Sunday, October 12, 2008

Asali Solomon

Asali Solomon was born and raised in Philadelphia and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Trinity College.

Get Down, her first book, earned her a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, was chosen as one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” for 2007, and was a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.

Earlier this month I asked Solomon what she was reading. Her reply:
I'm reading for the classes I teach, but it turns out to be serious pleasure reading. I just re-read Toni Morrison's Love, which disguises itself as a sort of playful riff on some of Morrison's other books, but turns out to be the history of everything: women, men, girls, black people, America, love, food, pettiness, class, cruelty, snitching, sex, Eden, social movements. It sounds daunting but it goes down easy and has about the most amazing final sequence I've read in any book.

I've also been brushing up on the stories of Flannery O'Connor, the only writer who can make me laugh out loud at ignorant racist white Southerners and their black farm help.

Then finally I'm reading Fledgling, the final novel by Octavia Butler, whose sudden death in 2006 I still can't get over. It's about a 50something genetically engineered black vampire in the body of an 11 year old girl who has to avenge the deaths of her family. It's one of the most profound and freaky books you'll ever read. (RIP, Octavia).
Read an excerpt from Get Down, and learn more about the book and author at the publisher's website and the Asali Solomon AALBC webpage.

--Marshal Zeringue