Wednesday, February 22, 2012

25 Novels to Honor During Black History Month

Like a lot of us, I'm ambivalent about Black History Month. On the one hand, it's great to see so many performances, tv programs and cultural events highlighting African American achievement every February. On the other hand, why are we invisible on the cultural stage during the other 11 months? That's why I'm delighted to be able to read and promote African American writers and issues year round on this blog and in our discussion group.

That said, kudos to Accredited Colleges Online for providing a list of 25 Novels to Honor During Black History Month.This is a terrific list, including classics like Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Native Son alongside newer works like The Known World and The Intuitionist and novels for younger readers, like Monster and Roll of Thunder. This is more accurately an African diaspora list, since it  features several African and Caribbean works: Things Fall Apart, The Farming of Bones, and Segu, as well as the Afro British  White Teeth.

The literature of the African diaspora is incredibly diverse: on this list you will find love stories, humor, time travel, and politics; stories set in England, Haiti, Nigeria, and Harlem; and novels addressing gay issues, crime, ethnic cleansing, slavery, religion and interracial romance. Enjoy, and who knows...perhaps there are some future AAL Discussion books lurking in these pages!

Friday, February 10, 2012

An African American Themed Valentine's Day

Hello again, AAL fans! Remember next Tuesday, Valentine's Day, is our discussion of Condoleeza Rice's memoir Extraordinary Ordinary People.  (Remember, you can also download the ebook version if you don't feel like dragging around the book.)
I know not everyone on this list is a big fan of Condi, but it should be interesting to compare her account of growing up in Jim Crow Birmingham to the recollections in Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns. Very interesting!

Valentine's Day is coming up, and the Evanston Public Library is proud to welcome Northwestern's Dr. Harvey Young Jr, an award-winning author and an internationally recognized authority on African American culture and performing arts. Dr Young will be giving a public lecture: "A Racist Love Note: Stereotypes and Caricatures on Early 20th Century Valentine’s Day Cards". here at EPL on Thursday February 16th, 7 pm. He'll discuss the imagery of African Americans in early greeting cards and what this says about the larger society's fears and prejudices. A great way to celebrate Valentine's Day in the context of African American history.

So, hope to see everyone twice next week: Tuesday night for Condoleeza and Thursday to hear Dr Young!