Tuesday, February 11, 2014

6 Books You Should Be Reading This Month

 I read this novel in high school. I liked it then and I love it now. Langston Hughes is one of the most prolific writers I have ever come across. This powerful story will not only move you, but stir many emotions deep inside of you.
This stirring coming-of-age tale unfolds in 1930s rural Kansas. A poignant portrait of African-American family life in the early twentieth century, it follows the story of young Sandy Rogers as he grows from a boy to a man. We meet Sandy's mother, Annjee, who works as a housekeeper for a wealthy white family; his strong-willed grandmother, Hager; Jimboy, Sandy's father, who travels the country looking for work; Aunt Tempy, the social climber; and Aunt Harriet, the blues singer who has turned away from her faith.

A fascinating chronicle of a family's joys and hardships, Not Without Laughter is a vivid exploration of growing up and growing strong in a racially divided society. A rich and important work, it masterfully echoes the black American experience.
Before Zane wrapped us up in lustful tales of sexuality and empowering women everywhere to get there freak on. Before Eric Jerome Dickey wrote about the unexplainable tales of former lovers and the one's we still can never let go. There was the unconquerable Zora Neale Hurston. Ms. Hurston is a woman who lives and breathes what an honor and privilege to not only own the craft of storytelling but speaking the truth and leaving the soul stirred on every page from beginning to end. I embraced this book with an open mind and heart in my late twenties. Back in school we were forced to read, dissect, and interpret There Eyes Were Watching God. I enjoyed the story but once something becomes required reading for me...it takes the joy out of the beauty of reading for pleasure. I enjoyed Jonah's Gourd Vine...trust me...you will too!
Jonah's Gourd Vine, Zora Neale Hurston's first novel, originally published in 1934, tells the story of John Buddy Pearson, "a living exultation" of a young man who loves too many women for his own good. Lucy, his long-suffering wife, is his true love, but there's also Mehaley and Big 'Oman, as well as the scheming Hattie, who conjures hoodoo spells to ensure his attentions. Even after becoming the popular pastor of Zion Hope, where his sermons and prayers for cleansing rouse the congregation's fervor, John has to confess that though he is a preacher on Sundays, he is a "natchel man" the rest of the week. And so in this sympathetic portrait of a man and his community, Zora Neale Hurston shows that faith, tolerance, and good intentions cannot resolve the tension between the spiritual and the physical. That she makes this age-old dilemma come so alive is a tribute to her understanding of the vagaries of human nature.
This is still relevant today as it was when it was first published. I encourage everyone to read this book with there children. I'll be rereading this book with my nine year old son.
The Mis-Education of the Negro is a book originally published in 1933 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. The thesis of Dr. Woodson's book is that African-Americans of his day were being culturally indoctrinated, rather than taught, in American schools. This conditioning, he claims, causes African-Americans to become dependent and to seek out inferior places in the greater society of which they are a part. He challenges his readers to become autodidacts and to "do for themselves", regardless of what they were taught:
History shows that it does not matter who is in power... those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.

I like my novels to pull me all the way in and never let go...and Sugar does not disappoint. McFadden unflinchingly honest and creates a powerful and vivid portrait through her words for the reader to dive deep within the story. McFadden has mastered the art of being storyteller that leaves the reader hungry for more.

The novel opens when a young prostitute comes to Bigelow, Arkansas, to start over, far from her haunting past. Sugar moves next door to Pearl, who is still grieving for the daughter who was murdered fifteen years before. Over sweet-potato pie, an unlikely friendship begins, transforming both women's lives--and the life of an entire town.

Sugar brings a Southern African-American town vividly to life, with its flowering magnolia trees, lingering scents of jasmine and honeysuckle, and white picket fences that keep strangers out--but ignorance and superstition in. To read this novel is to take a journey through loss and suffering to a place of forgiveness, understanding, and grace.  McFadden is the author of the novels Gathering of Waters, Glorious, and This Bitter Earth

If beauty and penmanship had a name it would be Pearl Cleage! Pearl Cleage is one of my favorite authors and it doesn't hurt that she lives in my backyard! With a smooth and velvety voice Cleage creates characters that are timeless and impactful from each book. Each book delivers on the promise to evoke an emotional reaction from the reader. Pearl Cleage books are a classy and awe inspiring as the talented woman creating them.

After a decade of elegant pleasures and luxe living with the Atlanta brothers and sisters with the best clothes and biggest dreams, Ava Johnson has temporarily returned home to Idlewild—her fabulous career and power plans smashed to bits by cold reality. But what she imagines to be the end is, instead, a beginning. Because, in the ten-plus years since Ava left, all the problems of the big city have come to roost in the sleepy North Michigan community whose ordinariness once drove her away; and she cannot turn her back on friends and family who sorely need her in the face of impending trouble and tragedy. Besides which, that one unthinkable, unmistakable thing is now happening to her: Ava Johnson is falling in love.

Acclaimed playwright, essayist, New York Times bestselling author, and columnist Pearl Cleage has created a world rich in character, human drama, and deep, compassionate understanding, in a remarkable novel that sizzles with sensuality, hums with gritty truth, and sings and crackles with life-affirming energy.

There is no one like Toni Morrison. The mother to many aspiring writers and the voice of a timeless generation. Toni Morrison is the original and authentic storyteller that leaves grit and conviction on every page. Readers find her characters unforgettable and critics can't agree more. I loved the movie Beloved and I read the book second. Of course, the book was better...it always is lol! Toni Morrison is an inspiration to young writers everywhere and it's because of her that share my tales today.

#Books #BlackHistoryMonth #Reading #Bookshelf #ToniMorrison #LangstonHughes #PearlCleage #BerniceMcFadden #CarterGWoodson #ZoraNealeHurston