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Toni Morrison

Early Bird Books: 13 Books Our Favorite Celebrities Love

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Stars—they read like us! We’ll be the first to admit that we love a bit of celebrity gossip—especially when it involves what’s on people’s shelves. Lately, stars like Reese Witherspoon and Emma Watson have been hopping on the book club train, selecting titles each month and leading thoughtful reading discussions with their fans. It’s been a great way to highlight the latest debut authors, or bring old, forgotten gems back into the limelight. We’re all about using fame to the benefit of a good book. Below, you’ll find recommendations that come straight from the mouths of our favorite celebrities. From childhood classics to later-in-life discoveries, these are the reads that have made lasting impressions on Academy Award winners, singers, and more. Tom Hanks Blood on…

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Wednesday Wisdom Amazing Tips for Writers from the Most Prolific of All Time

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People always ask me what my writing “process” is. If they knew, they wouldn’t believe me, most times it involves just sitting alone and listening to my own thoughts. Rrely does it ever involve me sitting in front of a blank screen on my computer; if I’m typing, it is already written, I am just transcribing the pages in my head. About 90 percent of what I write has been written in my dreams and that is because I spend about 90 percent of my time thinking about writing. My inspiration comes from a variety of sources, most are just random occurrences and rather than keeping my thoughts and opinions about these to myself, I share them with you. Writing…

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#WednesdayWisdom for Writers from Some of the Most Prolific Writers of All Time

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People always ask me what my writing “process” is. If they knew, they wouldn’t believe me, most times it involves just sitting alone and listening to my own thoughts. Rrely does it ever involve me sitting in front of a blank screen on my computer; if I’m typing, it is already written, I am just transcribing the pages in my head. About 90 percent of what I write has been written in my dreams and that is because I spend about 90 percent of my time thinking about writing. My inspiration comes from a variety of sources, most are just random occurrences and rather than keeping my thoughts and opinions about these to myself, I share them with you. Writing…

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Five Hidden Pearls of African-American Literature

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As an African-American writer, I have long been a student of black writers from many different genres who have influenced, inspired, challenged, enlightened, and entertained me. We’ve all heard of the obvious ones: the speeches of Frederick Douglass, the poetry of Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, just to name a few. But there’s a treasure trove of lesser-known works of African-American writing that have had a big impact on me and deserve to be read. Here’s my list of books that you might not know about. (I’ve chosen books in different categories in order to avoid having my special favorites competing in my head with every other…

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The Black Writer’s Burden: Sins of Transracial Fiction

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If you pay attention, you’ll notice how often we Americans mimic a version of Black dialect and persona. We shift our speech and demeanor, usually only momentarily and often with the intent to create momentary comic relief. These fleeting moments of burlesque evoke a stylized version of how Black people are thought to express themselves, or how they might do so in mythical worlds like “Dear Ole Dixie” or “The Ghetto.” I am not referring to anything like malicious ridicule meant to wound, offend, and provoke Black people. These are an almost-unconscious series of informal expressive gestures that most Americans can be expected to employ at one time or another without giving much thought to what they are doing. And…

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Children portray Black History Month icons in Because of Them, We Can

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Today we are giving you a dose of cuteness for a cause.     The Because of Them, We Can campaign was born from photographer Eunique Jones Gibson’s desire to share the rich history of black people as well as the limitless future potential by using photographs that challenged negative stereotypes.     This is bigger than taking pictures of cute children dressed as influential people of African descent. It is about empowering children, giving them a sense of worth based on their shared history, letting them know that they can do all that their predecessors did and even more.     To learn (and see) more, visit Because of Them, We Can.    

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My dear, you SHOULD give a damn

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Lists are everywhere. Books are everywhere. So it makes sense that lists about books are omnipresent. There are lists of the best books ever written, the worst books ever written, the books you should read before you die, the books you should read to make sure you never die (immortal vampires, anyone?), and everything in between. I hate to be the one to break it to you that it is impossible for you to read all the books currently in publication, let alone the thousands coming down the pike. Even with that new-fangled app that purports to let you read a novel in 90 minutes (that’s a gripe for another time), you simply won’t get to turn every page of…

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