Monday, November 29, 2010

Buy a Book By a Black Author Month??

While reading a blog (, I discovered that December has been designated as “National Buy a Book By a Black Author and Give it to Somebody Not Black Month.” My first thought was, “awesome!” My second thought was “why didn't I come up with that?”

I read about how the idea came about ( and I must say it is pretty clever. I'm always happy to share a good read with my friends, so I thought that this idea was particularly interesting. After all, how many non-ethnic reads have been passed on to me? It dawned me that I was being a little selfish by not sharing.

Since this idea is super cool, I decided to begin the search for the perfect book to buy for one of my non-black friends. I love the advice given on the blog: “white people already know about Toni Morrison, so please choose something else besides A Mercy.” I'll let you know which book I decide on.

I would encourage you to do the same. Sharing is caring... Happy reading!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Already? Oh My!

I can't believe that this year is practically over already! Didn't it just get here? It's that time of year when the markets are crowded, the temperature is dropping, and retailers are trying to sell you dreams of happiness if only you purchase this product at this amazing deal.

But more importantly, it is the week of Thanksgiving. I tried to think about what exactly that means to me. I came up with a lot of ideas, like a day to eat as if preparing for a famine, or a day to fight some random lady at my local super market because of her evil plot to buy out the entire pie crust section. Or maybe it's just an excuse to have some free time from work and spend time with the family you never have a chance to see. Or maybe, just maybe it actually is about giving thanks for everything that you feel lucky to have.

Everyone has a different take on what exactly this holiday means, if they believe that it means anything at all. For some, it really doesn't matter because Thanksgiving is just another day. Like it or not, it comes every year if you live in the United States. For others, Thanksgiving day is the best day of the year. Others still can take it or leave it.

In the eighth grade there was an ongoing contest where the principal would come up with a topic and students had the opportunity to submit their writing based on the topic. I entered the Thanksgiving week contest; the topic was The First Thanksgiving. I don't exactly remember every detail of the story that I submitted, but I do remember the basic story line: Thanksgiving was a holiday founded in Haiti by my family and it somehow made its way to the United States. Even back then, my Thanksgiving philosophy was that it can be whatever you want it to be. For me, Thanksgiving day will be a day of writing, being happy about being so loved, and purchasing a book that will make me happy (but only if I get it at an amazing price).

Happy Thanksgiving and happy reading!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Donna Hill told Eisa

Eisa Ulen also interviewed best selling author Donna Hill. See what she had to say:

Happy reading!

The National Book Awards

Eisa Ulen interviewed a few of the finalists in the "Young People's Literature" Category. Among them, Rita Williams-Garcia, author of One Crazy Summer and Walter Dean Myers, author of Lockdown.

Read the interviews by following this link:

Scroll down to the "Young People's Literature" section and click on "Interview".

Happy reading!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Things Black Girls Do

While checking Twitter the other day, I noticed that the number 2 trending topic was “things black girls do.” I don't know how to begin to describe the shock and disgust at some of the things people had to say about how they perceived black girls. It was as if every negative stereotype I've ever heard was resurrected and re-tweeted.

My first reaction was to try to counteract the negativity with positive tweets of my own. But let's face it: there's no way that one person could out tweet millions. So I've decided to dedicate this blog post to celebrating something positive that black writers do.

In my endless quest to find encouragement through literature, I recently stumbled upon a book called I'm Every Woman: Remixed Stories of Marriage, Motherhood, and Work byLonnae O'neal Parker. By sharing personal stories and lessons she learned as a mother, a black woman and a writer, Parker's words left me feeling as if she really is every woman and that I could be too. In a society where women often assume many different roles, it can be very overwhelming. Kudos to Parker for using her words to give inspiration.

Which books or stories inspire you?

For more information about Parker and her book:

You can even email her or friend her on Facebook:



Monday, November 8, 2010

Black Literature, Where Art Thou?

After a hiatus, we're back to further the conversation around black literature. To that end, we'd like to introduce our guest blogger: Edithe Norgaisse, a recent college graduate and emerging African American writer who has agreed to lend her voice to our blog on a regular basis. Below is her inaugural post. We welcome your feedback!

I tried reading a novel that is a currently a best seller and realized that I was forcing myself to read it. If a million people think that it is a good book, it just has to be! I thought if I just kept reading it would get better; but it didn't. It wasn't that this book was particularly terrible. The problem was that I could not for the life of me relate to any of the characters. No matter how much of that story I read, there was no way I could never really escape into the novel.

And then it happened. While shopping in Brooklyn I walked past a man selling urban books for a price so reasonable that I couldn't afford not to buy them. Urban books! Feeling like a child in a toy store, I ran to his table.

I became increasingly disappointed after realizing that most of the titles available consisted of either raunchy erotica or a comedian turned “relationship expert”. But the type of stories that dominated the table (and that I was informed sold best) were more or less created equally: a young attractive materialistic woman + a young man who happens to be the top drug dealer during the height of the crack epidemic = a story of true love and dedication. A few stories that I tried skimming were so poorly punctuated that I couldn't help but feel offended by the complete disrespect to the English language.

Where are the stories that represent the average black woman? Where's the real black literature (the good stuff)? Is there really nothing worth writing about other than selling crack or how to keep a man? As a writer who is still crafting her voice, it is imperative that I have the type of literature that I can relate to.

So I'm happy about ringShout's dedication to celebrating black literature. Most of all, I'm especially ecstatic about the book list. Happy reading!