National Black Book Festival

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Slowly I'm coming back on track!! I miss my blog!!

NUMBER 97
Hey, I’m just 3 blogs short of 100.  The magic number of 100.  I cannot believe you have hung in there with me and I truly and godly hope I have made your day and your reading life, it has for me.  I will never, ever give up this blog, I’m having too much fun and enjoying the hell out of it.  I could not believe some of the comments I have received.  It was, “Yes, you have lots of fans of your blog,” “Girl, keep going!!! I”m loving it!! and a kid who I met in DC last year asked his mom to get him a kindle and subscribe to my blog.  Hey, it’s only $1.00 a month, even that chump change can handled most budgets.  She did and she did not know that many books by African American were out there.  It takes time to go thru each page on any web site and look and look, so I’m saving you time and money with the best deals.  Get ready for Black Friday, I will bring the 99 cents deal and don’t forget, you can now borrow books from the library if your money is too, too short.
I saw my man, my love, my honey-pot-oh-romagical man, Idris Elba on the cover of Essence.  He plays in the detective series, “Luther” on BBC and played in Takers, Legacy, Obsessed (where I think Beyonce` did not act well), Daddy’s Little Girls, The Gospel, and of course “The Wire,”  Got damn it!! I just love that man and love British mysteries.  Am I in heaven Ga Ga Land or what!!! I’m in heaven.  Melody Lopez “BookBuff” says about the TV show Luther, “EX. CELL. ENT!!!!” With Idris in it, yeah, I like it too!!!
Which brings me back to books because on page 72 of Essence, there is an article entitled, “Our Smart Guys” with Toure`, Colson Whitehead and Nelson George.  The last time I saw such a group of Black men writers was in the 1993 article in Ebony called, “Wordsmiths - Contemporary Black Male Writers. I still have my copy.  On a side note, I’m listening and watching on Amazon, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, The Adventure of Clapham Cook.”  I told you I love British mysteries.  Back to my "unrambling." In both articles, even though the articles are 18 years apart, the newest article mentions how the mid-1990s were over taken by the Waiting to Exhale books and the street lit.  In other words, books by blacks have become one urban, drugged induced, slap the bitch/whore, or fall into the arms of the perfect man of your dreams in romance trilogy or the church is on fire and still sisters cannot find a man with family drama continually surrounding our lives.   Both articles spoke the same language, not enough black men writers.  Still.  Toure`, Colin and Nelson are writing a new way, about our lives but from a new window, where we see President Obama, the lost of Black middle class, values, compassion and, once again, the media really portraying us, badly!  
It’s amazing, the 1993 article does mention Nelson George.  The same article mentions the same thing, black men finally getting their groove on in a sea of black women writers.  The 2011 article shows these guys as long overdue writers, but the 1993 articles show black male writers not just trying to squeeze in with the women, but how to get the black men in the groove and saving the young men.  Here it is 2011 and an article 18 years ago on black male writers is still saying the same thing, black woman rule the publishing arena and black men don’t.  I’m glad I kept that article because over the next two weeks, I’m going to try to get you to buy their books and bring them back to life. 
I’ve said a mouth full and still eating!
TOURE` - WHO’S AFRAID OF POST-BLACKNESS - $11.99 - - - I just got the book, but Jarrod Jenkins’s review gave me a heads up as someone who is light skinned and not running for President or married to a white guy, how this book relates and do not relate to being who you want to be and and not just “black.”  Here’s his comment, “This is a great book. I don't think Toure broke any new ground in this book. Rather, he provided comfort to those who think like him. A coming-out party if you will. All too often, Blacks who do not think or act "Black" (whatever that means) find themselves persecuted by their own race.
The biggest issue that I have is the chapter on how to have more Pres. Obama. Toure sets the book up to say that it's okay to be post-Black. Indeed, he encourages people to be who they are not conform to any type of societal expectation. However, he says -- and I agree -- that President Obama's complexion helped him get elected. This, of course, begs the question how are we supposed to raise more President Obama if skin complexion is immutable? Also, he says -- and again I agree -- that President Obama would not have been elected if he had a White wife. This flies in the face of his it's-okay-to-be-post-Black theory because if it truly were okay, one would not have to choose between marrying someone and running for President. This is the type of confined thinking that the book was intended to thwart.”
NELSON GEORGE -THE PLOT AGAINST HIP HOP: A NOVEL - $9.99 - - - The stabbing murder of esteemed music critic Dwayne Robinson in a Soho office building is dismissed by the NYPDKanye West, and Russell Simmons.  D Hunter has his own secrets, his own vulnerabilities, which he fights to overcome as he becomes a reluctant private eye. After reading The Plot Against Hip Hop, you'll never hear the music the same way.
COLSON WHITEHEAD - ZONE ONE: A NOVEL - $12.99 - - - I have been a fan of his since THE INTUITIONIST: A NOVEL - $6.95 paperback. I thought it was the strangest thing to write about the first African American female elevator inspector as well as a graduate of Institute for Vertical Transport (Elevators!! that got me), then I got into it and my mind went crazy.  An elevator crashes and it’s blamed on Lila Mae.  She has a quirkiness about her in that she can “senses” the condition of an elevator and has a drawn battle with the so call “Empiricist” who uses mob connections to win an election.  Don’t ask me, it was a trip and a long voyage which to this day I’m still trying to figure out and can’t get it out of my mind.  The unusual characters are the ones who will get you, that’s some world they live in and it’s funny and scary.
Got to stick on one for Black History Year.  

I have Colson’s other book, SAG HARBOR - $11.99, but have not read it yet, but I do know some guys who lived it.  The year is 1985 and 15-year-old Benji Cooper, one of the only black students at his elite Manhattan private school, leaves the city to spend three largely unsupervised months living with his younger brother Reggie in an enclave of Long Island's Sag Harbor, the summer home to many African American urban professionals. Benji's a Converse-wearing, Smiths-loving, Dungeons & Dragons-playing nerd whose favorite Star Wars character is the hapless bounty hunter Greedo (rather than the double-crossing Lando Calrissian). But Sag Harbor is a coming-of-age novel whose plot side-steps life-changing events.  The book's leisurely eight chapters mostly concern Benji's first kiss, the removal of braces, BB gun battles, slinging insults (largely unprintable "grammatical acrobatics") with his friends, and working his first summer job. And Whitehead crafts a wonderful set piece describing Benji's days at Jonni Waffle Ice Cream, where he is shrouded in "waffle musk" and a dirty T-shirt that's "soiled, covered with batter and befudged from a sundae mishap."
Whitehead pushes his love of pop culture into hyper-drive. Nearly every page is swimming with references to the 1980s--from New Coke and The Cosby Show to late nights trying to decipher flickering glimpses of naked women on scrambled Cinemax. And music courses through the book, capturing that period when early hip hop mixed with New Wave. Lisa Lisa and U.T.F.O make a memorable cameo at Jonni Waffle, and McFadden Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," heard throughout the book in passing cars and boom boxes, gets tagged as "the black national anthem." Like that ubiquitous song, the soulful, celebratory, and painfully funny Sag Harbor and its chronicle of those lazy, sun-soaked days sandwiched between Memorial Day and Labor Day, will stick with you long after closing its covers.