March Book of the Month: Claretta Street by Colette Barris

*** BIG NEWS! ***

Every single month we nominate and vote for a theme based book to be our Book of the Month. This month will be a bit different. This month we are not going to nominate and vote. Why? Well, for the month of January we are honored to have our first Sponsored Book of the Month. What is a sponsored book? The author and or publisher has agreed to pay Mocha Girls Read (non-profit) book club for the honor of being our Book of the Month. Along with this honor the book, author, and publisher are going to get some really great things as well.

The second Mocha Girl Read Sponored Book of the Month for March 2018 is Claretta Street by Colette Barris.  Take a minute to see what this book is all about.

Synopsis

Claretta Street the first novel by Colette Barris is the story of Pacoima, a bustling little town in the sixties located in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. Claretta Street follows the lives of four young African American girls known as the “Babies,” growing up in the vortex of the turbulent change of the sixties becoming young adults in the decadent and destructive eighties.

Today countless discussions on the peril of Black America proliferates the media, academia and social scientists in real time; propelling this continuous Greek tragedy into the main frame of America and the world. However, the incendiary foundation and epoch of this unfolding disaster must be told and the veil of destruction exposed-the eighties. Claretta Street by Colette Barris takes the reader on a ride of unbelievable clarity and cause, as Denise in ancient griot form becomes the voice of the diaspora both prophetic and naive. Stripping down in plain view the causes and emotions of a time of great hope and sadness to preserve through decadence and decline.
Claretta Street is the story of hope and change coupled with the unfortunate forces and juxtaposition of man’s inhumanity and struggle all the while seeking hope and love. Pacoima provides the foundation for Colette Barris’s remarkable journey to author, she is a graduate of the University of Southern California.

Meet the Author

Writer Colette Barris is a graduate of the University of Southern California, a native of Pacoima, and the older sister of Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Black-ish creator/writer and 2017 Peabody winner Kenya Barris.

Colette Barris brings a fresh voice to the plight of Black experience in America. Claretta Street is clear, concise, yet layered with the complexities that encompass the Black experience in a way not articulated in American literature in years.

Author’s Links

Website

Buy the Book


Congratulations Mocha Girl Colette for being the March Sponosored book of the month for 2018!
Feel free to leave comments below or at Goodreads.com. We are looking forward to hearing what you all think of this month’s selection.

Keep the pages turning ladies.

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Coco Chanel

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Afrofuturism Now

Hey Mocha Girls!

I hope you all had a wonderful week and great Valentine’s Day!

I don’t know about any of you, but I am unbelievably excited to see Black Panther! The opportunity to see heroic, supernatural black people on the the silver screen for a major film franchise is such a gift. The movie inspired me to explore more art that includes heroic black folks, which led to a deep dive into Afrofuturism!

For those who don’t know, Afrofuturism refers to “a movement in literature, music, art, etc., featuring futuristic or science fiction themes which incorporate elements of black history and culture.” Often times, black folks are relegated to various stereotypes and tropes in cinema, that only show us in subservient or inferior roles. Afrofuturism allows us to imagine a world where we are at the forefront, telling our own stories, and saving ourselves while being technologically savvy. So if Black Panther leaves you wanted more sci-fi stories featuring people of color, I am going to recommend a few books and authors that willl quench your thirst!

 

1. Binti

Photo credit: Amazon

When I researched must-read Afrofuturism books, Binti was at the top of most of the lists. Nnedi Okorafor’s novel follows an intelligent girl named Binti who has been offered admission to a prestigious university, the first of her people to do so. But before she gets a chance to study at the best institution in the galaxy, she gets  caught in the cross-hairs of an evil force set on destroying the university. This first installment is a quick read, just 96 pages, but the series are sure to keep you coming back.

 

2. The Intuitionist

Photo credit: Amazon

The author of this book is a familiar one for us, Colson Whitehead also wrote our June book of the month, Underground Railroad. But before he took us on Cora’s wild journey, he penned his debut novel, The Intuitionist. The book is about the saga of Lila Mae Watson, an elevator inspector in the “intuitionist” school that must learn to figure out what is happening in the world around her after one of the elevators she inspects catastrophically malfunctions. Whiteheads fictionional world is filled with skyscrapers and people are transported to and from through an intricate system of elevators.

 

3. Seed to Harvest (four part series)

Photo credit: Goodreads

This series was another popular selection among Afrofuturism enthusiasts. Octavia Butler is a celebrated science fiction writer who opened the minds of readers to a world they haven’t yet explored or even imagined. This particular series follows two African immortals, Doro and Anyanwu who concoct a plan to create civilization. But the malevolent one of the pair, Doro, “mounts a colossal selective breeding project, attempting to create a master race of telepaths. He succeeds beyond his wildest dreams, splitting the human race down the middle and establishing a new world order dominated by the most manipulative minds on Earth.” Fun fact, Butler was the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur fellow, which is another great reason to grab this book.

 

4. Charles R. Saunders

Photo credit: Goodreads

According to Atlanta Blackstar, Saunders is a Black Canadian journalist and Afrofuturist/sci-fi author. Some of his works include “Imaro,” “The Quest for Cush (Imaro 2),” “The Trail of Bohu (Imaro 3).” His most popular work is “Imaro” (1981). This story takes place on the continent of Nyumbani. Imaro is our hero who struggles to be accepted by his people. He goes on many adventures that put him through tests of mind and body in order to make a name for himself.

 

5. Steven Barnes

Photo credit: Wookieepedia

Steven Barnes careers crosses between books and TV. He’s written for Stargate SG-1 and The Outer Limits. Some of his well known books include, His works include: “Blood Brothers,” “Far Beyond the Stars: Star Trek Deep Space Nine,” “Firedance,” “Iron Shadows,” “Gorgon Child,” “The Kundalini Equation” and “Street Lethal.” Along with his passion for science fiction, he is also an accomplished martial artist.

Those are all the recommendations I have for now! Are there any sci-fi books or authors we should know about? Let us know in the comments below!

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Misty Copeland

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Quote It – Author of the Month

Natalie Baszile

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