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National Book Lovers Day

National Book Lovers Day. Going to answer some questions I saw on Twitter earlier.

The Fire Next Time.

I always find myself talking about this book. Each time I’m asked what my favorite book is or if someone asks for a book I think they should read, for whatever reason, I always come back to it. Specifically the Letter from a Region of My Mind.

I think it’s one of the best essays ever written, if I may humbly say so. Baldwin not only sketches a broad picture of Black life in the early 1960’s, he places himself and his particular life and pains and joys in this world, creating a more complete and vibrant image of it was like to be Black back then. One that is still relevant today.

But the policemen were doing nothing now. Obviously, this was not because they had become more human but because they were under orders and because they were afraid. And indeed they were, and I was delighted to see it. There they stood, in twos and threes and fours, in their Cub Scout uniforms and with their Cub Scout faces, totally unprepared, as is the way with American he-men, for anything that could not be settled with a club or a fist or a gun. I might have pitied them if I had not found myself in their hands so often and discovered, through ugly experience, what they were like when they held the power and what they were like when you held the power.

My favorite part, and probably my most favorite sections of any book, ever, is when he has dinner at the home of Elijah Muhammad. I was going to talk about why I love it so much, but you have to go read it, if you haven’t. Perhaps, you’ll like it to.

The last book I read cover to cover? Probably a play. I can’t think of one right now, since my books are scattered between here and home. I often read a book, jump to another book, come back, go back and read previous chapters. So I haven’t really read one in a long time. Even on my “Now” page, I’m not reading the books whose titles I post there, cover to cover.

I should read a book cover to cover.

Genre is one of those things that’s more suited for the bookstore than for the bookshelf at home, but I will say Essay. If that’s not acceptable to you, consider it to be Creative Nonfiction, even though that encompasses several genres. Otherwise, put me down for drama. Then poetry.

It’s like recommending a way to prepare chicken, but I’ll give it a try just the same — Reality Hunger by David Shields. Ask me another time of day and I’ll give another title. How about Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones? Book of Days by Lanford Wilson? (I did a scene from that in an acting class. Had a ball).

I think I’ll do some reading tonight. Perhaps Baldwin’s Letter.