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How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America
How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America | Kiese Laymon
Author and essayist Kiese Laymon is one of the most unique, stirring, and powerful new voices in American social and cultural commentary. How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America is a collection of Laymon's essays, touching on subjects ranging from family, race, violence, and celebrity to music, writing, and coming of age in the rural Mississippi Gulf Coast. Laymon's writing is unflinchingly honest, while also being smart, lacerating, and unexpectedly funny. In How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, Laymon deals in depth with his own personal story, which is filled with trials (and reflections on those trials) that illuminate under-appreciated aspects of contemporary American life. As revealed in the book's title essay, Laymon attended three colleges before earning his undergraduate degree. He was suspended from the first of these institutions, Millsaps College, following a probationary period resulting from a controversial essay he published on campus. As the school's president described it, the "Key Essay in question was written by Kiese Laymon, a controversial writer who consistently editorializes on race issues." Controversy seemed to follow this young writer, but as he himself puts it, "my job is to ask questions, to broaden the scope of American literature by broadening the scope of who is written to and imaginatively writes back." Laymon voice is something new and unexpected in contemporary American writing, mixing a colloquial voice with acerbic wit, sharp insights, and blast-furnace heat that calls to mind no one so much as a black 21st-century Mark Twain. Much like Twain, Laymon's writing is steeped in controversial issues both private and public. From his biting critiques of race politics to revelations of his own internal struggles with American "blackness," Laymon taps into an ongoing conversation that is played out consciously and subconsciously across all of our artistic, cultural, political, and economic realities. This collection introduces Laymon as a writer who balances volatile concepts on a razor's edge, and who chops up much-discussed and often-misunderstood topics with his scathing humor and fresh, unexpected takes on the ongoing absurdities, frivolities, and calamities of American life.
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SW-T
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Mehso-so

Some parts were very good, while others were hard to slog through. Didn‘t hate it, but didn‘t like it either. Almost didn‘t finish. Crack, poverty, black manhood, racism...but hey, the women in his life were there for him. Found myself irritated more than anything. On the plus side, it was short.

#unpopularopinion

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amma-keep-reading
Pickpick

I most enjoy writers who are creative and vulnerable and Kiese Laymon, is that kind of writer. Wow, just wow. If he is so open and honest and in this memoir, I can only imagine the brilliance of Heavy. I so look forward to reading more of his work.

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Megabooks
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Pickpick

Sign me up for the Kiese Laymon fan club. While these essays don‘t have the gravity and drama of Heavy, they still really broadened my view of what it is to be black in America. And these aren‘t your standard academic essays, they‘re vibrant and told in many different ways, including an epistolary one (squee)! 4⭐️

#24in48 #readathon hit the 8 hour mark! Yay caffeine! ☕️🥤

95 likes4 stack adds4 comments
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Megabooks
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I didn‘t get very far in #24b4monday today, but I completed my first grant. 😁🎉

Going for my fourth 24 hours in #24in48 with a reset clock, a strong cup of coffee, and some cheesecake! Let‘s do it!

Kaye 👍🏼 10mo
Andrew65 That‘s still a good first day total, well done. 👍😊 10mo
TheReadingMermaid You're doing great hun! Keep it up! 👍🏻👍🏻 10mo
90 likes3 comments
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Megabooks
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Look what‘s on #hoopla peeps!! Thanks to the Collections Specialist at my library for emailing me about it!! 🎉🎉🎉

irre Ohh, I‘ve been wanting to read those! Thanks for the heads up!! 10mo
Megabooks @irre No problem! 😊 10mo
SW-T @Megabooks This is good to know! Thanks for the update 😊 10mo
Megabooks @SW-T You‘re welcome! 10mo
83 likes4 comments
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mrozzz
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Nicole looked at me like she wanted to say everything was going to be okay. I wanted her to say that we were the collateral damage of a nation going through growing pains. Part of me wanted us to hug and agree each other to death that we were better people than we actually were. But most of me was tired of lying to myself and really tired of talking to white folks.

55 likes3 stack adds
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mrozzz
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Pickpick

This is one of those books full of painful truths we must keep our eyes open to seeing and internalizing. I wanted to scream often.

One essay recounts a time an undercover (white) police officer taunted him & a friend in a fast food parking lot by calling them "n***** lovers" and driving away. The friends pursued & threw obscene hand gestures- the cop slowed, turned on his lights, pulled them over, directing a shotgun at the author's chest.

ClairesReads So keen to read this 2y
Yeah_I_Read 😰 2y
mrozzz @ClairesReads Do! 😄 I highly recommend the audiobook. The narrator is great 👍🏻 2y
mrozzz @Yeah_I_Read I know.... it's brutal, but I'm an instant fan of this author now. Need to find more by him ASAP 2y
59 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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8little_paws
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Pickpick

Hey Litsy! This book is God damn incredible. An absolute must read. Why it hasn't gotten more buzz is beyond me. An excellent companion reader to Invisible Man Got the Whole World Watching.

70 likes14 stack adds
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Erin01
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these are all the books that I'm currently in the middle of right now, I'm really enjoying them all but have also been trying to prioritize library books these last few weeks which is why I haven't yet gotten around to finishing a few of these even though I bought them the day they came out (I'm looking at Letters & Here We Are when I say this)
#riotgrams #currentreads #currentlyreading

WOCreads Excellent reads!! Are you a book juggler too?😁 3y
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CaitTheCurst
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Pickpick

Sharp and funny and distinctive essays, largely about black Southern life. Family, politics, hip hop, prejudice, self reflection. Highly recommended.

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PlantyLibrarian
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Pickpick

This book took me on a journey that broke my heart and opened my eyes. Laymon does not claim to be perfect, and this book is far from perfect. But it is important. He veers at the end with what felt like a very personal need to pay homage to several artists and get revenge on his editor, which completely took me out. I wish there had been more personal experience of his later years, but what he does share of his youth is wide-eyed and beaming.

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Carleneishere
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Post-Thanksgiving trek from Orlando back to Sitka. Almost there. #readharder #collectionofessays

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megnews
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Early morning reading. I try to read anything written by graduates of nearby Oberlin College. I've enjoyed the Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier and everything by James McBride. This is an excellent collection of essays. Adding his first novel, Long Division, to my TBR list as well.
#diversebooks

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Litfangrl
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Though the winters were colder, the vowels shorter, the buildings taller, and the yards a lot smaller, the Chicago I visited as a child always felt like an orange piece of Mississippi that had broken off and floated away...with one major exception.

evelynnalfred Maywood! 3y
2 likes1 stack add1 comment
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RebeccaH
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I love to read essays, memoirs, and all kinds of weird nonfiction. Here are some of my nonfiction shelves (plus a few overflow novels). @Liberty

25 likes2 stack adds
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misslisha3
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trishbronte
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I'm almost done with Kiese Laymon's incredible collection of essays and am looking forward to the rest of this week's book haul!

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