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A Lesson Before Dying
A Lesson Before Dying: A Novel | Ernest J. Gaines
A Lesson Before Dying, is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shoot out in which three men arekilled; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university, has returned to the plantation school to teach. As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson's godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resistingand defyingthe expected.Ernest J. Gaines brings to this novel the same rich sense of place, the same deep understanding of the human psyche, and thesame compassion for a people and their struggle that have informed his previous, highly praised works of fiction.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Allthebookclubs
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Pickpick

Set in the 1940′s, this is a remarkable story that highlights the lack of justice during that time (even though the justice system today has a LONG way to go). This book shows how important it is to stay true to yourself. To never give someone else the opportunity to take and shatter your personal dignity; that you came into this world alone and, unavoidably, you will leave the exact same way. Book #69 in 2021

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Julz422
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Pickpick

I read this book before I went to college. Before I knew of the actual injustices that were beyond my small, white, middle class suburb. Reading this over twenty years later in 2021, knowing what I know now breaks my heart even more than it possibly could have at 18. We need to end the racist system of the death penalty.

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Julz422
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Love my bestie‘s little reading nook in Philly 🙏

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Julz422
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Today‘s reading spot

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Julz422
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I found a copy of this for $1 at a thrift store so I‘m re-reading it for the first time in like 20 years. I‘m not doing a great job of finding casual “poolside reading” this summer, but it‘s 2021 and we‘ve survived a pandemic so here we are 🤷‍♀️

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Tomigirl44
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Pickpick

This has been on my short list for quite a while - a very powerful (and timely) book.

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DarkPizza
Pickpick

It was good, it was sad, it was short. Brain doesn't have a lot of extra processing power to contribute right now, unfortunately.

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Reviewsbylola
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Pickpick

Where to start with this one—

Grant Wiggins is a school teacher in the rural south when a young community member is unjustly sentenced to death for a crime he didn‘t commit. Grant is coerced into counseling the man before death. So many questions , such as what makes us human? What is our responsibility toward others? How do we find hope in our darkest hour? Great book to really shine a light on historic injustices. Profound impact.

Reviewsbylola Thank you to @BarbaraBB for putting this on my radar! Here‘s a review for you @cinfhen 😂😂 2y
Crazeedi This sounds like one that hurts the heart 2y
Cinfhen Hahahahaha 😘😘Thanks, Steph and now I‘m adding it ...see!!! It‘s good to be tagged 2y
BarbaraBB Glad you enjoyed it. Time flies. I vaguely remember that giveaway 🤦🏻‍♀️😘 2y
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Bookishgal71
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Pickpick

My daughter was assigned this novel for high school freshman English, and I read it along with her. I love to do this, as it often results in me rereading something from my youth or reading something I would not normally pick up, This is a journey into segregation and racial tension in the deep south. A tragic, necessary read, especially for the young men and women of today.

BarbaraBB I loved this heartbreaking book. 2y
Come-read-with-me I love this book. It breaks my heart every time I read it, but it‘s worth ever tear! 2y
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Addison_Reads
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Pickpick

#BookSpin #BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

Highly recommend this one. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It made me angry, it made me reflect on my own actions, it made me teary-eyed, and I loved every word.

A young black man is sentenced to death for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The impact on his family, friends, and community is devastating, but Gaines gives us a book about how people keep moving forward even when it seems like all hope is lost.

TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 2y
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megnews
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This was my first introduction to Gaines and I quickly went on to read all his books. A favorite author. Kindle deal today.

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kspenmoll
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#buddyread with my son.

Bookwormjillk That‘s a great idea! 2y
readordierachel Very cool. Looking forward to those with my daughter when she's older 🙂 2y
48 likes2 comments
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vivastory
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Pickpick

Narrator Grant Wiggins is reluctantly recruited by his aunt & Jefferson's godmother, following the verdict of Jefferson's murder trial. Set in Louisiana, Gaines' novel of agency & dignity amidst communal expectations & Jim Crow laws, conveys a great sense of place as well. This novel is astonishing & several themes such as the elusiveness of justice for all still unfortunately relevant 27 years after publication.

BarbaraBB Such a powerful read 💔 2y
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EadieB
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Pickpick

#ALessonBeforeDying

1940's Cajun country. A very moving story, deep & compassionate. Grant Wiggins returns to visit Jefferson, a black youth, on death row for a crime he didn't commit. well-written book. Author gives us a look & feel through a black man's eyes. They both learned lessons and come to understand the meaning of racial bias that is inflicted on fellow human beings. This is a book everyone should read. I highly recommend it.

BarbaraBB Great review. Such a moving book ❤️ 2y
EadieB @BarbaraBB Thanks! 2y
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jennbee

You‘ve never had any possessions to give up, Jefferson. But there is something greater than possessions—and that is love.

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Blaire
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Mehso-so

I feel mixed on this one, the last seventy pages were deeply affecting and I found myself in tears and the depiction of life for black men in Louisiana in the 1940s was powerful, but parts of it also dragged. Jefferson is sentenced to die for a crime to which he was a bystander and his aunt enlists the local teacher to meet with him and impart his humanity on him so he can die with dignity. #40thbirthdaychallenge #1993

Jess861 I felt the same way about this book - it was a challenge to get through at times but an important story to tell. 3y
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SaniyyahK
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Pickpick

This book is amazing. It‘s one of those books where not much is happening in the plot but the characters are enough to keep you engaged. The writing is captivating and you find yourself finishing chapter after chapter. After I finished I definitely thought about my purpose in society and what I am contributing to my community.

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SW-T
Lesson Before Dying | Ernest J Gaines
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R.I.P. 😢😢😢

Loved his books. He‘ll be missed.

#ErnestGaines

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Lesliereads
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“I try to create characters with character in order to improve my own character and maybe the character of the person who reads me.” - Ernest Gaines (1933-2019)🖤📚Rest in Manly, Southern, Literary Power and Esteem. #ernestgaines #americanwriters #southernwriters #blackwriters

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Leftcoastzen
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jillrhudy I just put some of his books out on the “Trending“ shelf here at the library--working late tonight! 3y
Leftcoastzen @jillrhudy That‘s great. I need to read more of his books,I enjoyed the ones I have read. 3y
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TobeyTheScavengerMonk He was my Convocation speaker my freshman year of college. A great writer. He will be missed. 3y
RealBooks4ever Oh no... 😢 3y
Jas16 Oh that is so sad. 3y
Lcsmcat 😢 3y
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nosferatu
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Pickpick

Teaching option 1

BarbaraBB I loved this one 💔 3y
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kspenmoll
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#LetsTravelAugust #prison
Tagged book is among the suggested books for incoming freshmen‘s summer reading requirement st the HS where I teach.It never ages. The book is fiction, but it is based on the true story of a young black man, Willie Francis of Louisiana. He was sentenced to death in the electric chair.

megnews Everything by Ernest Gaines is worth reading. 3y
Suet624 It was also a banned book. 🤦🏻‍♀️ 3y
Suet624 I‘m really glad it‘s required reading now. 3y
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OriginalCyn620 👌🏻📚👮🏻‍♂️ 3y
BarbaraBB I loved this one. 3y
kspenmoll @Suet624 Sone students choose it because it has less pages than others, but they always end up engaged & generate great discussions. 3y
Nevermore88 I have this book. I have yet to read it. 3y
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Billypar
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Pickpick

Jefferson grew up as a fairly typical #smalltownboy in the black community of Bayonne, Louisiana in the 30s and 40s: poor, little education, & hard labor on the farm. At 21, he is wrongly convicted of murder, and his godmother recruits her friend's teacher-nephew to teach him how to be a man before he faces death after a lifetime of injustice. What ensues is powerful and multi-layered: I think I'm still unpacking a lot of its implications.

JennyM That sounds a heavy but important read 4y
BarbaraBB I loved this tragic book. 4y
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Billypar @JennyM @BarbaraBB Yes- heavy, important, and tragic are all great descriptions- this is one that will stick with me. 4y
Cinfhen Sounds like a really powerful read. When was it written?? 4y
gradcat Such a fantastic book—and author. ♥️ 4y
Billypar @Cinfhen 1993. It has a timeless feel to it though, like it could have been written in any decade. 4y
Billypar @gradcat I've heard a lot of praise for this novel, but not much about Gaines himself- I'll have to check out his other work. 4y
gradcat @Billypar In my opinion, Haines has never written a bad book. But I tend to give Louisiana authors a lot of yardage, because I was born & raised here, and I know the kind of weird hold and, if I‘m honest, magic this state has on its denizens, and particularly on its writers. I love/hate this place, and I lived in loads of other, probably better places, and yet I always return. It‘s like a boomerang, this state.... 4y
Cinfhen Interesting comments @gradcat certain places have their magnetic fields ~ you can‘t fight it 4y
Billypar @gradcat I love it when books have the setting play an prominent role where you can tell it left a stamp on the author from living there. Absolutely agree @Cinfhen ! 4y
gradcat @Cinfhen Agree 100 percent...it‘s not something one can explain, either. @Billypar I like most of the writers from my state...sometimes I think there‘s an otherworldliness about Louisiana geography, so the setting lends itself to the Southern gothic novel. 4y
Suet624 I read this several years ago when my librarian had it on the Banned Books bookshelf. I had no idea this had been banned. A great novel. 3y
Billypar @Suet624 Ugh- how terrible. This would be a great addition to a high school or college curriculum. 3y
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EadieB
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Day 24 - #lessons #springintoreading

I own this book but have not read it yet.

From the author of A Gathering of Old Men and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman comes a deep and compassionate novel, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. A young man who returns to 1940s Cajun country to teach visits a black youth on death row for a crime he didn't commit. Together they come to understand the heroism of resisting.

KathyWheeler I loved this book. 4y
EadieB @KathyWheeler I need to read it! 4y
OrangeMooseReads This is a good one. I had to read it for a class several years ago. 4y
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Billypar On my shelf too- looking forward to it from all the good things I've heard. 4y
Mariposa_Bookworm I read it years ago. I remember it having a profound effect. It raised a lot of questions too about manhood, dignity and remorse. 4y
SW-T I read it a few years ago and really liked it. 4y
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megnews
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#CellBlockTango #MusicalNewYear

I read A Lesson Before Dying over 20 years ago and loved it so much I quickly read almost everything else by Ernest Gaines. I hate to admit I don‘t remember much other than the man on death row. It was so good I purchased a copy at a library book sale recently to re-read even though I don‘t usually re-read things.

Cinfhen I‘ve also meant to read this! Thanks for the reminder 😊 4y
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Texreader
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Whew! I haven‘t read this one yet but based on #momreviews and Litsy reviews, I‘d better be ready for this one. @Momreviews

GingerAntics Well, it sounds like Mom says to read it, so I‘ll read it. 4y
Texreader @GingerAntics I know, pretty strong recommendation. Imagine me going through all these books and her notes today and seeing that one? Whoa! Put on the brakes and read it! But I‘ve got to be ready for it... 4y
GingerAntics Yeah, it does seem to be the type of tale you‘d need to mentally prepare for. 4y
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9999 I am loving the notes from your mom! How amazing is that! 4y
KathyWheeler It‘s a wonderful, sad, soul crushing book. 4y
CoffeeNBooks This is a really good, but very sad book. I read it several years ago and have a copy of it in my classroom library. 4y
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EchoLogical
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Pickpick

I thought about using a less abrasive quote but decided this was most fitting for such a moving book. I didn't like it because it really wasn't "enjoyable" material but it stuck with me.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

#blackandbookedchallenge

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hwestfall
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Pickpick

I finished this book up while I was at the KOA laundromat. This was my first Ernest Gaines book and I loved it. I will be looking for more by him.

Tamra Their laundromats often have a book exchange shelf. 😁 I don‘t usually find anything I like, but I‘ve left a few. 4y
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Reviewsbylola
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#bookmail for the third day in a row!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻 I got my second BOTM box as well as the two books I won from the wonderful @BarbaraBB Thank you! ❤️❤️

emilyhaldi Awesome!! I might need to borrow this for #popsugar18 challenge 5y
BarbaraBB Yay! They arrived! Let me know what you think when you get to them. They are really good - I think. 😘 5y
cathysaid I really enjoyed A Lesson Before Dying 👍 5y
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Nat_Reads Grief and Lesson ❤️❤️❤️ 5y
MoniqueReads305 A Lesson Before Dying left me in tears. Great book, I have it in my bookcase for a reread one day. 5y
Cinfhen Woohoo🤗🤗🤗 5y
Mdargusch Nice! 5y
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Tamra
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Pickpick

😭😭😭 This one is worthy of a reread. A lot of hard truth on these pages.

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Tamra
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😞 Powerful. (Though this paragraph started out with the failure of black men to protect & save black women, which I find uncomfortably sexist.)

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Tamra
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This book is going to burn me up, and rightfully so. I‘ve been agitated several times already and this is only chapter 7.

KathyWheeler I loved this book. 5y
Tamra @KathyWheeler I know it‘s going to be devastatingly good. 😭 5y
KathyWheeler @Tamra “Devastatingly good” is a perfect description of it. 5y
hwestfall I found this book a few weeks back at the Salvation Army store! I need to finish what I am reading now so I can start it. 5y
Tamra @hwestfall I‘m definitely engaged - I predict it will be worth bumping up on your TBR. 5y
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Nute
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Pickpick

I guess that I put that review in as a blurb thus I didn't give this book a "pick" rating. Sorry guys... it was early in the morning.
Do stack.
Do read.
It's worth the effort and very much recommended.

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Nute
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I remember reading this book as if it were yesterday.
How long will I think about this book? How long before I forget this story? Always and never. Because the lesson was not for the dying, for the losing of life, for the soon to be executed. The lesson was/is for the living, for the chosing of life, for anyone heroic enough to be more than what is expected. I hope to remember that.
Highly recommended!

Lesliereads I love Ernest Gaines and have a stack of his books that I'm looking forward to immersing myself in at some point😍 5y
Nute @Lesliereads It doesn't feel like he gets as much recognition as he deserves. His words reach deep into your soul and they linger there as a life lesson. Enjoy your immersion experience. I'll be doing the same thing.☺️ 5y
DivineDiana This book is so moving! I don‘t give too many of these ratings, but this small book deserved it! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (edited) 5y
Nute @DivineDiana Absolutely! 5y
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uhlise
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"I want you to show them the difference between what they think you are and what you can be."

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BarbaraBB
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Pickpick

What a great, sad novel. An innocent black man gets the death penalty. Another man visite him in death row. They learn a lot from each other. Read while sailing our little boat through the rural regionale north of Amsterdam.

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Born.A.Reader
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Enjoying a beautiful day, working on this for my book club, while my little enjoys her sunshine. 💕💕

Suet624 I enjoyed this book. I hope you do too. 6y
32 likes1 comment
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Born.A.Reader
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#Thriftbooks #bookmail came today! The tagged book is for the book club I'm in and I couldn't pass up getting a couple more!

BelindaMGordon Outlander is one of my all time favorites. 6y
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SarahF
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Now that Litsy posts for grades are done, I wanted to post on some books I've read through out my years, and post on the books that have made an impact on my life and education. I will never forget reading "A Lesson Before Dying" sophomore year of HS, and what an incredible influence it had on my future reading endeavors. If you have not read this, you must. It's heart wrenching and a true insight to the injustices that went on not so long ago.

DrSpalding This makes me happy to know you WANTED to post not for a grade but to share a powerful story! ❤️📚 It's now on my TBR pile. 6y
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MrsBatt
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"I'm so sorry. And I wished they had somebody else we could turn to. But they ain't no body else."

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Tillie
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#RiotGrams Black History Month "I want you to show them the difference between what they think you are and what you can be."

lynneamch So powerful. 💔 6y
DivineDiana This is a ⭐️️⭐️️⭐️️⭐️️⭐️️ star read! 6y
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Suet624
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Read 14 books this month. While I liked several of the #TOB17 books, none of them made my "favorite" list. These four I'll remember for a long time. #januaryreads

Joybishoptx I need fun home. I must buy it soon! 6y
Suet624 @Joybishoptx 👍👍 6y
DivineDiana I read Lesson Before Dying years ago and it has stayed with me. Powerful! 6y
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TobeyTheScavengerMonk A Lesson Before Dying was the book everybody had to read my freshman year in college. Ernest Gaines was our Convocation speaker. 6y
Lmstraubie A Lesson Before Dying was such a powerful book. 6y
Suet624 @BraveNewBooks me too 💕💕💕 6y
61 likes7 comments
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Tillie
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Tillie Ernest Gaines was featured in this months AARP magazine. He is eighty. He moved back to the plantation he grew up on, bought some acreage, built a home, restored the church and saved the cemetery from obscurity. 6y
Suet624 Wow! Thanks for the info @Tillie 6y
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Tillie
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Pickpick

A moving, compassionate look at being human or inhuman as the case may be. "He was the bravest man in the room today..."

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flowerchildbae
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Pickpick

A Lesson Before Dying is a very moving book. It will pull at your heart strings. It will make you angry. It will make you question humanity. This book really pulls all of your emotions out. It is a book I recommend you read.
#slavery

BooksTeasAndBookishThings Welcome to Litsy!!! 😊❤🙌📚🎉 6y
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