RaveThe Nashville Scene\"Taylor...once again demonstrates his aptitude for vernacular. In this novel, he crafts with language related to several disparate fields ... In The Late Americans, Taylor again proves himself to be a master of microcosm. He manages to pull together Black, biracial, white, white-passing, queer, straight and questioning, the monied and the impoverished. What emerges is a work that is driven by diverse philosophies but held together by people.\
RaveChapter 16Fofana, a public school teacher in New York City, acts as both storyteller and anthropologist, brilliantly capturing the scrapes, scents and spirit of this gentrifying neighborhood ... \'The Young Entrepreneurs of Miss Bristol’s Front Porch\' exemplifies Fofana’s adeptness at capturing the cadence and syntactical uniqueness of Black Harlem ... Fofana skillfully employs phonetic spelling ... Stories From the Tenants Downstairs aches with powerlessness against tides of gentrification and poverty. At the same time, its boisterous cast of characters seems to embody a new power — the power in telling one’s own story.
RaveChapter 16In an age when many find justice elusive, some have resorted to the courtroom of fiction. The Trees by Percival Everett is a prime example of this literary justice, examining an American history of lynching, racism, and police brutality ... Everett’s use of alliteration in naming his characters strikes a humorous chord in an otherwise grim subject ... While avoiding dogma or didacticism, the novel bridges the intellectual gap between the lynchings of old and today’s racist killings ... The novel contains a whopping 108 chapters, but it is no way stuffy or slow. Everett masterfully moves the action forward with dialogue, only interrupting speech with necessary scene descriptions. The chapters are short and function as mini-episodes in a larger narrative ... will speak volumes to those who have had to get creative about the justice they wish to manifest in the world. It a novel for those who seek to reach across silos of oppression and to acknowledge racism, lynching, and police violence, at last, as an American problem.
RaveThe Nashville SceneAuthor Michelle Duster, who is Wells’ great-granddaughter, moves beyond traditional biography, weaving Wells’ history with her own memoir. She writes flavorful vignettes of middle-class Black life in Chicago and the milieu that pushed her toward her ancestor’s legacy. She also highlights the way her own existential crisis (not being married by her mid-30s) led her to a deeper kinship with her great-grandmother. The result is an intimate though not sentimental experience of Wells’ story ... Duster considers Wells an early intersectional thinker, pointing out that she was vocal about the importance of Black women’s involvement in suffrage; white women could not be expected to carry the concerns of all women forward, as tensions around race and class frequently hindered suffrage campaigns ... The writing in Ida B. the Queen is straightforward and accessible, aimed at a wide audience. Each chapter features a few information banners, which serve to prime the reader on a particular theme. They also offer further insight into the sociological and political climate of Wells’ time and how it differs from our own.
Michael Eric Dyson
PositiveChapter16Dyson interweaves the history of American slavery, highlighting the manner in which the vestiges of this institution continue to oppress African Americans economically and to subjugate their bodies. But this recounting does not go without the joy note—Dyson also tells of Black resistance to slavery and Jim Crow through rebellion, protest and the court system ... Dyson...writes with sermonic elan, but Long Time Coming avoids religious dogma. The knowledge of America’s original sin remains before the reader from prelude to postlude, but not without the awareness that Dyson is laboring toward the necessary reform. Beyond this, the language is accessible to a wide audience and offers a healthy launch pad for newcomers to the world of social justice. Pithy epitaphs from literary and historical figures head each of the seven chapters and serve to prime the reader for the eloquence to come.
RaveNashville SceneFrampton’s renowned gift for songwriting translates to storytelling, and his vivid, conversational style lends this memoir the intimacy of a coffee shop chat ... Do You Feel Like I Do? continues in this fashion, juxtaposing the larger political and social backdrop with Frampton’s multisensory vignettes. The resulting effect is a memoir that is not divorced from time and place, reminding the reader that music is not created in a vacuum ... Guitar enthusiasts, sound engineers and others who are interested in the technical side of music will appreciate the passages that contain specialized language ... The book is not without its share of tea-spilling. Having enjoyed intimate relationships with countless musical legends, Frampton offers piquant tales of untoward behavior, substance use and more about well-known figures ... a book for all artists...[who will] appreciate the thoroughness, honesty and humor with which Frampton recounts his journey.
RaveNashville SceneThese essays, all well-written, take a great variety of tones and approaches ... From the entire collection, we experience the South not as mere backdrop but as a determinate character, although it sometimes shifts in appearance ... A Measure of Belonging is a critical work, particularly during our country’s current great migration southward ... This book, with its roster of brilliant writers, explores the multifaceted and often porous Southern identity in contemporary times. For many people of color, the South is home, happiness and hurt.