Our African-American Reads #ourafricanamericanreads

Thank you to publishers, Penguin Classics and Harper Perennial for providing books in support of this reading initiative.

As a lover of the classics, there are books by or about African-American people, I’ve read and enjoyed, but still there are many I haven’t. Pictured below is one I’m currently reading and the other 2, I’m planning to MAKE time for them this year. I’m excited by the possibilities of what’s waiting to be discovered in this stack and on my bookshelves.

After reading and discussing Roots by Alex Haley with fellow blogger Melanie @ Grab the Lapels, we decided we would like to read and discuss more books together. But sharing the experience with other makes reading even more meaningful. So this post is to announce a new feature called Our African-American Reads. Feel free to use the hashtag on your social media platforms, #ourafricanamericanreads.

You can join us for a (1) potential buddy read or readalong; maybe we tackle a lengthy African-American book. (2) We select and read a book that’s already on our shelf by or about an African-American and discuss the books based on a set of questions relevant to both books. (3) Simply use the hashtag and share the books you’re reading by or about African-American people.

This month we are inviting you to join us for for option 2. You can read either one of the books and then join our discussion when posted. See the section below for the books we’ve selected and the questions we will discuss.

This will be a bi-monthly feature so we can still manage our never ending lists and stacks of books to be read. Would you like to join us for our first discussion? This idea was a culmination of many thoughts and discussions, all of which motivated me to do something I’ve been thinking about, so now, it’s time to make it happen.


The Books

The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman (Shell’s Book)

Synopsis: Emma Lou Morgan is a young black woman who experiences prejudice within her own race because people think she’s too dark.

Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin (Melanie’s Book)

Synopsis: Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935.


The Questions

  • What does your book say about the African-American experience during the time period in which it’s set?
  • What differences and similarities do you notice in your book about the African-American experience today?
  • Compare the treatment of African-American men and women in your book.
  • What is the role of white characters in your novel?
  • How did your book affect you emotionally?
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