The reality is “Reading is the Foundation of it all” as expressed by the author of A City Reader free page magazine. (Look for it when you go shopping in NYC they are in many spots). Bill Gunlocke is a strong defender of the idea that Reading well should be a priority in education for the poors to uplift the masses by teaching the future generation. He advertises his ideas to the people on the streets with poster and signs saying
“WHY NOT TEACH EVERY SCHOOL KID TO READ WELL”.
Now you get the all point. Education is the key.
check Bill Gunlocke Monthly blog post if you can’t get the paper edition.
Here is a selection of readings that are in my hands right now, source of inspiration, questioning intellect and pushing boundaries futher into the knowledge of self and the knowledge of the universe.
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X as told to ALEX HALEY – I had previously read Malcolm X most significant speeches. This already changed a lot of things in my political belief and approach of power. Here is the Autobiography.
RAGE IS BACK – ADAM MANSBACH – I couldn’t get my eyes off the cover when I saw it through the window of the book store. I wanted to check if they were using graff to catch the eyes of people in order to sell more books. But this is New York. You don’t fool around with the culture… So this is a graff writer story, a father and son relationship through life with graffiti all around. Graffiti as a lifetime practise. Way of life, rebellion and politics are the plot of the all book. Heavy atmosphere and description that amplify the reading of Vincent Fedorchak FUZZ ONE A Bronx Childhood. Contemporary as cold sweat drooling from your forehead from the reading. Intense.
THE INFERNO OF DANTE a new verse translation by ROBERT PINSKY bilingual edition – All my life i heard about this book, and never found the courage to start the travel. This seems like a real long journey. Couldn’t resist the fact it was a bilingual edition and had to get this. I guess I am ready for it… I read a few verses here and there in Italian and some in English, meditation is gonna be intense.
THIS MEANS NOTHING – LE BIJOUTIER – For those like me who don’t read a lot, this is an easy book…the readings are in the photos. This Means Nothing changed my life when I truly started working on this project in 2003. A photo book that will forever testify of the turning point in the Writing / Street Art in the streets of New York. After Banksy’s acclaimed adventures in the NYC streets last month and the disrespectful shut down of 5pointz in Nov 2013, the book is even more relevant. Released in 2008 copies are really hard to find now, and I only have a few left so cop them while you can.
And Remember You Can Buff Out You Want You Ain’t Gonna Kill Writing….quote me on this one….
MO’ META BLUES – THE WORLD ACCORDING TO QUESTLOVE – Say what? The world according to Questlove? Don’t get me wrong, No disrespect to Questlove from The Roots, I like what he does, but I really want to find out if Hip Hop heads lost touch with humbleness or if they really make a point on publishing all these books… I have to check that out because you cant judge a book by it’s cover right! I bought this book like you would buy a record, you know the band, it’s a solo album, and you hope it’s has good as you want it to be….Sit down relax and let Questlove talk to you for a while.
HIP HOP FAMILY TREE 1970 1981 – ED PISKOR – I am a comic book fanatic when it comes to comics like that. Inspirational very graphics, able to entertain a demanding mind by visually depicting an era of time and space long gone and known as the early days of hip hop in the South Bronx and New York. Retracing all the History of a culture, Hip Hop Family Tree is a “journalistic” work filled with anecdotes and facts that will rejoice an hip hop head in a minute. A must read.
POWDER NECKLACE – NANA EKUA BREW-HAMMOND – After saying hello to each other while boarding on the same train, Nana asked me to snap a photo of her with her friends. As a men, it was a pleasure to snap a photo of three beautiful Black Ladies. After noticing that I was reading Rage is Back, Nana mentioned being a writer. I had to find her book as my nature is curious about other people achievements. I went on the hunt in a few bookstores to finally lay my hands on this copy of Powder Necklace. A dusty, all the way on top of the shelf Autographed copie. I had been there for a while because the book came out a few years back, and in this case you really wonder why it was sitting there so long. This fiction is inspired by the author life and experience. Lila the main character is returning to Ghana after beeing raised in London and deals with her sour discovery of Life. The book is easy to read with deep and true meaning. Not only a women book.
NOW & THEN – GIL SCOTT HERON – Musician and poet Gil Scott Heron was in fluencial black figure in his time. Recently passed away due to bad health and addictions. The first poems your read are like a slap in the face on realising he must have been haunted by his own demons and the aggressions of the outside world. Knowing his music the feeling is even more intense. A great reading to try to catch the trouble and pain, but also the joys of Gil Scott Heron.
Gil Scott Heron is up in the sky with the stars
(But whitey’s on the moon)
HIP HOP BEFORE THE BLING – DARLENE LEWIS – When I met Darlene Lewis, she didn’t want me to touch the book as we were in a room full with empty pockets and sticky hands. Not a lot of people where there to buy books that day but would have taken advantage on looking at those snapshots all night with heavy laughs. I told her I would get the book only if I could read through at least to see what is was about….And so I did. Hip Hop before the bling is a collection of writing and personal photographs mostly from the early 90’s when Hip Hop was larger than ever in the streets, with the big names like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, BDP, Public enemy, EPMD to name a few. She genuinely describe her environment and surrounding with this series of Black and white shots. The book is far away from being a fancy books, but this is also what makes it special, it s ruff and rugged as the Do It Yourself culture it represented in those days…
I hope these reviews help you to read more underground books to support the new generation of writers. And if reading is the Foundation of it all, we need writers to write about our world, our culture our times, our people. Don’t Be Afraid to Communicate.
LE BIJOUTIER december 2013