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review 2016-02-11 00:00
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
The Autobiography of Malcolm X - Alex Haley,Malcolm X This autobiography shows readers how a boy born Malcolm Little would one day become Malcolm X and one of the leaders of the Nation of Islam who would then go off and form his own branch called Muslim Mosque, Inc. During the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. in the 1960s Malcolm X rose to prominence in the African American community along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Malcolm X was initially anti-white and believed that there was no way in the world for African Americans and whites to be able to co-exist. However, after a trip to Mecca he started to change his stance once he realized that many Muslims came in different colors and eventually converted to Sunni.

This memoir really does not pull any punches. This autobiography as told to Alex Hayley (he wrote Roots) was at times quite brutal in the re-telling. The book showcases Malcolm X's family and how they became separated after the murder of his father. Eventually Malcolm will live in Boston and go to Harlem where he will start to change his views and realize that white Americans exploit poor African Americans while also wanting to be part of the "black" world. Once Malcolm X goes to prison and converts to Islam the book focuses on his rise to prominence in the Nation of Islam and shows how he became closer to the Nation of Islam's leader at the time Elijah Muhammad. As a reader you can start to see the conflict between Malcolm X and other leaders within the Nation of Islam who were becoming jealous of him. After Malcolm X speaks out about the JFK assassination Elijah Muhammad uses it as a pretext to finally get rid of him. The heartbreak by Malcolm X to realize that this man that he really looked up to was not that great of a man was sad.

What was very interesting is that once you have Malcolm X go off on his pilgrimage to Mecca his hard stance against whites begins to shift. When her returns back to the United States he had started to hold meetings for an organization that would be committed to African American unity and that people of any faith could join. He did still exclude whites from becoming members, however, he insisted that white people should create their own organizations and start to change from within.

The writing was great though readers should realize that Malcolm X did not really "write" this book. Instead he was interviewed by Hayley who later went back and wrote it in the first person. Until we get to the epilogue which I thought actually ruined the earlier flow of the book. Hayley I think put too much of himself in that epilogue and we get his impressions and feelings about Malcolm. Going from first person Malcolm X to first person Alex Hayley was too much of a shift.

The ending of course was a foregone conclusion for me as reader. I already knew that Malcolm X was assassinated by Nation of Islam members. It is still unclear today if all of the parties who were part of this conspiracy were properly identified since one of the men who did shoot and kill Malcolm X, Talmadge Haye claims that two other people charged were innocent.

Though I believe in the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it's not hard to see how Malcolm X was so appealing to many African Americans at the time. Being beaten by police (yeah still going on) and being treated like second class citizens and feeling the hostility from others because of the color of your skin you can see why Malcolm X started to feel that there was no way for African Americans and white Americans to peacefully co-exist.

“When I am dead--I say it that way because from the things I know, I do not expect to live long enough to read this book in its finished form--I want you to just watch and see if I'm not right in what I say: that the white man, in his press, is going to identify me with "hate".
He will make use of me dead, as he has made use of me alive, as a convenient symbol, of "hatred"--and that will help him escape facing the truth that all I have been doing is holding up a mirror to reflect, to show, the history of unspeakable crimes that his race has committed against my race.”
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text 2014-08-16 16:55
BookaDay - Day 16
Schindler's List - Thomas Keneally
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
The Burning Bed: The True Story Of Francine Hughes--A Beaten Wife Who Rebelled - Faith McNulty
The Autobiography of Malcolm X - Alex Haley,Malcolm X

Defending the Undefended


For today's BookAday I actually struggled a bit with that interpretation.  On the one hand, it seemed clear that it should be a book about an underdog being helped or defended in some way by someone more powerful.  But I tend to shy away from books like those.  More often than not, if done in fiction, they seem patronizing and have more than a tinge of 'white savior complex' (even if everyone involved is white, LOL).


On the other hand, I also interpreted it to mean a book that shines a light on social injustice as a way to expose the struggles of the undefended underclass and possibly make them feel more human and visible in a way.


On the other, other hand I also interpreted it to mean a way for the undefended to get pissed off at the blindness of the government or social agencies who refuse to help them or claim to be unable to help them and, pushed past all limits, finally do what they have to to defend themselves.


Schindler's List - Thomas Keneally - Is a nod to the first interpretation.

Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison - Is a nod to the second interpretation.

The Burning Bed: The True Story Of Francine Hughes--A Beaten Wife Who Rebelled - Faith McNulty  - Is a nod to third

while The Autobiography of Malcolm X - Malcolm X,Alex Haley  - bundles all three into one whole.

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text 2014-08-13 04:36
Most Contraversial
The Autobiography of Malcolm X - Alex Haley,Malcolm X

This was a tough choice for me, but then again it was pretty easy.


I read a lot of different kinds of books.  Sci Fi, Fantasy and Mysteries mostly.  But also History, Historical Fiction, True Crime. But books that would be considered "controversial", not really.  How many books are truly that controversial, other than a few some minority of people think shouldn't be in school libraries or something.


But, I read this one. And Malcom X certainly was a controversial figure.  And I read it back when I was in high school.  In my place and time it was certainly a controversial book, especially for a teen girl like me to be reading.


I found it very interesting.  Not full of ideas and beliefs I agree with, but still interesting to learn about another person, how they thought, why they thought it, who was so very different from me.


I think it can be important, and enlightening, to give an honest listen even from someone we know from the start thinks very differently than we do about many things, and are likely in the end to still not agree with.


So, I give you my most controversial read.  The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

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review 2014-08-03 17:03
Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography
Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography - Andrew Helfer,Randy DuBurke

Not too long after finishing Americanah, I chanced upon this graphic novel when perusing my local digital library. Conceptually, I love the idea of a graphic biography and (this is where the Americanah thing becomes relevant) was particularly interested to see how one might take on a racially-charged discourse. Given the amazing, iconic images of the Civil Rights movement, my expectations were pretty high.


As you may have guessed from my dearth of stars, I was a bit disappointed. First of all, I don't know how 112 pages could feel so long, but they did. If it weren't for library due dates, I might still be trudging through this. 


The author begins by challenging  Malcolm X's autobiographical truth, which is fine- but things just felt "weird" (for lack of a better term). There was a way in which the narrative seemed couched in certain racial clichés which, again, is fine (I'm no expert, and facts are facts- I found this review to be much better informed than anything I could produce), but there seemed to be a lack of nuance.


Malcolm's mother is the black woman, too proud to take handouts, willing to see her children suffer to such an extent that the "safety net" of the state had to swoop in to take control.

Malcolm X Graphic Bio 4


As Malcolm moves to the next stage of his life, he learns to live the life of the hustler which, among other things, involves getting your hair straightened- a moment that comes off as being clownish in manner.


Malcolm X Graphic Bio 2

It was also at this point that i lost all ability to discern characters visually. I get it, Malcolm was evolving, but it was downright confusing. For example, in the montage cell below, is that supposed to be Malcolm three times? If so, which one(s) is/are he/him? 


Malcolm X Graphic Bio


The story arc I enjoyed most, visually speaking, was Malcolm's becoming disillusioned with Elijah Muhammad (of the Nation of Islam- NOI). Here, the illustrations give the reader a hook to just how different a person can seem as one's understanding evolves. 


Muhammad gone bad Malcolm X Graphic Biography

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photo 2014-03-07 06:40

New books! I finally used my Target giftcards that I got for Christmas and decided to get these:


Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (I didn’t know this book was going to be so huge! I’m kind of scared to read it now lol)


The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks (I already own, and have yet to read, World War Z so naturally I had to buy this one too!)


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Just a classic that I’ve always wanted to read.)


The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake (One of my favorite books! I read this in elementary school/high school. I loaned it to a classmate and never got it back so I had to buy another copy.)


The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X & Alex Haley (I really enjoyed this read when I read it for a research project in highschool. I also really enjoyed the film adaption of it as well. Everyone knows Denzel deserved at least an Oscar nom for this role!)


Starting Your Day Right: Devotions for Each Morning of the Year by Joyce Meyer (I want to strengthen my relationship with God; we’ve sorta drifted apart recently so I’m hoping this helps!)

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