For March, we are back to fiction with Boy Snow Bird, Helen Oyeyemi 's "gloriously unsettling" re-working of the Snow White. In a small town in the mid-50s, the birth of a dark skinned baby girl unravels a marriage, a family and a town; and a young mother finds herself becoming the "evil stepmother" she never imagined she could be. Join us for the discussion next Tuesday March 15th at 7:00pm! We have copies available at the 2nd floor desk: call 847-448-8620 to reserve yours.
Some new books of interest...
Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith
Sports historians Roberts and Smith delve deeply into the little-known intricacies and tragic consequences of the close bond between the mentoring Nation of Islam minister Malcolm X and the young boxer Cassius Clay. As the authors tell the gripping personal stories of these two passionate revolutionaries and seekers, they cover Clay's genius for audacious self-promotion and strategic self-concealment, and Malcolm X's dream of resolving his increasingly dire conflict with the Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad by bringing Clay and his burgeoning international fame fully into the fold. Vividly set within the coalescing civil rights movement, this incisive anatomy of a fatal friendship turns on the bitter irony that Clay, soon to become Muhammad Ali, and Malcolm X became brothers in spirit by virtue of their shared insistence on equality and freedom in a racist society, only to be drawn to the Nation of Islam, which betrayed and terrorized them both, forcing them apart and ultimately murdering Malcolm X. Roberts and Smith portray both of these courageous and controversial, inspired and inspiring men with fresh, stinging clarity, and extend our perception of the interconnectivity of race, religion, sports, and media during this violent and transformative era, which is so very germane today.
The Defender: How The Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America, by Ethan Michaeli.
The 2nd Baptist Men's group will be reading this in June, but now is your chance to get a head start! As you may remember from reading The Warmth of Other Suns, The Chicago Daily Defender played a key role in spreading hope to African American residents of the Deep South during the Great Migration; letting them know about job opportunities, and keeping them in touch with friends and relatives how had moved north.For decades, it has chronicled Chicago, and indeed national black society offering an alternative perspective on the issues of the day. Micaheli's book is the first comprehensive history of this iconic newspaper.
Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution has Created a New American Majority , by Steve Phillips
A manifesto to those seeking to change the way politics plays out in America today. 51 percent of eligible voters in America today are progressive people of color and progressive whites. Phillips has a background in both politics and law, and here he lays out reasons why white politicians (mainly calling out the whole of the Democratic party) have stalled in producing effective social change stemming from the progressive movement's failure to utilize this new and diverse eligible voting majority. The book pulls no punches (there's a chapter titled, "Fewer Smart-Ass White Boys") but is ultimately hopeful. This slim yet jam-packed call to action will be in demand, both because Phillips is a popular pundit and because the time is ripe for an upheaval in politics-as-usual.
Democracy in Black : How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, by Eddie Glaude
It has been only a few months since Ta-Nehisi Coates struck the American nerve, in Between the World and Me, by pointing out that our racial history is more deeply ingrained in racism than Gunnar Myrdal suggested. Here Princeton scholar Glaude adds to that debate by equating our racist history to a basic gap in values, the notion that black lives matter less in this country and always have. He proves his point cogently, perhaps with less passion than Coates but with more than enough documentation to move the argument along this new and painful track. This is every bit as important a book as Coates' more personal account.
The Other Blacklist: The African American Literacy and Cultural Left of the 1950s, by Mary Helen Washington
Considering that any effort to achieve racial equality was viewed as subversive in the Cold War era, is it any wonder that so many black artists and writers were viewed as Communists? Yet very little has been written about the black artists and writers who were surveilled, investigated, and blacklisted because of their beliefs and their work. Literary scholar Washington remedies that neglect with this engrossing look at six artists: novelist and essayist Lloyd L. Brown, visual artist Charles White, playwright and novelist Alice Childress, poet and novelist Gwendolyn Brooks, novelist Frank London Brown, and novelist and activist Julian Mayfield.. Though some were Communist Party members and others not, they were all drawn to the Left's appreciation of black folk culture and support for the ideal of self-determination, themes that figured prominently in their work.