Tuesday, October 20, 2009

News and links

Getting Ready for the Holidays
Have you noticed the countdown clock at the bottom of the page? It counts down to National Buy a Book By a Black Author and Give it to Somebody Not Black Month. Just over a month before it's here! Poets & Writers has some suggestions. Readers, got tips on good books we should be giving folks this December? Let's get the buzz started.

Bernice McFadden is about to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the release of her novel Sugar! She has an interesting idea about how to celebrate. Sugar would also make a great NBABBABAAGITSNBM gift.

New or Upcoming Releases
Rebel Yell by Alice Randall. Shelf Awareness ran an interesting Q&A with her recently. Randall is part of an interesting and acclaimed group of writers called The Finish Party.

Feminista by Erica Kennedy, which I learned about on Twitter. I loved her novel Bling so I am very much looking forward to this one. Check out Publisher's Weekly rave review of this "bitch lit" book and ask yourselves WHY HAVEN'T WE HEARD ABOUT THIS BOOK? (Drives me batty!): "This crazed black romantic comedy from journalist and author Kennedy (Bling) charts the rocky course of Sydney Zamora, a very angry single. The Cachet magazine writer decides, at 33, that she's got to get married before her eggs sour. So her rich sister hires Mitzi Berman, a successful Manhattan matchmaker, to
find Sydney's Mr. Right. Mitzi's challenge, as she sees it, is transforming fierce feminista Sydney into a dress-wearing girly girl (says Mitzi: If you don't make some radical changes in your behavior, you will die alone). Catching Sydney's eye is the fabulous Max Cooper, the spoiled playboy heir of a department store fortune, but can her politics mix with his background? Truly, their path to connubial bliss is barbed with obstacles, charted with sarcastic glee by Kennedy, a pioneer of chick lit's naughty stepsister—bitc
h lit."

Wench by Dolen-Perkins Valdez due in January. Here's the Publisher's Weekly review: "In her debut, Perkins-Valdez eloquently plunges into a dark period of American history, chronicling the lives of four slave women—Lizzie, Reenie, Sweet and Mawu—who are their masters’ mistresses. The women meet when their owners vacation at the same summer resort in Ohio. There, they see free blacks for the first time and hear rumors of abolition, sparking their own desires to be free. For everyone but Lizzie, that is, who believes she is really in love with her master, and he with her. An extended flashback in the middle of the novel delves into Lizzie’s life and vividly explores the complicated psychological dynamic between master and slave. Jumping back to the final summer in Ohio, the women all have a decision to make—will they run? Heart-wrenching, intriguing, original and suspenseful, this novel showcases Perkins-Valdez’s ability to bring the unfortunate past to life."

Attention Book Clubs
In the November issue of Essence a black book club is pictured reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. (I don't have any problems with them reading a white author, btw.) Anybody know of any white clubs reading a black author? If so, send me pictures! I will post them here.

And is there such a thing as interracial book clubs?

The Writer's Life
Junot Diaz talks about the moment he really became a writer (giving hope to every writer I know).

I recently experienced a dream that many writers have: seeing a book turned into a movie. I just got back from Vancouver where I visited the set of "Sins of the Mother" (based on Orange Mint and Honey), which will air on the Lifetime Movie Network, and met the cast (Jill Scott and Nicole Beharie) and crew. Pictures are here. I'll post a link to an essay I'm writing about my adventure soon.


Claudia said...

"Bitch lit" eh? I hadn't heard of that. Are only black writers included in that sub-genre? Kennedy's novel may not be for me, but Wench sounds intriguing - I'm hope there really is as much complexity and nuance as the review makes it seems. Fascinating premise.

Can't wait to read your post about Vancouver!

Carleen Brice said...

I believe "bitch lit" is chick lit with a bite, or a brain.

Jodie said...

I oh so want to read Feminista but I'm afraid of it being one of those books you think is feminist, which then turns out to be all about how adhering to feminism is too hard line for men to deal with and will make you die alone (weva). Must google reviews to see if I can get a sense of it. WEnch sound really great btw.

As for books to pass on next month I'm really enjoying Chameleon by Charles R Smith right now, the perfect gift to pass to a younger boy who is not black.

Doret said...

I loved Bling. I plan on reading Feminista. Toni reviewed it over at Sew Transformed.

I LOVED Chameleon. The MC's are Black. Its a beautiful coming of age story for all boys.

Dawn Anon said...

Congrats about the screenplay! How exciting! And meeting Jill Scott. Fun. I'd like to meet Ms. Scott.

Orange Mint and Honey has been on my to-read list for awhile and Amazon should be delivering today or tomorrow. I'm looking forward to reading it

Quressa said...

Yes, there is such a thing as an interracial bookclub and I am in it. We are comprised of 15 women who are African American, Middle Eastern American, and White.

Carleen Brice said...

Glad to hear of your book club!

Lafreya said...

There is an African American book club at the bookstore up the street from me that has as many white menmber as black member in their group.

Doret said...

This summer a White book club read Nathan McCall Smith's Them.

I sold Feminista to a White customer yesterday. And Liar (a YA novel with Black MC) to a White customer today.

Both are regular customers who trust my suggestions. I am learning to use that trust for good and getting Black authors and or characters into non Black hands.

Carleen Brice said...

Yay Doret! Thank you!

judy said...

I saw your article in Poets and Writers today, then came right to your blog. It is fabulous! I will be back every Tuesday. I am currently attending 5 reading groups, I am white, none of the members are black (well, one mixed woman and she is way cool), so if there is an integrated reading group in the Los Angeles area, let me know.

Dolen Perkins-Valdez said...

Carleen. I am just now seeing this!! Thanks for the plug!!

ivanova said...

There was, maybe still is, an interracial book club at the glbt Center in NYC. You gotta hand it to the gays! We know how to mix (sometimes, anyway!)

SarahT said...

I run two book clubs (one general and one mystery-genre) at the public library where I work, and both are fairly well integrated in terms of both race and gender. Our reading list in the past year has included books by Zora Neale Hurston, James McBride, Ernest Gaines, and Walter Mosely. Part of my mission is to ensure that the list continues to be no whiter than it needs to be. :-)

judy said...

After reading this post, I put Rebel Yell on my TBR list. Well, I started it yesterday. It is amazing! The writing is so good, the characters so real. Toni Morrison has been my favorite writer about Black people (though I also love Richard Wright almost more than I can say), but Alice Randall is going to be right up there, I can tell.
Thanks for the tip!