MUST LISTEN Audio Books for BLACK HISTORY Month and every other month! :) Part 2 of 2

The 2nd must listen audio book for Black History Month or any month is the mind breaking MUMBO JUMBO by the great Ishmael Reed.

Ishmael Reed, who was honored with the MacArthur “genius” award, is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and two-time nominee for the National Book Award. Mumbo Jumbo, a literary masterpiece, is an ironic and unconventional detectivestory infused with African-American cultural heritage. A strange psychic epidemic called “Jes Grew” is spreading through the country, affecting millions. PaPa LaBas, a HooDoo detective, is trying to find the origins of the JesGrew – not because he wants to cure it, but because he’s ready for a new kind of society.

mumbojumbo

Composed of the memorable personalities and the little remembered tragedies and triumphs of the roaring 20s, MUMBO JUMBO weaves these truths into an overarching fictional narrative that goes from the beginning of civilization to the fall of man.

But the fiction is so peppered with essential truths, like the best of all fiction, that it will change fundamentally how you look at everything, from museums to curse words to bull fights. If MIDDLE PASSAGE is my favorite audio book, MUMBO JUMBO  I think , in opposition to its name, is the most enlightening and powerful audio book I’ve ever listened to, for the  way it opened up my mind to… broader definitions of history and broader definitions of ourselves. Magnificent.

Version:

Unabridged
Author: Ishmael Reed
Narrator: J. D. Jackson
Genres: Fiction & Literature
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published In: July 2005
# of Units: 8 CDs
Length: 8 hours, 30 minutes

Get your copy here:

 

Mumbo Jumbo

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MUST LISTEN Audio Books for BLACK HISTORY Month and every other month! :) Part 1 of 2

I first became familiar with these two novels, both by master writers, as novels proper. And both blew my mind in ways both stunning and lasting. Later I listened to the Audio Books. Audio Books, if you get the right reader, for the right work, can be rewarding experiences, even to lovers of the novel.

I love me some Walter Moseley EASY RAWLINS mysteries, I’ve read just about everyone of them, and I have to tell you the pairing of Moseley’s iconic words with a formidable actor such as Michael Boatman, is to have those works enriched, and nuances discovered that may have been skimmed over by even the most loving reader.

A great Adaptation, a great marriage of words and performance can do that, can alchemize into something more than the sum of its parts. Something magical. And an audio book avoids the constraints of time and budget and indeed visuals, that a film or TV show runs into. An audio book has the biggest theater of the world, and the biggest budget, in which to breathe life into the writers words,… the theater of the mind.

So Audio Books when they get that mixture right, become part of a sacred line of story and storytelling, going back to the cradle of not just Black History, but all history.

 

This 2 part post, honors two of the best, that should be loved and listened to and cherished by everyone.

They are:

Charles Johnson’s seminal and National Book Award winning novel, MIDDLE PASSAGE. It is an American epic, a rousing seafaring saga, blisteringly funny at times, deeply harrowing at others, both poetic, prosaic, and magical all at the same time. As someone who has read Melville, and Dickens, and Hemingway, and Crane and Poe and Bradbury and King and Baldwin, all the quintessential American masters, this is the novel I would save when everything else is burning.

 

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I give the hardcover out as presents. I consider it, in an imperfect world, an arrow toward a more perfect union. So having it on a pedestal that high the audio book has to bring it. It was made into an audio book twice, the first was an abridged and hence flawed cassette version, but read by the author himself, I quite liked it. He brought something… wonderful to it.

The 2nd time was on CD, unabridged thankfully. The performer Dion Graham, gives a different performance than Charles Johnson, that I slowly warmed to. And as the story drew you deeper so did his voice. It’s a wonderful way to be introduced to this great novel.

I would say both audio book versions are indispensable. Start with the unabridged CD version, and then follow up by listening to the Abridged version. And have a copy of the paperback or hardcover, to read over especially loved passages.

In an America where folly holds sway, the words of men who both remember history and learn from it, is of the highest value.

Check them out at the links below:

Middle Passage Cassette Audio Book read by the Author!

Middle Passage Audio CD Unabridged!

By Charles Richard Johnson Middle Passage (Reprint) [Mass Market Paperback]

 

If you like this blog please support it by using the links above and by leaving comments! And come back for the 2nd part where we discuss the 2nd, must own, Black History Month (and other months) Audio book!

KICKSTARTER OF THE DAY : Worthy Causes!

refoundry
REFOUNDRY – Sports a worthy goal of combating the explosive and unsupportable rates of incarceration in the United States. I think the rewards could be a bit nicer, and priced less steeply, but that said I can see putting a frame on the HAND MADE HAND and using that as a bit of art, and the $25 Door Stop would make a memorable paper weight; and above all that… the funds are going to a needed cause. With 56 days to go this is well on its way to meeting its goal.

selfjournal
SELF JOURNAL – Making lists, writing down your goals I find indispensable to productivity, But I find myself often using an awkward combo of sticky pads, and computer apps. I think the SELF JOURNAL is an artful way to wean myself off the sticky pads.At $26 it is a might on the expensive side, but if this gets you in the habit of journaling you can always transition into more affordable journals. Also this project has been fully funded.

laptopstand

BEST LAPTOP STAND – I am not an Apple user or fan, but man this is a nice stand. And it appears it will support my Dell Latitude in the open position. And this serves the worthy cause of getting rid of hunched over the laptop syndrome. At under $50 it’s not bad. Plus this kick-starter is already completely funded. Sold!

earlessheadphones
BATBAND Earfree Headphones – A headphone that uses the scary sounding vehicle of Bone Conduction to bypass your outer ear to deliver sound to your inner ear. It’s like LaForge’s visor from STNG but for your ears rather than your eyes!

At $149 it is not even remotely cheap, and while a woman may get away with wearing this as a fashion statement, I think it will look silly on most guys. But as the first stab of an idea, it definitely has promise. It just needs to be designed so it is less obtrusive, and i think it will be ready for prime time.

It’s implications beyond simple music playback could be staggering. Does it work better than conventional headphones? Can an evil super-villain use it to remotely turn your brain into jelly? Who knows, but boy I’d like to try it. It is projects like this that reminds me in a good way, that we are living in the 21st century. 🙂