We’re getting close to 50 years since “Dancing in the Street” was released. Currently, I’m reading Mark Kurlansky’s fine book: Ready for a Brand New Beat: How ‘Dancing in the Street’ Became the Anthem for a Changing America. The book is available through your public library, if a copy isn’t there, have them order it. I never buy books anymore, who has the room to store them??? Love the library!
“Fifty years ago, protesters were taking to the streets across the United States. Philadelphia and Harlem, N.Y., saw race riots. Atlantic City, N.J., saw picketers screaming outside the Democratic National Convention, and in Washington, D.C., anti-war activists took over the National Mall. It was a tense and volatile time. The soundtrack to it all was one song: Martha and the Vandellas’ 1964 hit, “Dancing in the Street.”–NPR site
I was always fascinated with the life of Josephine Baker; any book that was published about her, I was sure to read. I never did get to the NYC restaurant, Chez Josephine, in the Theater District, opened up by one of her adopted sons, Jean –Claude Baker (she adopted many children and referred to them as her “Rainbow Tribe”). She really did want to make this world more tolerant and just and thought adopting children of different races and backgrounds was her contribution to this worthy cause. Josephine was loved in France and not as celebrated in the U.S. due to racism. Along with being an entertainer, Ms Baker also did underground work with the French Resistance during WWII. Josephine Baker was born June 3rd, 1906. Take out a book from the public library, her story is worth knowing!
I am so thankful for books on this Thankful Thursday…I can’t say it enough. As an avid reader from a very young age, reading has enabled me to travel the world; learn about other cultures; deepen my understanding of the human psyche; provided comfort and joy; provoked a myriad of feelings; kept me busy; took my mind off of other matters; and was always there…a constant in my life! Both of my children always saw me reading and I, of course, always read to them and introduced them to the public library at a tender age; in fact my daughter, at 3, marched into the library and requested her own library card, signed her name and she was off into the larger world of books. I know we’ve all read that if children see their parents reading they’re more apt to read, but I don’t hold onto that maxim. While teaching, I introduced my students to many, many books and always read aloud to them and encouraged their families to visit the library and gave them directions on how to obtain a library card.
Yesterday, I read a book that, since I read it in a few hours, I couldn’t put down. It wasn’t the best book that I’ve read, but it held my interest: After Visiting Friends by Michael Hainey, a memoir and I do recommend it. The day before that I read Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni…ok, not as good as her previous Sister of My Heart. Today I’ll start Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs. In the house I have the fictionalized account of Zelda, Z by Theresa Fowler, but I read a few pages and will probably return it…I much prefer the real accounts I’ve read of Zelda Fitzgerald. So, do yourself a favor, visit the public library soon, pick up a book!
First of all, Happy 99th or 100th birthday to Ralph Ellison, noted American and African-american writer. Most sites list his year of birth as 1914. Did you read The Invisible Man in middle or high school? Many of the quotes from the book are still relevant in 2013 if your eyes are wide open to reality. For example: “I remember that I’m invisible and walk softly so as not awake the sleeping ones. Sometimes it is best not to awaken them; there are few things in the world as dangerous as sleepwalkers.” How many men of color have felt that way as our country struggled to gain equal rights for all and continues that struggle in 2013? “Sleepwalkers,” ignorant people who refuse to believe that skin color, religion, native language, origin of birth and other differences we may have, are not to be disparaged, but celebrated and embraced and as citizens of the U.S., we are all entitled to being treated respectfully, humanely and fairly.
I also have book suggestions that are entertaining, such as Marlo Thomas’s memoir growing up with her dad, Danny Thomas. I just loved “Make Room for Daddy” as a child on TV. This is a book that will have you laughing out loud, it’s a good “pick-me-up” book. I first picked up The Light Between Oceans from the shelf in my public library when it first came out and I have been recommending it to everyone and anyone I recommended it to has thanked me. It’s a beautiful story that I think would make a beautiful movie. OH…great news!!! As I am composing this post, I just discovered that it will be made into a movie!!!!! Finally we come to The Heroe’s Walk which I must’ve read about 10 years ago and takes place in India and The Book Thief set during WWII, which was also read years ago and is about 500 pages, which I know isn’t a lot, but as I get older, I like reading shorter books, so just letting you know. Plus…if you still read old-fashioned hard-covered books like I do, it may feel too heavy for you. Sometimes our reading styles and how we choose our books change as we get older.