Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Kashif Andrew Graham

Fiery and Hopeful

Michael Eric Dyson’s Entertaining Race points toward a more unified future

In his latest book, Entertaining Race, Michael Eric Dyson considers the performative aspect of race in American culture and politics. Dyson will discuss Entertaining Race at a virtual event hosted by Parnassus Books in Nashville on November 12.

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The Courtroom of Fiction

Percival Everett’s The Trees bears witness to America’s long history of violence

In an age when many find justice elusive, some have resorted to the courtroom of fiction. The Trees by Percival Everett is a prime example of this literary justice, examining an American history of lynching, racism, and police brutality.

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Interludes of Fulfillment

Nichole Perkins explores themes of identity, liberation, and belonging

Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be by Nichole Perkins is a memoir fleshed out via a collection of essays. Weaving popular culture, humor, and Black-woman truths, Perkins explores themes of sexual identity and liberation, desirability, and belonging. Perkins will appear at the online 2021 Southern Festival of Books.

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The Order of Masculinity

Brian Broome’s memoir rescues a childhood ended too soon

Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome is a Black, gay, coming-of-age memoir. Broome, a screenwriter and poet, recounts his formative years in Ohio and his subsequent escape. Against the backdrop of Ronald Reagan’s conservative America, the book presents scenes of Black boy initiation into the order of masculinity. Broome will appear at the online 2021 Southern Festival of Books.

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Travel and Disappearance

Kiese Laymon’s novel Long Division operates at the intersection of language and time

The reissue of Kiese Laymon’s Long Division echoes a familiar Black church precept of doing your first works over. In this new iteration of his 2013 debut novel, Laymon separates the story into two books, or testaments, each centered around 14-year-old Citoyen “City” Coldson.

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Life, Breath, and Death

Michael Eric Dyson’s Long Time Coming is an elegy and a call to action

Michael Eric Dyson’s Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America focuses on life, breath, and death, particularly regarding Black bodies. Dyson beatifies the slain and enjoins those newly “woke” to approach social justice work with humility.  

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