Friday, January 2, 2009

First Quarter 2009 Reading Challenge

It’s a new year and with that comes new books. I belong to several literary groups, newsletters, and book clubs and such I am able to keep up with the latest releases. There are a number of promising books I want to read in 2009. APOOO, my online book club, is starting the New Year with a book challenge, The First Quarter 2009 Reading Challenge. The deal is to read thirteen (13) books from January 1 through March 31, 20008. That is not actually a challenge for me because I generally read 100 books or close to it yearly. Thirteen books average out to be a little over four books a month. A piece of cake. Most of the members can easily read 13 books in three months but there are a few members, who for various reasons, read slower. They have decided to take the challenge and by actually publicly making a commitment and posting the books they plan to read, it gives them the incentive to do so.

My list includes a number of 2009 releases and they include fiction and nonfiction, including several memoirs. In truth, though I plan to purchase and read them, more than likely they will not all be done by March 31 (BTW that is my birthday) even if they are released during that time.

Books I am planning to read are:

Something Like Beautiful by asha bandele. I have enjoyed everything this Sister has written. Daughter is one of my favorite novels. Something Like Beautiful is a follow-up to The Prisoner’s Wife, both memoirs.

The Washingtons of Wessynton Plantation: Stories of My Family’s Journey to Freedom by John F. Baker. Baker traces his family history going back to George Washington’s plantation. As a genealogist, I love family history and this promises to be as exciting as Annette Gordon-Reed’s The Hemingses of Monticello, which is already in my possession and on my list.

The Black Girl Next Door: A Memoir by Jennifer Braszile. A coming-of-age story by a sister who grew up in Southern California’s white suburbia.

The Ties That Bind: A Memoir of Race, Memory and Redemption by Bertice Berry. Again, more family history by an author whose fiction I have enjoyed. The fact that Berry is from Savannah, Georgia makes this more an anticipation as it is one of my favorite cities.

Bring on the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins. What can I say? Beverly is the queen of Black historical romance and in this story she brings some of her historical characters ancestors in a modern setting. I can’t wait.

Triangular Road: A Memoir by Paule Marshall. I have long admired this veteran writers since I read Brown Girls, Brown Stones at least 25 years ago. The daughter of West Indian born parents, this promises to be both historical and cultural.

God Only Knows by Xavier Knight. After reading the review by one of my sister APOOO reviewers, I knew I wanted to read it. This Christian-themed mystery sounds like a winner.

That Devil’s No Friend of Mine by J.D. Mason. One of my favorite contemporary literary authors, I love her writing style and her take on familial relationships.

Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead. I have been scurred to read this author. This coming-of-age story set in an African American enclave sounds more palatable then his past offerings.

Life is Short but Wide by J. California Cooper. This sounds like vintage Cooper.

Best African American Fiction: 2009 edited by E. Lynn Harris. I am salivating at the thought of so many great literary authors in one volume. Helen Lee, Mat Johnson, and Chimamanda Ngozi, Adichie are just a few of the writers.

Best African American Essays: 2009 edited by Debra Dickerson. Contributors are Walter Mosley, Jamaica Kincaid, Malcolm Gladwell and James McBride. Rut rah!

These are just a few. Others are carryovers from 2008; the aforementioned The Hemingses of Monticello, A Mercy, The Island of Eternal Love, Palace Council, and Black and White.
Still others are The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Rampart Street, In the Laps of God, The Audacity of Hope (yeah President Obama), The Red Tent, and my current read, Red Light, Green Light.

To check out what folks will be reading in the First Quarter 2009 Reading Challenge and to post your books, go to

Happy Reading!


Yasmin said...

Hey Dera looks like we will be reading many of the same books; looking forward to discussing them with you.
Happy Reading!

JC Martin said...

Hey Dera you gave me some more ideas of books I want to definitely buy this year. I hope to be read them all, but no promises to that because I also have to read textbooks.

I still need to get my list together. Sigh the challenges of making up my mind to participate in a challenge. LOL I make things too difficult.

Linda Chavis said...

Great selections

Dera Williams said...

Yasmin, at first I didn't think there was much of a selection ofm AA booksd but there seems to be enough to keep me interested.

Jennifer, you have your plate full with school so you will have to pick and choose wisely. No more special books. :-)

Linda, I'm really hyped about The Soloist that you recommended.

Yasmin said...

Dera we still have choices for AfAm books but not nearly as many new releases as we did last year this time. Which I'm fine with because it just means I get to catch up with what's in my TRP...hehe.

suga said...

I'm VERY excited about asha's new book. I didnt know about it until now. My online book club read "A Prisoners Wife" early last year (it was my 2nd time reading it though) and I always wondered what happened..what was the rest of the story. Can't wait to snatch this up!

My book list is extensive, but I'm reading "A Mercy" and "The Shack" right now. 4 books a month? I used to be that dedicated. I need to get back on it.

Oh and tell me how you end up liking "The Brief Wondrous Life..." and "The Palace Council"

Dera Williams said...

Hey Sug,
Yes, Bandele answers all our questions with the new one. I am reading Oscar Wao with Marcus Book Club. I don't know when I will get to Palace Council. That is a BAB, big azz book.