ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
a sensual tale drenched with love and music, in which author Danyel Smith dives
into an intriguing set of characters facing life-changing choices
in the swirl of the music industry at its decadent peak.
By Danyel Smith
Bliss (Crown Publishers, 19 July 2005) is a sensual tale drenched with love and music, in which author Danyel Smith (a prose stylist who “writes with music in her language” say Quincy Jones) dives into an intriguing set of characters facing life-changing choices in the swirl of the music industry at its decadent peak.
At a 1998 gathering on the Bahamas’s Paradise Island, record executive Eva Glenn–soulful, powerful, and maybe pregnant–is throwing a comeback showcase for her singing sensation Sunny Anderson. At the event’s peak, Eva begins to sink beneath the waves of a confusing triangle, a career at a crossroads, fading self-confidence, and decisions to be made about her possible pregnancy.
Uncovering hip-hop’s personalities in a way one rarely can journalistically, Smith casts a cold eye on the machinations of the industry, and infuses Bliss with an unashamed passion for the power of pop. her language echoes everything from blues shouts and hip-hop to the transcendent joy of a perfect R&B love song. This novel is about the rhythm and blues of life, and why we hold tight to the sex, music, and love that offers us a fleeting glimpse of bliss, even when the price is steep. The attached character sheet reveals the personalities of Bliss .
Smith led coverage of hip hop’s takeover of American culture, distinguishing herself in a male-dominated industry. She is the former editor-inchief of Vibe, had a stint as a prestigious editor-at-large at Time Inc., and has contributed to the new york Times, rolling Stone, the New Yorker, Spin, Essence, Elle, Cosmopolitan, USA Weekend, the village Voice, and Billboard. A regular commentator for VH-1, Smith is the author of the San Francisco Chronicle-bestselling novel, More Like Wrestling (Crown, 2003) and she wrote the introduction for the New York Times-bestseller Tupac Shakur.
Fascinated by the idiosyncratic sacrifices made by businesswomen, as well as by the interconnectedness of pop music, Smith can address the following issues in an interview:
Scandals entrenches in the music
Why music still matters
How hip-hop effects listeners and the choices they make about their bodies
The histories of hip hop and soul music
The short wild history of hip hop journalism
Sex and the single woman
The writing life, and the transition from journalism to fiction
The blogging phenomenon / revolution
Searingly honest and breathtakingly lush, Smith’s masterful prose moves the reader past the music industry’s seductive bling and liberates characters that are deliciously complicated and compellingly flawed. Bliss is the literary love song for the new millennium.
Joan Morgan, author of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost
Smith writes with generous passion and propulsive energy about the life choices women make, about the illusion of control, and about getting to know ourselves. I love this book.
Ayelet Waldman, author of Love and other Impossible Pursuits
For the last decade, Danyel has had a front row seat for all the craziness of the record business. She knows how fly it all was, and she knows where the bodies are buried. You’ll love Bliss .
Touré, author of Soul City
The color and candor of hip hop is rarely transferred onto paper, and Danyel Smith’s voice is the rare, vital instrument strong enough to carry that tune.
Sacha Jenkins, coauthor of ego trip’s Big Book of Racism!
A dynamic novel with authenticity and surprises at every turn.
Katherine Weber, author of The Little Women
With the remarkable Bliss, Danyel Smith uses her palpable love and vast knowledge of music–hip hop, and soul — to conjure a glorious, compelling story
Alan Light, author of The Skills to Pay the Bills
posted 20 July 2005
Danyel Smith, author, editor, and critic, is an MFA candidate. She lives in Manhattan, but was born and brought up in California. Smith is the author of the San Francisco Chronicle– best-selling novel, More like Wrestling, and she wrote the introduction for the New York Times-bestseller Tupac Shakur. Danyel is also a former ed-at-large for Time Inc. and a former editor-in-chief of Vibe.
She writes around for Elle, Cosmo, O, Essence, wrote once (!) for the New Yorker, still will show up in Rolling Stone sometimes, still reps in spirit for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and wrote concert reviews for the New York Times back in the day.
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For July 1st through August 31st 2011
#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family thats about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrinas inexorable winds is the voice of Wards narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her familys raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brothers blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt. Her fathers hands are like gravel, while her own hand slides through his grip like a wet fish, and a handsome boys muscles jabbered like chickens. Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isnt usually just metaphor for metaphors sake. She conveys something fundamental about Eschs fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, whats salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost
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By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 27 December 2011