Thursday, September 29, 2011

Silver Girl

When I saw the opportunity to preview Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand, I decided to take a chance on it. First, I wanted to read something that was out of my comfort zone. I was also curious to read the book that caused Tayari Jones to change the name of her book. (And if you haven’t read Silver Sparrow, please go and read it ASAP. You will thank me for it.)

This story is about two friends, Meredith and Connie, who have both recently lost their husbands. Meredith was living the lap of luxury until her husband Fred becomes the fictional Bernie Madoff. With Fred serving the rest of his life in prison, Meredith must figure out how to move on while also being investigated for fraud.

Connie becomes a sort-of-savior to Meredith by taking her to Martha’s Vineyard for the summer. But Connie is going through her own grief with the death of her husband and her adult daughter not speaking to her.

Throughout this book, the women reexamine their lives through flashbacks, which include the death of Meredith’s father while in college and a falling-out among the friends. Meanwhile, they find love in unexpected places (one through a neighbor, while the other through their high school sweetheart – which happens to be the brother of one of the two friends).

This book was enjoyable and easy to read. Hilderbrand did a good job of describing the scenery, the people and the situations they were in. Also, you could relate to the friends’ situations and I found rooting for them.

I don’t know if I would read any of Hilderbrand’s other books, but I would recommend this to others.

Disclaimer: Advance copy received from netGallery and Little Brown and Company.

Monday, September 5, 2011

One Book Charleston County

Disclosure: I am a member of the Board of Trustees for CCPL.

For the month of September, Charleston County residents will all be reading the same book as a part of "One Book Charleston County," facilitated by the Charleston County Public Library.

The book that was selected was Daughters of the Dust by filmmaker Julie Dash. This coincides with the 20th anniversary of the movie of the same name, which was filmed in the Lowcountry. Avery Research Center, based at the College of Charleston, will also have events to recognize the occasion.

Thanks to the Sue Metzger Estate, 4,000 copies of the book were distributed throughout the 16 libraries. There will be book discussions and events throughout the county, including an outdoor showing of the movie. Dash will be at several of these events.

This Webpage will have more information about One Book Charleston County, including book discussion events, discussion questions and a synopsis of the book.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sophia Nelson Comes to Charleston

Last Sunday (August 28), political journalist and author Sophia Nelson discussed her new book, Black Women Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama, at the Mount Pleasant Barnes and Noble.

Nelson was on vacation in the area with her mother and two nieces. As a matter of fact, she has visited the Charleston area several times and wrote most of the book here. Part of her research lead her to Boone Hall Plantation.

Nelson's main goal of this book was to change the perception of African-American women in the public's eyes. Her inspiration came from several sources, including Don Imus' comments towards the Rutgers University women's basketball team and the way the media portrays First Lady Michelle Obama.

During her hour-long talk, she asked audience members (which were African-American women and one African-American guy) to come up adjectives people come up with when describing African-American women. Most of us came up with negative words (loud, with attitudes, ghetto, etc). Then she flipped it and ask us what we thought of ourselves personally. We came up with positive things to say (smart, beautiful, hard-working).

Nelson said that it's time to let people know that African-American women are more than neck-rolling, finger-snapping, always-have-an-attitude women that is always seen in the media. We are more than the new trend that the media seems to be focusing on - the lonely, single college graduate who can't get a man. And that it is time to show the world who we really are.

Nelson's book features various research studies on how people of different races feel about African-American women and how African-American women feel about themselves. It also addresses difficult subject matter in the African-American community, such as abuse and mental illness.

Nelson's hope is to allow African American women to take a good look at themselves and to treat each other and themselves better.

I heard about the book in Essence and was planning to buy in for my Nook. But after seeing that she was coming, I decided to buy a copy. Nelson was very nice and interacted with the audience. I also enjoyed meeting her family! I haven't started on the book yet (I just started The Kid for my book club and the local library is doing a community read), but I look forward to reading it and hopefully take something away from it.