Review: “On The Come Up” by Angie Thomas

There are many things that are just so right about “On The Come Up”.  It’s subject matter, likeable characters and well-told story are enough to give it high ratings.  I for one gave it just that: a HIGH FIVE for book dopeness.  But that’s not where the artistry ends.

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Review: Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden

I have long been a follower of author and professor, Bernice L. McFadden on social media. Personally I think she is overall an interesting and entertaining follow (Instagram: Bernice L. McFadden). However, I shamefully admit I have not read any of her works until I picked up this book, Sugar. After reading this novel, I will do every thing possible until my last breath to right this tragedy.

Sugar is the story of a woman of ill repute who moves into a conservative Southern town of high morals, at least on the surface. The sequence of interactions, events and relationships built along the way reveal the complexity of the newcomer and the problematic character flaws of the judgmental town dwellers.

McFadden’s Sugar is a delightful, paradigm convicting, insightful look into the intersection of behaviors, traditions and community. I applaud McFadden’s writing talent as Sugar is a masterclass in setting and story artistry. The way she described colors, movements and expressions violently draws the reader into emotional and vivid prose.

Joe stepped into his home just as the long hand on his watch skipped past the two, dawdled a while and then landed squarely on the short hand, which comfortably kissed the three.

Sample line from Sugar.

Reading Sugar is not a spectatorial activity. Be prepared to lose all sense of time as her words grab hold of the reader and plant them in a far away space you can’t and don’t want to leave. Once McFadden is done with you with all certainty, you will know Sugar. You will feel and taste her pain and smell her emotions. Sugar is an experience. I recommend this novel to any adult looking for a great story to read.

Pick up your copy today by visiting Mahogany Books, your local indie bookstore or wherever dope literature is sold.

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Review: Tay Goes To The Game by Phelicia Lang

Someone pleeaassee tell me they had such cool books when I was a child?? Books that had handsome little black boys and girls that looked like me and the little girls I knew. Story lines that are filled with fun times and cool activities. I am so thrilled to join with Multicultural Children’s Book Day (http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com) as a book reviewer for some absolutely fantastic and diverse books that are just like I described.

Tay Goes To The Game, a book graciously gifted to me to review by Phelicia Lang, is a wonderful book for budding young readers especially important to young black boys. This instructional reader is a delightful book filled with self esteem boosts and positive self-perceptions with identifiable figures. I love how the book weaves a fun story and wraps it around a strong family image complete with a central father figure.

There are a few elements that are important to know about this book. One important note is this book is purposefully designed for adults to read with children. The reading tips in the beginning of the book make it super easy to help your young reader flourish and have fun beginning their lifelong habit of reading. Another point is the book includes advancing words that will be a little difficult at first for some readers but will serve as an instructional victory for any young reader. I wholeheartedly recommend this Picture book to any young reader!

Pick up your copy today by visiting the publisher at Me On The Page Publishing.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

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Review: Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

If you are like me, your reading selections lead you to occasionally pick the same type of book in consecutive selections. Maybe you go on a crime drama binge or maybe you pick a few historical fiction tiles in a row. I have seen many complain about this issue. But have no fear! I have a perfect reading rut buster: Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.

Book Cover

Friday Black is a unique collection of short stories that aim to tackle societal issues such as racism, consumerism, social justice and more. In “The Finkelstein Five,” Adjei-Brenyah gives us an unforgettable reckoning of the brutal prejudice of our justice system. In “Zimmer Land,” we see a far-too-easy-to-believe imagining of racism as sport. And in two of my personal favorites, “Friday Black” and “How to Sell a Jacket as Told by Ice King”, the author shows the horrors of consumerism and the toll it takes on us all.

I found this book captivating from the opening line all the way through the closing. The author’s artful exaggeration of important themes and behaviors forced me as the reader to comtemplate their societal implication and effect. Personally I could relate to the consumerism focused stories mentioned previously and was immediately drawn to the retail savagery and emotional conflicts of the customers expertly described in the book. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars and recommend to any reader Young Adult or higher.

Pick up your copy today at your local library, indie bookstore, Mahogany Books, or wherever dope literature is sold.

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Book List: “imagine” (Jan. 2019) | Black Men Read

2019 is here and we can’t wait to get reading some great literature!  We love books that help us to explore the previously unimagined, to move us out of our reading comfort zone and into the far reaches of a creative author’s imagination.

This month’s family book list is titled “imagine”.  In this book list we provide books that seek to bust up literary norms and embrace new possibilities.  This list has every thing from witches in the big city to undead killers in the Civil War era.  This list is fun for the whole family as it has a book for any reading level.

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IN THE NEWS: Henrico County Acknowledges Black Men Read

Recently Black Men Read helped sponsor two events at our partner school, Highland Springs High School (Highland Springs, VA).  The first was a Poetry Workshop led by Roscoe Burnems, performance poet, mentor and Founder of the Writer’s Den Poetry Slam Team.  The Writer’s Den Poetry Slam Team is Richmond’s premier poetry slam experience which holds performance poetry competitions the last Wednesday of the month. The Writer’s Den Slam team has sent teams to regional and national competitions since 2014 and are currently ranked top 10 in the South.

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Black Men Read is officially a Non-Profit!!

We are so excited to announce that we have officially gained 501(c)(3) classification and are a tax exempt charitable organization.  Additionally, all individual contributions are eligible for federal tax exemption.  Please consult your tax professional for details.

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Quote from “BINTI: The Night Masquerade” | Black Men Read

From Nnedi Okorafor’s “Binti: The Night Masquerade”


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Book List: “Sciency” (Aug. 2018) | Black Men Read

The SUMMER OF READING continues!  At Black Men Read we love when people read but you know what we love EVEN MORE???  When people read together!!  Grab a buddy and read a classic together.  Have a family session with the kiddos where each of you grab a new book and enjoy the fun of reading together.  But what do you read?  What would be a good book to pick up and read with family and friends?  Well that’s where Black Men Read’s Monthly Book Lists come in.

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Black Men Read Is Going Non Profit!

I can’t believe I am actually saying this but we are going to be a non-profit!  From our humble beginnings in April of 2017 as just a way for some brothers to vent and learn through literature to somehow rekindling our romance with reading ultimately forming a literacy advocacy organization.  Wow!  I still can’t believe it.

It seemed like just yesterday we did our first book discussion on Facebook.  We learned so much from the book “The Hidden Cost of Being African-American” by Thomas M. Shapiro that we just couldn’t wait to share it.  It felt good to discuss something important and useful despite the fact the subject was so infuriating.  It was constructive.  It was a path to progression.  That was the part that was exciting.  We weren’t out of the trash bin we call America but we had our feet on the ground and we were ready to start stumbling our way to better.

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