This Month's Articles
Detroit: An American Autopsy
By Charlie LeDuff
An essay by Fred Beauford
The New World
I have only been to Detroit twice. The first time I had a grand time with two of my daughters, both preteens. It was in 1991 and I was the Editorial Director of the Crisis magazine, the official publication of the NAACP.
Detroit was our kind of town at the NAACP. Coleman Young was the longtime first black mayor, and welcomed us with opened arms; the new Renaissance Center was booming. The hotel we stayed in on the famed Waterfront, with a view of Canada, right across the river, was first rate, and rivaled any of the many big, medium and small cities hotels we had stayed at, as we held our convention each year.
And the plus was that Detroit had one of the largest urban memberships of the NAACP then anywhere.....Read More
Everything Was Good-bye
By Gurjinder Basran
Reviewed by Amanda Martin
The coming-of-age story is a timeless and enduring literary genre, the “bildungsroman”, which is, according to Webster, a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character within the context of a defined social order. Often told in the first-person, whether it be Tom Jones or David Copperfield, Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird or Amir in The Kite Runner, it can be fascinating to watch a human being change and develop. It is both universal and unique.
Every coming-of-age story has its similarities in which the reader can recognize their own story, and each story is different as each life is different. The success or failure of the work is in the story told, the language employed in the telling, and if our interest in the storyteller and the other.....Read More
Portfolio: The Glamour Project
by Kara Fox
I sometimes wandered along the darkest streets of downtown Los Angeles…streets filled with people whose makeshift homes were doorways, bus benches, dark space beneath an isolated bridge, along the sides of a deserted building… carving out their own small spaces, surrounded by their few precious possessions.
The lucky ones have cars with trunks adequate to hold their belongings, food, a change of clothing and maybe even some toiletries.
A camera on my shoulder, I was always prepared to freeze an image in time, not to
be forgotten, wanting to remember the depth of my despair, my sense that everyone is entitled to a roof over their head, a place to live and to feel good about themselves. These feelings have rested deep within me throughout the years.
Four years ago, Evvy Shapero planted a seed, she shared information with me that led to a discovery, a realization that we could do something to help. She gave me an article about an amateur photographer in New York, who photographed homeless families in Central Park. Her gift to them was a copy of the photograph, probably the only one they would have to remind them of their precious family.
This seed inspired the birth of Glamour Project. Our studio, homeless shelters. Our subjects, those who have suffered.....Read More
As of Jan., 1, 2013, what is the total number of visitors that have logged on to us in our two full years online?
How many chapters of Fred Beauford’s memoir, …and Mistakes Made Along the Way, are in the top ten overall page requests?
Answer: Two, Black Folks
Volume 3 Number 9 ,
and Mother Volume 3 Number 10 ,
Hostage of Paradox—a Qualmish Disclosure
By John Rixey Moore
Reviewed by: Jane M McCabe
The Viet Nam War was the most unpopular war ever fought by the United States. It was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from November 1, 1955, to the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. The U.S. government viewed involvement in the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam as part of their wider strategy of containment. Twenty years after it started, it had claimed 52,000 American lives and the lives of over one million Vietnamese.
Protests across the United States in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s brought the war to an inconclusive ending; troops that survived the bloody ordeal staggered home to less than a hero’s welcome—American soldiers who had risked their lives fighting for this country were subjected to derision and shame—many developed post-traumatic stress syndrome, became.....Read More
By Alice Munro
An Essay by Sally Cobau
With Alice Munro’s new book, Dear Life, she continues to explore the themes she has delved into throughout her long career, namely regret, desire, greed, love, and passion. This book seems to come “full circle” for Munro and is reminiscent of her earliest stories.
As a young author she often wrote about childhood and the way our childhoods remain mysterious because as children we do not have the knowledge or experience to understand what has happened. Children look at an event and try to decipher what the event means, its significance.
As the children age, they look back at the event and see that they were wrong; or, at least the certainty they had about the event has been shaken.
Alice Munro’s terrain is rural Canada, where the harshness of the landscape makes for a certain stoicism in her characters. But underneath this steeliness,.....Read More
High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Costal Crisis
By John Englander
Reviewed by Steven Paul Leiva
Last October, as tropical storm Sandy was slowly forming itself into Hurricane Sandy some 600 miles south of Jamaica in the Caribbean—not yet on anybody’s mental radar but certainly on the actual radars of scientists—oceanographer John Englander was probably grabbing some well-deserved rest. He had just, twelve hours earlier, digitally sent his book, High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crises, to Amazon to be listed for sale the very next day.
In the book he had written, “Despite the massive potential danger, one can envision New York City,.....Read More
Digital Publishing: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?
A Column by Tony Viardo
So how many articles have we read about E-books and Digital Publishing this year? For anyone who generally follows the book world (rabid booklover, book-blogger, industry pro or casual reader), we’re literally inundated with the amazing numbers—“E-book sales up 125% (again) over the 175% they were up from last year’s 225% increase!”—and equally amazing technological announcements—“Next Fall, the new ZimWittyZoomDitty tablet not only updates your Facebook and Goodreads friends whenever you snort in disgust … it cooks dinner for you at the same time!”
This leads many to take at least casual stock of what’s going on/going to happen to the “Publishing World” as we know it. And if your friends are like my friends (hardcore print book consumers), that stock is usually pretty morbid (sharp Greenwich Village angst not included): “Print books are doomed, so are brick-and-mortar stores. Goodbye literary quality. Oh and some pajama-wearing.....Read More
Jujitsu Rabbi and Godless Blonde
By Rebecca Dana
Reviewed by Janet Garber
Svesta From Another Planet
Rebecca Dana crash lands in Crown Heights, teetering on her impossibly high heels, sporting micro skirts and skimpy shirts, a walking strutting invitation for censure by the local Hasidic Chabad Lubavitcher police. The Lubavitcher sect prefers its women to be covered – not even an elbow should be visible – and, while we’re at it, religiously observant, which while nominally Jewish, she emphatically is not.
What will happen in this dark clash of cultures (within the same culture)? Will frumpy Hasidic women start sporting Louboutin heels? Will Rebecca rediscover her pintele Yid (spark of Jewish identity)? Did I mention her landing pad is shared with a hunky Russian rabbi, cheap rent being the catalyst? Will the relationship between this fashion journalist and her roomie blossom into something more?
Remember your identity crises of yore? Well, Dana falls into a dark hole here when her perfect.....Read More
A Hundred Flowers
By Gail Tsukiyama
Read By Simon Vance
Reviewed by: Michael Carey
“Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend.” The motto of the Hundred Flowers Campaign, set in motion by Chairman Mao Zedong in 1956, expresses a beautiful sentiment meant to encourage ideas and opinions, progress and growth. It is that encouragement and the utter failure of the movement that underlines and sets the backdrop for the award winning and bestselling author, Gail Tsukiyama’s, lastest novel, A Hundred Flowers. Tsukiyama shares the story of a family struggling in the wake of Sheng’s (a father, a son, and a husband) abduction by the Communist Party of China for the writing of a.....Read More
INDISCRETION (A NOVEL)
By Charles Dubow
Reviewed by: M. J. Moore
It’s astounding to realize that Charles Dubow’s novel Indiscretion is the author’s debut work of fiction. Dubow writes with the flair, precision, insight, compassion, and all-embracing narrative verve of someone who has already yielded a half-dozen compelling works. Yet, this is his first novel. And it’s a marvelous, memorable one.
Like many other one-word titles, Indiscretion is a loaded term. The connotations are abundant. Indeed, this is a love story (with plenty of lust) that evolves into a tale of betrayal and broken dreams. And all along the way, its characters seduce the mind.
Indiscretion is in the tradition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, and James Jones’s The Merry Month of May.
As with all the above, Indiscretion is narrated by a chronic observer—in this case, a character named Walter Gervais—who sees all the other protagonists up close and personal, but always with a discerning.....Read More
By Alana Stewart
Reviewed by Rob Daly
In her memoir, Rearview Mirror, Alana Stewart begins with the terrifying account of her rape at age eighteen. She keeps her attack a secret and moves to New York to begin her modeling career and continue a pattern of burying powerful negative feelings. Modeling success put her in the sphere of famous men, one of whom, George Hamilton, would become her first husband.
While the recounting of travel, parties and love interests is plentiful, the point of the book is her self-discovery and personal development. Stewart admits her insights and core change were a long time coming and that on the way she led what must have seemed an enviable life. But behind the iron gates and marble foyers lived a fragile woman who could not find lasting love or peace.
Stewart grew up in Texas, shuffled between her mother in Houston, who was addicted to drugs and of little help to her, and her grandmother, who lived in a ....Read More