I love books. I love to sit back and lose myself between the pages of a good story. LeVar Burton was right, a beautifully told story can take you anywhere and allow you to experience almost anything.
Currently, I am juggling three books—Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow, Edwidge Danticat’s The Dew Breaker, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. But my absolutely favorite book of all time is James Baldwin’s classic novel, If Beal Street Could Talk.
I love James Baldwin for the same reason I love Nas: both men know how to tell a hell of story.
I was 16 and taking AP Literature and Composition when I first read If Beal Street Could Talk. At the time I was so excited to that we were finally reading a book by a Black author that I rushed out and got the book early.
As soon as I cracked open the pages, I was hooked. Baldwin’s ability to adeptly describe the grittiness of Harlem in the ‘70s and make me really care about Fonny and Tish, was a testament to his masterful storytelling. I breathlessly finished Beal Street in two days and set out to read everything James Baldwin ever wrote.
Much like Nas’ Illmatic, reading Baldwin’s If Beal Street Could Talk changed my life—further solidifying my desire to tell stories and become a writer.
What about you Clutchettes and Gents? What is your favorite book of all time? Why?
Let’s talk about it!