I interviewed bestselling author Zadie Smith live before a sold out crowd at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin on January 12th at 7 p.m. It was an honor to chat with Smith about her writing process and latest product--Swing Time. . . .
In The Firebrand and the First Lady, scholar Patricia Bell-Scott illuminates the unlikely friendship between two historic American women. Radical civil and women’s rights activist Pauli Murray and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt corresponded for years and swayed one another’s social justice aims and strategies. Their views never converged, but Bell-Scott makes a compelling case that they grew with and toward each other. “I started out being interested primarily in doing a biography, but then the . . .
26-year-old Brit Bennett’s sparkling debut novel, The Mothers, came of age over eight years and several drafts. She began penning the tale of youthful indiscretions and betrayals while just a teen. Then she carried it with her through college at Stanford and to MFA and postgraduate fellowship programs at the University of Michigan, where she torched and remade the story repeatedly. The pull of the characters and drama at Upper Room Chapel, a black church in a California beach town, kept her . . .
Hi, it's Maya, and I'm back with another 5-Star Read. I'm so excited to share Patricia Bell-Scott's, The Firebrand and the First Lady," with you. This book is wonderful for so many reasons. In particular, I really loved that it's a portrait of a friendship. The two people in the friendship are these extraordinarily influential historical figures. On one hand we have Eleanor Roosevelt. Then, on the other hand we have Pauli Murray. . . .
Grace Bonney's In the Company of Women offers inspiration and advice from 100 women who are makers, artists, and entrepreneurs. Rather than telling long, drawn out life stories of the women, it really cuts to the heart of their stories by asking some specific questions about what inspires them, what obstacles they've overcome. The candid responses she received are really inspiring to readers, and also the fact that there are so many different women offering these insights into pivotal . . .
Hello, it's Maya, and I'm back with another five-star read. The year's half over, but I still would like to spend today talking about Shonda Rhimes's "The Year of Yes." This is a fantastic book that's not really just about saying yes to everything that comes your way. It's really a book about pushing through discomfort to do some of the things that are really worthwhile for your personal and professional development. The kinds of yeses Shonda is giving are unlike anything most of us are . . .
A powerful new anthology aims to channel the spirit of James Baldwin’s sharp eye and sharper pen, turning them on current events from Trayvon Martin to Sandra Bland. In The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, Jesmyn Ward has collected 18 essays and poems by contemporary authors that bring Baldwin’s tradition to the present day. Ward says she saw glimpses of acuity like Baldwin’s in social media posts but longed to bottle it up. “There were so many writers on Twitter who had . . .
Jim Trelease’s “The Read-Aloud Handbook” is so much more than its title suggests. Sure, it explains what to look for in storytime selections (no dialect, obscenities or weak plots, for starters). But its real strength is a smart and compelling explanation of why parents should read to their children early and often, from infancy onward. Raising a lifelong reader is the single-best investment a parent can make, Trelease insists. Enthusiasm for reading ensures the range of knowledge and . . .
Kaitlyn Greenidge knows that her debut novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, is a disorienting read. She spent eight years grappling with how to render its vexing premise with nuance and substance. Her account of a black family hired by a research institute to raise a chimpanzee as their own is as wild as you would expect and more thought-provoking. “Every couple of days when working on this, up until the end, I doubted whether or not this was a good idea, whether people will understand what I . . .
Journalist Ethan Michaeli had a pressing question when he interviewed for a job with the celebrated black newspaper the Chicago Defender in 1991. “Do white people work here?” he asked. City editor Alberta Leak laughed and assured him that they did—and always had. Michaeli landed the job, embarking on a journalism career and a yearslong education in the history of white and black America. Now Michaeli is sharing what he learned in his new book, The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper . . .