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 . . .
Hi, I'm Maya, and I'd love to tell you about the I, Too, Arts Collective. This is a new non-profit initiative being launched by author Renée Watson to preserve and build on the legacy of poet, Langston Hughes. I was so excited when I heard that Renée was doing this, because, like so many people, I have enjoyed the poetry of Langston Hughes since I was a little, little kid. In fact, I still have my very first book of poetry, which is called My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry, which . . .
I’m a sucker for debut novelists, so if I could break away from my desk midday, I would hustle over to Holy Grounds Coffee, located inside St. David’s Episcopal Church, to hear from Mary Helen Specht, author of Migratory Animals. The moving, if melancholy, story grapples with notions of home, family and belonging. See event details here. Christina Soontornvat, author of The Changelings (Sept. 10 at 3 pm at BookPeople Local author Christina Soontornvat is a generous . . .
I read picture books to my daughter for nearly five years before I gained a deep appreciation for the form. Sure, I read them daily and with enthusiasm (mostly). But I read them the same way I would read a chapter book or an illustrated dictionary. That is, I read them as if the pictures were servant to the text, secondary and utilitarian. If I referenced a picture at all, it was to capture Zora’s attention with quick questions like: What color is her shirt? or How many ducks do you . . .
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 . . .
A recent visit to Chicago for BookExpo America transported me back to 2005, when I visited the offices of historic black newspaper The Chicago Defender. At the time, I was a grad student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, visiting to interview then-editor Roland Martin about his plans for reviving the paper at its 100th anniversary. Martin peered over a sleek silver laptop, surrounded by books and papers, and opined in an authoritative staccato about newspaper . . .