Casanegra by Blair Underwood, Tananarive Due, & Stephen Barnes
started 6/10/07 finished 6/14/07 (4 days; musta loved it!)
I would probably have read it anyway, but once I saw the names of Tananarive Due & Stephens Barnes attached, I was in. I was a little hesitant when I saw that Underwood thanked Zane in his acknowledgements (not a huge fan), but then after reading the first sex scene I was fully committed. This is a mystery involving a rapper, an actor/former male escort, and an up and coming reporter. Portrays contemporary South Central Los Angeles the way that Walter Mosley does the same areas in his books that take place in the 40’s, 50’s, & 60’s. The Tennyson Hardwick character is well thought out and complex and I can’t wait for the next installment. Plus any book that mentions the Florida A & M University Rattlers (my alma mater) and Audobon Middle School (in my former neighborhood) can’t be all bad.
started 6/16/07 finished 6/25/07
There have been several reports lately about the widening economic gap in this country. There has been so many new millionaires and billionaires created in the last 20 years, that the Wall Street Journal assigned Richard Frank to cover solely the New Rich. This book covers such topics as butler school (although the New Rich, who don’t want to appear stuffy, prefer the title of Household Manager), the competition to build the biggest yacht & the biggest house, and a school to teach rich children what to do with their money. One of the most interesting stories is about a group of Colorado billionaires who pooled their money and power to successfully defeat the Republicans.
Insatiable: The Tale of the Rise of a Porn Star by Heather Hunter
started 6/22/07 finished 6/23/07 (yeah, 1 day)
If you know anything about hip-hop, then you know that it has its very own porn star. During the early and mid-90’s, Heather Hunter was in all of the rap videos and lyrics. We haven’t heard from her in a few years, but I can’t believe that the whole time was writing this book. This is a novel that is supposed to based loosely on Hunter’s life. It could have been told a little differently. The title character, Simone, seems to fall into porn as easily as I fall into the Gap (you have to be a certain age to get that reference). Then after the drugs, and sex take their toll, she quits and goes from bad relationship to bad relationship. Although at the end she runs back home to her mother’s arms (awwww), it doesn’t seem like she has really learned any lesson or built her self-esteem or anything. Maybe a sequel is coming where she writes a really bad novel.
Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
started 6/25/07 finished 7/1/07
Another diet book. Except this book talks to you like I talk to you. They are blunt and they curse at you. They say stuff like coffee “makes your breath smell like ass”. Chapter 9 is called “Have No Faith: Government Agencies Don’t Give A Shit About Your Health”. It is wonderful. They promote veganism and after you read the chapter on dairy and the meat industry you may as well. I just saw that they have a new book coming out in the fall: Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Solutions for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap (and Start Looking Hot!)
The Opposite House by Helen Oyeyemi
started 6/25/07 finished 7/4/07
This is another one of those children of immigrant stories. This one also takes place in England, but the family is Afro-Cuban. Every other chapter is the story of the Santeria/Ifa orisha (goddess) Yemaya who has also become separated from her home. I thought I would really like this book but maybe it was a little too literal for me. I didn’t sympathize with the characters at all and I didn’t understand the Yemaya chapters at all. I feel stupid and sad.