Classics Club Spin #19 Result!

I’m very late with my CC Spin result post, but better late than never. I’m excited to say that the number selected was #1, which made my book James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain. Here’s what Goodreads tells us about this classic novel:510dFZyJmyL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_

Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a semi-autobiographical novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

I’ve been eager to read more of Baldwin since I have read and LOVED The Fire Next Time and Giovanni’s Room. The library copy I ordered from another branch is only 291 pages, so it’s not a “chunkster” (as we were prodded to try from the Classics Club moderators) –  I feel like I got away with something, tee hee! I’m going to have to get to 9781101907610those really big books sometime, though, in the next four years.

Have you read this? Have you read any other of Baldwin’s novels or nonfiction? Have you seen the phenomenal film about him I Am Not Your Negro? (If you haven’t, you really should!)

21 thoughts on “Classics Club Spin #19 Result!

  1. I saw I Am Not Your Negro and loved it. Later, I read an article in which the writer argued that the film focused on Baldwin’s race and barely mentioned his sexuality. That’s true, and I have thought of it.

    I read If Beale Street Could Talk and loved it. It’s about a straight man. Interestingly, Baldwin often writes characters unlike himself, including one short story that is narrated by a racist white sheriff.

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  2. The title of this book sounds vaguely familiar, but that’s about the only thing that rings a bell for me, which means your review of this will ALSO come in very handy for me. It seems like all you classic club spinners haven’t picked very large books for this next round, but that’s my kind of reading! I loathe big long tomes…

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  3. I’ve never read any Baldwin, but your review of In Giovanni’s Room got me thinking I should. I am currently in reading We Were Eight Years in Power, in which Coates frequently mentions the impact Baldwin’s writing (Specifically The Fire Next Time at least half a dozen times) has on his career and personal writing development. This has intrigued me even more! That said, after all this praise, I’m a bit nervous I just won’t appreciate it that way Baldwin’s work should.

    I haven’t seen the film I Am Not Your Negro. Why do you recommend it?

    I look forward to your eventual review of this text!

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    1. I was so impressed with that film because it showed me how truly marvelous a thinker and speaker Baldwin was. His own voice in TV clips alternates with Samuel L Jackson voicing Baldwin’s own words, from essays and notes – there’s a lot about MLK, Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers, and just racial tensions and injustice in America. It’s so good. It will make you want to read his writing for sure.

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  4. The film is really something, isn’t it? So glad it helped introduce a new generation of readers to his work, myself included. I’ve only read Giovanni’s Room and his nonfiction books, but I’ve heard this is one of his best novels. Hope you enjoy reading it!

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