They currently have 29 “classic”books for teens and kids that can be read in their entirety online. Plus they have suggested reading lists and resources for educators and parents.
So many books, so little time!
This year, we continue to examine and celebrate the Caribbean experience at home and abroad. And we begin with Frantz Fanon's classic work, Black Skin, White Masks, which, though published more than 50 years ago, still resonates today.
In Anna In-Between, Elizabeth Nunez delves into the perennial issue of integration/alienation, separation/belonging that is the immigrant experience. Ekwueme Michael Thelwell brings Stokely Carmichael back to life in Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), a sweeping homage to the Trinidadian civil rights leader, activist and revolutionary.
Althea Prince disects love relationships in Ladies of the Night. Alejo Carpentier shows us that those in positions of power can be brought down when they disregard the people who choose them to lead in The Kingdom of This World: A Novel. Jan Carew strikes a similar note in his cautionary tale of greed and class conflict in postcolonial Guyana, Black Midas.
Caryl Phillips, In the Falling Snow, and Austin Clarke in More: A Novel, echo the theme of separation/belonging, and Malcolm Gladwell shows us, in Outliers, how successful people can be when opportunities are given to
Hope you will consider lending your voice to this discussion this year
2009 – 2010 Reading List
October 18, 2009
Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon (Martinique)
A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a vital force today. “[Fanon] demonstrates how insidiously the problem of race, of color, connects with a whole range of words and images.” — Robert Coles, The New York Times Book Review
November 8, 2009
Anna In-Between by Elizabeth Nunez (Trinidad & Tobago/USA)
** Elizabeth will be in attendance
Traveling back to her Caribbean island home on vacation from her high-pressure job as a book editor in Manhattan, Anna Sinclair is predisposed to be at odds with the vast dichotomy between her two worlds. Not only does the languid pace of tropical life take some adjustment but Anna is perennially frustrated by the fractious relationship with her mother, taking quick umbrage at the hypercritical woman's subtle faultfinding. So it goes until the day when her normally proper and reserved mother swallows her pride and reveals the hideous lump that has deformed her breast. Shocked by her mother's life-threatening condition, appalled by her father's seeming indifference to his wife's deteriorating health, Anna struggles to convince her parents to return with her to New York, where her mother can receive proper care.
January 17, 2010
Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture),
Michael Thelwell (Jamaica)
The firebrand civil rights leader who led the call for Black Power in the 1960s looks back on nearly five decades of protests and freedom fighting in this passionate, posthumous autobiography. In collaboration with his friend Thelwell (a professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts), Carmichael, who died in Guinea in 1998, traces his path from immigrant child of Trinidad to charismatic U.S. student activist and unrepentant revolutionary. The story is told largely in Carmichael's own stylish, often thunderous, first-person words and is named for the telephone greeting that the author used for much of his life.
It covers the full sweep of events that shaped Carmichael's life: his years at the elite Bronx High School of Science and Howard University; summers spent registering black voters in Mississippi and Alabama; personal encounters with such leaders as Martin Luther King, James Baldwin and Malcolm X; and his sudden decision in 1969 to relocate to Africa and change his name to Kwame Ture. Carmichael also addresses controversial issues that surrounded him as a young civil rights activist: his splits with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panthers, and reports of ideological struggles with the pacifist King all "[u]tter, utter nonsense," he insists.
February 21, 2010
Ladies of the Night, Althea Prince (Antigua/Canada)
Ladies of the Night is set in Toronto and Antigua. With women's loves and lives as their focus, the stories contain dramatic twists and turns: some humorous, others shocking and disturbing, all leaving a haunting melody behind. The Toronto stories capture the issues women face as they walk the ground of intimate and family
relationships in that city. The Antiguan setting of some of the stories are reflective of Prince's insight into relationships, captured in her novel and essays. The characters reveal their different ways of managing a range of struggle, pain, rage, love and pure unadulterated joy. The humour of some stories complement the plaintive sadness and emotionality of the strings some other stories pluck.
March 21, 2010
The Kingdom of This World: A Novel, Alejo Carpentier y Valmont (Cuba)
A few years after its liberation from French colonial rule, Haiti experienced a period of unsurpassed brutality, horror and superstition under the reign of the black King Henri-Christophe. Through the eyes of the ancient slave, Ti Noel, The Kingdom of This World records the destruction of the black regime – built on the same corruption and contempt for human life that brought down the French – in an orgy of voodoo, race hatred, erotomania, and fantastic grandeurs of false elegance.
April 18, 2010
In the Falling Snow, Caryl Phillips (UK/St. Kitts) Keith—born in England in the early 1960s to immigrant West Indian parents but primarily raised by his white stepmother—is a social worker heading a Race Equality unit in London whose life has come undone. He is separated from his wife of twenty years (whose family “let her go” when she married a black man), kept at arm’s length by his seventeen-year-old son, estranged from his father, and accused of harassment by a co-worker. And beneath it all, he has a desperate feeling that his work—even in fact his life—is no longer relevant.
May 16, 2010
Black Midas, Jan Carew (Guyana)
Astonishingly vivid, bawdy, and tempestuous, this novel is a cautionary tale about greed and class conflict in postcolonial Guyana. Comparing ruthless 20th-century
prospectors to the long-ago Spanish explorers who raped a continent in their quest for El Dorado, the novel follows the dreams and delusions of Aron Smart, a youth orphaned early in life and brought up on a farm by his grandparents who impressed upon him the value of an education. When Aron’s schooling is cut short after a reversal of fortune, however, he becomes deeply discouraged by his lack of opportunity and decides to follow in his father’s footsteps as a diamond prospector.
He quickly becomes very rich—his companions in the mines call him “Shark”—and he is determined to use his new wealth to buy his way into the middle class. But Aron is out of his element in the world of property and prestige, and, cheated of his fortune, he returns to the interior, mining with a reckless madness that leaves him terribly maimed in an accident—and causes him to dream of returning to his grandfather’s life, built on the solid rhythms of farming and caring for the land.
June 20, 2010
More: A Novel, Austin Clarke (Barbados/Canada)
At the news of her son BJ’s involvement in gang crime, Idora Morrison, a maid at the local university, collapses in her basement apartment. For four days and nights she retreats into a vortex of memory, pain, and disappointment that becomes a riveting expose of her life as a Caribbean immigrant living abroad. While she struggled to make ends meet, her deadbeat husband, Bertram, abandoned her for a better life in New
York. Left alone to raise her son, Idora has done her best to survive against
immense odds. But now that BJ has disappeared into a life of crime, she recoils from his loss and is unable to get out of bed, burdened by feelings of invisibility.
July 18, 2010
Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell, US/Can/Jamaica
Now that he's gotten us talking about the viral life of ideas and the power of gut reactions, Malcolm Gladwell poses a more provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many
more never reach their potential?
Challenging our cherished belief of the "self-made man," he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: "they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, "some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky.
Marcia M. Mayne
Founder, Date with a Book®
Caribbean Literature Book Club
P 646.290.9212 : F 646.290.7088 : M 646.541.2543
This provocative and compelling book examines how jobs, schools, the streets, and prisons have shaped the lives and choices of a generation of Puerto Rican youth at the turn of the twenty-first century.
At the center of this riveting account–based on an unprecedented eighteen-year study–are three engaging, streetwise brothers from Springfield, Massachusetts: Fausto, incarcerated for seven years and in and out of drug treatment, an insightful and sensitive street warrior playing on the edges of self-destruction; Julio, the family patriarch, a former gang member turned truck driver, fiercely loyal to his family and friends; and Sammy, a street maven, recovering drug addict, father of four, straddling two realms–the everyday world of low-wage work and the allure of the drug economy–as he shuttles between recovery and relapse.
Timothy Black spent years with the brothers and their parents, wives and girlfriends, extended family, coworkers, criminal partners, friends, teachers, lawyers, and case workers. He closely observed street life in Springfield, including the drug trade; schools and GED programs; courtrooms, prisons, and drug treatment programs; and the young men’s struggle for employment both on and off the books. The brothers, articulate and determined, speak for themselves, providing powerful testimony to the exigencies of life lived on the social and economic margins. The result is a singularly detailed and empathetic portrait of men who are often regarded with fear or simply rendered invisible by society.
With profound lessons regarding the intersection of social forces and individual choices, Black succeeds in putting a human face on some of the most important public policy issues of our time.
"For 20 years, Timothy Black, a sociology professor at the University of Hartford, has been a mentor to the brothers and a student of their world. In his new book, Black chronicles their triumphs and sorrows against a backdrop of shifts in social policy and the labor market. Black’s work is no sociological treatise. He has produced a narrative as compelling as well-crafted fiction."
U.S. President Barack Obama appointed several people to a panel studying the feasibility of creating an American Latino museum, the White House said.
Appointed to the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino were entertainment mogul Emilio Estefan Jr., lawyer Andres W. Lopez, businesswoman Cindy Pena, lawyer and activist Abigail M. Pollak, and lawyer Cid Wilson, the White House said in a release.
Obama said commission members Gilberto Cardenas and Jose B. Fernandez were reappointed to the panel.
"I am pleased to appoint these outstanding men and women to the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino -- a museum that would be dedicated to celebrating the history and achievements of Latinos in America," Obama said.
Legislation creating the commission was signed into law in May 2008. The 23-member group is charged to conduct a two-year study on the feasibility and planning aspects for a new national museum in Washington is dedicated to exhibiting the art, history and culture of the U.S. Latino population.
Last Saturday, Jose Antonio Ortega Bonet, founder of Sazon Goya Food Company passed away just one month shy of his 80th birthday. He was battling lung cancer.
"Pepe" Ortega, known to his friends as "El Gallego," uprooted his family in 1960, fleeing Cuba's communist revolution. After a stint in Colombia, settled in Puerto Rico, where he started a successful career in the food business that eventually became Sazón Goya, in partnership with the Unanue family, owners of Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food business.
"Pepe" was a philanthropist. Among his major beneficiaries are the Centro Mater Foundation, the League Against Cancer, Mercy Hospital and the José Martí scholarships. While Goya's national sponsorships include the National Council of La Raza, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the National Hispana Leadership Institute. Goya is also the first Hispanic company to be exhibited at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Just plain sad: Study Predicts 500 Bookstores Will Close this Year
LA SOGA - The First PELICULA DOMINICANA at the TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL!
Opening Reception for Latina Art Exhibit at Taller Boricua, Thursday, September 10th from 6 - 9 PM, 1680 Lexington Avenue @ 106th Street
Please join photographers Clarisel Gonzalez, Mia Hernandez, and others at the upcoming group Latina Art Exhibit of the 100 Hispanic Women Inc. at the Taller Boricua/Puerto Rican Workshop gallery. Admission is free to members and $5 to all non- members. 100 Hispanic Women Inc. will offer a 50% discount on annual memberships for anyone who registers at the event. For more information, call 212-239-1430 or e-mail: email@example.com.
"Direct postal service between Cuba and the U.S. may be restarted after being suspended for nearly five decades." Postal service to resume between Cuba and U.S.?
$20 Off-Broadway tickets in September for 20at20 Shows include Stomp,” “Fuerza Bruta," and more.
Check out THE LATINO JASON MRAZ: Pedro Capó, aka Capó, has been off-Broadway in the Celia Cruz musical and on film with John Leguizamo. His upcoming album will surprise and enthrall you. via ny.remezcla.com
Everyone's talking about Oprah’s next book pick, which will be announced on 9/18. All Oprah is saying is that she has “never made a selection like this.” Stay tuned!
"In the over thirty daytime and nighttime talk shows on cable and broadcast network TV you will be hard pressed to find a Latino, let alone a Latina voice. George Lopez aims to change that when he premieres his show Lopez Tonight on TBS. Meanwhile, four Latinas are already bringing cultural relevance to the talk show landscape on their Internet talk show Let's Talk! Let's Talk is a 15 minute "Anytime" Internet talk show with a unique perspective on culturally relevant topics with universal appeal. Tune in anytime on www.latinheat.com." Read the full press release
Heal your spirit and your body! September is National Yoga Month. There are events planned across the country and more information can be found at www.yogamonth.org. One event that is happening around the country is a free yoga week, offered by participating studios.
No More “Reading Rainbow”? Say It Ain’t So! I loved, loved this show. "NPR reports that "Reading Rainbow" was the third longest-running program in PBS history after "Sesame Street" and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."'
"The Southern Poverty Law Center Wednesday released a report describing Suffolk County as a hotbed of anti-immigrant violence that has plagued Latinos for a decade, ranging from low-level harassment to vicious attacks, and resulting in an atmosphere where Latinos live in constant fear." Report: Suffolk Latinos face assaults, live in fear
Thoughts for writers: From Margin to Center: Writing Characters of Color