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The Top 20 Books for Fall 2013 Print E-mail

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These books are not ranked in any particular order.  Most of these books are available on www.amazon.ca or .com and www.barnesandnoble.com

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The New Jim Crow: A Book Review Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Arthur Lewin Ph.D   
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 18:54


First came slavery. When it ended there was a brief period in the sun called Reconstruction, followed by the long dark night of the Jim Crow Laws and legalized segregation in which we were forced into second class status, and now comes The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, which is also the title of Michelle Alexander’s excellent book reedited this year with a foreword written by Dr. Cornel West, Ph.D. Yes, we have a Black president. Yes, we have Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry leading the pack in Hollywood. Yes, we had Herman Cain in the race for the Republican nomination.

Yes, we have a host of first Black this and first Black that. Nonetheless, we have yet to move beyond race. In fact, under the cover of a set of supposedly race neutral laws and procedures, the police are rounding up Black men in droves, going over them with a fine tooth comb, and for the slightest infraction pulling them into the criminal justice system. Many of them, fearing long prison terms, quickly make a plea deal without benefit of counsel and are thereby branded felons (whether they are given jail time or not), and their ability to get a decent job forever disappears.

There are more African Americans under the supervision of the criminal justice system today than were slaves in 1860. Even during slavery there were free Blacks, many of whom accomplished great things, but they all ran the constant risk of being kidnapped and sold into slavery. Likewise, after the Civil War and Reconstruction free Black men and women could be arrested for vagrancy, that is not having a job, and those working as sharecroppers could be sent to prison for “not paying their debts” to the White men whose land they tilled.

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Top 20 Books for Mega Diversities for Fall 2012 Print E-mail

These books are not ranked in any particular order.  Most of these books are available on www.amazon.ca or .com and www.barnesandnoble.com

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Top 20 Books for Summer 2012

 

These books are not ranked in any particular order.  Most of these books are available on www.amazon.ca or .com and www.barnesandnoble.com

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The Polished Hoe: A Book Review Print E-mail
Written by Nigel Thomas PhD   
Thursday, 16 August 2012 15:40

On November 5, 2002, Austin Clarke won the Giller Fiction Prize for his latest novel The Polished Hoe. Clarke’s first novel, Survivors of the Crossing, was published in 1964. From the very beginning his work was highly praised, but recognition in Canada eluded him. Not until 1997 and his twentieth book, The Origin of Waves, which won the Rogers Communications Writers’ Trust Award, changed things significantly for him. In 1999, he won the W. O. Mitchell Prize, which is given annually to a Canadian who has produced an outstanding body of work and served as a mentor for other writers. The Question, his novel published in 2000, was shortlisted for the Governor-General Award.

Clarke is the author of some twenty-plus books, including ten novels, several collections of short stories, an autobiography, a culinary memoir, a collection of poems, and several essays on social issues. Half of his novels and about a third of his stories are set in Barbados, sometimes called Bimshire, the name by which Barbadians affectionately call their island.

According to Clarke’s biographer, Stella Algoo-Baksh, Clarke led a penurious existence during the early years of writing. Clarke takes every opportunity he can to let the public know that without the support of his wife Betty during those lean years, his writing career might have foundered. Although at various times, he held positions as lecturer or writer-in-residence at many prestigious universities, and freelanced for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, not to mention his being cultural attaché at the Barbadian embassy in Washington and later director of culture in Barbados, Clarke’s inability to play the institutional game of winking at injustice—racial in Canada and the US, political and social in Barbados—made him an unwelcome presence. Moreover, these positions restricted what he wanted to do most: to write.  At one point he became involved with the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, thinking, naively, he now says, that he could change the system from within. For a few years in the early 1990s he was a refugee court judge.

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