MahoganyBooks Bookclub 2022 Reading List

2022 Reading List


January 2022

The Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living with Less by Christine Platt

Forget the aesthetics of mainstream minimalism and discover a life of authenticity and intention with this practical guide to living with less…your way.

When Christine Platt set out on her journey to live with less, she never intended to become The Afrominimalist. She just wanted to tame the chaos in her closet! But after struggling with the austerity and whiteness of mainstream minimalism, Christine realized why minimalism often seems unattainable for so many: the emphasis on all-white, barren aesthetics distracts from the practice of living with intention. And so, she decided to do things her way by curating a life of less influenced by the African diaspora.

In The Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living With Less, Christine gets right to the heart of how childhood experiences and expectations manifest in adulthood, the delicate dance between needs and wants, and the complicated weight of familial and societal pressures. A far cry from Konmaried closets, capsule wardrobes, and conspicuous consumption, Christine’s brand of “living with less” is more than a decluttering regimen. Inspired by her personal journey, Christine presents a radical revisioning of minimalism, one that celebrates the importance of history and heritage, and gives you permission to make space for what really matters…your way.

Beautifully illustrated with original black-and-white prints and line drawings, The Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living With Less is a testament to the idea that anyone can be a minimalist and a warm invitation to a life curated with intention, perfect for readers of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists), Marie Kondo, Joshua Becker, and Courtney Carver.

Discussion Date: February 4, 2022


February 2022

Race First by Tony Martin

JOIN THE GLOBAL EFFORT FOR MARCUS GARVEY’S POSTHUMOUS PARDON

A classic study of the Garvey movement, this is the most thoroughly researched book on Garvey’s ideas by a historian of Black nationalism.

This book is based on the simple premise that no one could have organized and built up the largest black mass movement in Afro-American history, in the face of continuous onslaughts from communists on the left, black reactionaries on all sides, and the most powerful governments in the world, and yet be a buffoon or a clown, or even an overwhelmingly impractical visionary. 

Distortions are not new to Afro-American history, but one would be hard to find a major black figure who has suffered more at the hands of historians and commentators. This study attempts to treat Marcus Garvey and the Universal Improvement Association with the seriousness and respect which they deserve.

After a brief biographical introduction, the study examines the major features of Garvey’s ideological outlook, as they manifested themselves both in theory and practice.

“This book has the important element that is missing in most of the books and articles on Garvey – a political analysis of what the Garvey Movement was about.” (John Henrik Clarke, The Black Scholar

Discussion Date: March 4, 2022


March 2022

Cane (My Harlem Renaissance) by Jean Toomer

The Harlem Renaissance writer’s innovative and groundbreaking novel depicting African American life in the South and North, with a foreword by National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree Zinzi Clemmons

Jean Toomer’s Cane is one of the most significant works to come out of the Harlem Renaissance, and is considered to be a masterpiece in American modernist literature because of its distinct structure and style. First published in 1923 and told through a series of vignettes, Cane uses poetry, prose, and play-like dialogue to create a window into the varied lives of African Americans living in the rural South and urban North during a time when Jim Crow laws pervaded and racism reigned.

While critically acclaimed and known today as a pioneering text of the Harlem Renaissance, the book did not gain as much popularity as other works written during the period. Fellow Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes believed Cane‘s lack of a wider readership was because it didn’t reinforce the stereotypes often associated with African Americans during the time, but portrayed them in an accurate and entirely human way, breaking the mold and laying the groundwork for how African Americans are depicted in literature. For the first time in Penguin Classics, this edition of Cane features a new introduction, suggestions for further reading, and notes by scholar George Hutchinson, and National Book Award Foundation 5 Under 35 novelist Zinzi Clemmons contributes a foreword.

Discussion Date: April 1, 2022


April 2022

Deacon King Kong by James McBride

Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction || Winner of the Gotham Book Prize || One of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of the Year || Oprah’s Book Club Pick || Named one of the Top Ten Books of the Year by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and TIME MagazineA Washington Post Notable Novel

From the author of the National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird and the bestselling modern classic The Color of Water, comes one of the most celebrated novels of the year.

In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and, in front of everybody, shoots the project’s drug dealer at point-blank range.

The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong, James McBride’s funny, moving novel and his first since his National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird. In Deacon King Kong, McBride brings to vivid life the people affected by the shooting: the victim, the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops assigned to investigate, the members of the Five Ends Baptist Church where Sportcoat was deacon, the neighborhood’s Italian mobsters, and Sportcoat himself.

As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters–caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York–overlap in unexpected ways. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, that the best way to grow is to face change without fear, and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion.

Bringing to these pages both his masterly storytelling skills and his abiding faith in humanity, James McBride has written a novel every bit as involving as The Good Lord Bird and as emotionally honest as The Color of Water. Told with insight and wit, Deacon King Kong demonstrates that love and faith live in all of us.

Discussion Date: May 6, 2022


May 2022

The New Negro Aesthetic: Selected Writings by Alain Locke

Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer edits a collection of Alain Locke’s influential essays on the importance of the Black artist and the Black imagination

For months, the philosopher Alain Locke wrestled with the idea of the Negro as America’s most vexing problem. He asked how shall Negroes think of themselves as he considered the new crop of poets, novelists, and short story writers who, in 1924, wrote about their experiences as Black people in America. He did not want to frame Harlem and Black writing as yet another protest against racism, nor did he want to focus on the sociological perspective on the Negro problem and Harlem as a site of crime, poverty, and dysfunction. He wanted to find new language and a new way for Black people to think of themselves.

The essays and articles collected in this volume, by Locke’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, are the result of that new attitude and the struggle to instill the New Negro aesthetics, as Stewart calls it here, into the mind of the twentieth century. To be a New Negro poet, novelist, actor, musician, dancer, or filmmaker was to commit oneself to an arc of self-discovery of what and who the Negro was–would be–without fear that one would disappoint the white or Black bystander.

In committing to that path, Locke asserted, one would uncover a being-in-the-world that was rich and bountiful in its creative possibilities, if Black people could turn off the noise of racism and see themselves for who they really are: a world of creative people who have transformed, powerfully and perpetually, the culture of wherever history or social forces landed them.

Discussion Date: June 3, 2022


June 2022

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

“An epic that feels deeply personal . . . Flournoy’s finely tuned empathy infuses her characters with a radiant humanity.” — O, The Oprah Magazine

“In this assured and memorable novel, [Flournoy] provides the feeling of knowing a family from the inside out, as we would wish to know our own.” — New York Times Book Review

Meet the Turners: a big, complicated, loving, feuding, vibrant American family

There ain’t no haints in Detroit.

The Turners live on Yarrow Street for over fifty years. Their house sees thirteen children get grown and gone and some return; it sees the arrival of grandchildren, the fall of Detroit s East Side, and the loss of a father. Despite abandoned lots, an embattled city, and the inevitable shift outward to the suburbs, the house still stands. But now, as their powerful mother falls ill and loses her independence, the Turners might lose their family home. Beset by time and a national crisis, the house is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children are called back to decide its fate and to reckon with how each of their pasts might haunt and shape their family s future.

A major new contribution to the literature on American families, The Turner House brings us a colorful brood full of love, pride, and unlikely inheritances. It s a striking examination of the American dream and a celebration of the ways in which our families bring us home.

Discussion Date: July 1, 2022



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