Friday, June 22, 2007

Help me find a book!

More help needed!

I read this great book probably last year before my 18th birthday. I got a Memphis library card for my 17th, the $50 is only good a for a year. But I'll be going to school there in 2 months, so I'll get another one.

Nothing will stop me from reading a book, magazine, comic book, or anything not related to school at least once a day.

I will make time to watch the Daily Show and Colbert Report (and World Series) and I will demand time of myself to read a book to unwind.

My uncle graduated this year, he's going to be a middle school teacher. During the school year, he couldn't read a book for fun, and he has a great collection.

However, he had time to watch a couple of hours of TV a day. And he's not like most people, he likes to read. But he doesn't read in bed, so he doesn't read while in school.

Forget that nonsense. I spent more time fretting about what book to take to school than what I was going to wear. (Jeans, a t-shirt, white socks, and tennies. Ta da!) It had to be long enough to get me through all 6 periods, and something I hadn't read in a few months, so I wouldn't know everything right away. And if it was a library checkout, I had to read enough to know if I'd like it enough to read throughout the day. And I always stuck a few MADs in my backpack just in case.

One day my junior year, the unthinkable happened. I finished the book I had before 5th period was over! (Ella Minnow Pea, a delightful book that I later bought.)

6th period was taught by a slacker, and I had nothing, nothing! to read until I got home.

I think I even had 2 books with me. Ella was the second one, the other one was probably already half-finished or something. Or an equally fast read, or a dull day filled with tests, who knows?

Back to my query - I don't know the title or the author of the book.

I just know it was damn good and I'd love to read it again! (And again, and again, and again.) I will end up buying this book one day, I can guarantee it.

Okay, here's what I remember. It is fiction. It's filed under African-American fiction. It was written by a man. The main character is a black male author, who is upset about the fact that his work is put in the African-American literature section of stores because the blackest thing about the book is his picture on the dust jacket.

He writes boring academic books that are lauded in academic circles but nobody else cares, because it's about stuffy stuff. They're not even about Africans or African-Americans or Africa, they're just about some other scholarly subject.

One day, he decides to write a fictional book under a pseudonym.

He writes it in first person, and the person telling the story tells it using street talk, the most stereotypical English of the uneducated black man. I believe he has a baby with a woman he hates.

Anyways, the book takes off, makes him a ton of money, and he hates it. His publisher (or agent, whoever) was the only other one who saw it as a joke, which it started out as.

The book wins awards, and he wears a disguise - sunglasses and monosyllabic grunting.

He's also on the judging board for an award (the award? I don't remember) that his new book falls under.

Everyone loves it and says it's so real and an accurate portrayal of contemporary black life, etc, etc.

I don't remember the ending, but it wasn't happy or sad, it just was.

It's a great, thoughtful book, and I need to know the title or the author's name.

Thank you.

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