Tag: african american women writers

Writing at its Best: The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

This book was recommended to me by Amazon. That’s right. It popped up on my kindle as, “you may be interested in,” while purchasing a different book. I found the title compelling so I clicked, then I found the description of the book interesting, so I purchased. I was not disappointed. It has been a long time since I read a collection of short stories I could not put down and wanted to read all over again once I’d finished. Philyaw’s writing is downright addictive.  Philyaw’s voice is powerful and assertive, strong and confident, and also, a bit mischievous,...

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what the patriarchy has to gain from us feeling unloved and unlovable—Communion: the female search for love by bell hooks (2002)

This book kinda sorta unexpectedly rocked my world. It has such an innocent title. Gah! I had never before read bell hooks. Her name hung around the edges of my consciousness as someone I need to read. I will certainly be reading a lot more of her now. Her writing is so unassuming and seemingly simple, it comes up on you from behind and grabs you by your secrets. I was left many nights with a lump in my throat trying to digest the emotion her words had evoked in me the previous day.  Reading Communion, I felt heard...

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Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine (2020): Fact-Checking and Footnoting Her Own Pain

This book was hard to read. It is full of raw pain. I so appreciate Rankine’s willingness to expose her vulnerability. I am struck by how hurtful it is for a black woman to live in the culture of the United States. She is brave to expose herself this way. Rankine, a professor at Yale teaching classes on the history of whiteness in the U.S. wonders one day,  “What it would mean to ask random white men how they understood their privilege. . . . I found myself falling into easy banter with all kinds of strangers except white...

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Toni Morrison’s Beloved: Slavery and the Haunting that Persists.

Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a novel about the enslavement of Black Americans and its lasting emotional, physical and psychic effects. It takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio right before and after the Civil War. Beloved is the story of Sethe, a woman so strong, she survives the unthinkable, over and over and over again. Beloved is the name of the angry baby girl haunting the home of her younger sister, Denver, and Sethe, the mother who murdered her. The ghost, in her eighteen-month-old, non-physical form has driven everyone else out of the house, including Sethe’s two sons whom she tried...

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Toni Cade Bambara: How to Care for Oneself While Healing The All

While reading adrienne maree brown’s Pleasure Activism for #NastyWomenWriters, I was stopped in my tracks by the praise coming forward in that book for black feminist, writer, activist, film maker and mentor Toni Cade Bambara (1939-1995). brown writes: “Toni Cade Bambara, author of The Salt Eaters, the one to tell us writing was a tool for the revolution, that our task was to make revolution irresistible. Bambara is a main stream in the lineage of pleasure activism, not just because of what she put on the page and into words, but also because of the ways she wove community,...

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