By the time you read this, she'll have done it. Oprah will have announced her next book-club pick, and readers all over the country will be racing to bookstores and libraries to claim their copies.

 

I'm placing my bet along with my colleague Ron Hogan of Galleycat, who went on record yesterday in USA Today saying he believed Oprah would choose "Say You're One of Them" by Uwem Akpan. Akpan isn't your run-of-the-mill short-story writer; a Nigerian Jesuit, Akpan has quite an active day job as the priest to a boys school in Africa. This is a man who is writing not because he wants to be an author, but because he has stories deep within his soul that need to be told.  Yet he is also a witty, warm, and loving person whose knowledge and experiences have not closed him off to the possibility of hope, whose belief in redemption of the human spirit is very much alive.

 

"Say You're One of Them" is not the sort of literary collection that you carry to an overstuffed armchair with a cup of hazelnut coffee. The children in these stories are experiencing life's brutality at a level most of us can't comprehend, let alone imagine. You should read Akpan's work on a sunny day, outside, and with as much courage as you can muster - but you should read his work. I'm this shy of telling you that you must read it. It truly is not for everyone.

 

But if you do read these stories, you will be forever changed. If Oprah has indeed chosen this book as her next pick, I say Brava! Put down your latest thriller, chick-lit novel, romance, or droll literary fiction and instead enter a world where hope can be as ephemeral as aerosol fumes to keep you high and free from hunger when you're eight years old 

Comments
by on ‎09-18-2009 04:58 PM

Bingo! Yep it's the new pick.

by Kamy-SheWrites on ‎09-19-2009 10:50 AM

I love the way you describe this book, and your thoughts about how to read it.  So happy to have met you and to be following you all over the web!  Let's figure out how to do something with you and She Writes...

About Unabashedly Bookish: The BN Community Blog
Unabashedly Bookish features new articles every day from the Book Clubs staff, guest authors, and friends on hot topics in the world of books, language, writing, and publishing. From trends in the publishing business to updates on genre fiction fan communities, from fun lessons on grammar to reflections on literature in our personal lives, this blog is the best source for your daily dose of all things bookish.

Advertisement

Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. On May 1, we’re saying goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Categories