Sunday, November 18, 2018
Books

‘Barracoon’ editor Deborah Plant on discovering Zora Neale Hurston, reading Alice Walker

Deborah Plant

We caught up with Plant, the editor of Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo," a newly published book by Zora Neale Hurston, after her recent appearance at the Sulphur Springs Museum and Heritage Center. The book is based on Hurston’s interviews in 1931 with Cudjo Lewis, who was the last living survivor of the Middle Passage. Plant is the former chairwoman of the University of South Florida department of Africana studies and co-founder of the department’s graduate program. She was able to quickly recall when she first became intrigued with Hurston. It was 1979 in Atlanta. Plant found a copy of Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God in the Shrine of the Black Madonna Bookstore. "This book mirrored my life,’’ she said. "I stood there in the aisle and read enough to know I had to make the purchase. I had never seen myself so perfectly captured in print before. I mean my cultural self, the language, the customs and traditions.’’

What’s on your nightstand?

Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart by Alice Walker. I recommend it because it is true. Now is the only time we have, and if our heart is not open, we are walking around insensitive, mindless, disconnected and very likely unconsciously perpetrating harm in some form or fashion. This book calls us to extricate ourselves from all that undermines, diminishes and obscures our personal sovereignty. It calls us to open, to reconnect with the true self that is one with the earth and all that dwells upon and around her. I would recommend it to everyone who is ready for freedom and joy.

Piper Castillo, Times staff writer

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Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ debuts with biggest book tour ever

Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ debuts with biggest book tour ever

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Published: 11/15/18
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Published: 11/14/18
Poetry from Erica Dawson, Peter Meinke and other Festival of Reading authors

Poetry from Erica Dawson, Peter Meinke and other Festival of Reading authors

You can see the writers Nov. 17 at the Times Festival of Reading at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
Published: 11/09/18
Pulitzer Prize-winning 'The Gulf' an expansive history of an American sea

Pulitzer Prize-winning 'The Gulf' an expansive history of an American sea

Historian Jack E. Davis recounts thousands of years of natural and human history on the Gulf of Mexico. In this excerpt, he describes the devastating impact of 19th century plume hunting on Tampa Bay.
Published: 11/09/18
An excerpt from ‘Arthur Ashe: A Life’

An excerpt from ‘Arthur Ashe: A Life’

Raymond Arsenault spent nine years researching and writing the book.
Published: 11/09/18
Joyce Maynard’s memoir ‘The Best of Us’ chronicles love and death

Joyce Maynard’s memoir ‘The Best of Us’ chronicles love and death

The book is a moving account of how the bestselling author found love in her late 50s, then lost the man of her dreams to cancer.
Published: 11/09/18
Books for young readers from Banerjee, Frattino, Gibaldi and Koehler

Books for young readers from Banerjee, Frattino, Gibaldi and Koehler

Authors will discuss a YA novel about teens caught up in the drug trade, a graphic version of a beloved Florida story, a YA romance set in theater camp and a middle-grade adventure on an island of gar
Published: 11/09/18