Monday, October 24, 2005
Mixed-bag of reading
This is the stack of books I have sitting next to my bed. I’d like to read these by the end of the year. But that won’t happen. Oh well, literarilly speaking, I have much to look forward to.
Fast Talk on a Slow Track by Rita Williams-Garcia. I started reading this book this past spring, and just couldn't get into it for some reason. I tried picking it up several times, but it just didn't hold my interest. I didn't understand why this Ivy League bound college kid insisted upon selling candy door-to-door and hanging out with characters like Shawanda, Carmellow and Bad. I don't know, I think the problem might just be me. I'm grown, and I enjoy reading about grown people. But I want to write for young adults, so I'm trying to study the genre. After seeing the author's name mentioned over at Cynsations, I’m going to give this book another try.
When Kambia Elaine Flew in from Neptune by Lori Aurelia Williams. I am currently reading this book and am thoroughly enjoying it. I am fascinated by the creative imagination of Kambia Elaine, and I love Lori’s way with words. After reading Rats Saw God, which I did like, but couldn't identify with (culturally, I think), I felt right at home with Kambia Elaine. The first sentence in the book read: "Momma and Tia got into a fight this morning." Yep, I knew this was gonna be my kinda book.
Rite of Passage by Richard Wright. I love anything written by this author. I actually read this book many years ago, but that was before I had an interest in writing. I am slow reader. But I read this book in just a few sittings. Not because it's dumbed down, it's not. But because the characters are interesting, the plot grabbed me and wouldn't let go. The main character is a run-away black kid who ends up living in a nightmare on the streets of New York city circa 1940s. This wasn't Wright's best work, but you really can't go wrong with Richard Wright.
Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas. I don't know why this book is in my stack of books to read. I read it already. I mostly liked it. I plan to read more by Rob Thomas.
Red Polka Dot in a World Full of Plaid by Varian Johnson. This is a signed copy mailed to me by the author! I am looking forward to studying this authors work and learning from him. The book has an interesting twist which I couldn’t wait to find out, so I cheated, digging through it until I found what I was looking for. Now I'm looking forward to reading the book in its entirety.
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. This author is going to be here later this month at the Texas Book Festival and I'm still trying to figure out how I can corner him and pick his brain about writing for African American teens. Not that his books are written for African Americans only, but...well, you know what I'm trying to say.
Reallionaire by Farrah Gray. I love rags to riches stories especially when the subject of the story looks like me. Farrah Gray was born in the ghettos of Chicago, but was a self-made millionaire by the age of 14. He did it not from playing basketball or singing rap music, but from his business endeavors, a positive attitude and his pursuit of education.
Tofu and T. Rex by Greg Leitich Smith. My copy of this book is signed by the author who, not only is a nice guy and an extremely smart lawyer, but can cook one helluva multi-course dinner and serve it up finer than any swank downtown Austin restaurant.
"So I'm talkin' to this guy..." by Rob Borsellino. I don't know much about this book. My mom purchased it for me because I used to work with the author at the Des Moines Register. Rob, who writes a column for the paper, has a very street-smart style of humor and his writing has a conversational quality that I've always enjoyed reading. The book reads almost like a blog, with short dated vignettes written in his smart-alec voice.