I recently finished two books, WISE BLOOD by Flannery O'Connor and NO TIME TO DIE (A Mali Anderson Mystery) by Grace F. Edwards.
The latter, a mystery, was something new and out of the norm for me. I purchased NO TIME TO DIE at a Friends of the Library book sale while still living in Memphis. Actually, I acquire a lot of my books that way--library book sales, bookstore discount tables, etc. The cover on this one--a pensive looking African American woman wearing a hat slanted over her brow and with the "world famous" Apollo signboard in the background--drew me in. The inside flap's description of a Black female sleuth's search for a serial killer in Harlem further intrigued me. Even so, the book, like so many others, sat unread on my shelves for years. My thirst for something different is what recently led me back to the title. I'm not a big fan of mysteries, but, all in all, it was a nice diversion as well as a fascinating and truly horrific look into the life of an African American serial killer.
WISE BLOOD is a book I first read several years ago. As much as I enjoy Flannery O'Connor's short stories, her novel just didn't do a heck of a lot for me. Although I found the book rather disturbing, I didn't outright hate it. I think more than anything, I just didn't understand it. Funny how the passage of time can alter one's perspective. I'm still not in love with the novel, but I do understand it a bit better. Perhaps maturity, patience and a small portion of wisdom are to thank for my new level of enlightenment. To be honest though, the only reason I decided to re-read the text was because it appeared on a local book club's list. If nothing else, it's the type of book that makes for an interesting discussion.
The book I'm currently reading is, ALL AUNT HAGAR'S CHILDREN, a collection of short stories written by Edward P. Jones. This is the first time I've read any of Jones' work and already I'm a fan. As I stated on black girl lost in a book's blog, I feel like I really do know these characters . . . I've met them somewhere . . . if not in this life, then perhaps in some other. The first story in the collection, "In The Blink Of God's Eye" read like one of my grandmother's tales of Johnson Sub (the 40 plus acres in Memphis, TN my daddy's people once owned and called home). This book is, for me, truly a treat and I find myself re-reading sentences, paragraphs and passages if only to savor their sweetness once again. In Jones' work I am able to experience a bit of what drives me to read and write in the first place--the indescribable joy (and music) of a story well-told. I also feel in Jones' work an appreciation of the Black Southern Experience that sadly, far too many "colored folks" (yeah, I said it . . . meant it too) from NY, LA and the Midwest appear to lack.
The books I'm probably gonna read next include, among others, another Edward P. Jones title for sure. I'm thinking his first short story collection, LOST IN THE CITY, will probably be my choice. I've heard lots of positive comments about the collection and since when given a choice between a short collection and a novel, I generally opt for the stories, it's pretty much a done deal.
I'm also interested in taking a look at REDBONE:Money, Malice and Murder in Atlanta by Ron Stodghill. Initially, I was kind of turned off by the title. Just to give you some background, a guy I knew during my college years tagged me with the nick-name "Dirty Red." So, as you might imagine, something about the term conjures quite a bit of negative imagery for me (LOL). Anyway, I stumbled upon an excerpt one day, that changed my mind about reading the book. Based on the writing alone, I'm willing to give the book a try, even though the Amazon reviews I skimmed appeared to lean toward the negative.
The other title on my list of "future" reads is a book I started last year, but never read beyond a couple of pages, WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE by Tavis Smiley. I didn't put the book down for lack of interest, I just got busy and sidetracked by other things. I'm still very much interested in knowing more about the "makings" of Mr. Smiley and since my old book club in Cleveland is taking on the book, I figured I'd buckled down and join them.
So, what are you all reading? What have you read that you'd recommend? What's still sitting unopened on your nightstand, on your bookshelf or at your local bookstore that you'd like to read? Also, any comments on my reading lists are welcome.