How To Slowly Kill Yourself And Others In America

Author: Kiese Laymon
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1408868180
Size: 23.82 MB
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'I was stunned into stillness' Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist 'I've had guns pulled on me by four people under Central Mississippi skies ? once by a white undercover cop, once by a young brother trying to rob me for the left-overs of a weak work-study check, once by my mother and twice by myself. Not sure how or if I've helped many folks say yes to life, but I've definitely aided in a few folks dying slowly in America, all without the aid of a gun' Kiese Laymon grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. That was where he started to write and where he began to seek to create an honest account of living in the US, a country striving to declare itself multi-cultural, post-racial and mostly innocent. This is that account. Drawing on his own personal experiences, these essays are Laymon's attempt to deal with many issues occupying America today, from race, identity and writing to music, celebrity and violence. Through letters between his own disparate family members, pleas to performers whose voices will never be heard again, recollections of his own failure to become a world-famous emcee, analysis of the growing culture of fear in the media and detailed accounts of his clashes with an education system that has both advanced and failed the generation he grew up in, Laymon gets closer not only to the truth behind himself, but to the promises behind the promised land. Searing and passionate, this timely collection of essays introduces a vibrant new voice in US literature and offers a unique insight into the forces that are tearing America apart today.

How To Slowly Kill Yourself And Others In America

Author: Kiese Laymon
Publisher: Agate Publishing
ISBN: 1572847263
Size: 68.23 MB
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Author and essayist Kiese Laymon is one of the most unique, stirring, and powerful new voices in American social and cultural commentary. How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America is a collection of Laymon's essays, touching on subjects ranging from family, race, violence, and celebrity to music, writing, and coming of age in the rural Mississippi Gulf Coast. Laymon's writing is unflinchingly honest, while also being smart, lacerating, and unexpectedly funny. In How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, Laymon deals in depth with his own personal story, which is filled with trials (and reflections on those trials) that illuminate under-appreciated aspects of contemporary American life. As revealed in the book's title essay, Laymon attended three colleges before earning his undergraduate degree. He was suspended from the first of these institutions, Millsaps College, following a probationary period resulting from a controversial essay he published on campus. As the school's president described it, the "Key Essay in question was written by Kiese Laymon, a controversial writer who consistently editorializes on race issues." Controversy seemed to follow this young writer, but as he himself puts it, "my job is to ask questions, to broaden the scope of American literature by broadening the scope of who is written to and imaginatively writes back." Laymon voice is something new and unexpected in contemporary American writing, mixing a colloquial voice with acerbic wit, sharp insights, and blast-furnace heat that calls to mind no one so much as a black 21st-century Mark Twain. Much like Twain, Laymon's writing is steeped in controversial issues both private and public. From his biting critiques of race politics to revelations of his own internal struggles with American "blackness," Laymon taps into an ongoing conversation that is played out consciously and subconsciously across all of our artistic, cultural, political, and economic realities. This collection introduces Laymon as a writer who balances volatile concepts on a razor's edge, and who chops up much-discussed and often-misunderstood topics with his scathing humor and fresh, unexpected takes on the ongoing absurdities, frivolities, and calamities of American life.

Long Division

Author: Kiese Laymon
Publisher: Agate Publishing
ISBN: 1572847182
Size: 62.27 MB
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Long Division includes two distinct but tightly interwoven stories--one called "All Things Considered," the other "Long Division." In the first, it's March 2012: 14-year-old Citoyen "City" Coldson and his nemesis, LaVander Peeler, become the first black male duo to win the state of Mississippi's “Can You Use This Word in a Sentence” contest finals. Both boys are asked to represent Mississippi at the televised national competition. (Hours before the contest begins, City is given a book without an author called "Long Division.") Turmoil and misunderstanding ensue, as City and LaVander learn they have reason to doubt the merit of their presence at the contest. “They want us to win,” City says to LaVander moments before the contest starts. After being assigned, and then misusing, the word “niggardly” in the first round of the contest, City has a remarkable on-stage meltdown in front of a national television audience. LaVander, on the other hand, though incredibly shaken, advances to the finals and has the chance to win the contest. The day after the contest, City is sent to spend the weekend with his grandmother in the small coastal community of Melahatchie, which is also the site of the mysterious disappearance of girl named Baize Shephard. Baize Shephard also happens to be one of the main characters in the book "Long Division," which City has been dipping into throughout the story. While in Melahatchie, City's troubled Uncle Relle reveals that City has become an overnight YouTube celebrity thanks to his on-stage meltdown, and that he is being sought to appear on a new television show called "Youtube’s Black Reality All Stars." City is alternately celebrated and ridiculed by the white and black residents of Melahatchie as a result of his performance at the contest, even as he delves deeper into "Long Division" and its story of the missing Baize Shephard. When the neighborhood is convinced that a white man nicknamed Pot-Belly has assaulted Baize and done away with her body, they beat the man to death...or so City thinks, until he finds the man alive, chained up in a workshed in the back yard of his grandmother’s house. City visits the imprisoned white man four times during the course of his weekend--reading to him from "Long Division," asking him questions he's always wanted to ask white people, and promising to save him if he survives his own baptism, which his grandmother has engineered during City's visit. When LaVander appears, he and City must reluctantly work together again, this time to save the life of the white man chained in the workshed--and quite possibly the life of City’s grandmother, too. There's something else that City finds especially interesting about "Long Division," besides the story of Baize: another main character in the book is also named City Coldson--except this City Coldson, who lives in Melahatchie, is 14 in 1985. This City will do anything to make Shalaya Crump love him--including traveling 26 years into the future (via a time portal they find in the woods) to steal a laptop and cellphone from a girl--a mysterious teenaged rapper named Baize Shephard, who lost her parents in Hurricane Katrina. The following day, Shalaya and City meet another worn down time-traveler, this one from 1964, a boy named "Jewish" Evan Altshuler. Evan is desperate to protect his family against the Klu Klux Klan during Freedom Summer. He convinces Shalaya that he can help her find her parents and her future self if she brings the laptop computer back to 1964 and does him a favor. Unexpectedly, City and Shalaya become separated, with Shalaya stuck in 1964 and City stuck in 2012. In their wanderings back and forward through time, much is revealed about City’s relationship with Baize, and about segregation, Freedom Summer, the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil spill, and the limits of technology and love. Long Division is a Twain-esque exploration of celebrity, authorship, racialized terror, neo-liberalism, religion, and coming of age in Post-Katrina Mississippi.

Heavy

Author: Kiese Laymon
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1501125699
Size: 53.46 MB
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In this powerful and provocative memoir, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse. Kiese Laymon is a fearless writer. In his essays, personal stories combine with piercing intellect to reflect both on the state of American society and on his experiences with abuse, which conjure conflicted feelings of shame, joy, confusion and humiliation. Laymon invites us to consider the consequences of growing up in a nation wholly obsessed with progress yet wholly disinterested in the messy work of reckoning with where we’ve been. In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free. A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations.

Black Cool

Author: Rebecca Walker
Publisher: Soft Skull Press
ISBN: 1593764723
Size: 78.17 MB
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Black Cool explores the ineffable state and aesthetic of Black Cool. From the effortless reserve of Miles Davis in khakis on an early album cover, to the shock of resistance in black women’s fashion from Angela Davis to Rihanna, to the cadence of poets as diverse as Staceyann Chin and Audre Lorde, Black Cool looks at the roots of Black Cool and attempts to name elements of the phenomena that have emerged to shape the global expectation of cool itself. Buoyed by some of America’s most innovative thinkers on the subject—graphic novelist Mat Johnson, Brown University Professor of African Studies Tricia Rose, critical thinking and cultural icon bell hooks, Macarthur winner Kara Walker, and many more—the book is at once a handbook, a map, a journey into the matrix of another cosmology. It’s a literal periodic table of cool, wherein each writer names and defines their element of choice. Dream Hampton writes about Audacity. Helena Andrews about Reserve, Margo Jefferson on Eccentricity, Veronica Chambers on Genius, and so on. With a foreword by Henry Louis Gates that bridges historical African elements of cool with the path laid out for the future, Black Cool offers a provocative perspective on this powerful cultural legacy.

American Girls

Author: Alison Umminger
Publisher: Flatiron Books
ISBN: 1250075025
Size: 61.96 MB
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A bittersweet, honest, and widely acclaimed YA coming-of-age novel that distills honest truths about American girldom Anna is a fifteen-year-old girl slouching toward adulthood, and she's had it with her life at home. So Anna "borrows" her stepmom's credit card and runs away to Los Angeles, where her half-sister takes her in. But LA isn't quite the glamorous escape Anna had imagined. As Anna spends her days on TV and movie sets, she engrosses herself in a project researching the murderous Manson girls—and although the violence in her own life isn't the kind that leaves physical scars, she begins to notice the parallels between herself and the lost girls of LA, and of America, past and present. In Anna's singular voice, we glimpse not only a picture of life on the B-list in LA, but also a clear-eyed reflection on being young, vulnerable, lost, and female in America—in short, on the B-list of life. Alison Umminger writes about girls, violence, and which people society deems worthy of caring about, which ones it doesn't, in a way not often seen in teen fiction. American Girls is: An ALA Booklist Top 10 First Novel A Kirkus Best Book of the Year A Barnes & Noble Best YA Book of the Year A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best of 2016 A Bustle Best YA Book of the Year YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults "Messy, honest, and unflinchingly real. I can't get this book out of my head. I don't want to get this book out of my head." —Becky Albertalli, Morris Award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Where The Line Bleeds

Author: Jesmyn Ward
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1501164333
Size: 41.91 MB
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"Twin brothers struggle with the responsibilities of adulthood and family in the post-Katrina Mississippi Gulf coast"--Provided by publisher.

Men We Reaped

Author: Jesmyn Ward
Publisher: A&C Black
ISBN: 1408830485
Size: 73.77 MB
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'...And then we heard the rain falling, and that was the drops of blood falling; and when we came to get the crops, it was dead men that we reaped.' Harriet TubmanIn five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five men in her life, to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth--and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own. Jesmyn grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi. She writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the men who can do no right and the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent. She bravely tells her story, revisiting the agonizing losses of her only brother and her friends. As the sole member of her family to leave home and pursue high education, she writes about this parallel American universe with the objectivity distance provides and the intimacy of utter familiarity.

Abandon Me

Author: Melissa Febos
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1632866595
Size: 30.76 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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For readers of Maggie Nelson and Leslie Jamison, a fierce and dazzling personal narrative that explores the many ways identity and art are shaped by love and loss. In her critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos laid bare the intimate world of the professional dominatrix, turning an honest examination of her life into a lyrical study of power, desire, and fulfillment. In her dazzling Abandon Me, Febos captures the intense bonds of love and the need for connection -- with family, lovers, and oneself. First, her birth father, who left her with only an inheritance of addiction and Native American blood, its meaning a mystery. As Febos tentatively reconnects, she sees how both these lineages manifest in her own life, marked by compulsion and an instinct for self-erasure. Meanwhile, she remains closely tied to the sea captain who raised her, his parenting ardent but intermittent as his work took him away for months at a time. Woven throughout is the hypnotic story of an all-consuming, long-distance love affair with a woman, marked equally by worship and withdrawal. In visceral, erotic prose, Febos captures their mutual abandonment to passion and obsession -- and the terror and exhilaration of losing herself in another. At once a fearlessly vulnerable memoir and an incisive investigation of art, love, and identity, Abandon Me draws on childhood stories, religion, psychology, mythology, popular culture, and the intimacies of one writer's life to reveal intellectual and emotional truths that feel startlingly universal.

The Sellout

Author: Paul Beatty
Publisher: TPC Books
ISBN:
Size: 55.53 MB
Format: PDF
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Dickens, an "agrarian ghetto," is the fictional Los Angeles hood at the center of Paul Beatty's scathingly satirical novel, The Sellout. It's a book that, as poet Kevin Young writes in his perceptive New York Times review, "isn't for the fainthearted." Beatty — the first American novelist to win the coveted Man Booker Award — is a comic genius at the top of his game and in The Sellout, he dares to question almost every received notion about American society. Buckle your seat belts.