I live in my head and the books I read. Someone asked me the other day, "What are some good books?" And followed up with something like, they really were intrigued to see what a little controversial critter read.
I am mixing up my favorite reads of new and somewhat old, and will be posting more. I love fiction based on historical evidence and indigenous oral history and/or myth. And I love black women writers who dabble in intellectual dankness.
For me, the most romantic place in the world is a bookstore. Kind' of freaky, hunh?
Well, enjoy, and read on.
Segu or Segou by Maryse Conde must be in your collection. It is a literary bombshell that captures several generations of Bambara people who are affected by internal conflicts in Africa due to the Arab/Muslim invasion and holy wars and slavery then the Euro-Christian slave trade that followed.
A PBS movie was made from the book. A snippet of the first episode is after the image.
I am addicted to Nalo Hopkinson's writing, and her first book, Brown Girl in the Ring, gave me goosebumps. It is told around an apocalyptic Toronto, Canada, and what happens when the dispensable population (mostly folks of color and West Indian immigrants) get sequestered in the inner city. An intertwining of Yoruba, Santeria folklore, and Trinidadian-Jamaican Obeah ritual, this shit is unforgettable. Don't let the cheesy cover fool you.
If you want to see how Catholicism/Christianity has brainwashed Africa, you must read Chimamanda Ngozi's, Purple Hibiscus. This centers a Nigerian, Ibo family whose patriarch is fanatically religious and down right rabid-ass crazy.
With a name like Attica Locke, you know the book has got to be ill. Told with a heavy play-writing style in some pockets, Black Water Rising, unfolds the complicated life Houston-based, black attorney who attempts to be "normal" after his college days of working in the black liberation struggle. Great references to the CIA, Cointelpro tactics, and the post-traumatic stress/ political backlash that former liberation army folk still experience.
Tananarive Due is my top three of all writers because she can tell a mojo story like no other with her 90s debut book, My Soul to Keep. This is a trilogy about a Florida-based investigative reporter who discovers her husband is an Ethiopian immortal who drank the blood of Jesus. Wicked, absolutely fabulous.
I must drop one more by Tananarive, but this detector series is in collaboration with her husband Steven Barnes, and actor-author, Blair Underwood. This book, From Capetown With Love, is the latest in a series around a struggling actor who once upon a time, slanged-his-thang to make ends meet as an "escort," and has turned himself into a some what respectable detective/foster dad/good citizen. But his past, and his dick somehow, keep haunting him. Sexy, sleazy, mysteriously great.