The Best African American Literature for Bookclubs
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What book (African American subject or author) generated (or would generate) a really great discussion at a book club meeting? Your book suggestion can be either a classic or contemporary fiction or non-fiction book. Please make your suggestions based on the club being a co-ed group of adults in your own age group.
I hope your answers will get my reading groups out of a reading rut. Thanking you in advance....
I loved Mama Day also ,I would add Jubilee by Margaret Walker which is the story of Margaret Walkers grandmother. It tells the story of slavery from the slaves view. Segu is another book of slavery from Africa to the new world & back by Maryse Conde'. The difficult part of Segu is the unfamiliar African names.
What elements of the books would the male readers relate to? Or, what elements of discussion would the books bring up that would kindle a lively interchange between the men and the women?
I think Jubilee would stimulate discussion from the male members because of the male slaves, their lack of power, their relationship with their women, i much discussion.
I have not read "Visions for Black Men by Na'im Akbar but I have heard good things about it.Or "Forty Million Dollar Slaves by Rhoden. A lot of men want to read non-fiction.
Not that I know a lot about men since the only reading group with men was a african history study group and any extra book they were carrying with them was non-fiction book.
I remember mentioning to you that Jubilee by Margaret Walker is a book I found in your library that I plan on purchasing and reading. I'm glad you gave me persuasive reasons that the men in our group would enjoy it as well.
My son read my copy of Na'im Akbar's Vision for Black Men and it remains one of his alltime favorites. Yes, I find that men do lean toward reading non-fiction or science fiction.
With all the other suggestions provided (thanks everyone), I will continue to seek substantive words that will provide my club members with solid reasons why I recommend a certain book beside, "its a good story."
I read The Color Purple by Alice Walker with my book group and anything by Maya Angelou would be good...starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings...
Hope this helps.
Freedom's Child is the memoir of one of my heroines, Carrie Allen McCray. You can read more about this amazing woman on the web. (I tried to post a link to her bio, but LT tells me I don't know what I'm doing!) Google her!
The gripping memoir Gal: A True Life by Ruthie Bolton (pseudonym), born in 1961, about growing up in an abusive family in Charleston, SC. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and South Carolina ranks at, or very near, the top for Domestic Violence. Lest the men in the your club think this is a "women's issue," it's not. Domestic violence claims men as victims, too. This book is sure to generate conversation in the group.
Also Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash (the novel, not the touchstone title about making the film!)
Susan Straight Been in Sorrow's Kitchen and licked out all the pots is another fictional lowcountry hard-luck tale.
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I have another book I think the males will enjoy as well as the women "Racial Matters" by Kenneth O'Reilly Its about the FBI secret file on black America 1960-1972 A remarkable look at the inner workings of the bureau and its relentless drive to destroy the civil rights movement and its most visible leader. The FBI had even picked a leader for African Americans who they felt would take over from King after they had diminish him. I wonder what they are doing now? I enjoyed the book very much and explained alot that had gone on. The blacks had got to go undercover in all the organizations of African Americans and the disunity they inflicted or spread. The discussion will be hot and heavy.
More African fiction suggestions, for picky male readers (~_^): Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe (which I enjoyed much more than Things Fall Apart, personally), Mine Boy by Peter Abrahams and Navigation of a Rainmaker by Jamal Mahjoub.
Thank you Nzingha! Your suggestion Racial Matters sounds wonderful. And Wosret, the fact that your preference for a different one of Achebe's books makes me want to read it to make my own decision. Thank you so much for your insight.
I hope we all continue to share as even more books come to mind. This is a neverending list....
Sistah's in Sisterhood by Toni Odom
Rise and Fall of a Track Star by O. Keeys
Daddy by Default by Pat Tucker
Sister CEO by Cheryl Broussard
I read Things Fall Apart in HS. I have added it to my library for my girls. I have read Tananarive Due (Black Rose, Joplin's Ghost,her "vampire" series). She is someone in one of my favorit genres. I think that includes Brandon Massey.
It's kind of hard to find these authors in a particular genre as I have yet to see a website break up a genre into genders and/or ethnicity.
Pearl Cleage, I recently read one of hers, Seen It All and Done the Rest. Quick read.
I've copied the AA authors list from Wiki. I hope to find something there.
I recently ran across a meetup group I'm thinking of attending, discussing African-American female non-fiction authors. The group is planning to read (or has read) the following:
Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment , Patricia Hill Collins
Woman, Race & Class & Women, Culture and Politics both by Angela Davis
When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America by Paula Giddings
For Freedom's Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hammer by Chana Kai Lee
Rocking the babies fiction by Linda Raymond
Yearning: Race, Gender and Cultural Politics by bell hooks
God, Dr. Buzzard and the Bolito Man: A Saltwater Geechee talks about life on Sapelo Island, Georgia by Cornelia Walker Bailey
Cooking With Grease: Stirring the Pots in America by Donna Brazile
Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story by Elaine Brown
I'm thinking of recommending The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (although the author is not African-American).
Any other suggestions?
Another option you could explore for your book group is the theme of Banned Books. Go Tell It on the Mountain is one example.
Ain't I a Woman is a groundbreaking work by Bell Hooks, also Black Boy (American Hunger), by Richard Wright and Go Tell it On the Mountain by James Baldwin.
New privacy guidelines are going into effect for research, research papers, and any online publication related to the DNA that was obtained from Henrietta Lacks in an era before informed consent for the taking of tissue samples was required in American healthcare. The book's author, Rebecca Skloot, joined the Lacks family's negotiations with Johns Hopkins. It is expected that these guidelines will influence future research and publication based on human DNA samples.
Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver
If They Come in the Morning by Angela Davis
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World by Marshall W "Major" Taylor
Classic Women's Literature:
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Beloved by Toni Morrison