#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 12 – Favorite Fantasy/Sci-fi

Day 12Favorite Fantasy/Sci-fi:  Well the only thing I’ve read that could fit this category is Kindred. However, technically I don’t feel it really fits, even though I enjoyed it. I don’t usually gravitate towards Fantasy/Sci-fi novels.  They just seem to be so complicated that I can’t get into them.  So, I’ve decided to put up Lilith’s Brood (Xenogenesis #1-3)since a little birdie 😉 Danielle @onesmallpaw has been raving about it.  I’ve only heard excellent img_2491things about Butler so I’m going to give Lilith’s Brood a good try this year.  That might be my only real announced reading goal for 2016. 🙂

“Lilith Iyapo is in the Andes, mourning the death of her family, when war destroys Earth. Centuries later, she is resurrected — by miraculously powerful unearthly beings, the Oankali. Driven by an irresistible need to heal others, the Oankali are rescuing our dying planet by merging genetically with mankind. But Lilith and all humanity must now share the world with uncanny, unimaginably alien creatures: their own children. This is their story…”(Lilith’s Brood, back cover)

Octavia E. Butler was born in 1947 and died at the early age of 58 in 2006.  She was an African-American sic-fi/Fantasy writer that received the Nebula and Hugo Awards several octaviabutlertimes.  Kindred and Fledgling are her only two standalone novels, however she is most know for the Patternist series, the Xenogenesis series, and the Parable series which is also referred to as the Earthseed.  She’s also written essays, speeches and two short story collections.  Butler’s speculative fiction held important themes of community, race, hierarchies in society, feminism, and afrofuturism.  She has long been regarded a must for those looking for Fantasy/Sci-fi with challenging twists and non-stereotypical storylines.

My copy:  Lilith’s Brood Xenogenesis #1-3 series, paperback 746 pages

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 11 -Book Over 500 Pages

img_2488Day 11Book Over 500 Pages  I’ve chosen Mosquito by Gayl Jones from the few books I own over 500 pages.  It’s actually 616 pages.  Last year I read Corregidora and loved it’s story, style, and feminist message.  Hoping that Mosquito is just as good….

“Sojourner Nadine Jane Johnson, also known as Mosquito, is an African-American truck driver. Set in a south Texas border town, “Mosquito” is the story of her accidental and yet growing involvement in “the new underground railroad, ” a sanctuary movement for Mexican immigrants. Mosquito’s journey begins when she discovers Maria, a stowaway who nearly gives birth in the back of the truck; Maria will eventually name her baby Journal, a misspelled tribute to her unwitting benefactor Sojourner. Along the road, Mosquito introduces us to Delgadina, a Chicana bartender who fries cactus, writes haunting stories, and studies to become a detective – one of the most original and appealing characters in all of Jones’ fiction. We also meet Monkey Bread, a childhood pal who is, improbably, assistant to a blonde star in Hollywood, where Mosquito pays her a memorable visit. As her understanding of the immigrants’ need to forge new lives and identities deepens, so too does Mosquito’s romance with Ray, a gentle revolutionary, philosopher, and, perhaps, a priest.”(Mosquito, inside flap)

My copy: Mosquito, hardcover 616 pages

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 10 – Favorite Antagonist

Day 10Favorite Antagonist   I to think a bit to decide who I would put for my favorite IMG_2458antagonist.  It has to be Dr. Kasim from Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith!  This character is introduced about one third of the way into the story and he is introduced like a slithering, silent, snake waiting to strike.  If you get a chance to read Forty Acres keep your eyes on Dr. Kasim.  I do hope Smith decides to write a part 2 to this novel because it really needs one and that’s coming from me who is really a fan of part twos and series.

What if overcoming the legacy of American slavery meant bringing back that very institution? A young black attorney is thrown headlong into controversial issues of race and power in this page-turning and provocative new novel.

“Martin Grey, a smart, talented black lawyer working out of a storefront in Queens, becomes friendly with a group of some of the most powerful, wealthy, and esteemed black men in America. He’s dazzled by what they’ve accomplished, and they seem to think he has the potential to be as successful as they are. They invite him for a weekend away from it all—no wives, no cell phones, no talk of business. But far from home and cut off from everyone he loves, he discovers a disturbing secret that challenges some of his deepest convictions…

Martin finds out that his glittering new friends are part of a secret society dedicated to the preservation of the institution of slavery—but this time around, the black men are called “Master.” Joining them seems to guarantee a future without limits; rebuking them almost certainly guarantees his death. Trapped inside a picture-perfect, make-believe world that is home to a frightening reality, Martin must find a way out that will allow him to stay dwayne-alexander-smithalive without becoming the very thing he hates.

A novel of rage and compassion, good and evil, trust and betrayal, Forty Acres is the thought-provoking story of one man’s desperate attempt to escape the clutches of a terrifying new moral order.” (Forty Acres, inside flap)

My copy:  Forty Acres, hardcover 369 pages

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 9 Published in Your Birth Year

img_2456Day 9 – Published in your Birth Year Of course Jubilee, duh! 😉

“Here is the classic–and true–story of Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress, a Southern Civil War heroine to rival Scarlett O’Hara. Vyry bears witness to the South’s prewar opulence and its brutality, to its wartime ruin and the subsequent promise of Reconstruction. It is a story that Margaret Walker heard as a child from her grandmother, the real Vyry’s daughter. The author spent thirty years researching the novel so that the world might know the intelligent, strong, and brave black woman called Vyry. The phenomenal acclaim this best-selling book has achieved from readers black and white, young and old, attests to her success. ” (Jubilee, back cover)

My copy: Jubilee, paperback 497 pages

 

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 8 Highest on my TBR

Day 8Highest on my TBR  I have to say Close to the Bone is the highest up on my TBR.  Ever since reading Jake Lamar’s memoir Bourgeois Blues  in December, I felt like I needed img_2450to try out his fiction, especially since they’ve been on my shelves forever and I just picked up my first in December.  Close to the Bone is written “In the tradition of Bebe Moore Campbell, Terry McMillan, and E. Lynn Harris, author Jake Lamar has created a riveting novel of three young couples whose lives intersect in curious ways. And the question that torments all of them: What is a black man?”  That last question has had me intrigued since I first read it.

Jake Lamar is an African-American writer currently living in Paris, France.  He was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. and graduated from Harvard University.  Lamar worked for six years writing for Time magazine.  He has written six novels including The Last Integrationist, and Rendezvous Eighteenth, mystery/crime novel, one memoir, short stories,plays, and reviews.  Brothers in Exile was Lamar’s latest play to be performed in 2013 at the Théâtre du Rond Point in Paris, France.  It’s a play set in Paris 1950s which explores the complex relationship between Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Chester Himes.

My copy: Close to the Bone, hardcover 343 pages

 

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 7 – Character You’d Like to Be

Day 7Character You’d Like to Be – A lot of the books I read take place in time periods IMG_0285_2that are extremely hard to want to go back to and the characters usually go through some difficult things.  So, hands down the character I’d like to be is Odette from The Supreme’s at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat.  Honestly she’s so cool – She’s a great friend and wife and when you read the book and find out what else she can do, you’ll want to spend some time in her shoes too. 😉

My copy:  The Supreme’s at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, paperback 407 pages

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 6 Make it into a Movie!

Day 6 – Make it into a Movie! – I absolutely could not decide on one.  Impossible! There are so many good ones that could be turned into fantastic films.  So went with the following img_2443five:

  1.  The Supreme’s at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat “Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat diner in Plainview, Indiana is home away from home for Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean. Dubbed “The Supremes” by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they’ve weathered life’s storms for over four decades and counseled one another through marriage and children, happiness and the blues.
    Now, however, they’re about to face their most challenging year yet. Proud, talented Clarice is struggling to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband’s humiliating infidelities; beautiful Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair; and fearless Odette is about to embark on the most terrifying battle of her life. With wit, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together three devoted allies in a warmhearted novel that celebrates female friendship and second chances.”(The Supreme’s All-You-Can-Eat cover description)
  2. Buck – “MK Asante was born in Zimbabwe to American parents: a mother who led the new nation’s dance company and a father who would soon become a revered pioneer in black studies. But things fell apart, and a decade later MK was in America, a teenager lost in a fog of drugs, sex, and violence on the streets of North Philadelphia. Now he was alone—his mother in a mental hospital, his father gone, his older brother locked up in a prison on the other side of the country—and forced to find his own way to survive physically, mentally, and spiritually, by any means necessary. Buck is a powerful memoir of how a precocious kid educated himself through the most unconventional teachers—outlaws and eccentrics, rappers and mystic strangers, ghetto philosophers and strippers, and, eventually, an alternative school that transformed his life with a single blank sheet of paper. It’s a one-of-a-kind story about finding your purpose in life, and an inspiring tribute to the power of education, art, and love to heal and redeem us.”(Buck, inside flap description)
  3. Forty Acres – “What if overcoming the legacy of American slavery meant bringing back that very institution? A young black attorney is thrown headlong into controversial issues of race and power in this page-turning and provocative new novel. Martin Grey, a smart, talented black lawyer working out of a storefront in Queens, becomes friendly with a group of some of the most powerful, wealthy, and esteemed black men in America. He’s dazzled by what they’ve accomplished, and they seem to think he has the potential to be as successful as they are. They invite him for a weekend away from it all—no wives, no cell phones, no talk of business. But far from home and cut off from everyone he loves, he discovers a disturbing secret that challenges some of his deepest convictions…Martin finds out that his glittering new friends are part of a secret society dedicated to the preservation of the institution of slavery—but this time around, the black men are called “Master.” Joining them seems to guarantee a future without limits; rebuking them almost certainly guarantees his death. Trapped inside a picture-perfect, make-believe world that is home to a frightening reality, Martin must find a way out that will allow him to stay alive without becoming the very thing he hates.A novel of rage and compassion, good and evil, trust and betrayal, Forty Acres is the thought-provoking story of one man’s desperate attempt to escape the clutches of a terrifying new moral order.”(Forty Acres inside flap description)
  4. Kindred – “The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given: to protect this young slaveholder until he can father her own great-grandmother.”(Goodreads description)
  5. One Crazy Summer – “In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.In a humorous and breakout book by Williams-Garcia, the Penderwicks meet the Black Panthers.”(One Crazy Summer back cover description)

My copies:

The Supreme’s at Earl’s All-you-Can-Eat, paperback 407 pages

Buck, hardcover 249 pages

Forty Acres, hardcover 369 pages

Kindred, papberback 264 pages

One Crazy Summer, paperback 218 pages

 

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge Day 5 Favorite Play

Day 5Favorite Play – I’ve had to put two recommendations for this challenge.  I’m strongly recommending August Wilson’s The Century Cycle series. I haven’t read all of IMG_2438them yet but woking on it. Here’s my copy of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone which I’ll be reading this month.  It’s the second play in the ten-play series set in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, which covers the development of African-Americans over the 20th century.   These plays are great American classics and literary award winning – Pulitzer Prize for Drama Fences in 1987 and Piano Lessons in 1990.  Joe Turner’s Come and Gone was winner of The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play in 1988.

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone – “When Herald Loomis arrives at a black Pittsburgh boardinghouse after seven years’ impressed labor on Joe Turner’s chain gang, he is a free man-in body.
But the scars of his enslavement and a sense of inescapable alienation oppress his spirit still, and the seemingly hospitable rooming house seethes with tension and distrust in the presence of this tormented stranger. Loomis is looking for the wife he left behind, believing that she can help him reclaim his old identity. But through his encounters with the other residents he begins to realize that what he really seeks is his rightful place in a new world – and it will take more then the skills of the local “People Finder” to discover it… “(Goodreads description)

My second recommendation is Topdog/Underdog by the underrated and hardly spoken about Suzan-Lori Parks.  She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for Topdog/Underdog, which IMG_2441is believed to be her magnum opus.  I’m in the middle of reading it and I’m loving it.  Parks is a playwright and screenwriter. She was born in 1963 in Fort Knox, Kentucky.  She soon moved to Western Germany because her father was stationed there as a career officer in the United States Army.  Those years studying in Germany in middle school and high school taught her about what it means to be considered foreign.  Parks is also known for writing a debut novel called Getting Mother’s Body, for which she was a nominee for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award in 2004 for Debut Fiction.  Girl 6 was her first screenplay for Spike Lee in 1996 and later she worked on the screenplays of Their Eyes Were Watching God in 2005 and The Great Debaters in 2007.  Parks had the opportunity to study under the phenomenal writer, James Baldwin who encouraged her to pursue writing plays.  She apparently had a habit of acting out her characters when presenting them in class.

Topdog/Underdog  – “A darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity is Suzan-Lori Parks latest riff on the way we are defined by history. The play tells the story of Lincoln and Booth, two brothers whose names were given to them as a joke, foretelling a lifetime of sibling rivalry and resentment. Haunted by the past, the brothers are forced to confront the shattering reality of their future.” (Goodreads description)

My copies:  Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, paperback – 94 pages

Topdog/Underdog, paperback – 112 pages

 

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 3 Anticipated Release

The Book of Harlan

Day 3 – Anticipated Release:  This wasn’t hard for me to choose at all.  I’ve been waiting impatiently for the arrival of The Book of Harlan by Bernice L. McFadden.  It is due to be released on May 3, 2016 by Akashic Books.

“During World War II, two African American musicians are captured by the Nazis in Paris and imprisoned at the Buchenwald concentration camp.

The Book of Harlan opens with the courtship of Harlan’s parents and his 1917 birth in Macon, Georgia. After his prominent minister grandfather dies, Harlan and his parents move to Harlem, where he becomes a musician. Soon, Harlan and his best friend, trumpeter Lizard Robbins, are lured across the Atlantic Ocean to perform at a popular cabaret in the Parisian enclave of Montmartre—affectionately referred to as “The Harlem of Paris” by black American musicians.

When the City of Light falls under Nazi occupation, Harlan and Lizard are thrown into Buchenwald, the notorious concentration camp in Weimar, Germany. The experience irreparably changes the course of Harlan’s life.

Based on exhaustive research and told in McFadden’s mesmeric prose, The Book of Harlan skillfully blends the stories of McFadden’s familial ancestors with those of real and imagined characters.” (Goodreads site description of The Book of Harlan)

Bernice L. McFadden, born and raised in Brooklyn, has always known she wanted to write since she was a child.  “I guess all of the literature I was consuming helped to fuel my already active imagination and so very early on I began writing short stories and plays. I would say my first story was penned by age eight.” (quote from Bernice L. McFadden)  After her studies she ventured out to work as an  international clothing buyer.  Feeling dissatisfied with that job she went back to school and earned a degree in tourism.  However it wasn’t until being laid off in 1990 that McFadden attempted writing seriously.  It was during this period that she wrote her first novel, Sugar, which wasn’t published until 2000.  Yes it took 10 years to find an interested publisher.  McFadden has gone on to write many more interesting contemporary novels  The Warmest December, Gathering of Waters, Nowhere is a Place, Glorious, Loving Donovan, and the list goes on.  Her influences are writers such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Ann Petry, Zora Neale Hurston, J. California Cooper, Terry McMillan and many others.  So if you’re into any or all of these writers, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t love McFadden’s writing too.

 

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#ReadSoulLit Photo Challenge – Day 2 Fave Graphic Novel/Comic

IMG_2417

Day 2 – Fave Graphic Novel/Comic:  Ok who doesn’t love The Boondocks?!  I love this comic for it’s laugh out loud humor and it’s pertinent social commentary.  The Boondocks explores the world through the eyes of two African-American brothers from the inner city of Chicago that are living with their grand-father in quiet suburb.  I started reading A Right to Be Hostile on Sunday and hope to have it finished at some point this month.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading The Boondocks I recommend this one and another one of my favorites The Boondocks:Public Enemy #2.

“Here’s the first big book of The Boondocks, more than four years and 800 strips of one of the most influential, controversial, and scathingly funny comics ever to run in a daily newspaper.”

“With bodacious wit, in just a few panels, each day Aaron serves up—and sends up—life in America through the eyes of two African-American kids who are full of attitude, intelligence, and rebellion. Each time I read the strip, I laugh—and I wonder how long The Boondocks can get away with the things it says. And how on earth can the most truthful thing in the newspaper be the comics?”
—From the foreword by Michael Moore (back cover of A Right to Be Hostile)The Boondocks McGruder

Aaron McGruder, Chicago born, started The Boondocks as a comic strip on an online music site called Hitlist.com.  McGruder is a jack of all trades since he is a cartoonist, writer, and producer.  He was also involved with screenwriting for the movie Red Tails, which covers the story of the prestigious Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, executive produced by George Lucas.  McGruder is also known for his frankness, his leftist views, and controversial statements made about BET (Black Entertainment Television) and attacks on black conservatives.  He often invited to speak on cultural and political issues.

My copy: A Right to Be Hostile, paperback – 256 pages

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