Black Culture Book Club: Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin
It was Mary McLeod Bethune who said, “The whole world opened to me when I learned to read”. We vehemently believe that to be true. We are constantly opened to worlds past, present and future through the writings of Frederick Douglass, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Octavia Butler.
There is a diversity and complexity of Blackness that is often hidden. The Black Culture Book Club aims to unearth and uplift black literature, exposing the rich and strong history of black folk, as well as the beauty and vibrancy of our culture. Every month we’ll read a new book. Every month our love and appreciation for black literature and it’s authors will deepen.
How the Book Club Will Work
We will be making monthly announcements about the Book Club here on the main site, while encouraging discussion on the public Good Reads Group called the “Black Culture Book Club“. In addition to classic black literature, we will also be reading work from independent Black authors.
Book Discussions will be broken down by grouped chapters allowing readers to participate in according to what they have read. This allows readers to be protected from spoilers and move at their own pace.
Read Alongs are discussions of monthly posted short stories. A reader can jump in at anytime to of the month( or long after) to read the provided piece of black literature and provide insight and commentary.
December read-along: “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin
James Baldwin, a classic African American writer, writes “Sonny’s Blues” to show the differences between two brothers and the way that they deal with the world around them. This story clearly shows two extremes of the way people deal with the trials and tribulations of life. Sonny’s brother tries to insulate himself against the problems and ignore the difficulties while Sonny himself faces his problems head on, for better or worse. The troubles in their lives are further exacerbated by the fact that they are African American.
Readers have already begun reading the short story and leaving comments on the Black Culture Book Club discussion page for December’s Read Along. There you will find a link to the Baldwin text to read and a space where we all can enjoy black authors together!
What short story should be selected for January’s Read Along?