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: Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian, Sidney Poitier
What: Poitier’s spiritual autobiography, The Measure of a Man, gives wonderful insight into the life of an American cinematic icon and cultural activist. More so, it offers encouragement to anyone who’s struggled with sketching out their own path and been brave enough to follow it.
Why: When all other opinions and voices that exalt Poiter are quieted, Poitier’s own voice is the one that emerges the loudest, and resonates the longest. From the back porch of Cat Islands in the Bahamas to the glinting lights of Hollywood, Poitier’s Measure exemplifies how humility and a strong identity both sustain and validate you.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Who: Wally Lamb, American writer
What: She’s Come Undone, Lamb’s first novel and Oprah Book Club selection, is a classic coming of age story with as many twists and bumps as any real-life journey. Following protagonist Dolores Price from preschool to middle adulthood, the book does, in fact, examine her undoing, but most provocative is her coming back together.
Why: Besides being one of the most sincere and touching portraits of modern American girlhood (unbelievably, Lamb is a man), Dolores’ struggles with her parents’ divorce, body image, sexuality and love will be familiar to many.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Who: African-American novelist Octavia Butler
What: Kindred, a haunting slave narrative whose twists and jolts are spaced between 1976 and the early 1800s. Butler crafts a unique niche for herself and for her protagonist as being one of the strongest, not to mention the rarest of breeds in science fiction literature–an African American woman.
Why: Twenty-five years after its debut, and three years after Butler’s passing, Kindred continues to solidify its place among the greatest works in science fiction literature. Butler’s strong prose, told through a time portal reaching through 200 years of history, is stunning and provocative, sure to leave you breathless at its most intense moments.
Rating: 5 stars
Who: Pearl Cleage, novelist, playwright and Spelman College professor
What: What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, a novel that will grab you with the title alone and tackles life’s biggies: family, health and love. The story centers on Ava, a successful single Atlantan, after she is given a grim health diagnosis. She uproots herself to travel back to her hometown for a summer-long visit with her sister and begins an emotional re-awakening.
Why: Cleage is a rare find in the book world, one of those writers that strikes the perfect balance between being real and other-worldly, familiar yet smart, poetic but down-to-earth. Her prose in this novel, as well as her other many books, is nothing short of enchanting and her characters unforgettable.
Rating: 4 stars