Book Reveiw 8-5
Sunday, March 29, 2009

By Sheila Taylor

The Capital Area Reads One Book is hosting distinguished author James McBride on Monday, April 20, 2009 to discuss his most recent book A Song Yet Sung. This highly acclaimed novel was selected for 2009 by the Capital Area District Library Reads Committee to spark a community-wide reading that will stimulate discussion and the exchange of ideas. This annual project is a labor of love for the Capital Area Reads Committee. The undertaking to choose a book begins with the reading of four selections that are subjected to an extensive review process. Each book is discussed and debated by the committee based on criteria that assesses readability, literary quality, and a story line that is thought provoking.

James McBride's career as a writer has segued across genres including a stint as staff writer for the Boston Globe, People Magazine and the Washington Post to name a few. His memoir The Color of Water was his watershed, elevating him as the writer of an American Classic. He evolved as a novelist with his second book, Miracle of St. Anna, which was later created into a major motion picture directed by Spike Lee.

A Song Yet Sung, James McBride's most recent novel, weaves an intricate mysterious tale that is based on true historical accounts. Its central character Liz Spocott is a beautiful young escaped slave who is a gifted seer and recipient of "the Code", a cryptic means of communication relied upon by runaway slaves. The backdrop is the swamp land of Maryland's Eastern Shore where slave catchers, runaway slaves, slave owners, watermen, and free blacks are integral components of the operation of "the peculiar institution" of slavery in that part of the country. Liz's visions take her into a time and culture not yet known but capture the essence of what we know as today's hip hop culture. It is a haunting and fascinating weave of the plight of African American's at that time integrated with a foretelling of future events.

In addition to his literary gifts, James McBride is a gifted jazz saxophonist and song writer for a Who's Who of music greats including Anita Baker and the late Grover Washington. This special event holds great promise to be an enriching and enlightening evening for all who attend.

 

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