Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Reading is FUNdamental!

I recently finished reading "Hunting in Harlem" by Mat Johnson. It was the March selection for my reading group. The book was released in 2004. Don't ask me why we are just now getting around to reading this book ... The group was first introduced to Johnson when we read his debut novel "Drop". That book was a riot. I don't recall the details, but I remember laughing - alot! We loved it.

Anyway, "Hunting in Harlem" is an interesting title and an even more interesting book. Though interesting seems such an inappropriate word to describe this novel. How about that book cover ... ? A bit eerie, yet fitting.
It was the plot that I relished - mostly for its inventiveness. I am, however, reluctant to give away the details because I don't read book jackets and I don't like when the crux of the storyline is given away. Let's just say the story was well crafted; not really predictable and had a good amount of humor tucked away. Johnson clearly knows how to poke fun at Black American society; though in my opinion, that's not too hard to do. Johnson just does so in such a searing way that sometimes (well, maybe just once), I was actually afraid to laugh. Huuummmm, seems I failed to mention that Johnson won a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for "Hunting in Harlem". Good stuff.

Well, Johnson has a new book out - "The Great Negro Plot: A Tale of Conspiracy and Murder in Eighteenth-Century New York". I am on the fence about this one because I 'read' that it is historical fiction ... Something about that classification just does not sit well with me; I think I want it to be either or and not both; I want to be able to separate fact from fiction. Anyway, while I did like the last historical fiction that I read - "The Known World" by Edward P. Jones, I'm just iffy about the category in general. But at 160 pages, I should not balk at reading Johnson's newest book because with my schedule, I could read it over a three-day weekend ...

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