Hailed as "powerful,""accomplished," and "spellbinding," Lalita Tademy's first novel Cane River was a New York Times bestseller and the 2001 Oprah Book Club Summer Selection. Now with her evocative, luminous style and painstaking research, she takes her family's story even further, back to a little-chronicled, deliberately-forgotten time...and the struggle of three extraordinary generations of African-American men to forge brutal injustice and shattered promise into a limitless future for their children... RED RIVERFor the newly-freed black residents of Colfax, Louisiana, the beginning of Reconstruction promised them the right to vote, own property-and at last control their own lives.Tademy saw a chance to start a school for his children and neighbors. His friend Israel Smith was determined to start a community business and gain economic freedom. But in the space of a day, marauding whites would "take back" Colfax in one of the deadliest cases of racial violence in the South. In the bitter aftermath, Sam and Israel's fight to recover and build their dreams will draw on the best they and their families have to give-and the worst they couldn't have foreseen. Sam's hidden resilience will make him an unexpected leader, even as it puts his conscience and life on the line. Israel finds ironic success-and the bitterest of betrayals. And their greatest challenge will be to pass on to their sons and grandsons a proud heritage never forgotten-and the strength to meet the demands of the past and future in their own unique ways. An unforgettable achievement, a history brought to vibrant life through one of the most memorable families in fiction, RED RIVER is about fathers and sons, husbands and wives-and the hopeful, heartbreaking choices we all must make to claim the legacy that is ours.
The Best American Short Stories edited by Junot Díaz One of my reading goals for 2017 is to read more short stories, so this one will be added to my TBR pile for this year.
Award-winning and best-selling author Junot Díaz guest edits this year’s The Best American Short Stories, the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction.
Of Love and Dust by Ernest J. Gaines The last book that I needed to buy for my year of Ernest Gaines. I now own them all! You can read about my year long reading project here.
This is the story of Marcus: bonded out of jail where he has been awaiting trial for murder, he is sent to the Hebert plantation to work in the fields. There he encounters conflict with the overseer, Sidney Bonbon, and a tale of revenge, lust and power plays out between Marcus, Bonbon, Bonbon's mistress Pauline, and Bonbon's wife Louise.
See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid I found this at the Dollar Tree! Yep, I paid a buck! This one has quite mixed reviews, but it's very short and I'll give it a go.
In See Now Then, the brilliant and evocative new novel from Jamaica Kincaid---her first in ten years---a marriage is revealed in all its joys and agonies. This piercing examination of the manifold ways in which the passing of time operates on the human consciousness unfolds gracefully, and Kincaid inhabits each of her characters, a mother and father and their two children living in a small village in New England, as they move, in their own minds, between the present, the past, and the future---for, as she writes, “the present will be a now then and the past is now then and the future will be a now then.”
Her characters, constrained by the world, despair in their domestic situations. But their minds wander, trying to make linear sense of what is, in fact, nonlinear. See Now Then is Kincaid’s attempt to make clear what is unclear, and to make unclear what we assumed was clear: that is, the beginning, the middle, and the end.
The Monkey Suit by David Dante Troutt Another short story collection for me to work through. This one has more serious themes that I am hoping will be interesting. The cover is jarring and seems to be perfect for the theme of this collection.
The Monkey Suit is David Dante Troutt’s “impressive” debut (Kirkus), a collection of short stories inspired by historic legal cases involving African Americans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Monkey Suit addresses issues ranging from Jim Crow segregation ordinances to warrantless private property searches in stories the Washington Post calls “quietly devastating.” Troutt brilliantly combines legal scholarship with literature in a book that Claude Brown calls “truly a work of genius.”
Walking with the Wind by John Lewis I found this gem while waiting to get my passport renewed at a local library. First of all, I've never renewed a passport at a library, but it was a pleasant surprise to show up and see that they had a twenty five cents book sale happening. That was the best way to kill time waiting for an appointment!
The award-winning national bestseller, Walking with the Wind, is one of our most important records of the American civil rights movement. Told by John Lewis, who Cornel West calls a “national treasure,” this is a gripping first-hand account of the fight for civil rights and the courage it takes to change a nation.
In 1957, a teenaged boy named John Lewis left a cotton farm in Alabama for Nashville, the epicenter of the struggle for civil rights in America. Lewis’s adherence to nonviolence guided that critical time and established him as one of the movement’s most charismatic and courageous leaders. Lewis’s leadership in the Nashville Movement—a student-led effort to desegregate the city of Nashville using sit-in techniques based on the teachings of Gandhi—set the tone for major civil rights campaigns of the 1960s. Lewis traces his role in the pivotal Selma marches, Bloody Sunday, and the Freedom Rides. Inspired by his mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lewis’s vision and perseverance altered history. In 1986, he ran and won a congressional seat in Georgia, and remains in office to this day, continuing to enact change.
The late Edward M. Kennedy said of Lewis, “John tells it like it was…Lewis spent most of his life walking against the wind of the times, but he was surely walking with the wind of history.”
You Know Better by Tina McElroy Ansa I found a beautiful hardback copy at Goodwill for a dollar. Made my day!
As the tiny town of Mulberry, Georgia, celebrates its spring Peach Blossom Festival, things are far from peachy for three generations of Pines women.
Eighteen-year-old LaShawndra, who wants nothing more out of life than to dance in a music video, has messed up again -- but this time she isn't sticking around to hear about it. Not that her mother seems to care: Sandra is too busy working on her career and romancing a local minister to notice. It's LaShawndra’s grandmother Lily Paine Pines who is out scouring the streets at midnight looking for her granddaughter. But Lily discovers she is not alone. A ghost of a well-known Mulberry pioneer is coming out of the shadows.
Over the course of one weekend, these three disparate women, guided by the wisdom of three unexpected spirits, will learn to face the pain of their lives and discover that with reconciliation comes the healing they all desperately seek. You Know Better brilliantly portrays the fissures in modern African American family life to reveal the indestructible soul that bonds us all.