Friday, January 29, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
#BookReview: Guest Post: I Was Right On Time: My Journey from the Negro Leagues to the Majors by Buck O'Neil with Steve Wulf and David Conrads
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Whether or not you've read the prequel to Sinful Too, you'll have no problems getting acquainted with the ruthless and scheming Dior Wicker. When I began reading this, I was unaware that there was indeed a lead-in book, but upon browsing the internet, I learned that though Dior was mentioned in the original Sinful, her story line was not so important that I would be lost while reading the sequel.
A young lady that is used to getting what she wants, when she wants it and from whom she wants it, Dior does not take no for an answer…ever. Carrying on an affair with the married owner of the clothing store at which she works has its perks. In addition to the extra attention she receives in the back of the store, the extra money Giorgio slips into her pay envelope is more than enough to cover the low rent she pays to live in her twin brother’s 3-bedroom Section 8 house, a second hand BMW, and designer clothes.
Satisfied with the material things in life, Dior is thrown off balance the day the handsome Pastor Richard Allamay PhD comes into the high-priced men’s clothing store. Unaware that he’s a man of God, and of means, Dior ignores his subtle advances. When her friend Tangie happens to mention that Richard is the pastor of the largest congregation in Dallas, Dior immediately sees dollar signs and begins to work her master plan. Having been the side chick to several married men in the past has been okay with her, but this time she’s set her sights on becoming the First Lady.
Richard Allamay had no idea when he stumbled into Giorgio’s that his world was about to turn upside down. Happily married to Nadeen and father to two girls, Richard hasn’t thought about stepping out on his wife since his first and last affair, 10 years ago. But there’s something about Dior that makes him lose his cool and at the first sign that she’s willing to see him outside of her job, all thoughts of his wife, kids and his mega-church fly out the window.
When his closest friend, and deacon, Phillip begins to question where his head is, Richard realizes that he’s so caught up that he’s at risk of losing his wife, kids, church and the respect of everyone around him. It would be easy to gain them back if only he could find a way to remove Dior from his life, but she’s not ready to let him out of her clutches just yet.
What did you like about the book?
The author does a good job of writing with both a feminine and masculine voice. His writing style reminds me of early Eric Jerome Dickey writings.
What did you dislike about the book?
Dior's relationship with her mother seemed to be an unnecessary part of the storyline, as did her relationship with her brother. Outside of renting a home from him, he didn’t figure into the storyline so I was unsure why he was mentioned.
How can the author improve this book?
There were sections that seemed like filler material and distracted from the main story. In addition, the narration by characters switched in the middle of chapters with no warning. At one point, Richard was narrating and in the next paragraph, his wife was. Perhaps dividers or another way of flagging a change in narrators would be helpful.
Published October 2008
Friday, January 15, 2010
Imagine yourself on a sugar plantation in Jamaica during the late eighteenth century. You are forced to endure the stronghold of slavery but you feel out of place, peculiar and different. Something deep inside is telling you that you don’t belong here but you have no where to run and no where to hide. All you have is a dream that someone will see past your black skin into your green eyes and rescue you. I know it seems crazy but this is the life of Lillith, the main character in The Book of Night Women.
Lillith, the daughter of a teenage slave girl and the plantation overseer, is raised in a home with a man and woman that she calls mother and father but she shares no resemblance. Deep in her heart she knows that she is different. Not only does Lillith know that she is different but the Night Women also know as they secretly keep an eye on her. As Lillith matures and comes face-to-face with her “darkness,” she is rescued by Homer, the leader of the Night Women. Homer is sure that Lillith just may be the one that will make their plot of a slave revolt successful.
I must admit, I have never read a book written with the eloquence, detail and imagery used by Marlon James to bring the Night Women to life. James not only created characters that I could relate to but he created women characters that any woman could relate to. The Night Women possessed strength, gumption, skill and a desire for freedom and they were willing to get it at any cost. These women led by Homer, a house slave, were not fazed by the absence of men in this plot. They carried the load as they strategically used their plantation jobs to work for them so they could have eyes everywhere at once.
I must add, in the beginning I wasn’t sure about this book because the patois/dialect frustrated me initially but I endured and it was well worth my time. I would recommend this book to anyone as a must-read and I nominate James for the Pulitzer Prize (if he is an American citizen that is.) However, for now, Marlon James is the 2009 award winner of the Spinks Prize for literary fiction.
P.S. I will be re-reading this book. It was just that good!
Yolonda Spinks is new to the blogging world, but loves reading books and sharing her opinions. A senior in college majoring in journalism, she also gives community presentations on infant mortality and its affect on African Americans.
For more reviews by Yolonda, please visit her at Notorious Spinks Talks or follow her on Twitter @NotoriousSpinks.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
At last, Patterson has redeemed himself in my eyes. For too long he has cranked out book after book full of fill-in-the-blank story lines. The names and scenery would change, but the story remained the same. It had gotten to the point where I could figure out "who done it" within the first five chapters of any of his books. But this book? This book here? The master storyteller is back!
Friday, January 1, 2010
The people have spoken and it turns out that my favorite author is admired by several of my fellow readers. Why do I love J. California Cooper so much? When I read her stories I can hear the voice of her characters. I feel like I'm sitting at the feet of my grandmother listening to her spin a tale. Simply put, J. California Cooper's stories feel like home.
J. California Cooper first found acclaim as a playwright. The author of seventeen plays, she was named Black Playwright of the Year in 1978. It was through her work in the theater that she caught the attention of acclaimed poet and novelist Alice Walker. Encouraged by Walker to turn her popular storytelling skills to fiction, Cooper wrote her first collection of short stories, A Piece of Mine, in 1984. Called "rich in wisdom and insight" and "a book that's worth reading," A Piece of Mine introduced Cooper's trademark style: her intimate and energetic narration, sympathetic yet sometimes troubled characters, and the profound moral messages that underlie seemingly simple stories.
"Her style is deceptively simple and direct, and the vale of tears in which her characters reside is never so deep that a rich chuckle at a foolish person's foolishness cannot be heard." —Alice Walker
"Cooper's stories beckon. It's as if she is patting the seat next to her, enticing us to come sit and listen as she tells complex tales about women, often poor women, chasing dreams of love, a house, and a family." — Ms.
"Cooper is humorous, wise, self-deprecating, and always expressive...her stories are about simple truths told with great energy that makes them shine." —Kirkus Reviews
"Cooper knows how to 'talk' her stories to us, as though each of them is told by a kindly and concerned friend. The sound of them is lovely, memorable, haunting." —San Francisco Chronicle
If you've never read any of her work, you are truly missing out on some kind of wonderful.