Monday, October 26, 2009

Links and things

From the Favorite Authors File
Algonquin Books will publish Tayari Jones' next novel, The Silver Girl. I saw this on Twitter, so I'm not sure what to link to - Algonquin doesn't have a press release up about it. But it's coming out next spring. I'm excited! I've been reading Tayari Jones' post about this work for a long time, so it feels a little like waving at her throughout the journey. Buying the hard copy will be the hug I'd give her at the end of this race, you know, if it were a race and if it wouldn't be weird and fan-girly.

I saw Good Hair finally this weekend. (The Chris Rock movie, that is. I actually see good hair, lower case, every morning in the mirror ;) I liked it mostly - it was funny and sad and gave me somethings to think about and chat out with girlfriends. I may write more about it later, but oddly one thing that I can't get out of my head is that some women are paying $1,000 for a weave! I feel so naive ... and cheap.

Anyway, I thought it was really strange not to see a preview of Precious, the movie based on Sapphire's novel, Push, included in the trailers before Good Hair. Why wasn't that a natural fit? Usually, if you see a movie that is targeted to a Black audience, every possible movie with at least one Black character is in the trailer lineup - even if it's completely the wrong demographic. Are Black women not considered a key demographic for Precious? Or do the Good Hair folks not want Precious bringing us down before we see Chris Rock?
Here's an article on the making of Precious from the NYTimes.

BTW, I'm glad I have the red-cover version of PUSH. I like it better than the movie tie-in cover with Precious and butterfly wings. The red cover is so strong and big, I think. It doesn't blend in.

French Writer to Watch
Marie NDiaye, author of "Trois Femmes Puissantes" (Three Powerful Women), has been named as one of the frontrunners for a top French literature prize, the Goncourt. The prize will be announced next week. Read about her work here.
I don't see Three Powerful Women in Amazon, but did find other titles here.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

More proof that librarians rock

I listened to this story on the way to work this morning. And I teared up. Read it or listen to it here. It's a Story Corps interview.

It reminded me of all the times librarians have been helpful to me.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Back in the link groove

The Chicago Tribune has a new literary blog - Printers Row.
I want to read E. Lynn Harris' last novel, but it makes me sad to think about it. Mama Dearest is the title.
Read Tananarive Due's remembrance of E. Lynn Harris on her blog.

E. Lynn Harris is one of the author's I really would have loved to see in person. It's still amazing to me that I never did hear him read in person. Certainly, had he ever been somewhere that I could get to, I would have gone.

I hear such wonderful things about his events - Tananarive Due mentions them in her blog post as well.

When I was a teenager, James Baldwin was the author I really wanted to meet. And it seemed that one day, when I was out in the world, I surely would meet him. When he died I was still in high school and was saddened for the loss of one of our great American writers. And I had a selfish thought too about not ever having the chance to see him and hear him in person.

Octavia Butler, who I didn't read until years later, is another author I really wanted to hear. I read her books over and over and am still challenged and inspired by the patternists and the theology of her characters. I am thankful to have her work to read, though I always wonder how many stories are left untold.

And now, E. Lynn.

So my thought to share is this - when you have a favorite author, a writer you like, someone whose work is touching lives and adding something beautiful, challenging and important to the culture, go and hear them. Make the effort. Drive, listen, buy the book.

I have bought books I already own - or read years before just because I was so happy to hear a beloved writer speak.

And if you go to many book events you know that many are not well attended. Your presence matters. Your questions matter. And what you hear will matter to you.

So I am thankful to have heard so many people read or to have simply met these authors:
Tina McElroy Ansa
Blanche Richardson
Pearl Cleage
Valerie Wilson Wesley
Tayari Jones
Sonia Sanchez
Nikki Giovanni
Amiri Baraka
Joshilyn Jackson
Shay Youngblood
Edwidge Danticat
Maya Angelou