Tuesday, November 24, 2009

They don't call it "Black Friday" for nothing, people!

Let the consuming begin! This weekend is the traditional kick-off to holiday shopping, and, as you might expect, I want to remind you to think black books this Black Friday. (But don't stop there! Ella Curry wants y'all to be thinking black books all weekend, as she's hosting an online Black Books Weekend Nov. 27-30.)

This Friday, this weekend, whenever, pick up a book by a black author for at least one person on your list (let me know it and you could win a t-shirt!). Some suggestions:

Know someone who's been laid-off and needs a lift? What Doesn't Kill You, a funny novel about a woman who loses her job and finds her way by Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant, will be perfect!

Got a friend who digs fantasy? Get Shadow Valley and Great Sky Woman by Steven Barnes. “[Barnes] combines imagination, anthropology and beautiful storytelling as he takes readers to the foot of the Great Mountain, today known as Mount Kilimanjaro.” —Durham Triangle Tribune. IndieBound has a great interview with Barnes about his book Lion's Blood.

Your sister love Lisa Scottoline's thrillers? Introduce her to Pamela Samuels Young. She'll thank you!

Need to buy for someone who likes smart, witty literary fiction or books that make them scratch their head, crack up laughing, cringe, and turn pages like crazy? May I suggest the "fiendishly imaginative" Big Machine by Victor LaValle? I'm halfway through the book. My quickie review: Stephen King meets Richard Pryor.

Those seeing "Precious" and reading Push might like the novella A Deep Dark Secret by Kimberly Lawson Roby.

Give your BFF Wildflowers by Lyah Beth LeFlore. My Twitter book-friends say this is a delightful story about women's friendships (It's on my list).

Mom like romance? She ought to know Beverly Jenkins and Frances Ray. Yes, black authors even write bodice rippers and give good man-titty!

Why should you buy books by black authors?

Because if you like to read, you should know about all the good books that are out there. I'm telling you: You like it, we write it! I'm not interested in doing any "favors" for authors who write bad books. This isn't about quotas or affirmative action or liberal guilt. This blog isn't about begging for attention from white people. My mission is to spread the word that there are plenty, PLENTY, of great books that not enough people are hearing about. That's my reason.

Author Chimamanda Adichie offers another compelling reason, which she calls "the danger of the single story."

In an open letter to Oprah Winfrey author Virginia DeBerry makes another case for why books by black authors need more attention.

Author Bernice McFadden takes on "seg-book-ga-tion."

Now, I know you don't need additional reasons to check out books by black authors. But for your less with-it friends, here's my top 10 list.

Finally, happily, I want to introduce you to a couple more blogs trying to spread the word:

Check out the "Multicultural Minute" feature at Shen's Books. Here is a video suggesting YA books with biracial characters.

Authors of Color is a new blog chatting about good books we should all be hearing more about. She's got Pearl Cleage news! Y'all go on over and say hi.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!


Sharon said...

What a fantastic blog! - Sharon Oliver - http://www.sharonoliver.net

Doret said...

I just started LeFlore's YA novel The World is Mine -

Its good so far. A great gift idea for older teens who love hip hop.

5peasinapod said...

If we have already read black authors can I still participate? I do meet the "white" criteria. Just teasing I love the promotion of wonderful literature.

This would be a wonderful link for my genre challenge! I'll link it up for my post tomorrow.


Carleen Brice said...

5peasinapod, Thanks for including AfAm books in your challenge, but this brings up a good point: is AfAm Lit a genre? Within the genres of romance, thriller, sci-fi/fantasy, etc. there are black writers and it would be great if readers would naturally include them in whatever genre they like to read.

Farrah Rochon said...

I watched this video a few weeks ago. It sent chills down my spine. So very eye-opening.

Jackie said...

As a Korean American adoptee (adopted and raised by Caucasians), although, I am not technically bi-racial, I definitely identify with the themes that run through the works by these authors. Thank you for sharing the link to books related to this experience.