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 [uptownliterati.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: Editor Langston Hughes, late poet and fiction writer

What: The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, 1899-1967: The Classic Anthology. Classic is the best word for this collection, which features literary heavyweights like Zora Neale Hurston, Paul Laurence Dunbar, James Baldwin and Richard Wright. And while Hughes was certainly going for star power when he assembled this collection in the 1960s, our favorites come from respected writers that weren’t the most popular at the time. Ernest J. Gaines’ “A Long Day in November,” Dunbar’s “The Scapegoat” and Walker’s”To Hell With Dying,” are not to be missed. The younger of the three writers went on to create masterpiece novels ( The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Lesson Before Dying and The Color Purple), among other works. An unpredictable thread that runs through many of the stories is the focus on exalting engaging characters, above any agenda to tell a “black” story.

Why: Short stories are often viewed as simply predecessors to novels, but this anthology and the writers featured therein, prove that its an art all its own. For further reading, see Hurston’s The Complete Stories, Gaines’ Bloodline: Five Stories and The Short Stories of Langston Hughes.

Rating: 4 stars

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