Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum is a must-read, conversational sociology book that lays out the structural racism inherent in the United States. In a non-combative manner, Tatum defines racism and reveals ways to talk about it, especially to children.
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Scott goes to live with his hilariously awkward and selfish Grandma Ruby and helps take care of his Uncle Nathan who has cerebral palsy. Crapalachia is a dark, lyrical portrait of a warts-and-all coming of age in modern day West Virginia. Loved. This. Book.
Researchers have long acknowledged black influence and culture within popular music…but not until recently has anyone studied black presence in country music. Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music is an erudite, heavily footnoted essay collection that demonstrates how country music is not only “the white man’s blues.”
Gillian Welch is a singer-songwriter with bluegrass and Appalachian influences. Her albums The Harrow and the Harvest, Time (The Revelator), and Hell Among the Yearlings contain dark ballads, deep love, and feel both innovative and old time. If you like the Civil Wars, give Gillian Welch a listen!
Rachel Brooke sounds like she could be singing in a barnyard as easily as at rockabilly show. There is something dusty and wild about her voice. Lonesome Wyatt lays out a dark drawl. Together, they created A Bitter Harvest, an album for slow nights and thinking on the could-have-beens.
Miriam Black knows when and how you’re going to die. She’s a beautifully scummy woman resigned to edge-living and stealing from the dead…until she meets a trucker named Louis. For a gutter punk Dead Zone with a strong, but not infallible female lead, try Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds.
“Write this down, and don’t forget, that the best of times ain’t happened yet,” sings William Elliott Whitmore in the title track from his latest album, Field Songs. Whitmore is a one man folk band whose well-worn voice carries the ambitions, longing, and occasional anger of the working class man.
Patty of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends How to Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ:
“She didn’t write it. She wrote it, but she shouldn’t have. She wrote it, but look what she wrote about. She wrote it, but she wrote only one of it. She wrote it, but she isn’t really an artist, and it isn’t really art. She wrote it, but she had help. She wrote it, but she’s an anomaly.” This is the quote on the front of Joanna Russ’ quick-reading, landmark feminist essay collection, How to Suppress Women’s Writing. In this sobering, yet often times humorous work, Russ outlines the ways in which patriarchal societies overtly or inadvertently devalue and censor women’s writing.
There’s more to Albert King than “Born Under a Bad Sign”, though that’s the song that has been covered by everyone from Cream to Homer Simpson. If you like your blues with a groove, try the album King of the Blues Guitar.
William Miller just got his big break writing a cover story for Rolling Stone. Lester Bangs warns William not to make friends with the band, but William does and that’s when everything goes to heck. Almost Famous is a rock and roll coming of age story all music lovers should see.