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Today’s Favorite Book is Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin. Baldwin is noted as one of the most mysterious and culturally-aware writers of all time. In the 1940s, the outspoken writer left the United States for Paris, France, where he lived and worked for the majority of his latter life. Baldwin credited many influential African Americans as his inspiration, including writer Richard Wright (“Native Son”), artist Beauford Delaney, and the famous Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. Known for his honest dissection of identity issues, including religion and sexuality, Baldwin’s writing sought to explore all aspects of not only African-American life, but of life in general.

Baldwin entrances in Go Tell it on the Mountain with the story of John, a Black youth coming of age in Depression-era New York. The novel is stark and riveting, and mirrors the real-life struggles Baldwin faced as a teenager while depicting his rocky home life. Just like John in the novel, Baldwin encountered conflicts with his own adoptive father, and eventually left his home in Harlem to live and spark his writing career in Greenwich Village. Religion is also a core theme in the book, and with precise images pulled straight from the Black church and community, Baldwin’s arguably most celebrated novel continues to be relevant to the contemporary reader.

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S. Willis is a native Virginian. She is the author of a children’s book, “The Little Adventures of Bella and DJ,” which will be released Spring 2011 (visit www.WordsByWillis.com to pre-order)..

Want to recommend a book for S. Willis to review? Email your suggestions to: Samantha@wordsbywillis.com