Our “summer reads” choices: W.E.B. DuBois and bell hooks

One often imagines “summer reads” to be a bit light-handed, with engaging, if not demanding, plot lines. Our choice for this summer’s Theodore Parker Church selection is an exception to that rule. And, we’re proposing not one, but TWO books, to be read (if you’re up for it) interactively, i.e., a chapter of one, a chapter of the other, repeat.

The first book is W.E.B. DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folk, first published in 1903.

“Believing that one can know the ‘soul’ of a race by knowing the souls of  individuals, (DuBois) seeks to establish the relations not only between blacks and whites, but also among blacks themselves – rich and poor, educated and uneducated.” (Back cover, Penguin Classics, 1996) This book is among the must-reads for understanding the struggle for racial justice in this country. DuBois’ prose is rich and thick – not for the faint of heart – compelling and significant. Each of the 14 chapters stands alone, but together they make a uniquely powerful experience.

The second book is All About Love: New Visions, by the prolific and inspired feminist writer and cultural critic, bell hooks. “Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with sex and desire, (hooks) provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for individuals and for a nation.”

Our hope is that interspersing hooks’ contemporary search for a love ethic with DuBois’ historical and emotional exploration of black life in America will compliment both texts while giving the readers a dynamic and inspiring experience. How’s THAT for a summer read?

Both books can be purchased on Sunday, the 4th and/or the 11th, for $19 from Molly Schen. Stay tuned for dates to gather and compare notes! We may want to consider meeting once in July, August, and September.