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What is everyone reading?

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I just started reading "The Help" a work of fiction currently gracing the top-10 best seller list. I had no idea what this book was about but it came highly recommended.

It's turning out to be quite engrossing. Hint: Scarlett O'Hara must be turning over in her grave, her green eyes blazing! One of my thumb-nail reviews will reveal more when I finish it.

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Just finished Glorious by Bernice McFadden, The immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a question of freedom by r. dwayne betts,city kid by nelson george and fela this bitch of life. Will start either wench or victoire or black water rising. Started reading One Drop and Passing Strange last year, but put them down.

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Guest joepoetry

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer ...Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life

Living the Wisdom of the Tao

Also I like to read ...Until Today

Daily Devotions For Spiritual Growth and Peace Of Mind...Iyanla Vanzant

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Hello All,

I'm still here. The job is giving me the blues and making it difficult for me to do all of the reading that I want to do. But, I am still going through books, not as fast as I care to. Anyway, this list is going to go fast so pay attention.

I finished Victor McGlothin's new novel, The Secret of Newberry and was very impressed with it. I had put McGlothin in the U-go-girl group of authors and paid him no mind. After reading the novella compilation he did with J.D. Mason, I decided to give him a try and I'm glad I did. The novel comes out in June so be on the look out for it.

I read Madison Smartt Bell's Devil's Dream, a novel about the Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest. Now this is a book for your nerves! Although I have to admit that if I had known that the book was about a Confederate general, I would not have picked it up. It's an awesome book. I got caught up. I didn't realize that Bell had it going on like that, so I got his Haitian trilogy and am looking forward to getting into it later in the summer.

I came across a small history book titled Moses and the Monster and Miss Anne by Carole C. Marks. In the title Moses is of course Harriet Tubman, Miss Anne is a woman named Anna Ella Carroll, and the Monster is Patty Cannon. My interest was piqued when I read the summary and learned that Patty Cannon kidnap free blacks and sold them into slavery down South. Yeah, that's evil as all hell. Naturally, I had to find out what's what. It's a good little book.

I checked out The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow. I can see why this book is getting all of the praises!! It's remarkable!

Another remarkable book is Powder Necklace by Nana Ekua Bree-Hammond. This novel centers around a 14 years old girl who is shipped to her parents native country of Ghana, where she doesn't speak the language or know the culture because she was raised in London. Then when her trifling mother gets another wild hair up her butt, she sends for the girl, Lila, to come back home. And then when Lila finally gets settled in again, the mama ships her off to New York City to live with her father, who Lila can not remember and only knows through sparadic long distance phone calls. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel. Check it out if you can.

I most recently finished Black Water Rising by Attica Locke. I wasn't blown away by it! The story would have been fantastic if the editor had taken a pair of shears to it. It's one of those types of mysteries that they call literary mysteries. I usually associate literary mysteries with those of British writers. Those writers still write in the same fashion as Jane Austen or Charles Dickens when letter writing was in vogue and reading was considered high-toned and ranked high as a form of entertainment. Which, in my opinion is another way of making a story boring as all Hell because the author puts everything under the sun in the story. How can I put this...it is evident that Locke studied at the Elizabeth George-Stephen Carter School of Writing!

I picked up a book at a bookstore $2-$3 Book Sale titled gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson. I got it because the summary said that it was about a white woman who committed a murder when she was a teenager back home in Alabama and she made a bargain with God if He let her get away with it. 10 years after leaving home, she figures God broke the bargain when the murdered man's ex-girlfriend is at her door, kneeing her black boyfriend in the crotch. So, she heads back home to Alabama, with her black boyfriend, to visit her crazy ass family and finally get to the bottom of the murder. It's a good read. I had fun with it.

Now, I'm in the middle of Glorious by Bernice McFadden. Lord, you all don't know how much I love McFadden. I just started Glorious and am halfway through it. If this book finishes as good as it started, I may have to send McFadden a check to help out with her mortgage payment for the month!

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I was reading The Black Sleuth by John Edward Bruce labeled as “one of the earliest African American fictional works to depict a black detective.” It was published in serial form between 1907 and 1909 in McGirt’s Magazine. Unfortunately, just when I was really getting into the mystery – the book ended. Unfinished. Apparently the book was put together from microfilm of the McGirt’s Magazine but the magazine ceased publication before the end of the story.

Anyway, one of the things I found interesting in the book was imagining 1907 white folks’ reaction to some of the things Bruce writes such as:

“We Africans, I must here add, associate the white man with the prince of evil and all that is wicked and bad.”

and

“It is no compliment to the Negro to tell him that he is as good as a white man, for that presupposes that the white man is a superior being which is not true.”

What’s even more sadly interesting is these sayings are still true today. 100 years later. Sigh.

Oh well. Doing a little research on the McGirt’s Magazine I came across The Magazine Novels of Pauline Hopkins, writer of another early AA detective story, Hagar’s Daughter. I’ve tracked it down at the library and will pick it up [all 600+ pages] shortly.

This made my day! I get on the bus and a little girl of about 6 or 7 is sitting there reading a little book. I pulled out my book and said to her “I’m reading too” and she and her mother both gave me a smile. I saw her again the next day reading a different book and when I pulled out my different book I said “wow, we’re pretty fast readers”. She got the biggest grin on her face. Made my day! It’s the little things people . . .

Crystal

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How interesting and heartwarming, Crystal! 'Can always depend on you to bring a breath of fresh air to the board.

Coincidentally, I just read an obituary which appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times announcing the death of Eleanor Taylor Bland at age 65. She was a black mystery writer who enjoyed modest success for her series of books that followed the exploits of Marti MacAlister, a black homicide detective.

A resident of Waukegan, Illinois, Ms. Bland was considered a pioneer in the black "whodunit" genre, and a student of criminal justice. According to the article, her books were very well-received and her writing style praised for its conciseness and clarity.

I had heard of this author but never read any of her novels. Maybe I will check them out.

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Thanks Cynique! I read a couple of Ms. Bland's books quite a while back. I need to add more of her books to my list. You should give her a look-see. I'm sorry to hear of her passing at such a 'young' age.

Re: the John Edward Bruce book - I forgot to mention that the introduction [i forgot who wrote it] was interesting in itself. Bruce was a contemporary of Booker Washington but not a fan. He thought that an institution like Tuskegee was one of the reasons the poor white class developed such a hatred of black folks instead of just the disregard they had during slavery. Washington was teaching us to take over those people's jobs! The nerve of those uppity Negroes! Lots of tidbits in the intro for historical/literary fans.

Just in the library and picked up Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende [i think it was mentioned earlier in this post] and Mosley's Known to Evil. Alas, it ain't Easy. <_<

Crystal

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Hello All,

Crystal: What a nice little story about the little girl on the bus! *smile* Right now, I'm reading Mosley's The Long Fall and I'm going to follow it up with Known To Evil. I've decided to catch up on a few series this summer. Lately I've been completely mesmerized by the big Barnes and Nobles we now have in Indianapolis. I can only afford to shop in the clearance section, which is huge BTW. I picked up the first two installment of Eric Jerome Dickey's Gideon series, so I'm going to start those next. Then I'm off to the Pharaoh Love books, and finally I'm getting myself mentally prepared to tackle Ralph Ellison's Three Days Before the Shooting cause its a BAB!

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Brilliant? Really? Maybe I need to read it again. It's been over a year and I think I was still mourning Easy and just wasn't having it. I mean it was ok and all but . . .

Change is Good. Change is Good. Change is Good damnit.

Crystal

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I just finished my book club's selection for this month and found it to be a fairly decent read. It is entitled "The Lie" and was written by O.H. Bennett.

What I found engrossing about this novel was its perspective. Instead of being a time-worn tale about the dire consequences that befall a black person unjustly accused of a crime against someone white, this story deals with the ramifications of what happens when a white person is accused by a black person of a crime which he didn't commit.

A small town is the setting for an uprising in the black community where mob action threatens to avenge the murder of a young black man. But the circumstance inciting this reaction are all the result of a lie. A lie is a lie is a lie. A lie knows no color and it does not discriminate when it comes to wreaking havoc and inflaming injustice. Truth is the only thing that can redeem a liar and rectify a crime against humanity, and that's what this book is all about.

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I’m going old school this summer. I’m reading All-Night Visitors by Clarence Major. Somebody should have warned me! I have to be careful who’s sitting behind me when I’m reading this on the bus. Wouldn’t want anybody to think I’m a dirty ole woman. This fool spent 8 pages describing one particular act. 8 pages!

I also read Sarah Phillips by Andrea Lee. Both of these books are in my time zone so I could relate. More to Sarah than Eli.

Hey Thumper – I’m thinking of giving your boy F. Scott Fitzgerald a play during my winter wonderland reading.

Crystal

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Hello All,

Crystal: *smile* You know I love me some Fitzgerald that's no lie. I have about 5 more books to go through before I go on my winter wonderland reading. I got them all stacked up and ready to go.

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I’m going old school this summer. I’m reading All-Night Visitors by Clarence Major. Somebody should have warned me! I have to be careful who’s sitting behind me when I’m reading this on the bus. Wouldn’t want anybody to think I’m a dirty ole woman. This fool spent 8 pages describing one particular act. 8 pages!

I also read Sarah Phillips by Andrea Lee. Both of these books are in my time zone so I could relate. More to Sarah than Eli.

Hey Thumper – I’m thinking of giving your boy F. Scott Fitzgerald a play during my winter wonderland reading.

Crystal

F. Scott stinks save for "The Crackup" and "The Great Gatsby"

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Guest Angela

Just completed The Other Wes Moore, Powder Necklace, and now rereading Pearl Cleage's Until You Hear from Me for my book club meeting on Saturday. Read Jewell Parker Rhodes' first children's book Ninth Ward in one day--absolutely loved it!

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Guest Jacqui

I've just read a really interesting book called 'A British Nigerian Deadbeat in Cincinnati' by Charles Chuka Aniagolu. It's actually based on a true story. I remember when this story was splashed across the news several years ago claiming that this fellow was the worst deadbeat dad in America. So it's fascinating to learn what was actually going on behind the scenes with the mother lying to the courts and the crazy politics and shenagans of the Hamilton County Council. Shocking and really scarey for innocent folks that the justice system in America is like this.

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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

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Having fulfilled my winter wonderland obligation, I have now embarked on a new journey through a 500+ page nonfiction documentary.

The snow-covered novel was an equally-long mystery thriller entitled “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” One reason I was drawn to it was because of its back story. It was the first in a trilogy that followed the adventures of an affable middle-aged journalist and an enigmatic young woman best described as a cross between a biker babe and a Goth priestess who doubled as a computer hacker. The Author of this novel which was translated into English from Swedish was Stieg Larsson, and just as his 3-book series that centered around these 2 characters began to soar up the best-seller lists he died of a massive heart attack at the age of 49, leaving his survivors to quarrel over his million dollar estate… Talk about literary irony.

This book was compelling enough for me to stick with because I wanted to see how it ended, and the writing style had a good flow, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. Since “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is being made into a film starring Daniel Craig, the actor who is the current incarnation of James Bond, you might want to just wait for the movie to come out.

The second book which I have just started and am already immensely impressed with is entitled “The Warmth of Other Suns” and is written by Isabel Wilkerson. This book chronicles the period between 1915 and 1970 during which time Blacks began leaving the rural south to seek better lives in the great Northern metropolises, and is a era otherwise known as “the great migration”. I will give a report when I complete it.

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Sounds like there’s some good reading going on! I’ve taken an eastern detour in my winter wonderland reading. I’m reading Out by Natuo Kirino. Set in current Japan in a seedy part of Tokyo involving 4 women working the night shift in a food factory. It’s a ridiculous murder mystery where the mystery isn’t whodunit but will they get away with it. Several fun twists. Seems I’ve gone back to my habit [i won’t say bad habit because it works for me :P ] of reading the ending to see who’s left so I know at least one of them got away but it’ll be interesting to see who doesn’t and what happens to the others.

I’m out of touch with the literature they are teaching in schools now but I think if students could read stories from all over the world they’d recognize how much the same we all are. No good abusive husbands/skanky wives/long suffering wives/nosey neighbors/ungrateful children/crooks/sicko’s: all the same. Bigotry is the same too. Apparently after the war a lot of Japanese folks left Japan looking for work and ended up all over South America. Guess how their mixed offspring are treated when they go back to the ‘motherland’? Sigh.

Thumper, I finished Gatsby. Not a fan. Everybody got on my nerves and I was glad when it ended.

Crystal

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Guest mikeE

I am currently reading Ralph Ellison In Progress by Adam Bradley, coeditor of Three Days....I am also rereading David Anthony Durham's Gabriel's Story for a book club. I have recently read Toni Morrison's A Mercy for the One Book, One Chicago program. Also reading or recently finished Thelonious Monk: An American Original By Robin Kelley; I Walked With Giants The autobiography of Jimmy Heath ( saxophonist, composer-arranger & educator);Ishmael Reed's Barack Obama & The Jim Crow Media; The Friends Of Eddie Coyle by George Higgins; Jabari Asim's book of short stories A Taste Of Honey; Peter Akinti's novel of African emigrants in London, Forest Gate; Chinua Achebe's recent book of essays; That Thing Around Your Neck, short stories by a young Nigerian writer (I can't remember her name); a recent graphic novel featuring Luke Cage Marvel Comics "Hero for Hire" in a completely new hard boiled setting, 1920's New York; The Best African American Essays Of 2010; and at the suggestion of my 14 year old son Aliens: Berserker,from a series of books based on the Aliens movie.

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The Grace of Silence by Michele Norris. The author weaves a compelling portrayal of quiet dignity and strength personified in both her parents. In the process, she reveals her own transformation and reminds of the sacrifice and hope of ancestors. An excerpt from the conclusion of the introduction reads "Our parents felt we needed to know only so much. No time for tears. No yearning for sympathy. You see, you can't keep your eye on the prize if your sight is clouded by tears. How can you soar if you're freighted down by the anger of your ancestors?". Though this memoir contains a few very short lapses of unexciting detail, overall it is topically compelling and many will find it easy to relate.

In His Own Voice: The Dramatic and Other Uncollected Works of Paul Laurence Dunbar by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Rare collection from some of his lesser known works.

The Strategic President: Persuasion and Opportunity in Presidential Leadership by George C. Edwards III. An historical analysis of results-oriented presidential leadership.

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The Derrick Bell Reader

In other reading, I came across a reference to his essay, "The Constitutional Contradiction." Sounded interesting, so I Googled him and learned he was a real warrior in the school desegregation movement. His views -- especially his argument that whites only grant blacks rights when it doesn't threaten white privilege -- sounded like they would definitely be new intellectual territory for me, so I got the book. So far, I've just read the above-mentioned essay, which deals with the fact that the founding fathers made a deal with the devil (slavery) to get a government agreed to. This is one of several essays, apparently, in which Bell employs a signature narrative-fiction style rather than a scholarly approach. He constructs his essay as a sort of science fiction story, in which a black woman travels back in time to the Constitutional Convention to reprove the delegates -- all the while protected from the wrath of the Southerners by a shining force field. That's hokey enough that it was a distraction from the issues. Plenty more to read in this book, and I'm looking forward to it.

Check it out here.

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I’m reading some old 1930’s books by Jessie Fauset. I finished The Chinaberry Tree – loved it. I’m reading Comedy American Style right now. Wow, I haven’t come across a bitch like this woman since King Tremaine’s low-down-dirty-wife! This story is a perfect example of ‘sticks and stones may break your bones but words can ruin your life’ and your husband’s life, your children’s life, etc. Check these stories out if you get a chance.

Black Mamba Boy – Nadifa Mohamed – set in 1935 Yemen and follows a young orphan boy through WW2. Another historical novel from the perspective of a young black boy living/traveling in the middle east.

Tempted by Trouble – Eric Jerome Dickey. About bank robbers. Yes, I actually finished it. :P Not because it was good but I just wanted to see how he would end it. Still not a fan. The writing seems to have been dumbed down. The woman I borrowed it from hated it and didn't finish it.

Secret Daughter – Shilpi Somaya Gowda. Adoption Indian style.

Crystal

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Well, since this is a slow day, I am looking for Thumper because it's Oscar time. You know, that man that knows everything about books a movies..., has anyone seen him."

Tell him to give me a holla. I'm the guy in the video... and the one that follows it. HERE http://www.youtube.c...DAeNxu8&index=1

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Amazingly, I choose to read a book written by a self-published author and it was REALLY good!!! It's called Scandalous and it is written by Redd Underwood. Normally I would not read something that is not from a major publishing house, but I am happy that I read this book.

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Just finished Some Sing, Some Cry [Hey LiLi!] by sisters Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza – story of the Mayfield family in Charleston, South Carolina from end of slavery to 21st century. Loved It! While stories of our history are very hard to read the writing in this one was so beautiful. Characters come to life in a couple of sentences. We know these people. I recommend it.

I took my winter wonderland break with a sci-fi series written by L. Timmel Duchamp. The series is called the Marq'ssan Cycle and begins in 2075 when female aliens come to earth to straighten us out before we do something so bad it will affect the rest of the universe. They knock out all of the earth’s electronic power and we were all up that proverbial creek without cell phones and computers. There are 5 books in the series each 500+ pages. Although I guess it’s technically sci-fi because of the aliens and futuristic stuff, it really isn’t a sci-fi’ish story. More a story of how we handle things.

So, how’s the summer reading coming?

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I just finished Terry McMillan’s Getting to Happy. My obligatory summer drama read. I’m definitely done with Savannah and ‘em now. McMillan’s picture on the back cover with her ‘yeah you all know all my personal drama – what can I say’ look is funny.

Crystal

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Crystal, you write with such style and charm that you should consider one day trying your hand at being an author! Your endorsement of Obama on our other discussion forum was priceless.

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Thanks Cynique. That’s quite a compliment! Unfortunately there are no stories floating abound in my head wishing to break free. Guess I don’t have much of an imagination. Luckily there’s a whole bunch of other folks that do so I just live vicariously through their stories. Including yours.

Crystal

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Just started Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom by Ron Paul.

Keeps me aware of the latest swill.

Granted, it is difficult to read or listen to the views of those trumpeting the virtues of "the good old days".

I've argued and debated with those who espouse the varying views of the likes of Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, etc...

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