A girl’s got to read, this all Clutchettes know. So, to help navigate the ever-expanding world of books, Uptown Literati is here to provide a weekly reading list. We’re a fresh, book blog for cool girls and great reads (check us out on our site [uptownliteratti.blogspot.com] and we’ll be dishing on what you need to be reading now: classic tomes, sassy fiction, juicy tell-alls and every type of paperback in between. Happy reading!
Who: Journalist, novelist and culture critic Toure
What: Never Drank the Kool Aid: Essays is a compilation of the writer’s most dynamic profiles, of celebrities and ordinary folk alike. An alum of high-profile entertainment media like BET, Rolling Stone magazine and The Village Voice, Toure’s probably written some of your favorite music stories (not articles, stories), and he put some of his best and unpublished into this collection.
Why: If you’re a fan of magazines, you’re probably mourning the death of the profile: that in-depth look at a subject which only comes about after days or weeks of study. When Toure did them, you felt like you were with them, whether it be DMX, Jay-Z or an Ivy League-educated hustler, not just reading sound bites. He gives his take on news and culture, in 140 characters or less, at Twitter.com/ToureX.
Rating: 5 stars
Who: America author Jonathan Safran-Foer
What: Everything Is Illuminated is essentially the story of two young men in search of two different but interconnected goals. A young Jewish-American named Jonathan, a sublime Ukrainian narrator and guide named Alexander Perchov and his prickly grandfather, embark on a hilariously haphazard journey through the Ukraine in search of a woman in a photograph from WWII.
Why: Everything is Illuminated is a mixed bag of all the treasures found in great literature: history, love, tragedy, irony, exuberance, extreme sadness, imagination and humor. If you are looking for familial story filled with honesty and an unconventional approach to a very conventional theme—trying to discover one’s family roots—this is a novel not to be missed.
Rating: 5 stars
Who: Late, great novelist E. Lynn Harris
What: His first posthumous offering, Mama Dearest, picks up with the wily villainess Yancey Harrington Braxton. First introduced in Abide with Me, Yancey’s a Broadway actress who now has her sights set on securing her own reality show. When reading, get ready for the sparks! Harris’ plots often beat Yancey down, but she still found her way back to the top.
Why: Besides being the ultimate tribute to Harris, who passed away unexpectedly in July, this novel is chock full of the humor, cattiness, drama and insight readers have come to expect and love from Harris.
Rating: 4 stars
Who: French and English author Joanne Harris
What: Chocolat, the story of a nomadic French woman and her daughter who find themselves setting up a tempting chocolaterie in a small French town during Lent. Amid the local church’s backlash against the shop and attempts to drive her out, Harris’ protagonist Vianne whips up delightful confections that begin to transform the lives of the villagers, piecemeal.
Why: Harris crafts each character’s voice in a way that makes them feel as though they could walk off the pages and into your lap. She invests time into their individual trials and revelatory moments and easily transports you to a land of truffles and sugar without inundating you with a sweet tooth. Chocolat is for readers who seek to be enraptured by a story that dabbles in politics of religion as much as simple pleasures.
Rating: 3.5 stars