Thursday, September 18, 2008

I've Been Called Out

I’ve Been Called Out

It isn’t the first time I’ve been told to get off my duff in regards to writing. This time Yasmin Coleman of told me I need to blog every week. Not something I didn’t already know. I have a million and one excuses but none are good enough. Nothing like someone pointing the finger at you to make one ashamed. It’s not like I don’t have anything to say or write about.

Wednesday night my local book group, Marcus Book Club, discussed one of my and our favorite authors, Diane McKinney Whetstone’s latest release, Trading Dreams at Midnight. Diane McKinney Whetstone is a master storyteller and does an excellent job of placing her readers in the landscape of Philadelphia; a definite sense of place. Her stories give us a view of black people navigating the complexities of urban living in the “City of Brotherly Love” against a backdrop of the social and economic issues of the United States. The city is actually a character in itself. Whetstone has written a complex story that entails an often convoluted storyline involving relationships on different levels, mother/daughter conflict, mental health issues and alcoholism. Our book club has reviewed every book Whetstone has published but this was our least favorite. It was received favorably for the most part. Individual ratings ranged from C- to A with an average of B minus I was the facilitator and I jotted down some of the comments.

It kept my attention
It didn’t keep my attention.
It read quickly.
It was a slow read. I just wanted to get finished.
It wasn’t my favorite but it was well-written.
It was missing something.
The characters were well developed.
Some of the characters weren’t developed enough.
This book was about the complexities of life.
It taught me to have compassion.
I like the way she revealed things little by little.

As you can see we have varied opinions as it should be. My online book club discussed this book about a month ago and we pretty much were in agreement with Marcus Book Club--- mixed reviews. What we all agree is that Whetstone is one of the best and that she can write circles around the many writers who churn out garbage and expect us, the reading public to lap it up. I see there are mixed reviews over at

Now that wasn’t so hard. So yes mam, I need to be blogging every week. A couple of weeks ago I started a folder of topics I want to sound off, tell it like it is. They include:

Stevie Wonder Summer Concert
Black Republicans
The Face of Romance
Cuba Travel Stories
Until the next time. Peace out.

September 18, 2008


Yasmin said...

It wasn't so bad...and you're an EXCELLENT writer...stop hiding your talents...and since you already have several posts for the future...I expect to see one every week...same place, same time...hehe.
Oh and the end of the day I realize it was the characters who just took away from the storyline for me...I understand folks have mental illnesses and I actually empathize with there plight...but there were so many characters in this book with issues...and loose threads that it was hard for me to connect with while I initially started out really enjoying the story...but the end I was a little disappointed...albeit it was still a good read for me...I just wish that there was a way to connect with Whetstone (and I've tried) to get more information on this book.

Chel the Librarian said...

HI Dera...I enjoyed your post. Don't feel bad, I've been less than diligent with my blog. Some weeks are just better than others. :)

Beverly said...

Hi Dera -

I very nice post and a nice blog. I so enjoy your comments and look forward to your upcoming posts - very interesting tops.

As for TDAM we are all still supporting the author and will run out and read her next book.

Take care

Angelia... said...

Very Nice!! I will follow your blog so get busy ...smiles


suga said...

I agree with Mama Yas, as I like to call her. Blog more, please!!

I LOVE DIANNE MCKINNEY WHETSTONE. I haven't read her latest, but I did put it on the display at B&N for our "Staff Recommendation" shelf, just because I love her so much.

I'll definitely have to check it out ASAP.

Marcus Bookclub, huh? I have an online bookclub, but I've been looking for one offline. Are they accepting any new readers?

suga said...

Oh and I definitely want to hear about the Stevie Wonder concert. I didnt see him this time, but I did seem him last year when he came to concord in August. Fantastic show!

Yasmin said...

Hey Suga...aka LLD...hehe. ;)

Michelle...don't make me call you out also.

JC Martin said...

Dang Dera. I feel for you, but post once a week. And then you will get into it a little more.

Book Manaic said...

I learn sooo much from you, Yamin and all the ladies from APOOO.This was great. Thanks for educating me.

MilesPerHour said...

Dera, you really must write more often! lol Check out my blog to see who I might be.