22 3 / 2012

Dana spends time with her father, James Witherspoon, once a week. Every Wednesday, her mother (and James’ second wife), Gwen, cooks a nice meal and they all sit down for family time. The remaining nights of the week, James has dinner with his other daughter Chaurisse, and his first wife, Laverne.

Yes, you read that right. James has two wives. Gwen and Dana are openly aware of  Chaurisse and Laverne, his first family, the family that gets him 90% of the time. Laverne and Chaurisse, however, live their lives oblivious of James’ second family, choosing to believe that James works late nights every Wednesday.

Gwen and Dana are almost content with being a secret, until Dana notices the privileges bestowed upon Chaurisse for being the only publicly known daughter.

Tayari Jones tells the story of these two families through both Dana and Charisse, making it nearly impossible to choose sides. Should you root for Dana and Gwen, lovechild and mistress respectively, who have the power to ruin a marriage that has lasted nearly 20 years? Sounds ridiculous to want to root for them, but reading of Dana always being second best through no fault of her own, can at times be heart breaking. And then there is Chaurisse, the apple of her father’s eye, protected from the truth but also lonely, her only friends being her mother and the clients in her mother’s salon.

I am a sucker for writers who can expertly tell an authentic, believable story, especially when doing so through young characters. Dana’s childhood and Chaurisse’s teen years were engrossing. Jones’ writing is like an easy, smooth conversation.

I wanted to strangle, hug (particularly Raleigh, James’ best friend/sidekick…he could get it), yell and roll my eyes at some of the characters, which is usually a good indicator that I am deep in to a good story. My book club greatly enjoyed the story and it made for a lengthy discussion, as would most conversations about the whens, whys, hows and effects of cheating. 

I’d recommend this story for those interested in family dynamics, bigamy, infidelity, and good storytelling.

Grade: B

09 3 / 2012

Book plates sent by author @Tayari Jones for BookTini’s March selection, Silver Sparrow. I’m starting it today. Can’t wait.

Book plates sent by author @Tayari Jones for BookTini’s March selection, Silver Sparrow. I’m starting it today. Can’t wait.

18 11 / 2011

Three things happened yesterday

That last bullet point may not be that big of a deal, but it is to me! lol

03 10 / 2011

October marks National Reading Group Month, an initiative by the Women’s National Book Association. Taken from their website, the mission behind the month is to
Increase public awareness of the joy and value of shared reading 
Provide a time for reading groups to celebrate their accomplishments and plan for the future 
Provide opportunities for individuals to join an existing reading group or start a new one 
Encourage libraries, bookstores, and organizations to host special reading group events 
I had no idea there was such a month set aside to celebrate the joys of being part of a book club. I must say, since co-founding BookTini and being thrust in to the world of monthly meetings and girl talk over books, my perspective on such a venture has drastically change. It is definitely a social thing, and has created new friendships, while strengthening old ones, but it’s also forced me to examine group dynamics differently, boosted my leadership skills, and has opened my eyes to a whole new world of books.
This comes as a beautiful surprise since my bookclub was founded in October, and will be turning two years old. We also have our annual retreat this month every year. What a coincidence!
So, *raises glass*, here’s to National Book Club month and those of us who pride ourselves on our book clubs.
Another tidbit for book clubs: make sure you check out Tayari Jones’ release, Silver Sparrow, deemed a GREAT GROUP READ for National Reading Group Month. 

October marks National Reading Group Month, an initiative by the Women’s National Book Association. Taken from their website, the mission behind the month is to

  • Increase public awareness of the joy and value of shared reading
  • Provide a time for reading groups to celebrate their accomplishments and plan for the future
  • Provide opportunities for individuals to join an existing reading group or start a new one
  • Encourage libraries, bookstores, and organizations to host special reading group events

I had no idea there was such a month set aside to celebrate the joys of being part of a book club. I must say, since co-founding BookTini and being thrust in to the world of monthly meetings and girl talk over books, my perspective on such a venture has drastically change. It is definitely a social thing, and has created new friendships, while strengthening old ones, but it’s also forced me to examine group dynamics differently, boosted my leadership skills, and has opened my eyes to a whole new world of books.

This comes as a beautiful surprise since my bookclub was founded in October, and will be turning two years old. We also have our annual retreat this month every year. What a coincidence!

So, *raises glass*, here’s to National Book Club month and those of us who pride ourselves on our book clubs.

Another tidbit for book clubs: make sure you check out Tayari Jones’ release, Silver Sparrow, deemed a GREAT GROUP READ for National Reading Group Month. 

15 6 / 2011

I am quite jealous of this book club. VERY jealous, actually.

15 6 / 2011

tayarijones:

Nicole C. went to one of my book signings and reported back on all of my thoughts about writing and the writing life. (click here!) All the ideas here are basically my own, but I had terrific mentors along with way who help me stay on track.  Just the other day, I scheduled a quick lunch with Pearl Cleage my first mentor.  (You know we had to meet on the SW side of town!) She said, “I had to look you in the face and make sure you are handling all of this.”  She reminded me how blessed and lucky I am to be on such an extensive tour for Silver Sparrow. And of course she had to tease me about how earnest and serious I was as a seventeen-year-old writer-child.  After that shared a great story about how Bebe Moore Campbell came and rescued her when she was on her first big tour.  As we ordered drinks, she prepared me for my Costco signings, “They have you sitting at a table like a drop-in fortune teller…” And then she told me how there is luck involved, but also that I should give myself credit for doing the work.  Then, she told me to rest up.  Drink water.  But also remember that this is an adventure.  I left her feeling refreshed and fortified, blessed and lucky, too.  Not just for the tour or the book, but for the amazing people life has brought me.

Two of my favorite writers… 

tayarijones:

Nicole C. went to one of my book signings and reported back on all of my thoughts about writing and the writing life. (click here!) All the ideas here are basically my own, but I had terrific mentors along with way who help me stay on track.  Just the other day, I scheduled a quick lunch with Pearl Cleage my first mentor.  (You know we had to meet on the SW side of town!) She said, “I had to look you in the face and make sure you are handling all of this.”  She reminded me how blessed and lucky I am to be on such an extensive tour for Silver Sparrow. And of course she had to tease me about how earnest and serious I was as a seventeen-year-old writer-child.  After that shared a great story about how Bebe Moore Campbell came and rescued her when she was on her first big tour.  As we ordered drinks, she prepared me for my Costco signings, “They have you sitting at a table like a drop-in fortune teller…” And then she told me how there is luck involved, but also that I should give myself credit for doing the work.  Then, she told me to rest up.  Drink water.  But also remember that this is an adventure.  I left her feeling refreshed and fortified, blessed and lucky, too.  Not just for the tour or the book, but for the amazing people life has brought me.

Two of my favorite writers… 

24 5 / 2011

Silver Sparrow, released today, tells the story of two daughters of a secret bigamist in Atlanta.  I have been excited for a long time about this book, not just because of the scandalous subject matter (the daughters do not share the same mother, and only one knows about the other), but also because the author, Tayari Jones, wowed me seven years ago with her first release, Leaving Atlanta, a fictional account of the Atlanta child murders of the early 80s. Add to that, she’s very approachable online, blogging great tips on writing, while sharing her own ups and downs, ins and outs in publishing. She is also very interactive with readers through Twitter.

I cannot wait to add this story to my collection. She is currently on an expansive book tour and I’m excited to see that she’ll be in my neck of the woods in San Francisco in a few weeks.

Check here for dates and locations.