Ever since I was a little bitty Brooklyn Geechee one of my favorite things to do was bury my nose in a book and let myself be transformed an inspired and educated and entertain by the characters of the story. As I grew older, my love of Books continued and continues well into my 33rd year.
In the past two decades, I began to recognize a desire to read and a yen for a particular story. It was then that I internally began making a list of my favorite books. As I've gotten older, the list has grown dramatically and as I write this, I find it hard to narrow my faves down to five, but I will do my best. The synopsis are courtesy of Wikipedia, unless noted.
1) Now technically these are three books (I said it was hard to narrow them down! LOL), but because I always refer to them as “The Geechee Trilogy”, I will include all three in this one position. I'm cheating of course, but I'm not mad if you're not!
The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker
"The Temple of My Familiar is a 1989 novel by Alice Walker. It is an ambitious and multi-narrative novel containing the interleaved stories of Arvedyda, a musician in search of his past; Carlotta, his Latin American wife who lives in exile from hers; Suwelo, a black professor of American History who realizes that his generation of men have failed women; Fanny, his ex-wife about to meet her father for the first time; and Lissie, a vibrant creature with a thousand pasts."
Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo by Ntozake Shange
"Ntozake Shange's beloved Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo is the story of three sisters and their mother from Charleston, South Carolina. Sassafrass, the oldest, is a poet and a weaver like her mother before her. Having gone north to college, she is now living with other artists in Los Angeles and trying to weave a life out of her work, her man, her memories and dreams. Cypress, the dancer, leaves home to find new ways of moving in the world. Indigo, the youngest, is still a child of Charleston—"too much of the south in her"—who lives in poetry and has the supreme gift of seeing the obvious magic of the world. Shange's rich and wondrous story of womanhood, art, and passionately-lived lives is written "with such exquisite care and beauty that anybody can relate to her message” (The New York Times).
Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash
"African-American filmmaker Dash turns her award-winning movie of the same title celebrating the Gullah people of South Carolina into a first novel that's often fascinating but rarely gripping. Unlike most fiction derived from or aiming for the screen, Dash's story is slow-moving and rich in description. More docu-fiction than the real thing, but, still, a loving tribute to a distinctive people, exotic place, and now-vanished way of life." -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
2) Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
"Jitterbug Perfume is Tom Robbins' fourth novel, published in 1984. The major themes of the book include the striving for immortality, the meaning behind the sense of smell, individual expression, self-reliance, sex, love, and religion. Beets and the god Pan figure prominently. The novel is a self-described epic, with four distinct storylines, one set in 8th century Bohemia and three others in modern day New Orleans, Seattle, and Paris."
3) Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler
"Wild Seed is a science fiction novel by writer Octavia Butler. Although published in 1980 as the third book of the Patternist series it is the earliest book in the chronology of the Patternist world. The other books in the series are, in order placement within the Patternist chronology:Mind of My Mind (1977), Survivor (1978), Clay's Ark (1984), and Patternmaster (1976)."
4) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre is a first-person narrative of the title character. The novel goes through five distinct stages: Jane's childhood at Gateshead, where she is emotionally and physically abused by her aunt and cousins; her education at Lowood School, where she acquires friends and role models but also suffers privations; her time as the governess of Thornfield Hall, where she falls in love with her Byronic employer, Edward Rochester; her time with the Rivers family at Marsh's End (or Moor House) and Morton, where her cold clergyman-cousin St John Rivers proposes to her; and her reunion with and marriage to her beloved Rochester. Partly autobiographical, the novel abounds with social criticism. It is a novel considered ahead of its time. In spite of the dark, brooding elements, it has a strong sense of right and wrong, of morality at its core.
5) Bulletproof Diva by Lisa Jones
"In Bulletproof Diva, Lisa Jones brings the wit and candor of her infamous Village Voice column, "Skin Trade," to a much larger audience. Chock full of the "fierce black girl humor" that has made her column so popular, this provocative collection of essays and observations on race, sex, identity, and the politics of style speaks to a young generation of blacks who were raised in an integrated society and are now waiting for America to deliver on its promises of equality. The thirty-seven short pieces and six long essays in Bulletproof Diva cover a wide range of topics, many of them extremely controversial. Jones moves smoothly from issues of ethnicity in a changing America, challenging viewpoints on African-American and mixed race identity, to "butt theory" and the roller-coaster politics of black hair. Written in a style that is as appealing as it is unapologetic, Bulletproof Diva marks the debut of a genuinely gifted young writer with a distinctive voice and a fresh perspective on the black cultural scene"
There you have it... these are books that I have read and re-read over and over again. What's on your Top Five list?