Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sag Harbor Colson Whitehead

Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead - When this advanced reader copy (arc) came in I had to wait my turn, Toni had dibs since she introduced me to Whitehead. Besides if I tried to take it home first she probably would've cut me for it, if you've ever read Whitehead you'd know I am only half joking. Sag Harbor is an autobiographical coming of age novel. Set in the summer of 1985 brothers 15 yr old Benji and 14 yr old Reggie Cooper are left relatively unsupervised at the summer family home in Sag Harbor. The brothers hang out with their friends, nothing major happens that part of the beauty of it. Whitehead's writing of the everyday and ordinary is amazing, thoughful, entertaining and funny as hell. Reading Whitehead is like listening to improv jazz. One minute your fully lost in the beautiful sound, then the artist takes you somewhere else you have no idea where they're going but it still sounds so good, if you're lucky enough you'll grasp every note and nuances, finally they pull it back to the beginning and all you can think is damn that was freakin amazing.
Sag Harbor would be a great suggestions for older teens. They'll easily be able to relate to Benji's first job experience, new found parental freedom and the logic by which Benji and his friends survive the summer. Teen readers may not get everything but they'll get more then enough to enjoy it. So please if you're a high school English teacher who has a summer reading list add Sag Harbor to it. Speaking of summer reading list (subtle transitions, I know ) I am tired of seeing the same Black authors every year. I know these list are updated because I since new books like Kite Runner, The Namesake and Secret Life of Bees. The only Black author I've seen added with any consistency is Zadie Smith. Its a literary slap in the face

Its time to add new Black authors to a reading list
If majority on the list wrote in time of prohibition or suffrage movement
If majority on the list wrote when Zoot Suits were all the rave or Swing was king
And if the answers yes, please check out White Readers Meet Black Authors

Sag Harbor's release date 4/28
PW Starred Review
Kirkus Review


susan said...

Yes, say it again- please update the reading lists.

Terry Doherty said...

I'll second (or is it third) that. Booklists seem to be a necessary evil, so we ought to try to get them right!

Ali said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this book, after seeing his trailer for it.

As for the reading lists: I couldn't agree more! As a white reader who likes variety in my reading, I want to see ALL good authors on those lists of recommended reads!

Ali said...

Hey Doret, you won a copy of A Lucky Child from Hachette and the Diversity Rocks challenge! Email me your address to claim your copy. Worducopia at gmail dot com.