Home Book Buzz 7 Must-Read Books by James McBride

    7 Must-Read Books by James McBride

    7 Must-Read Books by James McBride


    Pitch-perfect. Hilarious. Heartfelt. Stunning. These are the words that come up again and again in reviews of James McBride’s work. The National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author has a unique ability to blend the humorous and the profound, the urgent and the everyday, the timely and the timeless. And it’s never been a better time to get to know his work. This summer, Oprah selected his newest acclaimed novel, Deacon King Kong, as her book club pick, and this fall, his “brilliant romp of a novel” (The New York Times), The Good Lord Bird, comes to Showtime as a Limited Series starring Ethan Hawke and Daveed Diggs.

    Not sure where to start? Read on to learn more about our favorite books by the one and only James McBride.


    Featured image: Photo © Chia Messina 2019




    • Deacon King Kong



      New York Times bestseller and an Oprah Book Club pick, Deacon King Kong is, without a doubt, one of the buzziest novels of the year. The book opens in September 1969 when a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and, in front of everybody, shoots the project’s drug dealer at point-blank range. As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters—caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York—overlap in unexpected ways. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, that the best way to grow is to face change without fear, and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion.



       


    • The cover of the book The Good Lord Bird (TV Tie-in)

      The Good Lord Bird (TV Tie-in)



      An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, this National Book Award-winning novel is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival. The story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery crusade—and who must pass as a girl to survive—The Good Lord Bird is a rollicking retelling of the events leading up to Brown’s historic raid at Harper’s Ferry. Did we mention that it’s also soon to be a Showtime Limited Series event starring Ethan Hawke and Daveed Diggs? For those who want to read before you watch, now is the time to pick up The Good Lord Bird. 



       


    • The cover of the book The Color of Water

      The Color of Water



      In The Color of Water, a groundbreaking literary phenomenon that transcends racial and religious boundaries, James McBride explores his white mother’s past, as well as his own upbringing and heritage. This poignant and powerful debut launched his career and went on to spend more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list. 



       


    • The cover of the book Five-Carat Soul

      Five-Carat Soul



      The stories in Five-Carat Soul spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. They’re funny and poignant, insightful and unpredictable, imaginative and authentic—all told with McBride’s unrivaled storytelling skill and meticulous eye for character and detail.



       


    • The cover of the book Miracle at St. Anna

      Miracle at St. Anna



      Toward the end of World War II, four Buffalo Soldiers from the Army’s Negro 92nd Division find themselves separated from their unit and behind enemy lines. Risking their lives for a country in which they are treated with less respect than the enemy they are fighting, they discover humanity in the small Tuscan village of St. Anna di Stazzema—in the peasants who shelter them, in the unspoken affection of an orphaned child, in a newfound faith in fellow man. And even in the face of unspeakable tragedy, they—and we—learn to see the small miracles of life.



       


    • The cover of the book Kill 'Em and Leave

      Kill ‘Em and Leave



      Kill ’Em and Leave is more than a book about James Brown. Brown embodied the contradictions of American life: He was an unsettling symbol of the tensions between North and South, black and white, rich and poor. After receiving a tip that promises to uncover the man behind the myth, James McBride goes in search of the “real” James Brown. McBride’s travels take him to forgotten corners of Brown’s never-before-revealed history, illuminating not only our understanding of the immensely troubled, misunderstood, and complicated Godfather of Soul, but the ways in which our cultural heritage has been shaped by Brown’s enduring legacy. 



       


    • The cover of the book Song Yet Sung

      Song Yet Sung



      In the days before the Civil War, a runaway slave named Liz Spocott breaks free from her captors and escapes into the labyrinthine swamps of Maryland’s eastern shore, setting loose a drama of violence and hope among slave catchers, plantation owners, watermen, runaway slaves, and free blacks. Liz is near death, wracked by disturbing visions of the future, and armed with “the Code,” a fiercely guarded cryptic means of communication for slaves on the run. Liz’s flight and her dreams of tomorrow will thrust all those near her toward a mysterious, redemptive fate.



       



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