Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012 National African American Read-In

Ernest J. Gaines
February is the month for the Twenty-Third National African American Read-In, sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English.  Churches, schools, book clubs, and bookstores all over America will get together to read and discuss books by African Americans.  Vasilly (1330v), Doret (TheHappyNappyBookseller), and Edi (Crazy Quilt) will host an online read-in.  We are invited to vote for the one book of these six we would like the group to read.  Vasilly will announce the results on Monday, January 30th.  Because I've already read two of the others, I voted for Good Fortune by Noni Carter.

Fences ~ by August Wilson, 1983, play
Garbage collector Troy Maxson clashes with his son over an athletic scholarship.  Set in the 1950s, it is the sixth in Wilson's ten-part Pittsburgh Cycle.  Like all of the Pittsburgh plays, Fences explores the evolving African-American experience and examines race relations, among other themes.  The play won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Good Fortune ~ by Noni Carter, 2010, YA fiction
Ayanna Bahati lives in a small African village when she is brutally kidnapped, along with her brother, and forced onto a slave ship to America. As Ayanna, renamed Anna, rises from the cotton fields to the master’s house, she finds the familial love she’s been yearning for in elderly Mary and Mary’s son Daniel—but she is also faced with more threats to her survival. Risking everything to escape the plantation, Anna manages to make it north and to freedom, eventually settling in the free black community of Hudson, Ohio, and educating herself to become a teacher.
A Lesson Before Dying ~ by Ernest J. Gaines, 1993, fiction
Set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s, A Lesson Before Dying is a novel of one man condemned to die for a crime he did not commit and a young man who visits him in his cell.  In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting — and defying — the expected. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
Ninth Ward ~  by Jewell Parker Rhodes, 2010, children's fiction (Louisiana)
Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. She doesn't have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya's visions show a powerful hurricane — Katrina — fast approaching, it's up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm.
Pull ~ by B. A. Binns, 2010, YA fiction (Illinois)
High school senior David Albacore is dealing with major upheaval after his father murders his mom.  In the terrible aftermath, he changes his name and moves to a tough new inner-city Chicago high school with his younger sister Barney, when they and their now silent younger sister, Linda, move in with their aunt.  David blames himself for not saving their mom that night; after being injured in a basketball game in which he was the star, David was given strong painkillers, which caused him to sleep through the shooting.  Barney, who found their mom's body, is fragile after a hospital stay and is barely able to cope.  With their mother gone and their father in jail, David tries to take care of his sisters as they grieve and adjust to a different kind of life.  When he's forced to join the basketball team or be expelled after getting in too many fights, it cuts into his after-school construction job that he takes to help his aunt support his family.
Topdog/Underdog ~ by Suzan-Lori Parks, 2001, play
A darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity is Suzan-Lori Parks latest riff on the way we are defined by history.  The play tells the story of Lincoln and Booth, two brothers whose names were given to them as a joke, foretelling a lifetime of sibling rivalry and resentment.  Haunted by the past, the brothers are forced to confront the shattering reality of their future.  Winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Which of these sounds most interesting to you?

1 comment:

Vasilly said...

Bonnie, thank you so much for announcing this on your blog!