Saturday, August 15, 2015

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon

This book was recommended to me while I was studying at Colgate this summer, and yes it is another book about race.....

This book, a collection of essays, is by and about Kiese Laymon who was raised in Jackson, Mississippi!

This book is serious, but is written in quite a light tone, and I grew fond of Kiese with these words:
“But when I did find brilliant soulful courageous black American literature, it imagined us as its readers, and those literary echoes saved my life. As much as hip-hop and the blues inspired me; my most meaningful discoveries about the act of being human have come through the solitary act of listening to turning pages, and marking up the sides of shifty text. It wasn’t the text alone that did the work; it was the reading, and rereading, and rereading, of the text that necessitated the work.
In How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in American Kiese deals with his feelings about his uncle and his inability to be authentic with him, getting kicked out of college for taking and returning a library book and later being accepted into another college, his dealings with guns, the reality that many of the boys from his seventh grade class were dead before thirty-five, the idea that his grandmother, and people like her, would work their entire life and never really get the opportunity to advance themselves, his family's way of telling him how to survive as a Black man in America, poor White people, Southern rappers, becoming a man, the death of three Black celebrities, trying to get his book published etc.

As stated earlier, this book is serious and should be added to our dialogue on race, but it is upbeat, and definitely not a “I had it hard, but I made it" type of book.

Reading this book, I thought a lot about the idea of coming to turns with what makes us who we are....

This book is short and easy to read.... So, if you have some time, but not a lot of time, and you want to think, then this is the book for you.

Currently, I am reading Losing My Cool: Love, Literature, and a Black Man's Escape from the Crowd by Thomas Chatterton Williams.

Happy Saturday, My People!

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