Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Busy bee links

Gah! I'm busy! Seems like everything is due this week...so that just leaves time for some quick links.

Check out The Book Corner on the Legal Defense Fund's (the law firm for the NAACP) website for book reviews and commentary.

The Oxford American's "Race issue" is on newsstands now. It's "a special issue devoted to the 'Past, Present, and Future' of Race in what may be among the first white-run, mainstream publications to be written by a vast majority (in this case, 88%) of writers of color."

On the Galleycat blog Jeff Rivera, author of Forever My Lady and founder of http://www.gumbowriters.com/, is writing a weekly column on interesting authors, editors, agents and book publicists of color.

Another argument for reading a wide variety of fiction: Psychologist and novelist Keith Oatley says that "fiction at its best isn't just enjoyable. It measurably enhances our abilities to empathize with other people and connect with something larger than ourselves." So, does reading fiction written by people of different races make us more open to connecting with real-life folks of other races? Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing! (Thanks to Readerville.com for the link.)

Anybody know if any of the Romance Writers of America 2009 RITA Awards finalists are writers of color? I didn't see any names I recognized on a very quick read through. (Thanks to SORMAG for the link.)

In April (maybe as soon as tomorrow), blogger and author Felicia Pride will be launching a new books column on TheRoot.com. Her first column asks different African American writers (including yours truly) what they'd do if they ruled the literary world. Check out her list of books by black authors from around the world.

Don't forget April is National Poetry Month. Poet and professor E. Ethelbert Miller will be here in April to tell us about some of his favorite poets. And if you want to receive a poem a day from The Borzoi Reader, go here. (Thanks to SORMAG for the link.)

Literary Obama explores the literary and historical implications of Michelle Obama's new garden. As a gardener and a writer, I find the whole topic riveting. Black women have a long history of tending gardens that have nothing to do with sharecropping or working plantations. (Check out Harlem renaissance poet Anne Spencer's roses and Jamaica Kincaid is renowned gardener.)

Anika at Writeblack has a review of Claudia Burney's Murder, Mayhem & a Fine Man, a Christian mystery, and a podcast with author Uwem Akpan, who wrote Say You're One of Them.

Anika also hipped me to a conversation about people of color and sci-fi over at deadbrowalking. And there's more about "Racefail 09" (about diversity in speculative fiction) over at Readersroom.com.

Check out Color Online's Potpourri Quiz. Answer their questions about a female author and you could win a prize!

Color Online and Diversity Rocks is starting a weekly meme on Fridays. Sounds cool!

Oh, and a question: who watched The No. 1 Ladies' Dectective Agency pilot on HBO last night, and what'd you think? I'm so pissed. I was planning to get rid of HBO, but they got me! (A friend says I sound like this guy.) I really liked the show and will be watching the entire series.


Alyssa said...

Carleen, I think you're right, reading fiction by writers of different races can help us connect with people in real life! I'm a white girl trying to read more books by people of colour this year. I just read "I Left my Back Door Open" by April Sinclair and "Accident of Birth" by Heather Neff. They're both books set in the present day with great female narrators, talking often about daily life, and I noticed so many things about how life can be different for black women that I had never thought of before! I had read books by black authors before, but they were historical fiction or poetic and didn't really hit that everyday-life-is-different chord. It was cool! I'm looking forward to getting lots of reading suggestions from your blog.

Claudia said...

So many goodies here!!!!

I'm with you on the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. It was great and I thought Jill Scott was wonderful. I enjoyed the humor, the beautiful brown faces, and the mystery plot. I wish they would make it available online - I don't know many people who have been able to see it yet.

susan said...

We have Ladies Detective in the library. Didn't know about the movie.

As always, thanks for the shouts out.

Lisa said...

Scott and I watched The #1 Ladies' Detective Agency (I've read all the novels too) and we loved it. Some of the things I loved:

1. I loved that there weren't any white people at all in the story. That may sound odd, but I'm not sure when or if I've ever seen a movie without a single white person in it. I've gotten much more conscious about the roles people play in movies. Over the weekend, we watched The Secret Life of Bees and although it didn't bother me (or I didn't notice it) when I read the book, I was painfully aware that the story was focused on a 14 year old white girl, even though almost the entire rest of the cast was black. Something about the whole story just seemed contrived and unbelievable.

2. I love that it is set in Botswana and filmed on location. The scenery and the light is stunning.

3. Scott was the first to notice that unlike most premium cable shows, this one is predominantly happy and upbeat. There are bad things that happen, but that's not where the focus is. There isn't even any profanity or nudity, so kids can actually watch it! It's a nice change from what we've grown accustomed to.

I hope they figure out a way to go beyond the seven episodes they filmed. I think this show is going to be a bit hit.

wdjenkins1 said...

After having read an incredibly unpleasant review of the show by an African American reviewer in Slate, I am delighted to see that other people enjoyed it as much as I did. It was wonderful to see African people presented so lovingly, rather than focusing on the negative. Jill Scott was wonderful - I loved the way she could quiet her whole body and patiently wait. I guess I'll have to keep HBO also!

Carleen Brice said...

I think the Slate reviewer needs a hug.

Lisa said...

I just read the Slate review and all I can say is -- lighten up Francis!

Carleen Brice said...

Lisa, You crack me up!

Claudia said...

Booooo to Slate! Boooo! What's up with that crappy review? At the risk of sounding like my mother - when she's defending her love of all things Tyler Perry - I'm not sure that this reviewer really took the film's audience into account. Sure, it was light on mystery and crime-solving (so is the award-winning "Monk") and sure the characters are type-cast and a bit formulaic (as is the award-winning "Closer") but No. 1 Ladies was also culturally sensitive, well-paced, and entertaining.

Look, we all miss The Wire, but it's time to tell some different stories and in different ways. Jeez Louise!

Lisa said...

More good discussion about The #1 Ladies' Detection Agency here:


Claudia said...

Hi Carleen, I've nominated you for a blog Splash Award. You can pick it up at my site!

merc3069 said...

Ah, I loved today's post and follow up comments.
I, too, felt the same way as Lisa about "The Secret Life of Bees", glad to know someone out there is on my wavelength.
I have TiVoed the movie and am now more excited than ever to watch it. I will set it up for a Season Pass;-)