Between the Lines Book Club: Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

between the lines book club logoOur April Book Club pick is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. I thought this book was amazing when I first read it so I was thrilled that Book Club voted it in. We will be meeting on April 28. at Arden Dimick Library, from 10:30AM – 12.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks combines science with history and biography in an accesible and intersting way. A HeLA cell is a cell taken from a cell line that has been incredibly durable – seemingly immortal. These cells all derive from cells taken from a Black woman, Henrietta Lacks, in 1951. The removal of the cells was done without Lack’s knowledge or permission, and her family has not benefitted

Skloot explains the science of the cells and why they are so important. She also examines the life of the woman the cells came from, and helps surviving members of Lack’s family understand what happened and why. The book was made into a movie of the same title, starring Oprah Winfrey, in 2017.

 

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Between the Lines Book Club: Interviews With James Baldwin

between the lines book club logoWelcome to Between The Lines Book Club! This month’s selection is Go Tell It On The Mountain, by James Baldwin. We will meet to discuss the book at Arden Dimick Library, at 10:30AM, on March 24, 2018.

James Baldwin was a powerful speaker and he often gave interviews. If you haven’t read Go Tell It, these interviews will give you a sense of how Baldwin speaks (he has a distinctive literary and speaking cadence) and his views. Here are a few of his interviews and speeches:

Here is a lengthy interview in which Baldwin discusses sexuality

Here he is discussing his return from Europe to New York in 1962 in The Guardian

Here’s an interview from Esquire that was conducted in 1968, shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

And finally, here are five great interviews on video.

 

 

 

 

The Stoic, by Emily Bronte

Portrait of Emily Bronte, by Branwell Bronte
A poem by Emily Bronte, for this season of rebellion, courtesy of poets.org.

The Stoic

Riches I hold in light esteem,
And Love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream,
That vanished with the morn:

And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is, “Leave the heart that now I bear,
And give me liberty!”

Yes, as my swift days near their goal:
’Tis all that I implore;
In life and death a chainless soul,
With courage to endure.

Between the Lines Book Club: James Baldwin

between the lines book club logoWelcome to Between The Lines Book Club! This month’s selection is Go Tell It On The Mountain, by James Baldwin. We will meet to discuss the book at Arden Dimick Library, at 10:30AM, on March 24, 2018.

James Baldwin was an African-American gay man whose essays and novels tackled race, class, religion, and sexuality. He grew up in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance and became a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement, as well as a deeply influential author.

Baldwin grew up the oldest of eight children. His stepfather was abusive and Baldwin felt that he had to take care of his younger siblings. At 14, Baldwin became a junior minister in the Pentecostal Church. Bible speech and the rhythm of language from the King James Bible influenced his later work. A few years later, he renounced religion entirely.

At 24, Baldwin lift the US for France, where he spent most of the rest of his life. He was part of the Left Bank group, a radical group of artists who questioned cultural norms. In this environment, Baldwin was free to be openly gay and he was free from the systemic, institutionalized racism found in the US. He returned to the US to be a spokesperson for the Civil Rights Movement. He and Bayard Rustin faced discrimination within the Civil Rights Movement for being known as gay men. However, Baldwin continued to be part of the Movement

Baldwin’s books include Go Tell It On the Mountain, Fire Next Time, and Giovanni’s Room. He was a friend and mentor to countless artists and activists. His influence on literature cannot be overstated.

 

 

 

I’m in Clarkesworld!

Fish3566_-_Flickr_-_NOAA_Photo_Library

photo of a baby octopus

Hey y’all, I have a thing in March’s issue of Clarkesworld Magazine. I am so excited that I put off announcing it for a while, just in case they emailed and said, “Oh, sorry, our mistake.” They haven’t!

You can find my essay, “Aliens Among Us: Cephalopods in Science Fiction and Fantasy,” at Clarkesworld Magazine. It is available for free, or you can purchase a digital copy of the issue.

Also, Jim C. Hines, the editor of Invisible 3, has put my essay “Lost In Space: A Messy Voyage Through Fictional Universes” on his webpage. If any of my readers are Hugo voters, this anthology is eligible for the Hugo Award in Best Related Work Category. I’m just sayin’.

Between the Lines Book Club: Go Tell It On The Mountain

between the lines book club logoWe are back with Between The Lines Book Club! This month’s selection is Go Tell It On The Mountain, by James Baldwin. We will meet to discuss the book at Arden Dimick Library, at 10:30AM, on March 24, 2018.

Go Tell It On The Mountain is a semi-autobiographical novel, published in 1953. It tells the story of a young Black boy (John) growing up in Harlem, and his family. The Pentacostal Church plays a large role in the book. John struggles with his place in the family, his confusion regarding his sexuality, and his feelings about the church which is both destructive and deeply nourishing to the community.

If you find this book tough going, you might want to check out Shmoop.com, a free online study guide. If you want to read something shorter by the same author that addresses the same themes, try Baldwin’s essay “Letter From a Region in My Mind,” which is available at The New Yorker , or any of his other essays. Look for a biblical cadance of speech, as well as discussion of religion, race, and sexual orientation.