The story of Michael Oher’s intellectual development is also the story of his body type. Michael Oher is rare. Huge. A freak of nature. He’s also an anomaly of nurture and it has taken a village to raise him. The Blind Side by Michael Lewis chronicles Oher’s turbulent childhood, his unlikely ascent into professional football Read More

This month we’ll be reading The Blind Side by Michael Lewis. In an excerpt called “The Ballad of Big Mike,” Lewis tells the story of Michael Oher, an impoverished kid from Memphis who through a strange confluence of events ends up in the legal custody of a wealthy white family. At the time of his adoption Read More

During dinner a friend of a friend foolishly told me he didn’t read. My confusion at the notion turned to heartbreak, then I tried to reserve my judgment. He couldn’t have possibly known he was having dinner with a girl who goes to bookstores for fun. Seeing the disappointment on my face, he quickly added Read More

Referred to as a “tragic mulatto tale,” an accurate description, yet one that has never interested me, Quicksand by Nella Larsen is about the most frustrating black female lead I’ve ever read–Helga Crane. She’s a woman whose eccentricities today, I imagine, would be imitated and fawned over. Her described beauty would be put on magazine covers Read More

This month’s pick, All You Can Eat: How Hungry Is America is a recommendation from shani-o who writes: “In the book, Berg touches on the role racism has played in starvation of both whites and blacks in the 60s, notes the varying policies presidential administrations have enacted to fight hunger, and gives an excellent primer on Read More

It has been speculated that Uncle Tom’s Cabin aggravated the cultural conversation about slavery and planted the seeds for the Civil War. Whatever analysis is taken from the novel, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s serialized stories became relevant during a very particular time and place. So, what set the cultural tone for an unknown West African man to Read More

Ricky Rice is a former dope fiend and a surviving member of a suicide cult. And when he gets a mysterious letter to uphold a promise he made long ago, Ricky becomes a member of a secret society of paranormal investigators called the Unlikely Scholars. When the society is threatened, Ricky is teamed up with Read More

It’s the story of pre-colonial Nigeria, groundbreaking because it was originally written in English by a black African writer. The title was taken from a William Butler Yeats poem. It features the story of Okonkwo, a young man struggling to maintain the old customs with the ones brought by white Christian missionaries. Gods and Soldiers, briefly reviewed Read More

After a walk by the Apollo theatre or a visit to the local music or book store, it’s clear that Michael Jackson is going to make people a ton of money posthumously. And as the media stories speculate on how he died, and people start barking for who owns what of his estate, the rights to Read More

Whatever It Takes is the story of Geoffrey Canada, the president and mastermind of  the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) an audacious social experiment that hopes to reduce poverty and raise education achievement  in a 97-block area in Harlem. (Coincidentally,  the program was mentioned today in a post  here.) Paul Tough, the book’s author, reported on one Read More

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