January 30, 2019

Think you know books?

Which one starts like this? Click on a book below to answer

It does no good to write autobiographical fiction cause the minute the book hits the stand here comes your mama screamin how could you and sighin death where is thy sting and she snatches you up out your bed to grill you about was was going down back there in Brooklyn when she was working three jobs and trying to improve the quality of your life and come to find on this page that you were messin around with that nasty boy up the block and breaks into sobs and quite naturally your family strolls in all sleepy-eyed to catch the floor show at 5:00 AM but as far as your mama is concerned, it is nineteen-forty-and-something and you ain't too grown to have your ass whipped.
Suburban Gospel
Mark Beaver

Suburban Gospel

By: Mark Beaver
Recommended for grade(s): 10, 11, 12

When the deacons at Mark Beaver's Bible Belt church cue up an evangelical horror flick aimed at dramatizing Hell, he figures he'd better get right with God, and soon. Convinced he could die at age seven and spend eternity roasting on a spit in the fiery furnace of Hades, he promptly gets Saved. But once adolescence hits, the Straight and Narrow becomes a tight squeeze. But Suburban Gospel offers more than a look inside Bible Belt suburbia, circa Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority—it's a tale of faith and flesh. Beaver invites us into a world filled with Daisy Duke fantasies and Prince posters, Nerf Hoops and Atari joysticks, raggedy Camaros and the neon light of strip malls. As much about the adolescent heart as the evangelical mind, the story explores similar emotional terrain as coming-of-age classics like Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life and Mary Karr's Cherry. Suburban Gospel is a tale of growing up Baptist, all right—but also of just growing up. —Hub City Press

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.

Mama's Girl
Veronica Chambers

Mama's Girl

By: Veronica Chambers
Recommended for grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

On the streets of Brooklyn in the 1970s, Veronica Chambers mastered the whirling helixes of a double-dutch jump rope with the same finesse she brought to her schoolwork, her often troubled family life, and the demands of being overachieving and underprivileged. Her mother—a Panamanian immigrant—was too often overwhelmed by the task of raising Veronica and her difficult younger brother on her meager secretary's salary to applaud her daughter's achievements. From an early age, Veronica understood that the best she could do for her mother was to be a perfect child—to rewrite her Christmas wish lists to her mother's budget, to look after her brother, to get by on her own. Though her mother seemed to bear out the adage that "black women raise their daughters and mother their sons," Veronica never stopped trying to do more, do better, do it all. And now, as a successful young woman who's achieved more than her mother dared hope for her, she looks back on their mother-daughter bond. The critically acclaimed Mama's Girl is a moving, startlingly honest memoir, in which Chambers shares some important truths about what we all really want from our mothers—and what we can give in return.

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Diaz

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

By: Junot Diaz
Recommended for grade(s): College Plus

Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister—dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fuk̼—a curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA. EncapsuLatin/Caribbeang Dominican-American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere—and risk it all—in the name of love. —from the website at Penguin Random House

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.

Gorilla, My Love
Toni Cade Bambara

Gorilla, My Love

By: Toni Cade Bambara
Recommended for grade(s): 10, 11

In these fifteen superb stories, written in a style at once ineffable and immediately recognizable, Toni Cade Bambara gives us compelling portraits of a wide range of unforgettable characters, from sassy children to cunning old men, in scenes shifting between uptown New York and rural North Carolina. A young girl suffers her first betrayal. A widow flirts with an elderly blind man against the wishes of her grown-up children. A neighborhood loan shark teaches o white social worker a lesson in responsibility. And there is more. Sharing the world of Toni Cade Bambara's "straight-up fiction" is a stunning experience. —From Knopf Doubleday

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.