Monthly Archives: January 2013

Why There Is No Great American Novel

As Black History Month approaches, I’d like to ask you to look at literary history and ask, ‘Why is there no great American novel?’ I understand that many readers will scan their shelves and rush to the contrary that there … Continue reading

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Silence Gathers Around A Footnote

There is another writer who, along with Zora Neale Hurston, should have had a meteoric career. For those who may not know Hurston’s fate and later renaissance, the facts go like this: she attended Howard University from 1919 to 1925; … Continue reading

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Not Uncle Tom’s Children

Richard Wright’s novel, Native Son, was the first bestselling novel (and Book-of-the-Month Club selection) by an African-American writer. Native Son sold over 200,000 copies in the month after its publication. I’m generalizing a bit here, but most readers who have … Continue reading

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Knock On Any Door

What was the last book that you read that shocked you and why? What does it mean to be shocked by something we read? I believe that ‘to be shocked’ is to encounter something that disturbs a long-accepted belief or … Continue reading

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Jungle Tales: A New Translation with Illustrations

The love of literature for many us has different origins; for some of us, the adventure might have begun with a parent reading to us, for others it might have been an extraordinary teacher; or that first library card; or … Continue reading

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Looking Backward On the Apocalypse

I’ve always been intrigued that when writers do create future societies they choose to create Dystopias. Fabricating a screwed-up world, I guess, is a lot more interesting: it makes for far more compelling reading than any idealized world since conflict … Continue reading

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The WTF Book

Admit it: inveterate readers are career criminals. Whether they have eluded the thought police or served time, readers are always found packing a concealed book — either some hardback or paperback tucked under the arm, ready for the getaway commute, … Continue reading

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