Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tayari Jones, Hilda Hutcherson, Angela Bassett

Tayari Jones will be reading at two events in Atlanta this week. One is tonight, so it's too late for that - the other is on Saturday. Instead of sinking into a depression because I won't be there, I thought I'd spread the word.

From her site:

I'm headed to Atlanta tomorrow for the AWP
conference. There are going to be quite a few exciting literary events around town, so don't miss out. I'll be at the Margaret Mitchell house on Wednesday night at 7pm. (Get there at 6pm to score snacks.) I'm sharing the stage with Lee Smith (whom I love.) There's a cover charge for that event-- just FYI. On Saturday night,8:30pm, Grand Ballroom, 2nd Floor: I'll be at the Hilton downton giving a headline reading at the AWP Conference. This one is free and open to the public. If you're around, I hope you can make it. I'm reading from my new novel-in-progress. Friendly faces are very very welcome. (Don't make me beg, okay?)

An sex and books party
I went to an event with Dr. Hilda Hutcherson over the weekend. (It was at a private home so I won't disclose more than that). It was a great setup - the all-female crowd could post questions in writing and Dr. Hutcherson pulled them out of a box for answers. Eventually the group loosened up a bit (in a good way!) and the questions were flowing without the anonymous box. She is the author of Pleasure and What Your Mother Never Told You About Sex. She has been on Oprah and is the sex columnist for Essence.

A celeb book worth the pages?
Two things - I was skeptical about the Angela Bassett/Courtney Vance book, Friends: A Love Story. I just worry about the merits of a two celebrity + one writer book. Just because people look good on screen and sound great, doesn't not make them writers.
But I'm predisposed to like Angela Bassett - she is one of my favorite actresses. So I was pleased to see a report-out on galley cat about a recent event with Bassett and Vance. Here's how good they were in person talking about their love story, according to gc:

(They really should flesh it out to about 90 minutes and take it on the
road; it's that good.)

The other thing is that I was just excited to see a post, bad pic and all, about a book by African Americans on a non-ethnic book blog. It's rare, at least when I'm reading those blogs.

I'll have to get a copy of that book someday.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What we're reading this week

Remembering Black/Negro/Colored School Teachers
I think I'm going to have to read A Class of Their Own: Black Teachers in The Segregated South, by Adam Fairclough. I'm not old enough to have attended segregated schools, but my parents did and a few of their teachers were still around during my childhood. And I really could feel the respect that Black teachers and the profession had then in our community. Here are a couple of quotes from the WashPost review that caught my attention:

In 1935, Ambrose Caliver, the highest-ranking black employee in the U.S.
Office of Education, proclaimed, "In the hands of the Negro teacher rests the
destiny of the race."

Fairclough makes clear that the nostalgia of many African Americans since
the 1960s for the Good Old Days of all-black schools is rose-colored. Only
through desegregation could black children hope to attend decently funded public
schools in the South.