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Tambourines to Glory

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  124 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
For every bustling jazz joint that opened in Korean War–era Harlem, a new church seemed to spring up. Tambourines to Glory introduces you to an unlikely team behind a church whose rock was the curb at 126th and Lenox.

Essie Belle Johnson and Laura Reed live in adjoining tenement flats, adrift on public relief. Essie wants to somehow earn enough money to reunite with her dau
Paperback, 180 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published 1958)
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Feb 07, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it
I started the year with a goal of 2 books a month so am a little behind having just finished my 2nd book! Saw this on a Black History Month display at the library and decided to give it a try. Excellent period novel about the struggle between good and evil, street-corner evangelists and storefront churches in 1950's Harlem.
Oct 18, 2015 Judi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tambourines to Glory was originally written as a musical/play. I listened to the audio version of this book and enjoyed hearing the gospel songs that are included. The story is set in mid 1950's Harlem and features two chicks, neighbors/friends in adjoining tenement flats. Laura and Essie. Both are very poor and living off of relief money. The future looks pretty bleak. One day they come up with the idea of starting up a street corner church with singing and preaching to make a little extra coin ...more
Nov 05, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I had the pleasure of listening to the audio version performed by Myra Lucretia Taylor, which is honestly the best way to enjoy this book, especially since it was originally or simultaneously a stage play. The performer sang beautifully at appropriate moments and delivered the text throughout with a rhythm appropriate to the author and the subject matter. I was amused in the beginning at the way that this book exemplifies God working in mysterious ways. What starts ou ...more
Nick Sconce
May 26, 2015 Nick Sconce rated it it was amazing
Most classic works are acquired tastes, where one grimaces at the initial burn or coughs at the first drag. This comparison unfortunately becomes inappropriate when you realize your eighth grade English teacher was the one who first forced you to take the shot or light up to literature.

Not the case with Langston Hughes. I loved the cadence, the brisk pace, and the dialogue.
Tammy Eaton
Oct 16, 2012 Tammy Eaton rated it really liked it
This very short novel was first written as a play and that's the way it reads. I was visualizing it on stage from the moment the two leading ladies started talking. I'd love to see it performed someday! As always, Langston Hughes brings his characters to life and makes you feel for them and with them. I highly recommend it!
Liberata Maroon
Feb 22, 2014 Liberata Maroon rated it it was amazing
This! I couldn't find this book or remember the name. For some reason, I thought it was a Walter Moseley book, but after poring through his books, I couldn't find it! Turns out the whole time it was Langston Hughes. It just goes to show how timeless his storytelling skill is. This was a hilarious story. Thoroughly enjoyed.
Eric Vincent
Jun 18, 2008 Eric Vincent marked it as advisroy-07-08
Langston Hughes is a brilliant author and this novel turned play tells the story of two women who open a store in harlem. Considering the time period it was written in, it speaks alot about the African American Community in HArlem at the time. I was blessed with the priveldge to see the Harlem Repitory Theater preform this at City College and it was wonderful!
Nov 02, 2009 Babydoll rated it it was amazing
Langston Hughes proves from this book, that was intended to be a play, that he is such a talented writer. Set in Harlem, Hughes introduces the reader to the two main characters Essie and Laura. Although this is a rather quick read, Hughes provides the reader with an enjoyable novel/playwright.
May 18, 2016 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love and Acceptance Make Us Grow

I especially liked seeing how two entirely different people made each other grow. They accepted and even embraced their life styles. The meshing together is what formed the super church. In the end one had to fall for the betterment of all.
May 16, 2012 To rated it liked it
This book gives a good insight into religion and old Harlem. A lot of the book still relates to today. I saw the play and it was great as well. Hard to believe the play came before the book.
Oct 26, 2009 Msbossy rated it it was amazing
Loved it, of course. it's langston Hughes.

I learned that the more things change, the more people stay the same.
Feb 21, 2008 Aziza rated it it was amazing
I read the play and thoroughly enjoyed it but they don't have the play listed. I do know that the novel and play are slightly different.
Rich Hancuff
Mar 28, 2015 Rich Hancuff rated it liked it
The writing is wonderful and natural, but the ending is rushed. It's a great meditation on the fleecing of the flock and temptation.
Kenna rated it really liked it
May 25, 2007
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Rae Lewis-Thornton rated it it was amazing
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Michelle Gillespie rated it it was amazing
Mar 08, 2011
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Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "Harlem was in vogue."
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