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About This Club

Author, Tony Lindsay and Doriel Larrier are the moderators for our Online Book Club.

  1. What's new in this club
  2. McFadden’s novel, ‘Praise Song for the Butterflies,’ is a heart-wrenching read to say the least. Abeo, the protagonist, is sacrificed to the tradition of trokosi, a practice of ritual servitude – slavery to shrine priest - no not priest, owners of the shrines. There is little priestly about the shrine owners in McFadden’s work. From the beginning of the novel, Abeo’s child innocence is challenged and attacked. Her childhood is lost, stolen, sacrificed to a traditional belief. The trauma of the lost is laid bare before the reader; however, much to the reader’s pleasure, McFadden has Abeo work through the trauma, but it is a painful journey. Her antagonists are many: the grandmother, her adopted father and mother, her birth mother, and the shrine owners, but the most apparent antagonist would be the traditional practice and belief in trokosi. Throughout the work the reader experiences the devaluing of female children by tradition; this motif is repeated throughout the work; ironically, it is the African tradition of community that allows Abeo to start the healing process. The same community that allowed and accepted the forced sacrifice saved her. McFadden does an excellent job of displaying the pros and cons of tradition, and within the text the battle between Western Christianity and traditional African religion is shown. Again the pros and cons of both beliefs are exemplified; the problems of assimilating into Catholicism – accepting the judgment and ostracizing of the religion while holding to and employing “bush” beliefs is another constant motif in work. The most memorable scene for me was Abeo’s attempt to save her son at the river. For me, the river was a metaphor for tradition, and it attacked her child much like tradition attacked her own childhood. Yes, I would read another Bernice L. McFadden book.
  3. Stamped from the Beginning Kendi’s history of racist ideas in America is indeed a history, but the historical information/topics are not limited to racist ideas; although, he succeeds in delivering that history (definitively) as well. If a reader is unprepared to see the frailty of icons while involved in complicated American race relations, the text is startling. The assimilationist’s thought and actions of icons are deciphered in a manner that does not diminish the icons, but the effects of assimilationist thoughts and action as revealed by Kendi might leave one a bit uncomfortable. A history America’s racist political policies and the power maintaining reasons behind them are discussed in detail in the text. It will be difficult for a reader to leave the text without questioning her or his own assimilationist versus antiracist thoughts. Kendi argues against uplift persuasion (making oneself acceptable to majority class) and educational persuasion (trying to educate the majority class to a relationship of equality) with history; he makes it clear that as long is white supremacy is the consistent thought of America . . . equality is improbable. It was a great read, and an astute reader will leave the text with a list of articles, books, and authors that will expand one’s humanity.
  4. Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi Honored by the National Book Awards in 2016 Publication Date: Apr 12, 2016 List Price: $32.99 (store prices may vary) Format: Hardcover Classification: Nonfiction Page Count: 592 ISBN13: 9781568584638 Imprint: Nation Books Book Description: Some Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first Black president spelled the doom of racism. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America - more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.
  5. The TEA who also read Barracoon. The ladies attended the Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend in Maryland and discussed the book with attendees. I'll be joining them for the 2019 celebration. Enjoy the video.
  6. Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden Publication Date: Jul 03, 2018 List Price: $27.95 (store prices may vary) Format: Hardcover Classification: Fiction Page Count: 224 ISBN13: 9781617755750 Imprint: Akashic Books Publisher: Akashic Books Parent Company: Akashic Books Read Our Review of Praise Song for the Butterflies Book Description: Praise Song for the Butterflies addresses “Trokosi,” the practice of sending girls to shrines as slaves to serve priests in order to protect their family from the gods’ anger.
  7. @TiciaLuv, The November book may be found here: https://aalbc.com/bookclubs/cwmyb.php?year=2018 I have been lackadaisical in my responsibility of updating the site, partially because I've been wrestling with the configuration of the online club and partially because I fully engaged in other areas of the website. But there are some good things coming to the club -- stay tuned!
  8. Has a book been designated for November? Maybe, I overlooked the link? Can some post a link to the page if it is available? Thanks
  9. His culture supported him through it all - what little he had left held him strong
  10. Yep, she did a great job with family love, and showing the strength of the young - we forget how strong and focused kids have to be in such situations - I salute the young survivors as well.
  11. The most compelling aspect of this story is the familial love that exists. The bonds of love between Michael and Leonie, Kayla and JoJo, and Mam & Pop, despite the dysfunction and societal ills, give the reader hope. I salute the "JoJos" of the world who hold it all together. A very real story at a much needed time in our history!
  12. So little to look forward to, and nothing to return to, but the innate strength of Cudjo, despite all, prevailed!
  13. Please keep in mind, the forum is open - post what you think about our selected reads - the questions are only suggestions, not required guide lines - we want to read your thoughts 🙂
  14. Wow, we are on our second book, and what a book! Below is my post, Sing, Unburied, Sing Jesmyn Ward While reading the novel, I kept wondering what was it building up to, what would be the climax; despite this wondering, I kept reading because I was engrossed in the day-to-day life of a Black family on a farm. I remained caught up in the “what is going to happen next” that was unrelated to a major climatic event in the novel. I speculate that some may say the major event was the freed spirits or Kayla stepping into her role as a seer. Others may say it was Leonie’s attempts at being a healer or Jojo seeing Richie - arguing that Pops' story was build up to that event. I argue that Ward “bucked” tradition with this novel and held the reader with smaller day-to-day climaxes instead of holding them with plot build up that lead to one climax. From the killing of the goat, to Pops’ story about Parchman prison, to Jojo’s thirst, to the Kayla’s near death, to Mam’s death, to Michael’s prison release, to children hearing the unburied sing, to Jojo seeing sprits and hearing animals, the reader is engrossed by smaller climatic events and not the plot building up to one climax – the novel read like real life. I believe the protagonist of the novel was Jojo; however, Ward gave us other character’s backstories with such depth that I am sure others will argue for Leonie. Jojo had the goal of keeping Kayla safe and accepting his and his family’s spiritual powers. I see Leonie as Jojo’s antagonist; she is a physical threat to Kayla and to Jojo’s own development. Leonie’s neglect of Kayla forces Jojo into a parental role that Leonie resents. The main message of the novel was the need for family. Ward used a family under attack by racism, the prison industrial complex, and addiction to illustrate how an individual needs family. Mam would not have transitioned without Leonie, Jojo would have not had a guide without Pops – the need for family is strong in the novel. The family being under attack was one motif, along with the individual being attacked by addiction and the effects on the addict and the family of the addict. The most effective metaphor was “Given-not-Given” showing the strength of addiction; Ward had a ghost brother appear to try and help Leonie see the error of her ways, but a ghost was powerless over her addiction. The most memorable scenes were Kayla throwing up in that car and at the lawyer’s house, on Leonie, on Misty, and the police officer; the child puked on the putrid life of the addicted. I believe this text represents the malady of societal attacks on poor families within America. With this book, Ward illuminates those attacks and calls for families to remain strong. Without a doubt, I would read another Jesmyn Ward book.
  15. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward 4 Time AALBC.com Bestselling Book! Selected for 3 Book Clubs’s Reading Lists Honored by the National Book Awards in 2017 A New York Times Notable Book for 2017 Publication Date: Sep 07, 2017 List Price: $26.00 (store prices may vary) Format: Hardcover Classification: Fiction Page Count: 304 ISBN13: 9781501126062 Imprint: Scribner Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc. Parent Company: CBS Corporation Read a Review of Sing, Unburied, Sing by Book Club Moderator, Tony Lindsay
  16. I keep thinking about how he depended on his learned culture decades later in life, and that dependence sustained him even when others in community tried to ostracize him and his family. His settling into griot elder status was again the culuture of his childhood carrying him through life - is our African American culture that strong? I think so. IReport post Posted July 24 Protagonist: the main character Q1. Identify the protagonist? Q2. What is the protagonist’s goal? Antagonist: Person or situation that is interfering with the protagonist reaching the goal Q1. What or who is the antagonist? Q2. Is the antagonist effective in interfering or stopping the protagonist from reaching the goal? Theme: Main Message Q1. What message is the writer attempting to relay? Q2. Why do you say that is the message? Motifs: Lesser recurring messages throughout the work Q1. What recurring messages were throughout the work? Metaphors: Imagery representation for an issue, a person, societal ill, or situation. Q1. What metaphors did you notice in the book? Most memorable scene Q1. What scene from the book stayed with? Literary merit of the book Q1. How do you think the text will function; i.e. historical work, advisory work, reference? Author Q1. Would you read another work by the author?
  17. @MissyHey, I was wondering how listening to it would go. Can you hear his dialect? Does Zora's fiendship and admiration come through? @elleaustin yep you are in 🙂 we are going to have some great discussions - happy to be with folks who love literature !!!! Report post Posted July 24 Protagonist: the main character Q1. Identify the protagonist? Q2. What is the protagonist’s goal? Antagonist: Person or situation that is interfering with the protagonist reaching the goal Q1. What or who is the antagonist? Q2. Is the antagonist effective in interfering or stopping the protagonist from reaching the goal? Theme: Main Message Q1. What message is the writer attempting to relay? Q2. Why do you say that is the message? Motifs: Lesser recurring messages throughout the work Q1. What recurring messages were throughout the work? Metaphors: Imagery representation for an issue, a person, societal ill, or situation. Q1. What metaphors did you notice in the book? Most memorable scene Q1. What scene from the book stayed with? Literary merit of the book Q1. How do you think the text will function; i.e. historical work, advisory work, reference? Author Q1. Would you read another work by the author?
  18. Report post Posted July 24 Protagonist: the main character Q1. Identify the protagonist? Q2. What is the protagonist’s goal? Antagonist: Person or situation that is interfering with the protagonist reaching the goal Q1. What or who is the antagonist? Q2. Is the antagonist effective in interfering or stopping the protagonist from reaching the goal? Theme: Main Message Q1. What message is the writer attempting to relay? Q2. Why do you say that is the message? Motifs: Lesser recurring messages throughout the work Q1. What recurring messages were throughout the work? Metaphors: Imagery representation for an issue, a person, societal ill, or situation. Q1. What metaphors did you notice in the book? Most memorable scene Q1. What scene from the book stayed with? Literary merit of the book Q1. How do you think the text will function; i.e. historical work, advisory work, reference? Author Q1. Would you read another work by the author?
  19. @Missy, I wonder f the audio book will read the glossary and the notes which were quite extensive and revealing. After reading the book seems nothing that has happened to me, or will ever happen to me, with compare the what Kossola (Cudjo Lewis) experienced.
  20. I’m still listening to the book, but so far it is very interesting. I’ve realized I need to see and write the names out for better understanding. Tony your thoughts are fantastic and I’m looking forward to discussing this title.
  21. Hi @ESP welcome to our online book club. The club's moderator, @Tony Lindsay will be posting questions shortly. In the meantime, did you read the book? What did you think?
  22. Hello Everyone I hope I’ve signed up, I’m looking forward to share my thoughts
  23. @Troy , thank you! My nana and grand aunts used to say that all the time LOL
  24. @Thumper came up with the name. I believe he got it from April Sinclair's novel of the same name.
  25. Please share how this online book club "The Coffee Will Make You Black" got its name.
  26. I visited Africatown, in Mobile Alabama, a couple of days ago. The remains of some of the Africans who survived the middle passage, on the Clotilda, one of the last known (documented) slaves ships, are buried here.
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