Monday, January 9, 2017

Revisiting Roads Not Taken

Greetings and Happy New Year!

I skipped posting about our November  discussion, Grant Park; but if you haven't read it yet I urge
you to check it out! As the Obama administration comes to an end, this nail-biter of a suspense novel, flashing back to the King assassination in 1968 and forward to Obama's inauguration night triumph in Chicago's Grant park encompasses all the struggles of  our African American half century.

This month we're taking it a bit slower, with Terry McMillan's I Almost Forgot About You. Georgia Young, a 50-something successful optometrist with two grown (sort of) daughters is in a rut. After learning that a former flame has recently died, Georgia decides to sell her home and practice, explore a new career as a designer, and take off on a cross-country train ride, while coincidentally looking up her past loves (including her ex husbands) to see what she has, or has not learned from them. Of course life intervenes, in the form of family crises.

McMillan gave an interview to Code Switch on NPR in which she discusses how Georgia's journey reflects her own, and those of her readers, many of whom have been fans for decades. "Life is a lot of stops and starts, but when you get in your 50s, you see there is a finish line, and I want to go out sliding into home," says McMillan.

Does Georgia's story resonate with you? Join us next Tuesday January 17th for our meeting at the Gibbs-Morrison Center and let's talk! Copies of the book are available at the 2nd floor desk of the Evanston Pubic Library; call 847-448-8620.

Other discussions of African AMerican interest coming up this month:

History Book Discussion Group: The Defender

The History Book Discussion Group reads The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America, by Ethan Michaeli. The story of Chicago’s black paper and its influence throughout the nation, from Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency to Barack Obama’s, which The New York Times called “an extraordinary history. . . deeply researched, elegantly written.”

Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Discussion Group: Kindred

February 1, 2017  7:00pm

This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a cornerstone of black American literature. The novel follows Dana, an African-American woman in 1976, who is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a white boy from drowning, she realizes the challenge she has been given: to protect this young slaveholder until he can father her own great-grandmother.

African American Literature: Detroit: an American Autopsy

February 21, 2017  7:00pm

An exposé of Detroit, icon of America’s lost prosperity, from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie LeDuff. Back in his broken hometown, LeDuff searches through the ruins for clues to its fate, his family’s, and his own. Once the richest city in America, Detroit is now the nation’s poorest. It is an eerie and angry place of deserted factories and abandoned homes and forgotten people. LeDuff sets out to uncover what destroyed his city, and shares an unbelievable story of a hard town in a rough time filled with some of the strangest and strongest people our country has to offer.


Keepinitreal: The Other Wes Moore

February 28, 2017  7:00pm

Two kids with the same name were born blocks apart in the same decaying city within a few years of each other. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, army officer, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.