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What Are You Reading Now?


Troy

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I just started The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by C.L.R. James. 

This book was written in 1938.  The 2nd edition was published in 1962 with updates that James described as "...never more than to the extent of a few lines."  The copy I'm reading was published in 1989.  

The first chapter "The Property" is just hard to read.  I mean I've read account of the middle passage and the torture slave put Black folks through, but James account is graphic account is hard to read.  

I have never been able to wrap my brain around how people can be so cruel to each other.  The fact that so many people could be so cruel i unfathomable to me. I decided to pick this book up because I recently read about another book (I can;t recall the name now), that described Nat Turners rebellion so my interested was piqued in this book as the L'Ouverture's rebellion was the only successful slave revolt in history.

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Man, there was a time this question would spark a lot of responses.  Even lurkers would step out of the shadows and share what they were reading.  

Have people stopped reading, or have they simply become unwilling to share what they are reading here?

Interestingly, AALBC.com's traffic has grown steadily.  In stark contrast, these discussion forums have seen a steady decline in participation.  I have also noticed a decline in comments on the website overall; there are fewer comments on Blog posts and on the comments section throughout the website.  A page can get a thousand visitors a day and not generate a single comment.

So it is not just an issue of the number of visitors; it is a change in the behavior of those visitors.  The question is what is prompting this change in behavior?

Yesterday I made three direct posts on my Facebook page.  Two Black history month posts Toni Cade Bambara and an Ida B Wells. There was some engagement, but it was minimal.  The third post was me sharing one of the racists memes that was posted on my site.  That got as much engagement that anything else I posted all month.

 

Over the years I've received all kinds of racist hate mail and spam... http://aalbc.com/tc/topic/3710-sambos-double-shuffle-a-nigger-dance/

Posted by Troy Johnson on Friday, March 25, 2016

Many of the  people who reacted wrote that they appreciated what I do, but most of them never comment on that stuff.  Indeed some days I'll get more engagement from racist that I do from supporters.  

Engagement (who is moved to comment) is one of the things I traditionally use to measure how well what I'm doing resonates with people.  But I'm beginning to believe that does not matter as much as I think it should.  If people visit this site, stick around long enough to read something, and visit another page or two that is really a much more important measure of the success of a website.  

Just because people are not sharing what they are reading here does not mean folks are not reading and don't care about the site in general.

As a great alternative, book clubs have been nice enough share their reading lists with me.  I just published the reading list of The Nubian Circle Book Club. Book club's are always a good source of good books to read.

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Still, it would be nice to know what inidividuals are reading without having to go to a site owned by Amazon--who tends to focus on what is most popular or who spends the most money, rather than on what we really care about or is good.

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Guest tolly devlin

I am currently finishing Empire of Necessity & am about to start Negroland by Margo Jefferson for a book club I attend & W.E.B. DuBois' John Brown. I also picked up a book by an author I was not familiar with James Hannaham's  Delicious Foods. I have also got Victor LaValle's latest The Ballad of Black Tom & Percival Everett's last collection of short stories to read. I used to visit & comment on this site when there seemed to be more dicussions of black literature. I was even introduced to new writers. I still drop in occasionally, but I guess I could now be considered a "lurker".

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Well Tolly thanks for stepping out of the shadows.

9780765387868.jpgI was not aware that Victor had a new book out.  It just goes to show you how inefficient the Black book ecosystem is today  Now of course Victor's books would appeal to a broad audience, but the fact it escaped my scrutiny is telling.  I'm filmed Victor a number of times and even paid him to do a reading at the National Black Writers Conference a few years ago, which makes my lack of knowledge of The Ballad of Black Tom all the more remarkable. This also means that my visitors will be less likely to know about this book too.  How did you learn about it?

Everette's latest book of essays is Half an Inch of Water.

Please post again, forums are only as good as the participants.  Lurkers help by bringing traffic, but the quality of the conversation is really a function of the participants--thanks for raising the quality of our conversation today.

If you create an account you will not have to wait for me to post. 

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You know I simply overlooked this post. I just finished the Walking Dead Series last book titled Invasion by Jay Bonansinga. I just finished  the revised Harry Potter and Sorcerer's Stone release featuring some beautiful artwork. I read that with my daughter. My daughter and I are reading Coraline now. I'm reading "Why Your Five Your Old Could Not Have Done That"

I think the reason people aren't writing in what they are reading is because people really aren't reading that much and it's kind of embarrassing to say you're not reading much when you are visiting a book website. I typically don't share because most of my reading is based around my children and reading to discuss things with them. I am also reading business books.

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Guest Tolly Devlin

I heard about LaValle's new book through an interview on NPR's All Things Considered. It was a wide ranging interview in which he discussed how H.P. Lovecraft's racism & xenophobia affected his fiction. It should still be online.

Check it out.

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Guest Tolly Devlin

The Victor LaValle interview was actually aired on Fresh Air on February 29.Sorry for the misinformation on a previous post.

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Because I have been so immersed in writing my book for the last 15 months I haven't been reading. Prior to suddenly being moved to write, I was reading two pop culture oriented books: I Would Die 4 U by Toure, quick read about Prince, and  I Am Charlie Wilson which I did not finish but I will pick back up once I finish getting my marketing plans in motion. The last "serious" book I completed was FDR by Jean Edward Smith.

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