Thursday, January 11, 2007


After an unusually long PTO meeting, I stopped at the store to try to buy a new USB cord to plug my digital camera into the computer. It disappeared in Louisiana and has yet to be seen again.

Anyway, I couldn't help myself... I stopped by the book department, particularly the section labeled "African American." For long moments, I stood mesmerized by a most scrumptious trifecta: autobiographies of LL, Denzel, and Tavis, all with lovely cover photos (Lord, ha'mercy, LL!). Once I tore myself away, I realized that I've been ordering books online too long; apparently, so-called "urban" books are all the rage. The shelves were swamped with them. And Lord, some of the titles made my eyebrows lift. Titles like She Ain't the One, Around the Way Girls, My Woman His Wife and so many others. And y'all, I swear, there was one called Someone Else's Puddin. WTF?

And before you think I'm giving urban books a particularly hard time, I will admit to judging those particular selections solely by their covers. They could be excellent--but I can't get past the puddin' reference! I have read a couple of urban books though--I remember liking one quite a bit. The other one was too much for me--not in terms of sex or suspense or drama (I won't even get into some of the non-academic stuff I read and enjoy)--but just something about the whole package. It was a little overwhelming.

Next were the inspirational books. I smiled politely at those, picked up a couple, and returned them to their correct spots. That's another prejudice I have--I'm scared if I actually read one, I'll come away feeling guilty. I know, I know, I'm a grown ass woman who makes her own choices. But it's hard to escape that Baptist upbringing sometimes.

And then there was a little interesting section where urban seemed to meet inspirational with titles like Drama in the Church and some works by Kimberla Lawson Roby (whom I have not read) that focused on... well, drama in the church.

There was a work by Zane--Caramel Flava. I didn't even have to pick it up--I got it for Christmas. :-) And, I started to pick up a carelessly placed copy of He's Just Not that into You, make copies, and distribute it to a couple of friends. But, hell, we know the signs; there's no use in paying ten bucks for affirmation.

There were also (my favorite!!) black cookbooks. Cooking with Garvin, whom I don't know. Mo'nique's You Can't Trust a Skinny Cook--which was all funny to me until I realized the cooking shows I watch most often have Paula Deen, Ina Garten, and Emeril. And, Rachael Ray, of course, who's a bit curvy. I didn't particularly like Giada de Laurentiis and another slender woman whose name escapes me now. Apparently, elle shares the wariness about skinny cooks. And one called Cooking for Your Man, which I was all ready to get on my high horse about, but then I had a reality check. Enough said.

Finally, pushed out of the African American section were the works by more mainstream black authors. They were on a shelf simply labeled "novels." I hope that's because they have such a loyal fan base and sell so well that people will seek them out. But given the number of highly-glossed lips, barely covered bottoms, stacks of money, and sunglasses (when did they become teh symbol of "urban"?) I saw in the other section, I doubt it.

I just realized there's no way I can edit that last paragraph to not sound snobby--well, maybe except to say, if it gets people reading, good.

What did I buy? Did I even buy anything? I'm not telling because, if I did buy something, trust, it goes on this list begun by petitpoussin. And I'm not ready to divulge. **she writes coyly**


Gwyneth Bolton said...

I just got a copy of Mo'nique's You Can't Trust a Skinny Cook. And I watch Paula Deen, Ina Garten, and Rachael Ray. I can't stand Giada de Laurentiis. So I guess I don't trust skinny cooks either. LOL.

ChasingMoksha said...

I only read dead authors when I read fiction, okay so I give Alice Walker and Toni Morrison a pass, but only those two.

That self-help thought you spilled would make for a good entry when you have the time. Do tell.

petitpoussin said...

Fess up, elle! Inquiring, procrastinating minds want to know.

Jarod said...

Intersting about the covers containing stereotypical images to increase sales. I've noticed with black anitiques the ones with more outrageous jim-crow images are increasingly sought after. I will occasionally get calls from people looking for these - I suspect it's not for the historical value but the exploitative!

elle said...

**sticks tongue out at petitpoussin**

**waves at jarod**

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...