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About This Club

Tony Lindsay is the moderator for our Online Book Club. Books, on our reading list, are chosen by our participants.

  1. What's new in this club
  2. Check Our Current Reading list ► How our Book Club Operates Participation is easy. Discussions are held on the book’s description page, where it says “Join the discussion….” Feel free to join us anytime; discussions are not limited to the month the book was selected and anyone may join the conversation. How Books Are Selected Starting with the August 2019 selection, books are selected, for our reading list, from a list of books suggested by our readers. Our club’s moderator, Tony Lindsay, has the final say on the books selected. He is always free to select a book of his choice. Whether your book is selected or not, by sharing your book recommendation will help us all discover interesting books to read. You may suggest books for our reading list on our Black Literature Forum. The only criteria is that the book be written by or about Black people. All genres in fiction and nonfiction are acceptable. Where Discussion Take Place The discussions for each book will take place on the page describing the book (as described here). Additional Information AALBC.com’s online book club, “The Coffee Will Make You Black” ran, continuously, from 1998 until 2006. The book club was moderated by Thumper. The club was briefly resurrected in 2010, when both Fiction and Nonfiction titles were selected. Unfortunately, the club was discontinued the same year. In October of 2018, novelist, educator, avid reader, and advocate for Black literature, Tony Lindsay began running AALBC’s “The Coffee Will Make You Black online book club.” after a 8-year hiatus. Finally, our book conversations do not have to be limited to the books on AALBC's reading list. Conversation can take place on the pages of any of the, over 12,000, books highlighted on our website. Please post any questions or suggestions by replying.
  3. Greetings all, I read To Funk and Die in LA, and what a different read. I had never read a Nelson George novel, and I was not expecting the musical history lessons. The novel being written in third person also surprised me. The protagonist, D Hunter, was faced with several challenges and for the most part he pushed through. I enjoyed the LA lifestyle the text offered, and much like D, I would be a fish out of water in LA, but as the protagonist adjusted in the story so did I in the read. It was enjoyable meeting so many culturally different characters. The racial tension present in text was not expected, but one has to assume a city as diverse as LA must have different racial facets beyond the typical Black and white drama. I was also surprised by D Hunter’s HIV status and was impressed by how George worked into the plot with acceptance and concern. Dr. Funk’s creative stability even within his mental health issues was another shocker for me, but completely believable considering how creative genius exist. The only problem with the story was the delaying of the mystery, it was not always upfront for the protagonist, but on the other hand I really enjoyed the family and friends D related to daily. It was a good read and I would read another D Hunter mystery.
  4. Hey if ya'll could provide links to the book you recommend that would be helpful -- especially if it is an AALBC page Nelson George's To Funk and Die in LA Blissfull by Heather Neff
  5. My suggestion for the August Book would be "Blissfield" by Heather Neff. This book is a coming-of-age tale of a girl named Bethany who arrives in Blissfield, NC to live with her grandmother and befriends two young misfits in the town named Gideon and Nina Price. All three of them have been traumatized by their upbringing and form a bond that is shaken to the core by events that happen in the book, as they grow into adulthood
  6. What book would you like to read and discuss? We have decided to open up the process of selecting the books on a reading list to readers, authors, educators, publishers, or anyone who has an interest in discussing a book on AALBC. We are looking for suggestions for our August reading list here. The only criteria is that the book be; written by, or about, Black people; and it should be in print and available for purchase. All genres in fiction and nonfiction are acceptable. The book does not need to be on AALBC.com. If the chosen book is not on AALBC.com, it will be added. Simply reply to this post to suggest a book for August. When you suggest a book tell us why you are suggesting it; that will help us (myself and the club's moderator Tony Lindsay) chose a book from the titles suggested. The August book will be selected from books suggested here.
  7. There are two big changes that have been made to the book club: Starting with the August 2019 selection, books will be selected for our reading list from a list of books suggested by our readers. The discussion of each book will take place on the page describing the book (as described here). Both changes are being tried in an effort to get more readers to participate in the conversations. In fact, these types of conversations do not have to be limited to the books on AALBC's reading list. Conversation can take place on the pages of any of the over 12,000 books described on our website. You may suggest books for our reading list on our Black Literature Forum. The only criteria is that the book be written by or about Black people. All genres in fiction and nonfiction are acceptable.
  8. This past week I was invited to participate in a book club discussion about Barracoon in St. Thomas. Here is a video of some of our conversation. The people who participated were from Amsterdam, England, Harlem, St. Thomas, Jamaica, St. Kitts, and South Carolina. I think the conversation was very interesting.
  9. Maybe. I won't know because I'm not reading it. Instead, I'll follow the book club responses.
  10. That is deep @Mel Hopkins. I think if you read the book you'll come away with a different feeling. I plan to reread it next week. Side bar: starting this month I was working to get people to discuss the book on the book's page itself (in the Comments Section of Book’s main page). In fact @Tony Lindsay thought that was the way it was supposed to work from Jump. I think discussing the book there would be better as it expands the discovery of the conversation across the Disqus Network. The only problem with this approach is that the comments are not on AALBC's servers. Now that I think about, that should be a show stopper. I can mention, in the comments section, that the book's discussion with take place here and post a link.
  11. Sign of the times! I was just watching Netlix's "OA" "Season 2 episode 2 "Treasure Island" and "Parable of the Sower" is prominently featured in a scene at a book store. Spooky -and now I won't be reading it. I don't want to manifest that "world" in my psyche...clearly too many people have and it's now becoming a reality. So I'll pass and work to materialize a world of LOVE.
  12. I was dubbed a "Literary Expert" yesterday by the Wall Street Journal for recommending Parable for an article they published: “The 10 Books You’ll Want to Read This Spring” The WSJ asked literary experts to recommend new works coming this season. The results offer an especially cinematic selection. By Ellen Gamerman April 3, 2019 10:09 a.m. ET (I was able to read the article one time on my cell phone, but after that is was locked behind a paywall.)
  13. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler Parable of the Sower was voted the #69 of the Top 100 Book of the 20th Century by AALBC visitors! We will be discuss Parable right here, simply reply to this message (see screen shot below). If you’ve read Parable please let us know what you thought about the book, and encourage other to share their thoughts here too.. Also read, our Book Club’s moderator, Tony Lindsay’s review of Parable.
  14. The World According to Fannie Davis is the story of a Black woman who became a numbers’ banker, which was a miraculous accomplishment because the numbers industry was male dominated. The book is the story of a spiritual woman who believed God helps those who helped themselves. The woman, who family and friends thought of as “lucky,” was Bridgett M. Davis’ mother, Fannie Davis. Fannie Davis was a true humanitarian, a lover of her community, and a consistent provider for those she cared about. In the book, her life represents a profession that is seldom given credit for the advancement it caused within the Black community. Bridgett M. Davis uses Detroit, MI. to illustrate the positive impact numbers entrepreneurs had on the community. Davis explains how the numbers bankers assisted in keeping the Black dollar within the community by circulating funds to other businesses, providing start up capital, and creating an independence away from the often hostile and predatory banking institutions. This financial self-reliance led to pride within Detroit’s Black community; this liberated stance is exemplified in Davis’ writing about her mother. The reader meets a woman who believed “that the only way she’d have more than what this country intended for her was to work for herself in a business she controlled that depended on a black clientele” (56). With a hundred dollar loan from her brother Fannie Davis built an illegal business that supported her family and others in her community for over three decades. Through a memoirist style Bridgett M. Davis uses her family history, the history of Detroit numbers, civil rights conflicts, Black bourgeoisie and Black working class conflict, divorce, family lost, sickness, and grief to give the reader an intimate look at her mother’s life in the Detroit numbers. Davis’ span of events reaches back to Denmark Vesey winning $1500 in 1799 lottery and purchasing his freedom - to modern day legislation and state lotteries destroying a traditional source of revenue for Black communities. Davis offers the reader a different perspective on what was historically thought of as an illegal enterprise. From the history she offers, the reader understands the pride and self-reliance that the Black owned industry produced.
  15. The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers by Bridgett M. Davis Publication Date: Jan 29, 2019 List Price: $28.00 (store prices may vary) Format: Hardcover Classification: Nonfiction Page Count: 320 ISBN13: 9780316558730 Imprint: Little, Brown and Company Read Tony Lindsay’s Review of The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers Book Description:"This outstanding book is a tribute to one woman but will surely speak to the experiences of many" (Kirkus) A singular memoir that tells the story of one unforgettable mother, her devoted daughter, and the life they lead in the Detroit numbers of the 1960s and 1970sIn 1958, the very same year that an unknown songwriter named Berry Gordy borrowed $800 to found Motown Records, a pretty young mother from Nashville, Tennessee borrowed $100 from her brother to run a Numbers racket out of her tattered apartment on Delaware Street, in one of Detroit’s worst sections. That woman was Fannie Davis, Bridgett M. Davis’ mother. Part bookie, part banker, mother, wife, granddaughter of slaves, Fannie became more than a numbers runner: she was a kind of Ulysses, guiding both her husbands, five children and a grandson through the decimation of a once-proud city using her wit, style, guts, and even gun. She ran her numbers business for 34 years, doing what it took to survive in a legitimate business that just happened to be illegal. She created a loving, joyful home, sent her children to the best schools, bought them the best clothes, mothered them to the highest standard, and when the tragedy of urban life struck, soldiered on with her stated belief: "Dying is easy. Living takes guts."A daughter’s moving homage to an extraordinary parent, The World According to Fannie Davis is also the suspenseful, unforgettable story about the lengths to which a mother will go to "make a way out of no way" to provide a prosperous life for her family — and how those sacrifices resonate over time. This original, timely, and deeply relatable portrait of one American family is essential reading. More books like The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers may be found by selecting the categories below: Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs Biography & Autobiography / Women History / African American Tell us what do you think about The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers.
  16. The protagonist was Easy Rawlins, and his goal was to clear the young man, Seymour, from the murder charge, and to get Bonnie, his old girlfriend, off his mind. The antagonists were the gangsters and Charcoal Joe at times, and thoughts of Bonnie. The theme I got was that Black people need to depend on themselves more – get involved in doing for each other – and trust the people in your circle. A recurring theme was heartbreak and surviving a break-up, and not to believe the hype about Black males, and don’t judge a book by its cover, which was what Seymour was doing. There so many sub-plot and metaphors – I think the woman fence, the jeweler, was representative racist society, but again the novel was loaded with metaphors The scenes that stayed with me were Mama Jo’s house, and Charcoal Joe sitting at that table in the prison yard. I think the novel is giving advice – trust your circle and your community – don’t let society tell you what is, and what is not valuable. Yes, I would read another novel by Walter Mosley.
  17. Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery by Walter Mosley Publication Date: Jun 14, 2016 List Price: $26.95 (store prices may vary) Format: Hardcover Classification: Fiction Page Count: 320 ISBN13: 9780385539203 Imprint: Doubleday Publisher: Penguin Random House Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC Book Description: Walter Mosley’s indelible detective Easy Rawlins is back, with a new detective agency and a new mystery to solve. Picking up where his last adventures in Rose Gold left off in L.A. in the late 1960s, Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins finds his life in transition. He’s ready—finally—to propose to his girlfriend, Bonnie Shay, and start a life together. And he’s taken the money he got from the Rose Gold case and, together with two partners, Saul Lynx and Tinsford “Whisper” Natly, has started a new detective agency. But, inevitably, a case gets in the way: Easy’s friend Mouse introduces him to Rufus Tyler, a very old man everyone calls Charcoal Joe. Joe’s friend’s son, Seymour (young, bright, top of his class in physics at Stanford), has been arrested and charged with the murder of a white man from Redondo Beach. Joe tells Easy he will pay and pay well to see this young man exonerated, but seeing as how Seymour literally was found standing over the man’s dead body at his cabin home, and considering the racially charged motives seemingly behind the murder, that might prove to be a tall order. Between his new company, a heart that should be broken but is not, a whole raft of new bad guys on his tail, and a bad odor that surrounds Charcoal Joe, Easy has his hands full, his horizons askew, and his life in shambles around his feet.
  18. The video below is the "Unboxing" of the the Power of Presence and a short intro with author Joy Thomas Moore. @DORIEL LARRIER will be hosting a live conversation with the author on January 24th, Thursday at 8 p.m.
  19. In The Power of Presence, Joy Thomas Moore used her life and the lives of other woman to instruct parents, specifically single moms, on how to create a positive presence in their children’s mind; a presence that they (the children) could call upon when making decisions and difficult choices in life. Moore used her own childhood and the life of her children to demonstrate how a child would react if the positive presence was available. She argues that having that presence, a responsible voice, in one’s head is a positive thing. Her book instructs one on how to be that positive presence. She does more than just say “this is what is needed” she goes out of the way to show others how to be a positive presence that a child could use. Moore’s book will help anyone raising a child because in order for one to become a positive presence they have to be a positive person, a productive person working hard to better their lives. A child sees this person in their day-to day-lives, and that person becomes an example, a point of reference for what should be done. The Power of Presence presents a win / win situation for the children and the parents.
  20. The Power of Presence by Joy Thomas Moore Publication Date: Sep 18, 2018 Format: Hardcover Classification: Nonfiction Page Count: 304 ISBN13: 9781538743805 Imprint: Grand Central Life & Style Parent Company: Hachette Livre Read Tony Lindsay's Review Description: “For single parents, working parents, and caregivers who worry about the time they spend away from their children, the mother of The Other Wes Moore shares strategies to raise happy, well adjusted kids.” As the mother of Wes Moore, whose memoir about overcoming the obstacles that face a fatherless young black man was a huge bestseller, Joy is constantly asked: How did you do it? How can you be a good parent, have a career and stay healthy when you don’t have a partner to pick up the slack? How do you connect with a child when you can't always be there? Joy's answer is "presence." Specifically, seven different ways of being a force in a child’s life, ensuring that they feel your influence. We can’t always be physically there for our children, but the power of presence can help us to be a voice in the back of their minds that guides them through difficult times. In The Power of Presence, Moore explores seven pillars of presence — heart, faith, mind, courage, financial freedom, values, and connectedness — that all parents can use to positively influence their children. Using compelling stories from women who have been there and practical advice on everything from savings accounts to mindfulness, this book is a compassionate look at what it takes to raise great kids even in less than ideal circumstances.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
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