A week ago I was having coffee with my friend Claudia when we saw this big black thing go flying by outside the window. When I realized that it was a car, and that the car had rolled several times, I froze for a second. How does a car roll on a four-lane city street with a 30 mph speed limit? Then I remembered that I’ve had CPR half a dozen times and ran outside. Turns out, there wasn’t much I could do but keep the other people who ran up calm. The man inside the car was dead; he’d had a heart attack while driving, and his car careened into the other lanes, hitting four others. Everyone else was fine.
But death does something funny to a person, like make them think limits and reason aren’t always necessary. Not on such a day. I ended up going to a used bookstore with my husband and spending over $70 on books I’m sure I don’t need but wanted to hold.
- Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair (fiction)
- “…Stevie is a bookworm, yet she longs to fit in with the cool crowd. Fighting her mother every step of the way, she begins to experiment with talkin’ trash, ‘kicking butt,’ and boys. With the assassination of Dr. King she gains a new political awareness”
- The Black Muslims in America by C. Eric Lincoln (dissertation)
- Lincoln’s dissertation about Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam, published while Malcolm X was alive.
- Chick-Lit: Postfeminist Fiction eds Cris Mazza and Jeffrey DeShell (critical essays)
- Mazza was the one who coined the term “chick lit,” though it’s since been twisted to mean light fluffy reads for women.
- In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (fiction)
- Ware compared her book to the 1996 movie Scream on NPR, stating if only people closed their blinds, the terror would stop!
- Death at an Early Age by Jonathan Kozol (social sciences/memoir)
- Kozol is a famous writer and activist who works for equal education for minority children, this time Black children in Boston.
- The Street by Ann Petry (fiction)
- A single mother raises her son in 1940s Harlem
- Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters collected/ed by Carla Kaplan (letters/memoir)
- Zora in her own words!! Her autobiography was famously squiffy in an effort to keep her patrons happy. What will be in these letters??
- The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts (fiction)
- A man opens a care alongside a busy highway but loses customers when the highway traffic dries up. A Crow woman enters the picture and everything changes.
- Banjo by Claude McKay (fiction)
- Slavery doesn’t have anything to do with music, argues Lincoln Agrippa Daily, AKA “Banjo.”
- Dog People by Cris Mazza (fiction)
- Six people lose their ability to speak to humans, so they find solace in dogs.
- Ugly Town by Debra Di Blasi (hybrid fiction)
- A novel written somewhat like a process to make a movie: script, ads, character treatments, edits, etc.
I’m not sure when I’ll read these books, but having them comforted me and gave me something else to think about for a while that Friday afternoon . . .
Do any of these books strike you as interesting? How often do you shop for used books in stores?