Monday, February 16, 2015

The Ways of White Folks - Langston Hughes

Reader, if you can read even one of these beautiful, heartbreaking, witty, haunting stories without becoming deeply angry or deeply depressed (or both), you are a person more in control of their emotions than I could ever hope to be. This collection made me deliriously happy to be alive in the early part of the 21st century, because the progress we have made now, while still very much a work in progress, is at least a major improvement on the daily conditions of the lives of so many African American people at the time these stories were written (the 1930s). Like I always say though, it's so important to have these stories to show us how much things have changed, and to point out what still needs work.

Since the time that I discovered Hughes' poetry, I've been a fan, but I hadn't read his prose until I read his novel Not Without Laughter and Mule Bone, the play he co-wrote with Zora Neale Hurston last year and became even more of a fan. His writing is just so fluid and elegant, that even when the subject matter is unpleasant, as a reader it's impossible to stop reading. I have some other books for the Harlem Renaissance Challenge that are up next, or I'd be reading more - maybe later this year when I have made more of a dent in the TBR Pile. Highly Recommended.

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