Here are the books I will read and post on in 2013 – among others. The last four are books I promised to do. The others are based on which books got the most commenter recommendations:
Michelle Alexander & Cornel West: “The New Jim Crow” (2012) – the mass incarceration of black men in America.
Melissa V. Harris-Perry: “Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America” (2011) – the American stereotypes about black women and how black women are affected by them.
Steven Pinker: “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined” (2011) – on how and why violence has become less common in the Western world.
Louis DeCaro Jr.: “On the Side of My People: A Religious Life of Malcolm X” (1997) – Malcolm X as a religious leader. The relationships between Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam, Islam and Black America.
Lillian Smith: “Killers of the Dream” (1949) – growing up white in the American South in the early 1900s. “White identity as something inflicted on children as a form of psychological and emotional abuse,” says Macon D.
Lawrence Hill: “Someone Knows My Name: A Novel” (2007) – also known as “The Book of Negroes”. A novel about the life story of Aminata Diallo in the 1700s. It follows her from freedom in West Africa to slavery in South Carolina to the American Revolution to Manhattan to “freedom” in Nova Scotia to Sierra Leone (she sees slaves going the other way!) to England.
Gloria Naylor: “1996” (2005) – Naylor, as a black writer in America, falls under the close watch of the government. Among their measures: mind-control. Her own private 1984 hell. But is it all true or did Naylor just suffer from a nervous breakdown?
Percival Everett: “Erasure” (2001) – Thelonius “Monk” Ellison hates how books of stereotyped black life succeed in America, not serious ones. He writes a satire of Richard Wright’s “Native Son” (1940) and Sapphire’s “Push” (1996) and has a hit on his hands – but everyone misses the satire!
Chris Cleave: “Little Bee: A Novel” (2009) – also known as “The Other Hand”. A novel about a British magazine editor and Nigerian refugee whose lives cross in the Niger Delta and years later in England. About British asylum policy, colonialism and globalization, among other things.
Ayana Mathis: “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie” (2012) – a novel about the Great Migration of blacks from the American South to the North in the 1900s as told through the story of one family. An Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection.
Rebecca Skloot: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” (2011) – Henrietta Lacks died of cancer in 1951 but her seemingly immortal cells live on in medical research labs all over the world, saving countless lives. Did John Hopkins take advantage of her? Did Rebecca Skloot?
Francis Cress Welsing: “Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors” (1991) – understanding white racism.
Jill Lepore: “New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan” (2005) – the 1741 slave uprising in Manhattan.