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Posts posted by Thumper

  1. Hello All,

    Crystal: I totally understand. *big smile*

    All: I am in the middle of my winter wonderland reading vacation. I finished two Artemis Fowl novels, which were wonderful as all hell!! I love the Artemis Fowl series better than Harry Potter. I got one more novel in the series to read and then I'm all caught up. The other day I finished up The Devil in The White City by Erik Larson. This book was fantastic. It's the story of the 1893 Chicago World Fair and the story of America's first serial killer Dr. H.H. Holmes, who used the fair to draw in some of his victims. I loved it!! Right now, I'm reading The Maltese Falcon by Dahiell Hammett, which is turning out to be a fascinating read. The Humphrey Bogart movie version sticks real close to the book. I'm in the middle of it, so I'll let you know how it goes

  2. Hello All,

    I just finished up reading the John Oliver Killens biography by Keith Gilyard, which was wonderful by the way! Now, I'm going to go on a Winter Wonderland reading vacation. Actually, I've already started. I read Breakfast at Tiffany by Truman Capote this morning. I like it A LOT BETTER than the movie. Strangely enough, I saw Holly Golightly more like Marilyn Monroe than Audrey Hepburn. Capote was a damn good writer. I have two new installments for my two favorite children lit series on the way, Artemis Fowl and The Last Apprentice. Then I'm going to read for the first time an author name John Dos Passos. I have never heard of the man before. His name came up when I was reading the new James Baldwin collection: The Cross of Redemption. It's my understanding that Dos Passos was the fourth face in the American Literature Mount Rushmore, alongside Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Faulkner. I'm going to check Dos Passos out.

  3. Hello All,

    Chris: You know what, let's be clear on a couple of things. First, there is a difference between literary fiction and fiction. In all seriousness, somehow the two got confused with eachh other, or the labeling got changed or something. Correct me if I'm wrong, but what I would call urban fiction today would have been called pulp fiction back in the day. Hemingway, Baldwin, Fitzgerald and others were under the fiction banner. The literary fiction banner did not come about until...when? I don't know, you tell me. From my understanding, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, James Cain, all of their work were labeled pulp fiction, correct? So, there's no need in getting your panties in a bunch about somebody looking down their noses at urban lit. When it's all said and done, Raymond Chandler, James Cain and the others still knew how to put a damn sentence together. The same CAN NOT be said about many of our urban lit writers.

    Second, literary fiction, whether the author was white or black, had hell to pay. Their books were not always or automatically on the bestsellers list. Their books were the ones high school and college professors made you read, while during the school break I would come out with the latest Sidney Sheldon or Jackie Collins book. Literary fiction, to me, always had an underground feel to it, simply because it wasn't mainstream. Unless Hollywood made a movie on it, a non BORING movie version, I didn't hear of the book. I can't speak for anyone else, but this was how I first got into black literary fiction was from the MOVIE The Color Purple. I read Walker's book AFTERWARD. I heard of Toni Morrison AFTER she won the Nobel Prize! Only with the invention of the internet and Waiting to Exhale (now I'm not saying that Waiting to Exhale was literature, it ain't) did black literary fiction get any kind of exposure. But, black literary fiction always depended on white readers for its survival, and not the black reading audience. But, when it came to the black reading audience to embrace and support black literature, it did not because of the reasons I stated before. So, I'm saying that black literary fiction isn't just languishing today, it has been languishing since I first met it over 30 years ago. The sad part is that when it came to us, the collective black reading audience, to hold it up and celebrate it, we dropped it in the mud, like trash we didn't want to properly dispose. So, yeah, you can accuse me of being the only one reading it. I would disagree, there are a few that reads it. The question is, why aren't YOU reading it, supporting it?!

    Quiet as its kept, white literature aint doin't that much bang up business either. Don't belive me? Go into any of the big book stores, go into their clearance section and you'll see all kinds of fiction titles written by white authors that DID NOT SELL! The only difference between them and their black counterparts is that the publishing houses will still publish them, at a loss, and not take the same risk on black authors.

    I will loudly admit that I have not read Best American Short Stories 2009, or Paris Review, or Poets, or Writers? I'm too busy reading books that according to you, are written for nobody but me, since I'm the only one who reads them. Chris, did you read Ellison's Three Days Before the Shooting? No? But you will, right? *eyebrow raised* Really, how many of these literary fiction books have YOU read lately that are, as you say "dull torpid and irrelevant"? Don't be stingy with the titles, man, spill gut! We'll wait. *eyebrow raised again*

    I'm going to keep it short, mainly because I'm at work and have to go on a call, the author, in my opinion, to watch for is Chris Abani. He's off the hook!

  4. Hello All,

    I'm breaking my own promise to myself not to talk to you Chris, it's usually an exercise in futility.

    Chris: You wrote "Ain't nobody but you reading them books" in reference to the Akashic portion of my post.

    And there in lies the problem! Frankly, I'm never heard in history past of a civilization, or a people, destroying themselves because the people READ too much! Your argument is ridiculous and nonsensical.

    Chris: Oh and this one is just priceless "Literary Fiction is dead. Couldn't have happened soon enough in my book. All it provided was a means for some slackers and slugs to stand around who couldn't tie their own shoes to go to parties and act like they were better than somebody else"

    Really, Chris, Really? My how soon we forget. I seem to remember a novel titled, "A VAMPYRE BLUES: THE PASSION OF VARNADO" Would you like to tell the people who wrote that book, or should I? *eyebrow raised* Oh, that's OK, let me do it. The, now how did Chris put it, the person who wrote the novel A Vampyre Blues: The Passion of Varnado is none other than our very own CHRIS HAYDEN! The he-can't-tie-his-own-damn-shoes, lazy slacker, with an (and I simply can't stress this enough, with no amount of exaggeration) extremely over inflated ego. Well, you know what Chris, if this is how you see yourself, I couldn't agree with you more! You know I'm with you when you're right! *LMAO*

  5. Hello All,

    There are several reasons why Black Literature is languishing

    1.) Education - Let's keep it real or keep it moving; it has turned out that the education that a black person could get back in the day, not accounting for the deplorable school systems down South, was a lot better. Today with all of these fancy new teaching methods and technology, we have a few generations that are a few notches above illiterate. Don't believe me. Sit down with a couple of our children and ask them to read you a story. 3/4 of them, after reading to you out loud, will put fear into you concerning the future. I don't see nothing wrong with looking up words in a dictionary. It's called vocabulary building. But, then I was educated in another age and not the current one.

    2.) I don't care how post Obama some industries claim to be, many in the publishing industries are still racist. Let's face it, we, the black audience reinforced their prejudice. That big book boom we had, we destroyed. Because we didn't "spread" the love and stayed stuck on the You-Go-Girl books, and then the thug books, the higher ups in the industry, kept pumping them out. Because in their eyes, these were the only books they could make a profit off of. We didn't try reading those other books because they were "too hard" (this also links back to my first point). And because the publishers were marketing those books just to black women, they figured there's no need to have any quality control or even to make sure the author could actually write and read English at a high school senior level (again, reference back to point 1), we got a lot of books thrown at us that was pure de sh_t!! What was bound to happen next, did happen; these same black women that was so pumped up reading that trash, got tired of reading the same story over and over and over again. This in turned the publishers profits to sh_t, which in turn lead them to the decision that there's not need publishing black authors (because they have all been lumped into the same category now) because there's no money in it. Now this falls under the category of "be careful what you wish for, you might get it".

    3.) Not all Black Literature is languishing, it depends on where you look. If you have been following me this year, I have shown my love for the books from a small independent publisher, Akashic Books. This year they've published Jesus Boy by Preston Allan and Glorious by Bernice McFadden. They are still a small, small few still at the big publishing houses like Eric Jerome Dickey. For the most part, the books are out here, you just have to look for them. This is not new for a lot of us who are use to looking for black fiction and black history books. For instance, right now I'm reading The World Has Changed: Conversations with Alice Walker by Alice Walker. I am learning, to my great shame, that Alice Walker has a vast literary legacy. There is more to her literary output than just The Color Purple, or the two novels by her that I have read. I did not know Walker had written so much poetry, essays, or short stories. I also did not know that at one time she belonged to a group of black female writers who called themselves The Sisterhood. Walker and Toni Morrison are the only two members of that group whose works are still in print today.

    We need to do better than this people. We have got to learn to support our new authors as well as elders. There's really no reason for us not doing our part, because we still have to go that extra mile or extra step to get to where we ought to be, need to be, should be.

    • Like 2
  6. Hello All,

    I was recently listening to NPR this morning and a few days ago. It appears that Amazon.com is having a big year this year selling ebooks. According to Amazon, for every 100 hardcover book they sold 168 ebooks. (I think I'm quoting the number correctly) But, another report I heard stated that they are going to be adding pictures and music to the ebooks, in order to give the readers a little something extra to make the ebook more marketable. When it reaches that stage, I might seriously be tempted to get one.

    Really, I would like to get one now. I looked at the Barnes and Noble nook eBook. I'm impressed with it. I would have preferred a big screen size. But, right now, I would choose it over Amazon.ocm Kindle because of its price and the fact the nook has color and the Kimble don't.

  7. Hello All,

    I am approaching the middle of the new James Baldwin collection, The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings. Man, I forgot just how brilliant Baldwin really was. The Ellison book, is magnificent and a dismal failure at the same time. I haven't gotten to the middle of it yet, but Ellison should have sucked up some of his pride and had Baldwin as his editor. Although I have not finished reading the book, I strongly recommend it for anyone whose an author or is trying to be a writer. Baldwin is dropping nothing but knowledge. I can't help but to wonder what he would think about some of the books that are passing for good fiction nowadays. *eyebrow raised* I know some people are damn lucky he's dead and can't express his opinion. I'll let you know more when I'm done.

  8. Hello All,

    Rambam: Like Troy said, if you have a book you want to discuss, go for it. I'm about to go into my winter wonderland reading vacation in a few weeks. I went to a HUGE Half Price book sale with a couple of friends of mine from work a few weeks ago. All of the books cost $1-$3!! I lost my mind and got loads of books by white authors. So, don't be shy, let us know what you think.

  9. Hello All,

    Troy: I don't know dawg. One of the only things that has lasted that long has been language, the way we communicate with each other. It has grown and evolved. In some cases died out. But it has always been here and as long as there are humans, we are going to have to deal with it one way or the other.

    You said, "The pyramids are still standing and those folks did not read too many books... "

    You're right, they just invented science, mathematics, developed astrology. And although they didn't have "books" as we think of them, they did have scrolls and were the first to build libraries. *eyebrow raised*

    And there is a program that was broadcast a few years ago about the greatest invention ever made. According to the program, the greatest invention ever invented was a little machine made by a German, I believe, the invention was called...the printing press. Go figure.

  10. Hello All,

    Troy, I'm going to have to disagree with you. Just because technology is moving, and our ways of communicating has evolved, I don't believe that it is for the better for us as a society. Over the centuries, our language has evolved. With the technology of today, language is being dumb down. I think its important to understand that language, like math, serves to exercise our mind. It may not improve my intelligence, but I believe it improves my ability to reason and the ability to express myself in various situations, like the growth of my vocabulary. I get all of these things from reading, knowing how to read, and occasionally challenging myself to read works that I once considered a son of a bitch. How can using a blackberry contribute to all of that. Twitter can only do so much since abbreviations is the name of the game. Why hell, dawg, that's taking us back to the stone age. Instead of the grunting with sticks and stones, we have LOL, LMAO, BTW, AART, ROTFLMAO, etc, etc. Stones made of bytes instead of matter. I bet there are days where millions of people don't read or write one complete, grammatically correct sentence.

    You are correct that the days of letter writing is gone. Yet, look at us, communicating on the 21st century version of letter writing. *eyebrow raised*

    Is or communication technology really an improvement or a way to travel the technology highway back to the past.

  11. Hello All,

    I'm about to be out of commissioned. I'm fixin to start reading Three Days Before The Shooting by Ralph Ellison. In case you're not familiar with Three Days, Three Days is the compilation, for lack of a better word, of all of the written pieces of the second novel Ralph Ellison was writing at the time of his death. Ellison had been working on the novel following his first novel, Invisible Man, for over 40 years before his death. After he died, his literary executor, John Callahan, edited and released Juneteenth. Juneteenth was not the novel, but a small number of writings that Ellison had written in which Callahan assembled together. At the time, it was stated that all of the different pieces, stories, et al, would be collected for study only, not released to the general reading audience at large. I ain't going to lie, I felt somewhat slighted about that. Evidently I wasn't alone. The higher ups must have been feeling generous because they put the whole thing out, in one volume, thus, Three Days Before The Shooting. Three Days is over 1000 pages long. Yeah...now you all know I have a thing about BABs (Big Ass Books). I don't like reading them. Frankly, BABs tend to scare the hell out of me and I avoid them like the plague. Stephen King is just about the only author that can put out a book this big and I'll read it. The Harry Potter books comes in a close second. Other than that, I'd rather skip over it. But, I'm going to tackle this big sucka! So, I'm letting you all know...*sniffle, sniffle*...that if you don't hear from me again...*sniffle*...it's been good, most of the time! Cynique, I wuv U--like a big second, third remove, distant cousin. Carey, it's been swell. Crystal, give Mosley another try. I want you all to pray for me, I'm about to go to that land of BAB and I may never return. *with the song I'm Standing in the Need of Prayer playing in the background* *LOL*

  12. Hello All,

    I just finished Walter Mosley's new novel, Known To Evil, the second book in the Lenoid McGill mystery series. I loved it! I know in an earlier thread Crystal wasn't too pleased with it and I'm feeling her on that. I came to the same conclusion about being in mourning from the ending of Mosley's Easy Rawlins series. I did not realize that I was in mourning until I was 3/4 through with The Long Fall. I did not realize how MAD I was at Mosley for that. I know that I did not read any of his books after the last Easy book. What's that old saying about never missing the water til the well runs dry. I wasn't fully conscious that I felt so strongly for those characters and those stories. That notion dawned on me during The Long Fall and Crystal solidified it. Then I knew that I wasn't the only one who felt that way. I have to give it up to Mosley for being the exceptional writer that he is. Because, I'm afraid, Crystal, that Mosley got me hooked again with Lenoid McGill.

    While the Lenoid McGill mysteries is Mosley's latest serial, there are a few MAJOR similarities to the Easy Rawlins series. First, the central characters are loners with messy relationship issues. Second, Easy and Lenoid are black men who has Daddy abandonment issues. Third, both men are raising children that are not their own. Fourth, both have a DEADLY best friend in the mix. Easy had Mouse. Lenoid has Hush. But, even with these major similarities; Lenoid is completely unique. There is no way anyhone can confuse Lenoid with Easy. The Long Fall and Known to Evil have a completely different vibe from the Rawlins series, starting with the setting of the stories, Lenoid is in the borough of Manhattan.

    Crystal, it's OK to forgive Mosley. He didn't mean to hurt our feelings like that I'm sure.

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