Saturday, March 21, 2015

An Open Letter to Oprah Regarding Ruby


Dear Oprah,

How are you? Hope everything is well.  How are Stedman and the dogs? And the rest of your family?  And I see Gail on TV, and it looks like she is doing well.

I am here to write to you about your latest book club selection, Ruby.  I have read several of your selections, even when you still have your daily talk show, and found many of them to be good books.  And I will be forever grateful that you featured Edwidge Danticat and the awesomeness that is Pearl Cleage.

So when you named Ruby as your latest book club selection, I was surprised that you picked it.  When Ruby was released last spring, I started reading it.  And I admit that I wasn't impressed and got confused at the part when the main characters visited the voodoo woman.  About 60 pages in, I decided to put it back on my TBR list.  Which it remained until you named it as your book club selection.  So last month, I decided to give the book another chance.

I am glad that I gave this book another chance!  I started from the beginning, got pass the part I was stuck on and read the whole thing in a few days.  Ruby went through a lot in her 40+ years and since she was a prostitute, no one in Liberty, TX wanted to give her the time of day. Except Ephram.  He might have been a little slow physically and emotionally stunted due to the cards that was dealt with him in life, but EPHRAM WAS THE MAN.  To pull Ruby up from her despair and turned her life around...NOW THAT'S LOVE.

I can see why you liked this book so much.  It has a lot of elements that both of us have seen in two of your favorite authors, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker.  This book dealt with spirits and the Devil (known as Dybou), child abuse and prostitution, sexual abuse, low self-esteem, how religion can be used for good and bad, the complexities of race, sexuality and redemptive love.  Cynthia Bond isn't Toni or Alice, but she still writes a compelling novel.

I look forward to upcoming discussions about the book on Oprah.com and tomorrow on Super Soul Sunday on OWN.  I also look forward to the sequels to the book and see how Ruby and Ephram develop.  I am happy that you have selected this book and gave another African-American female author a chance.

Best,
Maya

P.S. Since it looks like you will be picking books at least once a year, I think Silver Sparrow will be a great selection for 2016. Or Saint Monkey. Or The Turner House. Or God Help The Child (which you've probably already read by now).

Photo credit: CTV

Friday, March 20, 2015

Book News You Can Use 3/20/15



I found out earlier this week that Toni Morrison was coming to DC the end of April.  The more I thought about it, the more I felt that I could pull the trip off.  I could take off from my full-time job and my part-time job would be closing early that week (finals would be over by then).  I had looked at flights and hotel rooms.  I have even started to ask friends to come along.  All to find out yesterday that the event sold out.  The other two dates of her tour are in Philly and in NYC (which is sold out, but has a waiting list).  My friend Valinda is going to check to see if we can still get in to the DC event since she knows the owner of the bookstore who is hosting. Pray for a miracle.


Saturday, I got a chance to meet motivational speaker Valerie Burton at this year's Charleston Black Expo.  Her speech was great and she was very nice.

Congratulations to all of the Pen Literary Award nominees!

I know this is comparing apples to oranges. But the LA Times Festival of Books looks awesome.  The South Carolina Book Festival...sigh.

And no one told me about Storyweek in Chicago. And that the Virginia Festival of the Book is this weekend.

A new biography on Michelle Obama is coming out in a few weeks. I hope it's better than the one that came out before President Obama was elected.

Tina Campbell of Mary Mary is writing a book. No word if it has tips on how to shoot up your husband's car.

Larry Platt, co-writer of Stuart Scott's memoir, hoped that Stuart would have lived to see the book published.

We know that the story of Robert Durst is hot in the streets.  But did you know Susan Berman (one of his alleged victims) was an author?  I also recently found out that Morris Black (the eccentric Texas victim) once lived in Charleston.

What if Harper Lee had finished that true crime project she was working on?

Here are some interviews of Mat Johnson, Zane and Nikki Giovanni.

Read this insightful essay on African-American children's authors and self-publishing.

Just finished Girl on the Train (like I did)? Here are some recommendations.

The trailer for Paper Towns was released this week.

A Guantanamo detainee has a New York Times best-seller, but can't even get a copy of his own book.

This essay about E. Lynn Harris is everything.

Photocopying in the library: cool. Photocopying a cat in the library: not cool.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Book News You Can Use 3/13/15


As some of you know, my job allows me to travel all over the great state of South Carolina, exhibiting for the website I work on.  And this week, I found myself exhibiting at the South Carolina Association of School Librarians Annual Conference.  And they had authors...and book signings! So I got a chance to meet Sharon Flake at the conference yesterday. It was great to have something different to do during the humdrum that is exhibiting.

Relax in Paradise Terry Pratchett.

Congratulations to all of the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Awards!

Also congrats to the nominees of the Baileys Women's Prize, Pen Faulkner Awards and Triangle Awards!

Speaking of school libraries, James Patterson is donating over $1 million to them!

And this comes at a good time after a report that not all school libraries are equal.

A no-no at the library: making a sex tape.

People were so concerned about Harper Lee that the state of Alabama was looking in a possible elder abuse case.

A new study shows that self-publishing is letting women break into the publishing industry.

Have you seen this app that takes out curse words and other bad language in e-books?

I forgot to put this in last week's post, but Buzz Feed did an awesome job with this list!

Shannon with Reading Has Purpose interviews Zimbabwean author Tendai Huchu.

The struggle of being a book nerd IS REAL.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mailbox Monday 3/9/15


More books came in the mail, so it's time for another edition of Mailbox Monday!

I won Power Forward from Goodreads through Simon and Schuster.  Reggie Love talks about his experiences about being the President's right hand man.

Harper Books sent me Diamond Head.  I requested some other ARCs, but they ran out! So they sent me this book in their place.

Do you see anything you are interested in? Hit me up in the comments section!  Thanks to the publishers for the books!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Book News You Can Use 3/6/15



My Friday Reads is the hit The Girl on the Train. I finally got it from the library this week after waiting over a month for to get it.  The library has to keep ordering copies because it's so popular and people keep putting it on hold. The hold list was in the 200s when I put it on hold and now there are over 500 holds.  I hope to start it today or tomorrow.  I hope it's worth the wait.

Relax in Paradise Mal Peet.

Congratulations to all of the LA Times Book Prize nominees and the Lambda Literary Award nominees!

The image for Maya Angelou stamp has been revealed.

Hey Ya'll! Paula Deen is on the comeback trail with a new book deal.

In today's "Crazy Politician Gets A Book Deal" post, Sen. Ted Cruz is releasing a book in June.

Semi-retired NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw is releasing a book about his recent bought with cancer.

Fresh off of the end of Parks and Recreation, fellow South Carolinian Aziz Ansari is releasing a book about modern romance (and talks about his Netflix special).

When I heard how Harper Lee dismissed a reporter who wanted to interview her, I though of Oscar the Grouch because this sounded like something he would say.  I hope she's OK.

The Dark Places trailer has been released (even though it's in French).

Lots of news on upcoming movies based on books here, here and here.

Stephen King's classic Misery is coming to Broadway, with Bruce Willis starring.

Two reviews of African-American satire books: The Sellout and Welcome to Braggsville.

Stolen 400-year-old books are being returned to an Italian library.

During World Book Day yesterday, a British kid though it was a good idea to dress at Christian Grey.

Should online book reviews be anonymous?

Independent book stores are on the rise, even with Amazon.

I love this story on how Denene Miller got a young African-American boy to read.

I really like these book-inspired prints, especially the Reading Rainbow/Star Trek: The Next Generation one.

Picture is from the New York Times.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Book News You Can Use 2/27/15



Relax in Paradise Dori Maynard and Benjamin Israel.

A stamp recognizing Maya Angelou  will be released later this year. This is awesome, considering it takes at least five years for someone to get a stamp after their passing (unless you're a president, and then it takes one year).

The hometown of Maurice Sendak is pursing a museum honoring him and his work.

Drew Barrymore is publishing a collection of autobiographical essays.
 
Flyy Girl and its sequels are closer to becoming movies, with the recent naming of a producer.

Fresh off of the success of directing the Oscar-winning movie Boyhood, Richard Linklater is in take to direct the movie adaptation of Where'd You Go, Bernadette.

Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abrahmson inked a book deal worth at least $1 million.

An author provides some tips to other authors on how to deal with Amazon.

Barnes and Noble will separate their college book business from the rest of the company.

We already have a million reasons to hate ISIS, but here's one more: they destroy rare books.

Libraries are helping the homeless find jobs, health services and other social services.

A long-lost Sherlock Holmes book has been found.

Hey BuzzFeed, nice try on this list. But Push doesn't equal to An Untamed State. And How Stella Got Her Grove Back does not equal to Land of Love and Drowning (except for the Caribbean settings).

Black History Month ends tomorrow, but it's never too late to share some children's books about African-American history with the kids.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Books News You Can Use 2/20/15



Relax in Paradise Philip Levine and Anne Moody.

Thoughts and prayers go out to Oliver Stacks, who recently found out he has terminal cancer.

Congratulations to Ta-Nehisi Coates for winning the George Polk Award.

More copies of Night of the Gun are being printed following David Carr's passing.

Five African-American romance writers talk diversity in a USA Today blog.

Laura Ingalls Wilder got a Google Doodle for her birthday!

Family Christian Stores has filed for bankruptcy.

Author Peniel E. Joseph  has come up with a reading list for Black History Month.

Zadie Smith's works have been popping up on the Internet this week with an essay about diary writing and an article about Key and Peele.

Here is a review of a book that was previously featured on Mailbox Monday, In The Eye of the Struggle.

The first new Dr. Seuss book in 25 years will be released in July.

In today's "Why we can't have nice things" post, Amber Rose has a book deal.  I blame Kanye and Supahead for this.

Pharrell is coming out a series of children's books, with the first one being based on the hit song Happy.

The latest Facebook Book Club pick is about the vaccination debate.

The Twitter Fiction Festival is coming up in May!

Also happening in May is the PEN World Voices Festival and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will be co-curating this event, which will be focusing on African literature.

Valentine's Day is over but you can still read these books about love.