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The Word: Black Writers Talk About the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Critically acclaimed Black writers reveal how books have shaped their personal lives—in often unexpected ways.

In these thirteen strikingly candid interviews, bestselling authors, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and writers picked by Oprah’s Book Club discuss how the acts of reading and writing have deeply affected their lives by expanding the conceptual borders of their
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“The symbiotic relationship between reading and writing is a cornerstone of our individual intellectual journeys and our educational system. We write as an act of self-expression. We read because language renders unto us the vitality of real and imagined experience.” - Marita Golden

An excellent book, a collection of 13 (14 if you count the editor’s) interviews of prolific black (African-American, African and Caribbean) writers, men and women whose writing covers a wide range (poetry, fiction,
Brown Girl Reading
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book to get insight on what writing means to some fantastic black authors. Very inspiring! It's nice to see what books these authors recommend. So happy I picked this one up!
Leslie Reese
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book came out in 2011, but I just discovered it. Hallelujah! Book lover, esteemed author and editor of several books, educator, and co-founder of the [Zora Neale Hurston]Hurston/[Richard] Wright Foundation---Marita Golden is the interviewer and editor of this collection of 13 writers from the African diaspora talking about how reading and writing have impacted their lives. (In the introduction Marita Golden writes about her own background as a reader and writer, and shares her list of ...more
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book. Marita Golden asked great questions, not only about reading and writing, but also about the state of education in our country and the recent decline in reading for pleasure. All of the writers she interviewed have inspirational stories to tell; inspirational not only for young people, but for adults, too. My full review can be seen on my book blog:
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely one of the best inspirational books about writers that I've read. My TBR list grew by about 15 books while reading this. Reading and writing have always been the biggest part of my life so to read that it was the biggest part of these writers' lives made me feel like I found my tribe. I read this book in one sitting, alone in my bed, but I didn't feel alone at all. It's like I was at a writer's conference sitting in on an informal panel discussion talking about this writing life.

Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great book for readers and writers alike. If you want to be inspired to write, listen to some of these great writers. And if you want to be inspired to read, hear what these authors say about the power of reading. I thank Ms. Golden for crafting such a book. To hear such writers talk about the transformative power of reading, and the inspirations they received from the printed word is refreshing. Im sure as you read through the interviews some of the responses will mirror the average readers ...more
Dec 28, 2013 rated it liked it
The interview format in this book made it a pleasure to read. The dominating thought while reading this book was 'If it makes you happy, do it.' I have been extremely critical of myself. Over-analyzing is a repeated barrier in taking a hold of life. Instead of enjoying these journeys, I've always questioned myself 'Why do I love to read so much?' and 'Why should a begin writing?' Golden's interviewees have implied that these activities can expand the human soul and enhance all that you're doing. ...more
Joshunda Sanders
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a great read with some of my favorite writers and journalists, including Edward P. Jones and Wil Haygood. It's great to hear them talk about the importance of reading and writing, either in tandem or just for the sake of loving the written word. My favorite thing about picking this up was that I stumbled across it at the library, and almost all of the writers mention their love for libraries, which they talk about as sacred spaces. The chapters end with great book recommendations, too.
Sydney Avey
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
The reading life is a purposeful journey. I just finished The Word, Black Writers Talk About the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing by Marita Golden. The book comprises three parts: Reading Beyond Borders, Reading for the Mind and Reading for the Soul.

Many good quotes fill this book! Some thoughts I highlighted addressed the intellectual challenge —a meaningful reading experience requires reflection and deep thought. Others spoke of empowerment. Reading helps people find where they
Sep 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Word is an excellent book that provides valuable information from the persepctives of various Black writers about the significance of reading and writing; and how writers help teach and shape world history and culture. It's inspirtational as much as it is informative and as someone that has finally decided to pursue my gift of writing professionally, I am encouraged. Writers and bookworms every where will find enjoyment in reading this book.
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
I could not stop reading this book. The power of the written word, as discussed by some of the leading Black fiction and non-fiction writers, including Nikki Giovanni and the late John Hope Franklin. I felt like it was my story being told-their love of books, libraries, the written word, the drive and *need* to read. It was refreshing. I am definitely passing this book along-it needs to be widely read.
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Excellent collection of contemporary writers who share insights into their writing life. Quite a few of them came to love reading (and writing)not as children, but a bit later. A variety of backgrounds--some came from homes with books and stimulation--and others found it outside of the home. Golden usually holds interviews either in their homes or nearby and each one is a gem.
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved the title because it attests to a recent transformation I experienced through reading and writing. Once I got a copy of the book I was completely in love. The interviews give access to some of my favorite writers and sometimes I felt like I was sitting there with them. I loved the Q&A format for its quickness and convenience.
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
Truly inspirational! A wealth of knowledge and a list of books to add to my readings.
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting interviews and great reading suggestions. My "To be read" list has definitely grown :)
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Words are there to remind us

It is inspiring to better understand the hold that reading has on many accomplished writers--writers who see the world through a lens similar to mine.
Ms. Arca
Dec 09, 2019 marked it as to-read
Sooooo Id really like this book for Xmas.
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Jan 19, 2019
Judith Grace
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Marita Golden (born April 28, 1950) is an award-winning novelist, nonfiction writer, distinguished teacher of writing and co-founder of the Hurston/Wright Foundation, a national organization that serves as a resource center for African-American writers.

(from Wikipedia)