#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 24 – Favorite “Chick Lit”

img_2548Day 24Favorite “Chick Lit”  I read this book about four years ago and it made me feel so many different things.  32 Candles is more than a typical “chick lit”.  Between the engaging story and the touching protagonist, Davie Jones, it’s a winner.  It’s nice to have a few light reads on the shelves too. I’m really excited about picking up Ernest T. Carter’s second novel The Awesome Girl’s Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men.  What are some of your favorite chick lit novels by black authors?

“32 Candles is the slightly twisted, utterly romantic, and deftly wry story of Davie Jones, who, if she doesn’t stand in her own way, just might get the man of her dreams.

Davie—an ugly duckling growing up in small-town Mississippi—is positive her life couldn’t be any worse. She has the meanest mother in the South, possibly the world, and on top of that, she’s pretty sure she’s ugly. Just when she’s resigned herself to her fate, she sees a movie that will change her life—Sixteen Candles. But in her case, life doesn’t imitate art. Tormented endlessly in school with the nickname “Monkey Night,” and hopelessly in unrequited love with a handsome football player, James Farrell, Davie finds that it is bittersweet to dream of Molly Ringwald endings. When a cruel school prank goes too far, Davie leaves the life she knows and reinvents herself in the glittery world of Hollywood—as a beautiful and successful lounge singer in a swanky nightclub.

Davie is finally a million miles from where she started—until she bumps into her former obsession, James Farrell. To Davie’s astonishment, James doesn’t recognize her, and she can’t bring herself to end the fantasy. She lets him fall as deeply in love with her as she once was with him. But is life ever that simple? Just as they’re about to ride off into the sunset, the past comes back with a vengeance, threatening to crush Davie’s dreams—and break her heart again.

With wholly original characters and a cinematic storyline, 32 Candles introduces Ernessa T. Carter, a new voice in fiction with smarts, attitude, and sassiness to spare.”(32 Candles, back cover)

My copy:  32 Candles, paperback 335 pages

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 23 – Favorite Non-Fiction

Day 23Favorite Non-Fiction  Has to be The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.  If you haven’t read it you absolutely NEED to.  The Warmth of Other Suns follows two img_2537men and a woman.  We as readers go on the journey with them to leave the south for the north and for California for a better life.  It’s captivating, and extremely informative.  The subject of the Great Migration occurred between 1910 and 1970.  Strangely there aren’t many detailed books about it and it isn’t even taught in history class.  Isabel Wilkerson’s writing will suck you in and change the way you think about how non-fiction books are written.  The Warmth of Other Suns reads like a passionate fictional story, framed in important details and facts that will enlighten you politically and socially about the United States during this sixty year period of upheaval for African-Americans.  Who had it harder  – the African-Americans who remained in the south or those that fled to the Northeast, Midwest, and West?

My copy: The Warmth of Other Suns, hardcover 622 pages

 

 

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 22 – Made You Cry

Day 22Made You Cry  I don’t usually cry when I read books. However this one made me tear up a little.  That surprised me…  Have any books made you cry? If so which ones?

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My copy: Daughter, paperback 260 pages

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 21 Favorite Poetry Collection

Day 21 – Favorite Poetry Collection  Hands down has to be Blacks by Gwendolyn Brooks.  I’ve gotten almost three quarters through the collection this month and I’m in awe by the sheer brilliance of all of these poems – depth, syncopation, lyrical, cultural, meaningful, black….  This is a collection you must own and read.  I’m sure I’ll be rereading Blacks over and over for a very long time.

“Here is a necessary collection of poetry for admirers of words and treasurers of literary img_2532beauty. Spanning more than 30 years, this collection of literary masterpieces by the venerable Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks, arguably Illinois’ most beloved Poet Laureate and Chicago’s elder black literary stateswoman, Blacks includes all of Ms. Brooks’ critically acclaimed writings. Within its covers is the groundbreaking “Annie Allen,” which earned her the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. There is also the sweepingly beautiful and finely crafted “A Street in Bronzeville,” a highly anticipated and lauded poetic treasure that spoke volumes for this great poet’s love of black people, Chicago’s Black community, and even the community of the world. Blacks includes a special treat, Maud Martha, Brooks’ only novel.” (Blacks, Goodreads description)

The Bean Eaters  – (Blacks, page 330)
Gwendolyn Brooks, 1917 – 2000

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.

And remembering . . .
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that
is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths,
tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

My copy: Blacks, paperback 512 pages

 

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 19 – Currently Reading

Day 19Currently Reading

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My copies:

Like Trees, Walking, paperback 252 pages

Blacks, paperback 512 pages

Jubilee, paperback 497 pages

Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, at Home and at War, hardcover 368 pages

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 18 An Underrated Book

Day 18An Underrated Book  One of my prize discoveries in literature last year was Daughter by Asha Bandele.  The writing and the message were both beautiful.  I hadn’t heard of this author and hadn’t heard anyone speak of her nor of her novels.  Daughter img_2517was published in 2003, but being read today is very modern and unfortunately deals with problems of today in the United States for African-Americans.  If you haven’t read Daughter, you should definitely take the time to read and savor the writing, where every word counts and none are wasted.

asha bandele is a journalist, author, and poet.  She was a features editor and journalist at Essence magazine.  Her memoir A Prisoner’s Wife depicts her relationship with her husband who was serving a twenty-two year life sentence in prison.  Her second memoir Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother’s Story explores the outcome of that relationship and the birth of her daughter, Nisa and her struggle after her husband is refused parole and is deported.

“At nineteen, Aya is a promising Black college student from Brooklyn who is struggling through a difficult relationship with her emotionally distant mother, Miriam. One winter asha bandelenight, Aya is shot by a white police officer in a case of mistaken identity. Keeping vigil by her daughter’s hospital bed, Miriam remembers her own youth: her battle for independence from her parents, her affair with Aya’s father, and the challenges of raising her daughter. But as Miriam confronts her past — her losses and regrets — she begins to heal and discovers a tentative hopefulness.”(Daughter, back cover description)

My copy: Daughter, paperback 260 pages

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 17 A Short Story Collection

Day 17A Short Story Collection  –  I’m not usually a fan of short story collections because they always seem to leave me hanging (so that’s it?!) or wanting more.  However, last year put me on the right track with getting back into them.  I read Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, Blackberries, Blackberries, A Piece of Mine, and Water Street.  All four img_2515collections had me captivated and made me want to explore other short story collections.  So, at the end of last year I picked up Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones which I have heard no one really talk about.  Jones is most known for winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Known World in 2004.  I didn’t even know he’d written a short story collection.  Actually he’s written two, the second collection is called All Aunt Hagar’s Children.  Hopefully, I’ll make the time to explore Lost in the City this year and it will join the list of short stories that keep me captivated and leave me satisfied. How about you?  Do you like reading short story collections?  If so, what are some of your favorites?

“The nation’s capital that serves as the setting for the stories in Edward P. Jones’s prizewinning collection, Lost in the City, lies far from the city of historic monuments and national politicians. Jones takes the reader beyond that world into the lives of African American men and women who work against the constant threat of loss to maintain a sense of hope. From “The Girl Who Raised Pigeons” to the well-to-do career woman awakened in the night by a phone call that will take her on a journey back to the past, the characters in these stories forge bonds of community as they struggle against the limits of their city to stave off the loss of family, friends, memories, and, ultimately, themselves.

Critically acclaimed upon publication, Lost in the City introduced Jones as an undeniable talent, a writer whose unaffected style is not only evocative and forceful but also filled with insight and poignancy.” (Lost in the City, back cover description)

 

My copy:  Lost in the City, paperback 268 pages

 

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 16 Book You Want to Own

The CotillionDay 16Book You Want to Own  The book I’d love to own is John Oliver Killens’s The Cotillion One Good Bull is Half the Herd.  I’ve always been interested in reading and owning this book, as well as his others Youngblood, And Then We Heard the Thunder, and Sippi.  I’ll have to save up for this one because it’s a little pricey in the old 1970s edition I want with the dust jacket.  One day….

“Beautiful, high-stepping Yoruba of Harlem is invited to the annual cotillion thrown by African American high society of Queens. Caught between the indifference of her father, the excitement of her social-climbing mother, and her prodigal boyfriend’s militancy, Yoruba persuades her sister debutantes to challenge the aging doyennes in one of the most sidesplitting scenes in American literature.john olliver killens

Nominated for a Pulitzer in 1972, Killens’s uproarious satire captures the conflicts within black society in the 1960s. The Cotillion is the fourth title in Coffee House Press’s acclaimed Black Arts Movement series.”(The Cotillion, Goodreads description)

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 14 One True Pairing

Day 14One True Pairing  Osceola and Lizzie from Some Sing, Some Cry were the cutest couple in this novel.  They were the two most well matched too.  Osceola was protective, shy, and intelligent.  Lizzie was extrovert, creative, and brash.  These two could only be complimentary to each other.

“Award-winning writer Ntozake Shange and real-life sister, award-winning playwright Ifa Bayeza achieve nothing less than a modern classic in this epic story of the Mayfield family.img_2498 Opening dramatically at Sweet Tamarind, a rice and cotton plantation on an island off South Carolina’s coast, we watch as recently emancipated Bette Mayfield says her goodbyes before fleeing for the mainland. With her granddaughter, Eudora, in tow, she heads to Charleston. There, they carve out lives for themselves as fortune-teller and seamstress. Dora will marry, the Mayfield line will grow, and we will follow them on an journey through the watershed events of America’s troubled, vibrant history—from Reconstruction to both World Wars, from the Harlem Renaissance to Vietnam and the modern day. Shange and Bayeza give us a monumental story of a family and of America, of songs and why we have to sing them, of home and of heartbreak, of the past and of the future, bright and blazing ahead.”

Some Sing, Some Cry was a joint effort novel written by two sisters, Ntosake Shange and Ifa Bayeza.  The thread of music runs through the novel and develops as the the story of this African-American family develops from Negro spirituals onward, setting the appropriate tone for the time period; while containing real people that define important periods of the entertainment world through the years.  It’s an epic story about a family of women and it will win your heart over.  You’ll care about each character of this family to a certain degree and you won’t want the story to end.  It’s a must read and you’ll definitely learn things!

 

My copy:  Some Sing, Some Cry hardcover, 560 pages

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 13 Jilted Love

Day 13 – Jilted Love –  I had to go with Loving Donovan! That’s all I’m going to say since I’ll be getting into spoiler territory.

“The first section of this unconventional love story belongs to Campbell. Despite being born to a broken-hearted mother and a faithless father, Campbell still believes in the img_2493power of love…if she can ever find it. Living in the same neighborhood, but unknown to Campbell until a chance meeting brings them together, is Donovan, the “little man” of a shattered home-a family torn apart by anger and bitterness. In the face of these daunting obstacles, Donovan dreams of someday marrying, raising a family, and playing for the NBA. But, deep inside, Campbell and Donovan live with the histories that have shaped their lives. What they discover-together and apart-forms the basis of this compelling, sensual, and surprising novel.

A deeply thoughtful novel about hope, forgiveness, and the cost of Loving Donovan, this is certain to be another bestseller from a supremely gifted author.”(Loving Donovan, back cover)

My copy:  Loving Donovan, paperback 224 pages

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