Bookmarks: Reading in Black and White, First Paperback Edition
Rutgers University Press, 2006
Cloth: 978-0-8135-3907-2 | Paper: 978-0-8135-4351-2 | eISBN: 978-0-8135-6791-4
Library of Congress Classification Z1039.B56H65 2006
Dewey Decimal Classification 028.908996073
ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
"BookMarks is a moving and revelatory memoir... a work of fiercely intelligent scholarship." - Susan Larson,
But what exactly do our answers say? In BookMarks, Karla FC Holloway explores the public side of reading, and specifically how books and booklists form a public image of African Americans. Revealing her own love of books and her quirky passion for their locations in libraries and on bookshelves, Holloway reflects on the ways that her parents guided her reading when she was young and her bittersweet memories of reading to her children. She takes us on a personal and candid journey that considers the histories of reading in children’s rooms, prison libraries, and “Negro” libraries of the early twentieth century, and that finally reveals how her identity as a scholar, a parent, and an African American woman has been subject to judgments that public cultures make about race and our habits of reading.
Holloway is the first to call our attention to a remarkable trend of many prominent African American writers—including Maya Angelou, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry Louis Gates, Malcolm X, and Zora Neale Hurston. Their autobiographies and memoirs are consistently marked with booklists—records of their own habits of reading. She examines these lists, along with the trends of selection in Oprah Winfrey’s popular book club, raising the questions: What does it mean for prominent African Americans to associate themselves with European learning and culture? How do books by black authors fare in the inevitable hierarchy of a booklist?
BookMarks provides a unique window into the ways that African Americans negotiate between black and white cultures. This compelling rumination on reading is a book that everyone should add to their personal collections and proudly carry “cover out.”
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