The Old and the New: African American Lit

Like all the Borders bookstores across the country I have to bid adieu to the Providence Place Mall store (it has three more days left to sell the bookshelves and whatnot). Although, I’m quite sad about folks losing jobs, we do not need multi-state businesses closing or taking jobs overseas but that is another topic for another day, the opportunity to stock up is ridiculous!

With 60-80% discounts I could not help skipping down the aisles happily picking up books I wanted to update (the classics) and skimming the back covers of books I thought I would give a chance (the contemporary). I decided to focus on African-American writers. I know most of the classic literary authors but unfortunately other than , Walker, McMillian,and Mosely I don’t often pick up books by AA authors. When I go to the AA section in bookstores it is often filled with this new genre of urban/ghetto. Its like the influx of bad reality television in the book aisles. It is not my intention to put down any writer but like television we need more literary novels and not these drug/mistress tragedies in the AA section. The pickings were not slim for that genre but I had to really search for authors I’ve heard weave a good story.

I ended up selecting some old faves:

Native Son- Richard Wright

The Color Purple/Temple of My Familiar- Alice Walker

Collections of Nikki Giovanni

The Wedding-Dorothy West (I forgot this was a movie with Halle Berry, who else, right?)

I searched for Langston Hughes but no collections of his were left.

All for $2.99

Authors I never read but have heard about:

Mama Ruby-Mary Monroe

Just Wanna Testify-Pearl Cleage

Tempted By Trouble-Eric Jerome Dickey/Now I did read Friends and Lovers and liked it very much but his new titles kind of turned me off but for $1.99 I decided to give him another try.

I immediately started reading Native Son and it is amazing how time and age will change your perception of a book. I read this at first in high school and thought it was a good book. Reading it now I think it is a phenomenal book. Wright is so deep in this book and his opinions about racism are astounding and so accurate. I will review later when I am able to put it all into words.


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