Sunday, February 23, 2014

To-Read list, Harlem Renaissance edition

I have to confess a deep ignorance of even the canonical works of the Harlem Renaissance; somehow, the curators of my educational experience skipped that chapter of American letters. And it's my own damn fault for not deciding to work through even one of these books in the last five years, or (even worse) during the three before that, when I was actually working in Harlem!

I will say that my leisure reading patterns have more broadly been what I think of as "light", which of course matches no one else's understanding of that term. Leaving entirely aside the math books that I've read for fun, I've chewed through everything Iain Banks has written that I can get my hands on, most of A Song of Ice and Fire (I had to return A Dance with Dragons to the library before I finished it -- no, seriously, someone recalled it out from under me), some Salman Rushdie, and also some nonfiction too. But it's certainly happened that I've taken out a book and gotten bogged down early, not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because it required my full faculties and I was reading for diversion rather than self-improvement.

So I've been wanting to change the face of my to-think list, and I think the end of my Ph.D. and the concomitant life changes should enable that, if I'm serious. So I'm glad to run across this recommendation from The Humanist, of two Harlem Renaissance authors, both women, whose work has been unjustly forgotten.

And just in case that link goes offline:
Ann Petry, The Narrows
Ann Petry, The Street
Nella Larsen, Quicksand

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