Friday, September 4, 2009


It took me almost 3 months but I have finally gotten around to starting The Book of Negroes. And just in time, too, as it needs to be completed by next Friday for my September book club gathering. There is no greater, or more pleasurable, experience that reading a work of literature with a gun to your head. Really.

Why the resistance? This is the question I kept asking myself each and every time I picked the book up before promptly putting it down for another. Book of Negroes or Shanghai Girls? Shanghai Girls. The Book of Negroes or To Kill a Mockingbird for the third time? Mockingbird. The Book of Negroes or The Revenue Canada Guide to Flawless Accounting? And the winner is......

I know why I couldn't read that damn book, though, and it is as simple as the People magazine crossword: it is really hard to read books about black people when you are one. Every reading reminds you that you are so damned lucky to have been born after the Civil Rights Act. Phew. Glad I didn't have to suffer through the Middle Passage, the cotton picking in the broiling Mississippi sun, the losing of the children, the midnight escapes to Canada.

But now that I'm reading it, you know what? I can't put it down. The flawless prose will make the nightmares worth it!

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