Reader’s favorite explores themes of race

Antoine Williams is a Chapel Hill artist and assistant professor of art at Guilford College. She is also on the board of the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh.

Recommended read: The Sellout” by Paul Beatty because we all need to be shaken out of our comfort zone when talking about race. It’s a very funny, poignant and satirical look at the complexities of race in America. The protagonist, who is black, recalls how he ended up on trial in front of the Supreme Court for owning a slave and instituting segregation in an effort to save his poverty-stricken black and Latino town Dickens, California, which has been recently wiped off all official maps. With humor, this book masterfully shows the absurdities of America’s relationship with race.

Currently reading:Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation” by Bill Nye.

What is your favorite book that nobody’s heard of?At the Mountains of Madness” by H. P. Lovecraft.

What is your favorite reading memory? When I was much younger after reading “The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley,” I was watching rapper Chubb Rock freestyle on the show “Yo! MTV Raps.” During his freestyle he said “I’m not a pimp in a sharkskin suit” which is a reference to Malcolm X from the book. It was the first time (but not the last) I heard a rapper reference a book that I was aware of, and I thought it was really cool that this somewhat obscure literally reference was woven so seamlessly into what he was saying.

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The Sellout

Paul Beatty

Picador, 304 pages