Monday, November 14, 2011

Top 10 Books I've Had the Longest and Never Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

When I started looking through my books to see which ones to qualify for this post, I couldn’t believe some of the gems I’ve neglected to read! I’ve included 11 books instead of 10 but a couple were too close to call.

I started several of these books but didn’t finish. I’ll try to get through four* of them during Black History Month. Looks like you get a sneak peek at some of the reviews that may be coming! 

In no particular order, here are The Top Ten Books That Have Been On My Shelf For The Longest But I've Never Read:  

Gonna Lay Down My Burdens by Mary Monroe
In the sweltering little town of Belle Helene, Alabama, Carmen Taylor keeps her weaknesses, her frustrations, and her sorrows to herself. She's too busy dealing with the dramas of troubled friends like Desiree Lucienne, the petite, pampered daughter of a doctor who tries to beat the wildness out of her. But that doesn't stop Desiree from trawling for men, and trying to drag Carmen along.

A Girl Called Boy by Belinda Hurmence

A pampered young African-American girl finds herself mysteriously transported back in time to the days of slavery.

*Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

John Howard Griffin, the author and main character of "Black Like Me", is a middle-aged white man living in Mansfield, Texas in 1959. Deeply committed to the cause of racial justice and frustrated by his inability as a white man to understand the black experience, Griffin decides to take a radical step: he decides to undergo medical treatment to change the color of his skin and temporarily become a black man.

*The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Dubois
Drawn from many previously published essays, Du Bois' work reveals the way in which America was reconstructing and redefining itself as a country and culture in the wake of the Civil War forty years prior.

Roots by Alex Haley

It begins with a birth in an African village in 1750; it ends seven generations later at the Arkansas funeral of a black professor whose children are a teacher, a Navy architect, an assistant director of the U.S. Information Agency and an author.

*Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

The narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be.

 *Tar Baby by Toni Morrison

 Jadine Childs is a black fashion model with a white patron, a white boyfriend, and a coat made out of ninety perfect sealskins. Son is a black fugitive who embodies everything she loathes and desires. As Morrison follows their affair, which plays out from the Caribbean to Manhattan and the deep South, she charts all the nuances of obligation and betrayal between blacks and whites, masters and servants, and men and women.

Black Folktales by Julius Lester

Twelve remarkable folktales, culled from the black experience in Africa and America, are freshly retold in the thoroughly original voice of Julius Lester. Arranged by topic — Origins, Love, Heroes, and People — the tales combine universal themes and uncanny wisdom.Many of the stories were passed down by slaves.

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

"The Purpose-Driven Life" is a manifesto for Christian living in the 21st century...a lifestyle based on eternal purposes, not cultural values. Using biblical stories and letting the Bible speak for itself, Warren clearly explains God’s five purposes for each of us.

The PACT by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt

They grew up on the streets of Newark, facing city life's temptations, pitfalls, even jail. But one day these three young men made a pact. They promised each other they would all become doctors, and stick it out together through the long, difficult journey to attain that dream. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt are not only friends to this day-they are all doctors.

Not A Day Goes By  by E. Lynn Harris

John “Basil” Henderson has always played the field, both as a professional football player and as an equal opportunity lover. After retiring his jersey for a career as a sports agent, the dashing playboy is surprising everyone—including himself—by deciding to settle down and commit to his new love, Yancey Harrington Braxton.

As an aside, I’ve had several new additions within the past week or so. Here are the four that I received most recently:

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

This powerful and inspiring book shows how one person can make a difference, as Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man who is in love with the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it.

The End of Poverty by Jefferey D Sachs

This landmark exploration of prosperity and poverty distills the life work of an economist Time calls one of the world’s 100 most influential people. Sachs’s aim is nothing less than to deliver a big picture of how societies emerge from poverty. To do so he takes readers in his footsteps, explaining his work in Bolivia, Russia, India, China, and Africa, while offering an integrated set of solutions for the interwoven economic, political, environmental, and social problems that challenge the poorest countries.

I Didn’t Ask to Be Born: (But I'm Glad I Was) by Bill Cosby 

In this hilarious new collection of observations, Cosby brings us more of his wonderful and wacky insights into the human condition that are sure to become classics. In the tradition of Fat Albert, Cosby introduces a host of new characters, including Peanut Armhouse and Old Mother Harold.

The Vase with the Many Coloured Marbles by Jacob Singer

This book is divided into two parts. Book 1 is about Emily Kleintjies, born into a Cape Coloured family in Cape Town. She decides to jump the racial barrier of apartheid, and changes her name to Emma Kline. The second book is about her daughter, Marla O'Neil, who was raised as white. The book shows the tragedy of South Africa during the Verwoerd apartheid era, and the sadness that comes with jumping the racial barrier.

Have you read any of these? Would you suggest I move it closer to the top or bottom of my to be read list? 
Are there any that you'd want to see a review on sooner rather than later?


Amy said...

I've read and really loved Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. Paul Farmer is a pretty fantastic guy. I have a number of the other books you list on my tbr as well - The End of Poverty being one that would likely make my list of top ten books I've had the longest and never read.

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

I haven't read any of these. I usually like reading my books in the order in which they came though I still have books I've not read for over two years.

Shannon @ Reading Has Purpose said...

@ Amy - I received Mountains Beyond Mountains as a gift from a pretty awesome person. So I've prioritized it!

@ Nana - What a coincidence that shortly after I said I don't receive books as gifts I was given two! (Mountains beyond Mountains and The End of Poverty)

A two year gap between purchase and reading isn't bad. I've had most of these books for over 8 years :-/

Most of the books you post about I've never read either which is why I love your site! You would not believe how many to be read books I've discovered thanks to you!

Kendra said...

Gonna Lay Down My Burdens: I read it. Quick read and forgettable. I've read everything by Mary Monroe and had to be reminded of the plot with your blurb. Not as good as her "God" series.

Not A Day Goes By: same as above. I've read all of Harris' books and they've all melted together in my mind. Except for his memoir (What Becomes of the Brokenhearted). That was memorable!

Souls of Black Folk: On my list too! So please read and review so we can chat about it. I'll read it soon too. Promise!

Invisible Man: see above

Tar Baby: see above

Purpose Driven Life: Absolutely amazing! I read this, completed the journal and listened to the audio book. Reading this book completely changed my view of my life, career and the way I approach things. I truly understood the word "purpose" after this read. Also, it's a 15 minute daily read for 30 days, so I read it while reading other things.

As always, love your posts :-)

Amy @ bookgoonie said...

I so need to read Black Like Me. I am from Mansfield & my dad was a freshman in HS went integration was forced. Thanks for sharing your list.

diaryofadomesticgoddess said...

I've not read any of those!
Here’s my Top Ten Tuesday post. :)

Shannon @ Reading Has Purpose said...

@ Kendra - That was a nice rundown! I'm disappointed to hear that about Invisible Man and Tar Baby.

You should see a review on The' Souls of Black Folks' in February. I'll read that one and 'Black Like' me first considering your comments on the other two. This post idea wasn't mine but I'm glad you enjoyed it!

@ Amy@bookgoonie - Isn't that ironic! I wonder does your dad know about the book?

@ diaryofadomesticgoddess - Thanks for stopping by. I'm heading over to check out your list.....

Sidne said...

#'s 2,3 and 7 i'm going to have to place on my 'throwback' book read list.
Let me check my TBR and see which novels I've had for a long time on it.

Sunflower said...

I've read:
1. The Souls of Black Folk: I read it in college and from what I remember, it was a great book on the ideologies of "black folk" and perception of "community"

2. Invisible Man: It took me a while to finish this was kind of slow moving for me, but once I got into it, it turned out to be a good book. You follow the "narrator", who doesn't have a name, on his journey through life and finding his "voice" or "identity". I saw myself in the guy in trying to find voice not because society tells me who I am but because I want to define who I am though others shoot him down...but in his case, it's a struggle because he's clearly a black man in a world that suppressed races...which can be very real today.

The others I have not read, but would love to...looking forward to your review. :-)

Shannon @ Reading Has Purpose said...

@ Sidne - I have a growing list of books that I want to read again although I haven't make an official list. I was going to host a re-read challenge in 2012 but I realized that someone else actually hosted one this year.

@ Sunflower - Thanks for the insight on 'Invisible Man'. I'm worried that it starts out slow. I'm hoping to get through 4 books from this list in February so I don't want any that are going to put me in a reading funk. Between your comments and Kendra's, I think I'll read 'Invisible Man' last if I happen to make it through four books.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the list, which after I read I purchased 3 books (all from your blog). I dont believe that I have read any of the books that you have listed. One of the books that I purchased was by Mary Monroe, Gonna Lay Down My Burdens. I have read some of her other books and I always wonder how she comes up with the stuff in those books??? I thought this book was okay but was not really happy with the ending...I think I was expecting something different.
I just started reading another book from another one of your review (Working with you is Killing Me), and the next book Ill read is Black like Me, so when I finish reading I let you know what I think! Thanks again for the list!

Shannon @ Reading Has Purpose said...

@ Anonymous - I don't see myself reading Monroe's book anytime soon, if ever. What kind of stuff is in her books?

I enjoyed 'Working with You is Killing Me' so I'd like to know your take on it. I plan to read 'Black Like Me' in February. That will be an exciting reading month for me. I plan to read a book a week!

Ladybugcain said...

Shannon... Have you read The Purpose Driven Life yet?

Shannon @ Reading Has Purpose said...

I have not. The only one I've read from these is "Black Like Me." I started "Mountains Beyond Mountains" and "The Vase With the Many Coloured Marbles" and did not finish them.