The BackList

This is a retired blog. For the new and improved BackList blog, please visit!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double Dutch to Hip-Hop

i am so behind in my reading, it's ridiculous! but I definitely want to read this.

I remember the day I learned to double-dutch. I was a late-bloomer, an 8th grader in Baltimore, Maryland. See there wasn't any double-dutching on the "streets" of West Orange, New Jersey, where I lived until 7th grade. Man. I would stay after school for hours double-dutching with some girls who became my friends strictly based on our admiration for the activity.

Those were good days.

creative ways to market your novel

Short and sweet article that may spark some marketing ideas for you novelists out there.

Back to BEA in chunks:

People asked me what I thought about the Their Eyes Were Reading Smut panel featuring Nick Chiles, Nikki Turner, Benilde Little and Malaika Adero. Well my first response is: I'm tired of the conversation, period. Why are we discussing street fiction versus literary fiction anyway? Why aren't we talking about getting people reading in general? Why aren't we talking about ways to reach our young people? Why are we gripping about a certain subsection of our literature?

I have/had my own views on street fiction, but I've gotten over myself to look at the bigger picture: We need to work on forming a culture of readers.

And instead of complaining about not enough "literary" writers getting shine, guess what Felicia did? She started a website called BackList where she can highlight whoever she wants. My question is: what are some us doing to change the landscape beyond complaining? Malaika Adero is starting a literary festival in Harlem that will help promote literary writers. Sometimes actions do speak louder than words.

During the conversation it was brought up that "literary writers" can learn promotion from street writers. AMEN. The more and more I talk to writers who don't write street fiction, it is amazing to me how many really aren't interested in promoting their book and more disappointing really aren't interested in connecting with the community for which they write. But they have time to complain about the growth of street fiction. Here's an idea: take some of that energy and invest it into yourself, into reaching the community, and into promoting reading.

I think one of the best comments came from Lee McDonald at Karibu Bookstores. She talked about the responsibility of bookstores to inform customers about the breadth of books available. It isn't about picking one genre over the other, it is about promoting the array of African American literature out there and encouraging a culture of reading across the spectrum.

Monday, May 22, 2006

hip hop cop

Kirkus has an early review of NOTORIOUS C.O.P: The Inside Story of the Tupac, Biggie, and Jam Master Jay Investigations from NYPD's First "Hip-Hop Cop".

Aren't subtitles getting longer and longer? I wonder though how much of an inside story into the killings the book really is. Can't say I'm compelled to read it as of yet. The review didn't offer any evidence that there was some new info to be learned.

book expo and calabash

so i plan on writing recaps about both book expo and calabash (coming up this weekend) for my blog. but i may wait until the site relaunch which is really days away.

but what can i say in the meantime. The African-American Pavillion was definitely soooo much better than last year. The programming on both Thursday, Friday (sorry wasn't there Saturday but know there was stuff going on) was well put together.

Thursday had the keynote speech by Queen Latifah who was great. I want to go into more detail about her talk because she really said some things that I was feeling regarding reading, young people, and street fiction. Her new children's book, Queen of the Scene, drops this fall. Naturally, it rhymes. Man I think Queen reflects the best of hip-hop: smart, down, diversified, and succesful.

Okay more to the meantime peep the press release.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Where have I been

Where have I been? I'm asking myself that question. I haven't blogged in a minute. Oh it's been hectic. But some will be glad to hear that some of my time has been going to the redesign of BackList.

Oh it's going to be really really good. And I'm not just saying it cause it's my baby. I'm making some drastic changes. My wonderful webmaster is incorporating my vision.

We are only a few weeks away from launch...

Oh From PW Daily:

The New York Times will announce in next Sunday's Book Review that Toni Morrison's Beloved has been named the "best work of fiction" in the last 25 years. The Book Review asked 100 prominent writers to nominate one book published since 1980. Morrison's novel took 15 votes, beating out Don DeLillo's Underworld, with 11, John Updike's four-in-one Rabbit Angstrom and Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, tied with 8 votes each, and Philip Roth's American Pastoral (7 votes).

I can say that I haven't read any of the other books (although I do like Don DeLillo). There are just too many books...geez.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Okay here's the update from Publishers Weekly:

Readers who have a copy of Kaavya Viswanathan's How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life may want to hold on to it, as the book is now a collector's item. In a statement issued from Little, Brown, the publisher finally said that it will not be releasing a revised edition of the book. And Viswanathan's second book in that two-title deal she signed with LB is dead too. The brief announcement came this afternoon from LB's senior v-p and publisher, Michael Pietsch.
While LB would not comment on what this means for the highly publicized $500,000 advance the young author received, agent Robert Gottlieb told PW that it's certainly possible the imprint could request that the money be returned.

The article goes on to say that LB could sue Viswanathan but that's unlikely.

Suing would really take up too much time and resources. Get the check back and move on.