  But first, I have to read Juneteenth.  Three Days Before the Shooting… will give me all the details Ellison originally wrote.  This would be a really interesting reading exercise that I hope won’t take me too long to get to, a long arduous exercise, but that could teach me a lot about novel-writing.  The blurb on the top front cover:  “Less a conventional novel than theIMG_1450 prose equivalent of a jazz solo, or a series of solos…some of (Ellison’s) finest prose.” —–Malcolm Jones, Newsweek.  This makes the novel even more intriguing….

“At his death in 1994, Ralph Ellison left behind several thousand pages of his unfinished second novel, which he had spent nearly four decades writing. Five years later, Random House published Juneteenth, drawn from the central narrative of Ellison’s epic work in progress. Three Days Before the Shooting . . . gathers in one volume all the parts of that planned opus, including three major sequences never before published. Set in the frame of a deathbed vigil, the story is a gripping multigenerational saga centered on the assassination of a controversial, race-baiting U.S. senator who’s being tended to by an elderly black jazz musician turned preacher. Presented in their unexpurgated, provisional state, the narrative sequences brim with humor and tension, composed in Ellison’s magical jazz-inspired prose style. Beyond its compelling narratives, Three Days Before the Shooting . . . is perhaps most notable for its extraordinary insight into the creative process of one of this country’s greatest writers, and an essential, fascinating piece of Ralph Ellison’s legacy.” (Three Days Before the Shooting…, back cover)

Would you be interested in reading something like this or would you find it too intimidating?  I loved Invisible Man and the writing is masterful.  My curiosity for Three Days Before the Shooting.. is so long that I’m sure he was driven to the height of passion with the subject, henceforth the 1136 pages.  To be continued on that….. So what’s your longest read or wannabe longest read?

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 17

Day 17 – Best Movie Adaptation:

I decided to go with Solomon Northup’s 12 Years A Slave.  I watched this last summer on the flight to the IMG_1438States and it captivated me.  Well done film and pretty realistic, however I haven’t yet read the book but will do at some point this year.

“Solomon Northup was a free man kidnapped into slavery in Washington, D.C., in 1841.  Shortly after his
escape, he published his memoirs to great acclaim and brought legal action against his abductors, though they were never prosecuted.  The details of his life thereafter are unknown, but he is believed to have died in Glen Falls, New York, around 1863.” (Twelve Years A Slave, Penguin Classics Edition)

The movie adaption was directed by Steve McQueen, who is an English film director and producer.  The film was released in 2013 and was starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt,  and revealed Lupita Nyong’o.  The film won three of the Academy Awards in 2013,  including Best Picture.  Steve McQueen is the first black filmmaker to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.

 

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 16


Day 16 – As Good as Chocolate:  

Today’s recommendation is the eclectic Sassafrass, Cypress, & Indigo by Ntozake Shange…..

“Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo is the story of three “colored girls,” three sisters and their mama from Charleston, South Carolina: Sassafrass, the oldest, a poet and a weaver like her mother, gone north to IMG_1427college, living with other artists in Los Angeles and trying to weave a life out of her work, her man, her memories and dreams; Cypress, the dancer,who leaves home to find new ways of moving and easing the contractions of her soul; Indigo, the youngest, still a child of Charleston—”too much of the south in her”—who lives in poetry, can talk to her dolls, and has a great gift of seeing the obvious magic of the world.”(Description from Goodreads)

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 15

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Day 15 – Novel Set Abroad:

Easy choice for me today novel set abroad, I immediately thought of  Kinky Gazpacho:  Life, Love & Spain by Lori L. Tharps.  It’s an autobiography/memoir of Tharps discovery of Spain when she goes to live and study in Salamanca.  Eye-opener. Funny. Frustrating.  Confusing.  Those are a few of the emotions TharpsIMG_1425 goes through.  It’s written light-heartedly while at the same time being pertinent on issues of race, relationships, culture differences among others.  Learning about Spanish culture was very interesting through the eyes of a young African-American girl, who can’t wait to get to a European country where race doesn’t matter.  So, she thinks.

“It had been a month and I still felt like I had those first two weeks in Casablanca.  Alone, isolated, and uninspired to do anything about it.  I hadn’t anticipated feeling culture shock in a Western European country, so it hit me much harder.  Most of the other Americans in my program didn’t seem to share my problem….I wanted to change immediately.  I wanted to be Spanish for the entire year but didn’t know where to begin.  The Spaniards in my classes, who I thought  would become my tour guides into la vida española, didn’t even seem to notice me, much less attempt to be my friend.” (Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love, & Spain, p. 80)

 

 

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 14

Day 14 – A Book for Lovers:

Today is Valentine’s Day and the photo pic for the day is a book for lovers.  While rummaging through my shelves I realized that I don’t read lots of stories that contain a romantic/love connection and nor do I plan to read any from the looks of my enormous TBR pile; that is at least I don’t think so.  I decided to go with twoIMG_1418 of Eric Jerome Dickey’s novels:  Friends and Lovers (1997) and Between Lovers (2001).  I know a lot of people who are Eric Jerome Dickey lovers have at least one copy of something by him.  These two novels contain all the ingredients for guilty pleasure reading.  They are light, fast reads, funny, have a juicy love story along with all the typical tropes, and of course a bit of sex.

Now it’s been ages since I actually picked one of his books up.  Both of these two would be a great Valentine’s Day read and wouldn’t take up too much of your time to finish.  Some of you might be wondering who h is.  Well, Eric Jerome Dickey was supposed to start a career as a computer expert in an engineering company.  Soon after that he started acting and doing stand-up, which eventually led to the development of his writing.  Dickey is one of the most well-known and loved Urban fiction writers and has written a variety of novels, a screen play, and a comic.  For the moment,  I’m most interested in the Gideon series.  Haven’t had the time to start it yet.  So many other books have sped up the TBR and have become higher priority.  I promise to change that and finally dig into the Gideon series which was popular from 2007-2009. “It introduces a great new bad-boy narrator: a hit man who goes by the name of Gideon. He’s a man who lives off the grid, drifting along while making love on the run as he works as a hit man—enacting the revenge of the broken-hearted . . . for a price.”(Goodreads novel description)  I’m a little late to that game but I’m still going to try it out.  More on Eric Jerome Dickey click his name.  If you’ve read the Gideon series tell me what you thought.  What would you suggest as a book for lovers?

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 13

Day 13 – A Must Read:

Today’s photo challenge wasn’t easy to choose either.  There are so many great must reads.  I decided to goIMG_1415 with The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson that I’m reading at the moment.  I don’t usually read a lot of non-fiction but something seems to be changing in my reading habits and that’s a good thing.  I’m reading more non-fiction, more memoirs, and more short story collections.  The Warmth of Other Suns is about the migration of blacks from the south to the northern  and western cities of the United States from 1915 to 1970.  I have to say this is a subject that is crucial to American history, but that wasn’t touched on at all at school.  It’s for this reason I chose it as a must read.  What better way to understand this period than from the mouths of the people who actually lived through it.  It’s non-fiction but reads like fiction and is captivating from the get go.  I’ll definitely be back with a full review when I’m done.  It’s a monster read of 622 pages, but it seems to be going quickly.  What is a must read for you?

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 12

Day 12 – Most Expensive Book:

I’m back again today with another Toni Morrison.  Beloved and Song of Solomon are my most expensive
books.  They are both from the Everyman’s Library collection.  Beautifully made and they look great on myIMG_1411 shelves.  Now the thing that really stumped me is this.  When I first looked into getting these editions I was so thrilled and was plotting where I’d display them on my shelves.  Unfortunately, when I finally went to order them I realized that Everyman’s Library only had Beloved and Song of Solomon. I couldn’t believe it. I was so disappointed and spent the rest of the time trying to figure how they could justify only have 2 of Toni Morrison’s books in their collection.  Two years later and I till can’t figure it out.  But, don’t you just love the great picture of Morrison on the cover?  What expressive eyes!   What’s your most expensive book?

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 11

Day 11 – Favorite Toni Morrison:

Today’s photo is from one of my favorite authors.  I adore this edition because I love the photo of Toni IMG_1405Morrison rocking her afro on the back. Regal!  I’ve had the pleasure of reading almost all of her work except Paradise and Love.  I hope to get to them both before her new novel is released in March, I believe.  The Bluest Eye is Morrison’s first novel and it so happens it is the first Morrison I read.  I read it for a Black Women Writers class in my third year of studying English Literature.  It opened my eyes to a whole different way of writing and telling a story.  I can still remember how blown away by it I was.  The writing style, the character the development, the story’s structure, etc.  All of that perfection rolled up into a mere 164 pages.  If you haven’t read it yet you really need to make the effort to read it before the end of the year.  It’s poignant, will break your heart, but mostly make you think profoundly.  What’s your favorite Morrison?

#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 10

Day 10 – a Black Book:

A black book is like saying the little black dress.  It’s a book that makes an impressive impact visually and IMG_1394for the content between its covers.  I chose Trumpet by Jackie Kay.  I haven’t read this one yet but I’m very familiar with Kay’s beautiful poetry and Red Dust Road and am sure it’s very good.  I have to thank Claire over at Word by Word for introducing her to me and Kesha from ke-sha Forsaken for gifting it to me.  I immediately thought of Trumpet for today’s challenge.  It’s a perfect fit.

“In the 1950s and 60s, Scottish jazz musician Joss Moody was celebrated for his sound:  everyone who heard it imagined they knew the man behind it.  But with the remarkable fact uncovered upon his death, it becomes clear that no one but his wife, Millie, knew him at all. A tapestry of brilliantly realized voices from Joss’s world reveals the startling and poignant story of Joss and Millie: how they built a love, a family, a life out of a complex, dazzling lie.” (back cover of Trumpet Pantheon edition)

What’s your black book of the day?