One of my frequent blog reads issued a first in a series of book gift ideas geared specifically for Ladies the other day, and honestly all I could think was…do I really need another book to read? Another mound of ‘to read’ books stacked up in two corners of a room collecting dust until the dog days of Summer come around?
Ehhh…I guess I’d rather not answer my own question. Instead here’s my own lil book wish list for the Holiday;-). Tokens of eye bliss that have either been on my radar since their hardcover release last year or just as recently as this past Summer.
The intro to Maya’s latest book reads:
“I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian and Spanish-speaking, Native American and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you”
Initially skipped on a purchase of the hardcover last year, yet secretly gaming myself to snag the new Paperback just released over the past few weeks. The book itself is less than 200 pages, a quick, inspirational read, and a great addition to the Angelou collection of prose. ($15)
Some moons & several publishing years ago, I was an adamant book-whore for anything tackled with the fetching tag of ‘chick-lit.’ I devoured countless paperbacks with titles ending in ‘-aholic’, and gravitated towards any heroine that resembled the life I dreamt and craved for, the ‘it girl,’ working at a fabulous magazine CO. in NYC a la Betty Suarez. It’s a fair enough sin to admit to now that the genre is flopping on it’s belly, and the current job pays all most current bills just fine. It was on my lunch break back in September, while surfing through Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ Feature that I read the first few chapters of a new kind of ‘lit’ that was more fierce than I’d remembered, but most importantly FUN. I instantly cracked up at the ‘friend in my head’ feeling that settled in after reading some of the main character, Sydney’s sarcastic wit in Feminista by Erica Kennedy. Not many intro chapters change my frugal option to wait for the Paperback to drop, but ‘friend in my head’ sarcastic banter is more than welcomed these days.($24.99)
I caught a glimpse of Deborah Willis’ newest work, Posing Beauty with a quick stop into a new local Bookstore in my neighborhood & mentally kicked myself for not being privy to it’s release earlier. Below is an excerpt from Publisher’s Weekly:
Willis (Reflections in Black), a MacArthur fellow and chair of New York University’s photography department, curates a collection of iconic portraits and snapshots by anonymous photographers in a history of beauty that merges gender, race, family, class. Willis’s words, a distillation of her inquiries into beauty and race, are few—the images speak for themselves. The photographs, organized thematically, reach back to the 1890s and forward to the current first family. Famous photographers share perspective with family photographers and those known only as Unidentified Photographer. The recognizably famous—James Baldwin, Marian Anderson, Joe Louis—appear along with those known only as Mom and Friend, Two women holding magazine, ca. 1950s or Barber cutting man’s hair outdoors, ca. 1930s. Willis’s content is groundbreaking; rarely, for example, are men this adequately represented in a work devoted to beauty within black culture. For Willis, this extraordinary compilation is the culmination of my exploration of beauty within black culture and through the medium of photography. For readers, this is a dazzling eye-opener.
This one’s just for fun but could easily make an amazing coffee table/conversation starter. Who Shot Rock & Roll really just exudes a creative force of energy capturing the essence of those behind the lens as opposed to the characters posing in front. As a collective, the images of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner plus many more is enough to force me into marking this as an early investment.
The exhibition is in six sections: rare and revealing images taken behind the scenes; tender snapshots of young musicians at the beginnings of their careers; exhilarating photographs of live performances that display the energy, passion, style, and sex appeal of the band on stage; powerful images of the crowds and fans that are often evocative of historic paintings; portraits revealing the soul and creativity, rather than the surface and celebrity, of the musicians; and conceptual images and album covers highlighting the collaborative efforts between the image makers and the musicians. ($40)
This one’s for keeps. Thank God I’m Natural is a companion to those thinking of going natural, many who are already in the pits of being natural, or even those who were a little underwhelmed by Chris Rock’s attempt at delving into Good Hair ( I KNOW! My review is lost in the winds…somewhere.)
The holidays are right around the corner and Thank God I’m Natural would make the perfect Xmas gift for that special woman in your life. Surprise mom, your daughter, or your best friend with an autographed copy of the book with a personalized inscription that reads “Dear XXX, Always stay natural. You’re beautiful just the way you are.” As black women, it is not often that we’re told we’re beautiful as we are, which is why this is such a unique present. The book is available online by http://thankgodimnatural.wordpress.com/store and Thank God I’m Natural is offering free shipping on all purchases from now until Christmas, excluding international orders.