My project for next year is to read twelve US/Canadian Black and First Nations fiction or memoir, with a review in the last week of each month. I’m starting planning now because a) it’s on my mind; and b) I need time to assemble a list of books which I can access and which I will need to be mostly audiobooks. This is your cue to start making suggestions.
Towards the end of this year I will publish the finalized list for anyone who might feel like joining in. In the meanwhile I might keep updating this post with your (and my) suggestions.
Off the top of my head, I think I would like to read another Toni Morrison (after Beloved), maybe another Zora Neale Thurston (after Jonah’s Gourd Vine) and if I can access it, the autobiography of Malcolm X, highly recommended by Melanie/GTL. Then there’s Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin which I failed to read during my matriculation year. I may even still have a copy. That would no doubt please Emma/Book Around the Corner who has written some terrific Baldwin reviews (here).
Canadians Naomi/Consumed by Ink and BIP/BIP have written and recommended too many Canadian First Nations writers to list (ie. I have failed to note them) but, for example, see Naomi’s two most recent posts (here and here).
I did follow up BIP’s review of Butter Honey Pig Bread by Nigerian Canadian Francesca Ekwuyasi – which inter alia contains some interesting stuff about Black history in Canada – and a review is in the works. May even be my next post if I can get away with not working this weekend. And then there’s her recent post on Black slavery in the Americas (here).
I look at my shelves. I think I may deal with Octavia Butler separately (see Parable of the Talents, Parable of the Sower). I have Kindred waiting which I will get to ‘soon’ like the many other, though mostly Australian, new books I have purchased and am yet to read. In the more formal shelves of my lounge room I see quite a few boys own type books of my own, my father’s and my grandfathers’ – ES Ellis’s Lost Among the Redskins for instance – for the reading of which this project may gave me some context. This is important to me, although to no one else probably, as the noble frontiersman of the US and Canada was the precursor of Australia’s ‘Lone Hand’ bushman (How many years is it now? and I still haven’t reviewed Russell Ward’s The Australian Legend).
It occurred to me at this point in this post that I had read many years ago the memoir of a Black New York science fiction writer, a guy, a gay, not Butler. It was someone well known to me (as an author) and whom I normally did not think of as Black. Searches… Turns out it was Samuel R Delaney of Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand fame, and the memoir was The Motion of Light in Water (1988) which name I do not remember at all, and which I must have read quite soon after publication, not realising because it deals with events a couple of decades earlier – including meeting a young Bob Dylan.
Ok, the next little bit is up to you
Reminder: Lisa/ANZLL’s Indigenous Lit. Week, 4-11 July 2021. Her Indigenous Lit. Reading List includes a section for Canada and the Americas (here).
Suggestions for Project 2022
|Sherman Alexie||The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian||2007||US||TPe|
|Andre Alexis||Fifteen Dogs (2 of 5)||2015||Can||CBI|
|Maya Angelou||I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings||1969||US||Liz|
|James Baldwin||Go Tell it on the Mountain||1953||US|
|If Beale Street Could Talk||1974||US||GTL|
|Joseph Boyden||The Orenda||2013||Can||RM|
|Samuel R Delaney||Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand||1984||US|
|The Motion of Light in Water||1988||US|
|Cherie Dimaline||Red Rooms||2011||US||CBI|
|Esi Edugyan||Half-Blood Blues||2011||Can||CBI|
|Louise Erdrich||The Bingo Palace (4 of 8)||1994||US||WG|
|The Plague of Doves (1 of 3)||2008||US|
|La Rose (3 of 3)||2016||US||BB|
|The Night Watchman||2020||US||TPe|
|Mini Aodla Freeman||Life Among the Qallunaat||1978||Can||BIP|
|Lawrence Hill||The Book of Negroes||2007||Can||CBI|
|Thomas King||The Inconvenient Indian||2012||Can||CBI|
|Audre Lorde||Zami: A New Spelling of my Name||1982||US||WG|
|Terese Marie Mailhot||Heart Berries||2018||Can||KW|
|N Scott Momaday||House Made of Dawn||1968||US||BB|
|Eden Robinson||Son of a Trickster (1of 3)||2017||Can||RM|
|Tanya Talga||Seven Fallen Feathers||2017||Can||BIP|
|Zora Neale Thurston||Their Eyes Were Watching God||1937||US||TPi|
|Richard Wagamese||Indian Horse||2012||Can||CBI|
|Alice Walker||The Color Purple||1982||US||GTL|
|Elissa Washuta||White Magic||2021||US||BIP|
|Jacqueline Woodson||If You come Softly||1998||US||LL|
|Richard Wright||Native Son||1940||US||TPe|
|Malcolm X (and Alex Haley)||Autobiography of Malcolm X||1965||US||GTL|