Tag Archives: literature

#BookClubMadu August 2016

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We are so excited to share with you this month’s book!

Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing has been the latest rave in the world of literature and we thought it would be super awesome to have our readers right in!

IN ADDITION TO OUR AUGUST BOOK RELEASE, AfroMadu has teamed up with Urban One Radio to host a #BookClubMadu BI-WEEKLY PODCAST!!!!! Yes, a podcast to talk about books, culture, and everything in between. How cool is that?!?!?

Here’s how this month’s book will work:

-Discussions will be held on afromadu.com and on twitter, @afromadu.Throughout the week, we will be posting questions and quotes from Homegoing. 

-On August 14th, we will host our very first show, highlighting the first portion of the book. Readers are able to email us thoughts and questions about the book. Submission emails must be in before Thursday, August 11th.

We are so happy to be back with all of this exciting news. Are you? Happy reading! #BookClubMadu

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Homegoing’s schedule is as follows:

August 1st-14th: Part One (pages 1-153)

August 15th-31st: Part Two (pages 154-300)

Tweet us, email us, or find us on our social media sites using the hashtag, #BookClubMadu!

Half of A Yellow Sun: Week 1 Synopsis.

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Week 1 brings us character development, plot placement, and conflict like no other! In the first chapters we have already faced some issues and learned things about these people that would be panned out and developed over a long series of pages in other books. For this book we are story lining our entire discussion on twitter and it is available to view here! https://storify.com/AfroMadu/half-of-a-yellow-sun-discussion-1-jul-23-2014 If you haven’t participated on twitter with us, we HIGHLY recommend that you read the story line of the discussion first and then our synopsis to get the full experience of week 1!

Summary of Points:

Ugwu’s class shock: It is very interesting to know that only a few blocks away from Ugwu’s village, his new place of employment overwhelms him with modern day technology and a whole new world of professionals, education, and space to discover and explore a life beyond his village. Ugwu’s class shock is super important in this book because it allows us to realize some class privilege that readers have when Ugwu is amazed by libraries and refrigerators. This grants us perspective to how things were during the 60’s in Nigeria and the historical context behind house servants and help around the “richer”.

Dynamics between Ugwu and Odenigbo: Not only did Odenigbo hire the small boy as a house maid, but it is clear that Odenigbo is dropping gems and becoming a fatherlike figure to Ugwu as well. Despite the casual barks and rude comments that are said and demanded when it comes to Ugwu’s job, moments where there are room for intellectual growth, Odenigbo uses his profession and privilege to uplift Ugwu and grant him opportunities. Enrolling him into school, for one, shows the readers that Ugwu is not going to be an ordinary houseboy. What a cool benefit package! 

Subliminal political plug-ins: Adichie has a way with words! the dialogues that are held within the characters aren’t just regular conversations that need to be dismissed during this time. Every conversation is definitely needed for us to understand Nigerian history and other international conflicts during the sixties. This is not an ordinary tale. We are learning about the characters but is being taught about events during that time as well. Conflicts between the Nigerian tribes and European influence seems to leak out of these pages, giving us more insight on race relations and inequalities.

Plot twisting Olanna and company: Just when Ugwu was getting into the swing of life at the home front, Odenigbo’s girlfriend Olanna is in the picture. Not only is she gorgeous, but the amazing love story begins to heighten this book to the next level. Odenigbo and Olanna’s beautiful energy is definitely a breath of fresh air for this story and her family history and drama is very fun to see unfold as well. Things like the small rivalry between Olanna and her sister Kainene, Olanna’s minimalistic ideology while her parents wants to force her into a lifestyle of materialism and credentials, and the search for Kainene’s love life is a great way to enter more people into this beautiful story mix. 

European perspective: Just when we thought drama would be casted onto the characters in the first two chapters, chapter three smacks us in the face with White privilege and stereotypical Whites in Nigeria. We are introduced to the small crowd of colonialistic, (yea, we made that word up) assholes that enjoy deeming Nigerians as barbaric people rather than the human beings that they are. Adicihie’s way of reminding us that there are in fact “those people” who will not allow the country to prosper. We are introduced to Richard, another important character in another important developing love story between him and Kainene. Yes, an interracial couple in Nigeria during the 60’s.

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Chapters 4-16 is up for this week, and although those are a lot of pages to tackle, this book is definitely worth it. Dig deep, and read up on it! You will benefit from it when we are all discussing what went on in those chapters. Keep reading! See you during the end of the week!  

 

Beloved: Week 1 Synopsis.

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This past week, we finally kicked off our reading and discussion, and we must say that our first dialogue was a success! The best way to dive into the beginning of a great book! Breaking down themes that were clearly noticeable and helping others to see different perspectives was definitely needed and we wanted to highlight some things that we did discuss, along with some ideas that we didn’t. We also have some tweets for reminding and acknowledgement!

Points to remember:

1. Morrison’s common theme in this first segment is a plethora of emotions around adversity. Desperation, grief, guilt, isolation, evil, heavy, sad, lonely, rebuked, etc. All these words lay the groundwork of how unfortunate our scenes are set, but in fact very powerful. 

2. Each theme or unsuitable situation is not only a reflection of the book’s time period, but the reality in our current events as well. Trauma from slavery, gender issues, motherhood, Black womanhood, truth-telling, spirituality, etc also bleeds through the world we live in today. 

3. Denver’s character is very interesting to observe. Not only does she manage the Beloved spirit in the house, but she is the realist in Paul D’s and Sethe’s relationship, along with the after effects of Sethe’s parenting. 

4. “Its not evil, just sad.”

5. “Anything dead coming back to life hurts.”

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Things that were not discussed:

Each week we have a small segment of something that was not mentioned on Sunday. This column is very important to us, as it attempts to shed more light and perspective to the book, providing us with a new angle in understanding the text. 

The Symbolism of the Chokecherry Tree

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Photo Credit: Kelsey Otocki

We read in the text about Sethe scars on her back being her “Chokecherry tree”. Could this depiction of a tree be symbolism of the family baggage that she carries throughout “Beloved”? Besides the flashbacks of her experience in Sweet Home and the casual talks and conversations about Baby Suggs, could each scar have a meaning behind Sethe’s real story and truths? Moreover, can the idea of taking off the tough shell (her clothes) to reveal the horrible past and her current situations be the rhetoric behind the Black Woman and the reason for the pain and suffering in the Sethe character? What do you think?

Stay tuned for our sunday discussion followed by another synopsis next week covering our second portion (68-124 in hard copy, 97-205 pdf version) of Toni Morrison’s Beloved!

 

 

Prose Poetry.

It Occured to Me One Rainy Afternoon,

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Upon hearing the singing of a bird,Maybe the question is the purpose.
The questions that crowd my mind, begging for my attention.
Perhaps my purpose is not
in answering them,
but living them out.
Here Is one:
Why do birds
sing?
I have been struggling against this wind.

Perhaps, it is that
they never cease to sing.

Neither rain nor night nor snow
Can keep them silent.
It is a brave species that will stand against the Night and
sing a song.
Perhaps,
a bird knows there is glory in his singing.

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Glory starts small.
It grows, like an ocean wave that God braids. And we are all stringed along like hairs in his palm.  Glory starts small, pebble by pebble are the questions we are patient enough to live,
in a world that demands
answers.
We breathe the questions unanswered.  We wear a glory unseen. Then it will be us who sing the song. Like the bird who knows true glory, we will give true glory.

Audre Lorde: Use of Anger; Sister Outsider.

Allow this excerpt to be the foundation of language that is presented in this post:

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The stereotypical thought of Black women always being angry, as shown in the text, is not to scare or send people away, but an outlet from the sense of rage that we deal with on a daily basis. The intersectionality of both race and gender and realizing that while idea of White supremacy is dawning on people, the patriarchal views of men ESPECIALLY Black men can be a daunting factor to Black women. Lorde’s statement, “My anger has meant pain to me but it has also meant survival, and before I give it up I’m going to be sure that there is something at least as powerful to replace it on the road to clarity.”, shows how anger is a coping mechanism to the oppression that is faced.

As a Black women, this text was very relatable to my past experiences. Encountering racism on a daily basis and birthing rage from feeling oppressed only allows me to turn rage into anger and find ways to get through the dark tunnel of oppression.

Audre Lorde’s work, here, shows that it is ok to be mad or angry about the situations you are in. This anger, if used correctly, is consciously making choice to not lash out on the things that bother you. Lorde shows Black women that we are all in this together and are feelings are noticed and have meaning to it.  What do you think about the text? Let us know! 

Chapters 1-3: Realization

“Waiting for the world to be made.”

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Hurston’s beginning chapters started off with Janine current issue of her husband dying, and the flashback of how her life used to be. Janine thought of her bearing love to be a pear tree when she was younger, having the tree bloom with fruitful spirits and plenty of shade to secure her love and trust in a man. Her tree was then rot when she was forced to marry a man that she couldn’t find love in her heart to accept. Janine, still pitying herself for marrying a complete stranger because of the command of her Nanny wanted to love so much but couldn’t.

“You know honey, us colored folks is branches without roots and that makes things come round in queer ways.”

It is clear here that for centuries, Black women have been dealing with force and the baggage of doing things for others. In order for Janine to be on good terms with Nanny, the lady that practically raised her, she had to marry a man that she barely knew. Janine is still looking for her Pear tree love, that burning passion that she has for love, so bad until she is forcing herself to love a man that she doesn’t want to love.

How do you feel about the baggage and force that Janine has to deal with in these first chapters?