The National Book Awards finalists for 2017 were announced today, which presents no better time to strike up a reading challenge. Two finalists for the Fiction category–Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body & Other Parties and Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing–really sparked my interest and, to my surprise, were available at my library (newly delivered aka I’m the first person to lay hands on them)!
I also have Ta-Nehisi Coates’, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy. Coates wrote the forward for Toni Morrison’s, The Origin of Other, which is also on my list. And, speaking of Toni Morrison, I will be seeing America’s greatest author for my birthday at Just Buffalo Literary Center (how lucky am I?!) and she will read from her classic, Beloved, which tops off my reading haul/challenge.
So, I’ve never done one of these before, which means I’m going to completely make up my own rules.
These 5 books I’ve selected will, realistically, not all be read by the end of this month which is why I will classify these as a fall reading challenge, giving myself until the end of the season to complete. I’m not sure what I’ll do upon completion, perhaps published a reflection piece about what each novel taught me.
Either way, I’m excited for fall and excited for new books! I hope you all are challenging yourselves as well. What books are you looking forward to reading?
I’m proud to say that since the start of this year I have kept my nose in the middle of some great books, while struggling to finish a not-so-great-one. In my latest trip to the library I picked up a few books, which are more contemporary than what I’ve been reading as of 2011. I’m extremely excited to start.
Jam on the Vine (Thorndike Press, 2015) – Lashonda Katrice Barnett
“A new American classic: a dynamic tale of triumph against the odds and the compelling story of one woman’s struggle for equality ”
Gathering of Waters (Akashic Books, 2012)
“a deeply engrossing tale narrated by the town of Money, Mississippi–a site both significant and infamous in our collective story as a nation. Money is personified in this haunting story, which chronicles its troubled history following the arrival of the Hilson and Bryant families.”
Queen Sugar (Penguin Group, 2014)
“A mother-daughter story of reinvention—about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana”
I’m acquiring books at a much higher rate that I’m actually reading them, but that’s a good thing–you can never, EVER, have too many books! One thing for sure, my interest in Jamaica Kincaid’s work has developed into a full-blown obsession. And I finally found a Toni Cade Bambara book! All of my findings are below:
Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun / The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window. (Lorraine Hansberry)
Black Women in White America: A Documentary History. (Edited by Gerda Lerner)
Gorilla, My Love. (Toni Cade Bambara)
At the Bottom of the River. (Jamaica Kincaid)
A Small Place. (Jamaica Kincaid)
The Book of Night Women. (Marlon James)
2 Kincaid novels + 1 Toni Cade Bambara Novel + 1 Marlon James Novel = $20; the EXTREME HAPPINESS of finding them all in 1 place = priceless!
Thanks to a recommendation to read Flannery O’Connor I am now dead-locked in an obsession that may have gone a bit overboard in my latest trip to the library. Here are the books I picked up:
- 365 Days – 365 plays —Suzan-Lori Parks
- A Good Man is Hard to Find, and other stories —Flannery O’Connor
- Collected Works –Flannery O’Connor
- The Complete Stories —Flannery O’Connor
- The Strange History of the American Quadroon: Free Women of Color in the Revolutionary Atlantic World –Emily Clark
As I sink into my beloved genre of Southern Goth I’ll be hitting the “renew item” button for quite a while.
Ok, so not exactly a haul, but I have heard so much about Octavia Butler’s Kindred that I had to pick it up! Hopefully I get to it before its return date.
My local library was having an incredible book-sale–fill a bag of books for only $3!–so I had to check it out. Here are some books I picked up:
- My Education, Susan Choi
- My Jim, Nancy Rawles
- In The Woods, Tana French
- Rosa Parks: My Story, Rosa Parks
- See Now Then, Jamaica Kincaid
- The First Bad Man, Miranda July
- The House Girl, Tara Conklin