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Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  62 ratings  ·  26 reviews
From “one of the greatest writers of our time” (Toni Morrison)—the author of Barracoon and Their Eyes Were Watching God—a collection of remarkable stories, including eight “lost” Harlem Renaissance tales now available to a wide audience for the first time.

Newsweek’s Most Anticipated Books of 2020’s Most Anticipated Books of 2020
Publishers Weekly’s Notable Titles
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Amistad
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  • Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston
    Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance
    Release date: Jan 14, 2020
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    Community Reviews

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    Average rating 3.90  · 
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     ·  62 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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    Angela M
    Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
    3.75 rounded up.
    A number of years ago I saw the movie adaption of Their Eyes Were Watching God starring Halle Berry. I remember feeling so gutted, so moved . I read the book and felt the same way. I should have read more by Zora Neale Hurston, but I never did. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to read this collection of her stories and I’m inspired to get to her other books. There’s quite a bit of explanation and literary criticism in the introduction, and while it seemed interesting and
    Never Without a Book
    Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it

    I had the pleasure of reading Zora Neale Hurston’s book, Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick, earlier this week and it was so good. Tayari Jones’s Forward is fire! Her introduction to who Hurston was and why her works are so popular, really hyped up my interest. I’m going to recommend when you read this book, to take your time. Hurston is known for using the dialect of that time and it can throw you off if you’re not paying attention. Overall this
    Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
    Zora Neale Hurston made a name for herself in the 1920s. She was the only black student at Barnard College. During this time, she wrote short stories to capture African American culture. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is a collection of eight (8) stories found in the archives. Themes include love, independence, migration, racism and social class.

    Bookhearts, this review is difficult. How do you rate a new release by a deceased legendary author? A writer of remarkable classics. One
    Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: african-american
    Zora Neale Hurston was not a writer I was familiar with. I believe a movie was made based on one of her more popular books, Their Eyes Were Watching God, about fifteen years ago.

    This collection of stories is truthfully like nothing I have ever read before. I am glad to have had the chance to read this distinctly African American work, so thoroughly researched and brought together in this volume.

    Library Loan
    Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I love anything and everything Zora Neale Hurston and this collection with 8 not previously (recently) seen stories is a gem to add to my collection.
    The Artisan Geek
    Jan 14, 2020 is currently reading it
    Shelves: bookcase
    A thank you to Amistad for gifting me a copy of this book.

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    The CurvyJones
    I requested an ARC of this book because I knew I'd never get to it if I didn't commit to doing a review and I felt like I should read it, since it's from one of Black Literature's revered authors.
    I enjoyed most of the stories in this book (particularly Sweat, feat. Sykes & Delia), though short stories are difficult for me, because just as I start to get into the characters and the rhythm, the story ends. I feel odd not glowing about this book because it's Hurston's work. Short story
    Jan 22, 2020 is currently reading it
    I have loved Their Eyes Were Watching God ever since being introduced to it in high school. The emotional descriptions, atmosphere, and cultural language in Hurston's writing take me to a different time and place. It's good for me to read things like this periodically to open windows beyond my regular reading. I'll write short reviews of each story.

    The editor's note and foreword were informative. I don't know much about Zora Neale Hurston. The introduction is good too (Yes, there are three
    Sharonda Isadora
    Its good thing I didn’t go into Hitting A Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick with high expectations.

    These short stories all have some life meaning you’re suppose to figure out by the time you finished them. Some of the stories I enjoyed while others I didn’t. I think what kills short stories for me is when there is no cohesiveness between them, this rang loud and true with HASLWACS. Also, the author tends to voice her characters in the dialect of the times they’re written in so some people may
    James F
    Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
    A new collection of Hurston's stories, which includes nine newly discovered stories which have not been republished in book form since they first appeared in Black magazines of the twenties and thirties. Eight of the nine new stories were set in Harlem, which changes somewhat the perception of Hurston as a writer who was only concerned with the rural Southern experience. There were a few other stories which were not in the anthologies I read last year. Most were humorous, especially the ones ...more
    Christopher Jones
    Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    A total gem of a book ...more
    Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Zola Neale Hurston has long been one of my favorite writers and even this collection of stories has not disappointed me. I admit the usual difficulty in understanding the language spoken in direct speech, which most of the time I can only intuit, but her stories are, once again, memorable and they make me imagine almost perfectly that America of a century ago.

    Zola Neale Hurston é da tempo una delle mie scrittrici preferite e anche questa sua raccolta di storie non mi ha deluso. Ammetto la
    Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I read an advanced reader copy, releases 1/2020. Eight stories by Hurston from her time in Harlem in the 1920’s. The stories are very good but I will admit I had to read parts of it out loud to me self to understand some of the phonetic dialog. Don’t confuse with Meisenhekder’s “Hitting A Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Race and Gender in the Work of Zora Neale Hurston Paperback” like I did first.
    Julie Anna
    Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it

    Last year, I finally read Their Eyes Were Watching God for the first time, and I've been interested in Zora Neale Hurston's other works ever since. That being said, the the release of Zora Neale Hurston's stories of the Harlem Renaissance came at a great time in Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick. This collection of stories were found and released (I believe for the first time) this year.

    Genevieve West and Tayari Jones introduce these stories in such a way that really sets the
    A collection of Hurston's short stories. Interesting because Hurston is known as a novelist, folklorist, and even an anthropologist before she's associated with short stories.

    But the publisher has collected about 20 shorts from Hurston's career. Some -- like "The Bone of Contention" and "Eatonville Anthology" -- share scenarios and even characters that you'll meet again in "Their Eyes Were Watching God."

    Others -- like "Magnolia Flower" (which is told from the perspective of a river and is one of
    Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reading copy. This is the first time that I have read Zora Neale Hurston. I have been hesitant because I've heard that the dialect that she uses can make her books difficult to read. I did not find that to be a problem at all. In fact, I'm sorry I waited so long! Her short stories have vivid, interesting characters, even in the shortest stories. I understand that this collection contains some never before published stories. I would give the ...more
    S. Smith
    Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Genius is at work in these 21 pieces published originally between 1921 and the 1937 publication of Hurston's amazing Their Eyes Were Watching God. Ranging from quick character studies to complex explorations of human behavior, they reflect Hurston's development as a creative writer and her mastery of the short story form. Although most take place in the rural locales most often linked with their author, the eight previously "lost" tales included here are focused on urban settings related to the ...more
    Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Fascinating collection! These stories were written almost 100 years ago, yet they retain their power.
    The stories are set Eastonville, Florida where Hurston grew up. It was an all-black town where African Americans could live as they desired, independent of white society.
    Hurston is known for using the dialect of that time. If you are puzzled by a sentence, read it out loud and it often becomes clear.
    What I enjoyed most about the stories (which do have varying literary quality because some of
    Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: finished-2020
    This is tough. Their Eyes Were Watching God is on my favorites of all time book list. Barracoon was an incredible find and I was glad it was released. This book, I would say is for the completionist who desires all of her works, but can be skipped by most readers.

    It is a collection of found and rare short stories mostly written in a 1920s African American slang style of writing for the characters who speak. This makes reading it a bit of a struggle, but it flows when you pick it up. At the same
    Susie Dumond
    Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
    This collection of short stories shows the impressive range of legendary author Zora Neale Hurston. Many readers have only read Their Eyes Were Watching God, but Hurston has SO much more to offer. Reading this felt like a getting a look at Hurston's creative process and the issues weighing on her mind. The only reason I didn't go for a five star rating is because it felt a little unpolished, like something she wasn't ready to share with the world. But I did really enjoy it, and I think the ...more
    Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
    These selected stories, presented in chronological order of creation, allow the reader to track the maturation of Hurston from gifted storyteller to master of American letters. These stories provide a good introduction to her groundbreaking vernacular transcription, as well as just some great tale-telling. At times heart breaking and hilarious, Hurston experiments to great effect with different styles that are still in use today. Anyone interested in “the classics” cannot afford to miss this ...more
    Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it
    Good stories but - as others have mentioned - the dialogues are difficult to decipher, even for someone accustomed to hearing pidgin. (Now I know how the tourists & transplants feel.) I'm not sure if the dialect actually helps or detracts from the tales. But I consider myself very lucky to have been given an early look thanks to a Goodreads giveaway.
    Karma♥Bites ^.~
    Adding this to GR shelves as reminder. I'd love to give this a go but at this time, can't commit to read & review by Jan 14, 2020 pub date.

    Perhaps seeing this will pique interest in other GR buddies?
    ARC @
    12/29/20: I am reading an uncorrected proof of this book which will be published in January 2020. I have read the first two stories and am delighted to say that the first two stories are fascinating. There is some regional dialect that might confuse some readers, but it was not as difficult to understand as I expected. Some of the phrases the author actually explains in the following paragraphs. This collection includes some short stories that have never been published before. There is a ...more
    rated it it was amazing
    Jan 07, 2020
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    Jan 19, 2020
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    Zora Neale Hurston was an American folklorist and author. In 1925, shortly before entering Barnard College, Hurston became one of the leaders of the literary renaissance happening in Harlem, producing the short-lived literary magazine Fire!! along with Langston Hughes and Wallace Thurman. This literary movement became the center of the Harlem Renaissance.

    Hurston applied her Barnard ethnographic