Sunday, July 11, 2010

Two Out for Every In: Easy victories

I am reminded by the reviewer's blurb at Cats and a Book to "be gentle"-- so in my book reduction project (as described in my previous post) I'll remain respectful of writers as I may be kicking some of their favorite children into the street to suffer a Dickensian winter. This is all a two-edged sword anyway, as readers could jump into the comments here with "You had what on your shelf?! For how long?!"

That said, let's get started with our first set of newly-orphaned books.

I. The Haunting of Hip Hop, Bertice Berry

"A ghost story with a beat... a mesmerizing cautionary tale about urban hip hop culture..."

Why I bought this book: (1) Caught my eye because it was a signed copy at a good price. Never mind to whom it was inscribed-- may have been just another book signing, may have been a best friend or relative! (2) The bio in back described the author as an "inspirational speaker, doctor of sociology, and former stand-up comedian." I often pick up books that meet either of these criteria, signed with interesting inscription, OR an intriguing bio. Both criteria and I'll give it a try for sure.

Why this book is going to someone else: I've read it, not likely to reread or refer back to it anytime soon.

One thing I'm keeping from this book: John Oliver Killens. This book had epigraphs at the beginning of some chapters. One that stuck was: "Time is swiftly running out, and a new dialogue is indispensable. It is so long overdue, it is already half past midnight." This is from "The Black Psyche" by Killens.

I started looking for his original. This led me to stumble upon a different Killen article, "The Development of a Black Psyche: An Interview" ( which I would never have heard of otherwise. I therefore thank Dr. Berry for writing the book.

Best as I can tell from the Googles, Dr. Berry is doing some commendable work out there. For example:

II. Push, Sapphire

"A stunningly frank effort that marks the emergence of an immensely promising writer."
--Los Angeles Times Book Review

Eventually Push became just a bit more well-known, due to being filmed as Precious. I have commented previously here and here on book and film phenomena.

Why I bought this book: Caught my eye due to excellent cover design (paperback, Vintage Contemporaries Edition, May 1997). Rave reviews.

Why this book is going to someone else: I've only picked at it over the past few years, reading a few pages here or there. I always feel better when I put it down, including today as I am writing these words.

Why I'm tempted to keep this book anyway: Resale value. Although prices vary wildly, this particular pre-film edition seems to do well enough on Amazon. I'm doing the karma thing in any case, and giving Push to an area library for their book sale.

In an upcoming "2 out": Which motivational speaker motivates me to get rid of his books?

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