As we do every year, my book club met in June for a coed meeting to discuss a books based on a gender related topic. This year, we chose We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity, bell hooks ode to Black men in America.
hooks took us on a journey through American history while explaining the whos, whats, whens, and whys surrounding the lack of direction and responsibility within the Black community. She explains how the introduction of white male patriarchy was extremely damaging to African men brought to America in shackles because they were bombarded by the image of men taking financial care of their families, while being members of a society that would not allow them to due so because of their status as slaves. With the abolition of slavery, came the black codes, KKK, segregation, and other discriminatory practices that prevented Black men from fitting into the American definition of “man”. Left to do little or nothing for their families, many have turned to either lives of crime or laziness, relying on the women in their lives to be responsible for Black households.
Very interesting stuff. Due to my background in Black/African American studies I was aware of much of the information shared, but it was still eye opening to read hooks’ point of view and review her research.
The book was extremely textbook-ish though, so many within the book club complained about it being boring and a lot of people gave up on it. I admit that after the first few chapters, I felt like something was missing. I kind of expected to read of the “cool” of Black men, how and why they are envied, where it originated from and what aesthetically and culturally makes them so cool, but the book seemed to solely rely on explaining why Black men have not been able to be the best they can be; their coolness resulting in them being treated like second class citizens. Nothing is wrong with that kind of subject matter, but the title seems to be a bit misleading.
Regardless, the book discussion resulted in a raucous, sometimes serious, sometimes hilarious discussion between the men and women within our group. Throw in BBQ, other good eats, and Tropical Orgasms (our signature drink) and a great time was had by all.
Three things happened yesterday
- She was awarded a 2012 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts
- Her most recent offering, Silver Sparrow, was named one of the Top Ten Best Books of 2011 by The Library Journal
- Silver Sparrow was voted my book club’s March 2012 selection
That last bullet point may not be that big of a deal, but it is to me! lol
This month, my bookclub is having a coed BBQ where we are encouraged to invite the men in our lives (significant others and friends) to join us in our Drinks & Discussion.
I thought reading Jay-Z’s memoir, Decoded, would reel the men in, but Why Men Love Bitches won the majority of the vote in the book club, and the men seem to be very interested in discussing such a topic. I guess you can never lose with discussing relationships.
I just got my copy from the library (and I’m pretty sure the librarians were judging me lol). Planning on starting it as soon as I finish Interview With a Vampire …hopefully tomorrow.
Over at Booktini, we’re reading More Like Wrestling, by renowned music journalist, Danyel Smith. I’m excited, not only because I suggested the book, but because it’s set in my hometown. Very rarely have I come across books based in Oakland. In my short time reading this novel, Oakland doesn’t seem to just be the setting, but also a living and breathing character, along with Pinch & Paige, the two sisters who fill it’s pages.
I’m falling in love with it already. Brings back so many memories of growing up on 64th & E. 14th.