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Candidates For January 2014

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Group Organizer
Miami Beach, FL
Post #: 21
Mocha Reader January Theme
(Hurston/Wright Award Winners)

Gabriel's Story: A Novel by David Anthony Durham (304)

When Gabriel Lynch moves with his mother and brother from a brownstone in Baltimore to a dirt-floor hovel on a homestead in Kansas, he is not pleased. He does not dislike his new stepfather, a former slave, but he has no desire to submit to a life of drudgery and toil on the untamed prairie. So he joins up with a motley crew headed for Texas only to be sucked into an ever-westward wandering replete with a mindless violence he can neither abet nor avoid–a terrifying trek he penitently fears may never allow for a safe return.

MDPLS – 4 Copies
eBook – Yes

Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones(272 pages)

An award-winning author makes her fiction debut with the coming-of-age story of three young black children during the Atlanta child murders of 1979.Its summer in Atlanta and black children are disappearing. By the time the heinous killing spree is over, 29 will be dead. This haunting menace provides the backdrop to the exquisitely evocative stories of three children fighting the everyday battles of adolescence: Tasha, who is coping with her parents separation and the sweet pain of a first crush on a tender boy; Rodney, who struggles to make friends and wants only to please his abusive father; and Octavia, who faces down the popular crowd at school and must straddle the line between protected and protective daughter. Ultimately, these individual stories reveal the loss of innocence that accompanies the passage from childhood to adulthood

MDPLS – 6 Copies
eBook – Yes

Freshwater Road by Denise Nicholas (432 pages)

When University of Michigan sophomore Celeste Tyree travels to Mississippi to volunteer her efforts in Freedom Summer, she's assigned to help register voters in the small town of Pineyville, a place best known for a notorious lynching that occurred only a few years earlier. As the long, hot summer unfolds, Celeste befriends several members of the community, but there are also those who are threatened by her and the change that her presence in the South represents. Finding inner strength as she helps lift the veil of oppression and learns valuable lessons about race, social change, and violence, Celeste prepares her adult students for their showdown with the county registrar. All the while, she struggles with loneliness, a worried father in Detroit, and her burgeoning feelings for Ed Jolivette, a young man also in Mississippi for the summer.

MDPLS – 7 Copies
eBook – yes

She's Gone by Kwame Dawes (345 pages)

Kofi, a Jamaican reggae musician, and Keisha, a social researcher from South Carolina, meet at a club where Kofi's band is playing on the tail end of a United States tour. Kofi and Keisha come together that night, seeking relief from the uneasy circumstances of their life--Keisha still trying to make up her mind about an ex-lover who keeps coming back into her life, and Kofi realizing that he is teetering on depression and the tyranny of his older lover in Jamaica. Something happens in their first meeting and Kofi convinces Keisha to take a chance and follow him to Jamaica.

She's Gone explores the complex dynamics of two virtual strangers trying to negotiate the complicated terrain of cultural difference, class difference, and issues of gender. The Jamaica that Dawes writes about is thick with the politics of class and identity, full of characters with distinct agendas and needs--a world quite different from the stereotype of sun sea and sun. Keisha feels immediately like a stranger on the island, and Kofi's return to Jamaica transforms him into a brooding man who finds comfort in withdrawing into himself.

Keisha takes off for the north coast, where she tries to make sense of her decisions. She is sure that she has made a mistake in coming to Jamaica. While there, she is physically attacked and left to feel as if she has no one to care for her. Kofi's inertia is a disappointment and Keisha decides to return to America. Kofi succumbs to a deep depression and only when he discovers that Keisha is pregnant with their child does he begin a long journey across the U.S. to find Keisha. His travels take him to South Carolina, to her family, to her landscape and her history, teaching him more about Keisha and more about how much he needs her. It is never certain whether Kofi will find Keisha--her commitment is to find a new life for herself, a new space for herself.

MDPLS – 4 Copies
eBook – yes

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