Lori L. Tharps is an
assistant professor of journalism at Temple University, an author, freelance
journalist and mom. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she left the
Midwest in search of an authentic life experience beginning with four years
at Smith College. (Technically, one of those years was spent studying abroad
in Salamanca, Spain.). After graduating from Smith, with a B.A. in
comparative education and Spanish, Tharps spent two years working on Madison
Avenue at one of New York City’s top-ten public relations agencies. While
there she worked tirelessly writing press releases and organizing press
events for a certain candy company, powdered soup distributor and a
well-known maker of dry toast. After realizing she’d never succeed as a PR
executive, Tharps entered Columbia University’s Graduate School of
Journalism and has been writing her way through the world ever since.
Click to order via Amazon
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Atria; Original edition (August 24, 2010)
Zora Anderson is a 30-year-old African American middle class, college educated woman, trained as a chef, looking for a job. As fate would have it, Kate and Craig, a married couple, aspiring professionals with a young child are looking for a nanny.
Zora seems perfect. She’s an enthusiastic caretaker, a competent house keeper, a great cook. And she wants the job, despite the fact that she won’t let her African American parents and brother know anything about this new career move. They expect much more from her than to use all that good education to do what so many Blacks have dreamed of not doing: working for White folks. Working as an au pair in Paris, France no less, was one thing, they could accept that. Being a servant to a couple not much older nor more educated, is yet another. Every adult character involved in this tangled web is hiding something: the husband is hiding his desire to turn a passion for comic books into a business from his wife, the wife is hiding her professional ambitions from her husband, the nanny is hiding her job from her family and maybe her motivations for staying on her job from herself.
Memorable characters, real-life tensions and concerns and the charming—in a hip kind of way—modern-day Park Slope, Fort Greene, Brooklyn setting make for an un-put-down-able read.
Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain
Click to order via Amazon
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (May 26, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
Magazine writer and editor Lori Tharps was born and raised in the
comfortable but mostly White suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she was
often the only person of color in her school and neighborhood. At an early
age, Lori decided that her destiny would be discovered in Spain. She didn't
know anyone from Spain, had never visited the country, and hardly spoke the
language. Still, she never faltered in her plans to escape to the Iberian
Arriving in the country as an optimistic college student, however, Lori soon discovers Spain's particular attitude toward Blackness. She is chased down the street by the local schoolchildren and pointed at incessantly in public, and her innocent dreams of a place where race doesn't matter are shattered. The story would end there, except Lori meets and marries a Spaniard, and that's when her true Spanish adventure really begins.
Against the ancient backdrops of Cádiz andAndalucía, Lori starts the intricate yet amusing journey of rekindling her love affair with Spain and becoming a part of her new Spanish family. From a grandmother who spies on her to a grandfather who warmly welcomes her to town with a slew of racist jokes, the close-knit clan isn't exactly waiting with open arms. Kinky Gazpacho tells the story of the redeemingpower of love and finding self in the most unexpectedplaces.
At its heart, this is a love story. It is a memoir, a travel essay, and a glimpse into the past and present of Spain. As humorous and entertaining as such favorite travel stories as Under the Tuscan Sun, this book also unveils a unique and untold history of Spain's enduring connection to West Africa. Kinky Gazpacho celebrates the mysticism of travel and the joys of watching two distinct cultures connect and come together.
Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair
Click to order via Amazon
Hardcover: 198 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (February 1, 2001)
Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
About her hair, one woman offered the following: "For years I pushed, pounded, fried, dyed, re-fried, laid down, crocheted, braided, extended, Luster Curled, Jheri Curled, hot combed, curling ironed, and hair rollered my hair trying to get it to make sense to the rest of the world. "
Two world wars, the Civil Rights Movement and a Jheri Curl later, Blacks in America continue to have a complex and convoluted relationship with their hair. From the ante-bellum practice of shaving the head to pass as a "free" person" to the 1998 uproar over a White third grade teacher's reading of the book Nappy Hair, the issues surrounding Black hair continue to linger as we enter the 21st century.
HAIR STORY is an historical and anecdotal exploration of Black Americans tangled hair roots. A chronological look at the culture and politics behind the ever- changing state of Black hair from 15th century Africa to the present day United States, it ties the personal to the political and the popular.
Major figures in the history of Black hair are presented --from early
hair- care entrepreneurs Annie Turnbo Malone and Madam CJ Walker to
unintended hair heroes like Angela Davis and Bob Marley.
Celebrities, stylists and cultural critics weigh in on the burgeoning sociopolitical issues surrounding Black hair -- from the historically loaded terms "good" and "bad" hair to Black hair in the work place, to mainstream society's misrepresentation and misunderstanding of kinky locks.
HAIR STORY is the book that Black Americans can use as a benchmark for tracing a unique aspect of their history and people of all races will celebrate as the reference guide for understanding Black hair.
About the Authors
Ayana D. Byrd holds a bachelors degree in political science from Columbia University's Barnard College. She is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Vibe, Rolling Stone and Honey magazines.
Lori L. Tharps attended Smith College and received a Masters Degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Currently she is a correspondent at Entertainment Weekly Magazine.