Summertime reading

Just today, my Opera friend, Trang, did a post with a quotation about reading. I have been really busy with things lately with no motivation to post but this quotation inspired me to post about the books I’ve read over the summer. Reading is my quiet time at night and I’m currently reading a 7th novel called Floodtide by:

Frank Yerby (September 5, 1916 – November 29, 1991), who was an African American historical novelist. This series of seven books used to belong to my mom and were part of the 100 or so books I kept of hers after she passed away. At first I didn’t expect to really like these books because I don’t normally go for romance novels. I was very wrong. They ARE romance novels, but Mr. Yerby researched the different eras in which all of his books are depicted. They are also historical fiction novels and very good reads especially when a writer can get the reader to hate or love certain characters in the story and describe the scene, people, clothing, etc. in such a way as to make you feel you are part of it.

So far, the books I’ve read this summer by Yerby are:

The Vixens
The Golden Hawk
Pride’s Castle
The Saracen Blade
The Devil’s Laughter
Benton’s Row
Floodtide (reading currently)

Since I’m half way through Floodtide, I plan on going to the used bookstore to find other books by him. If there are no used ones, I will buy new.

According to many sources, including Wikipedia, Yerby became the first African-American to publish a best-seller with The Foxes of Harrow in 1946. “That same year he also became the first African-American to have a book purchased for screen adaptation by a Hollywood studio, when 20th Century Fox optioned Foxes. Ultimately, the book became a 1947 Oscar-nominated film starring Rex Harrison and Maureen O'Hara.”

“Yerby left the United States in 1955 in protest against racial discrimination, moving to Spain (then under the Franco regime), where he remained for the rest of his life. Frank Yerby died from congestive heart failure in Madrid and was interred there in the Cementerio de la Almudena.”

I had a hard time getting through the first book set in the south because the ‘N’ word was used throughout. I stumbled over this word every single time. I finally decided that that’s how it was. It was a sign of the times. The next book was much easier to read with much less stumbling.

Photo of Frank Yerby by Anel Fernández, El País Semanal

To read an overview of his books click here.

About pam

I am retired from real 9 to 5 jobs. I do my artwork and occasionally write poetry. In September 2010, I moved to Fargo, ND after spending 60 years in Phoenix, Arizona. Now, five years later, July 2015, I'm back in Arizona. And yes, I love the heat!
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51 Responses to Summertime reading

  1. PainterWoman says:

    Thanks Linda. This was a very pleasant discovery. I'll be adding his name next to Dostoevsky. I don't plan on loaning these books out or giving them away. Books and cd's don't seem to get returned. I hope there will be some of his books at the used bookstore. I've seen them for sale on eBay too and may go that route but I'm not very trusting to buying things online.

  2. Phantom2 says:

    Interesting you should post about this author. I picked up a copy of "The Girl from Storyville" in a New Orleans book store last winter. I haven't read it yet, but came recommended by a friend familiar with his works. 🙂

  3. L2D2 says:

    Pam, you have stumbled across one of my favorite authors of all time. I guess I have read every book that was ever published by Yerby. Foxes of Harrow was excellent, and so were all of the above books. I had every one of those at one time. Somehow, over the years, I lost or gave away those books. Wish I still had them.I knew that he moved, lived and died in Spain to get away from racial prejudice.Glad you have discovered one of the best writers of historical novels ever.

  4. PainterWoman says:

    P2, I'll bet there are a lot of his books in the used bookstores where you are. Let me know when you've read it. I think I'll head out to a bookstore right now as I don't have to work today and wear myself out.

  5. gdare says:

    I must admit I`ve never heard of him before. I will try to find if he was translated in Serbia.

  6. I_ArtMan says:

    pam,nice post. i liked it.i can remember reading a few of these in my early teens, from greyhound station revolving book stands.when you finish with yerby, if ever, try garland roark novels. if you like yerby, you would like roark. most famous of course, "the wake of the red witch" but lesser known, "the eye of the needle" also made into a movie.thanks for the trip down memory lane. :happy:

  7. Dacotah says:

    Pam, great post. Thank you.I will have to look for his books.

  8. ellinidata says:

    1,000,000 points to Pam! a great list and you deserve every point you got!!!:headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :wizard: :happy: 🙂

  9. PainterWoman says:

    Scott: Thank you. I had never heard of Yerby till I saw these 7 books among the several hundred my mom left. Thanks for the recommendation of Roark. I think I saw Eye of the Needle. Wasn't Donald Sutherland in it?Darko: There might be some translations of his books there. Hope you can find them. Carol: Thanks. They should be easy to find in the U.S.Angeliki: Thank you. I'll take every point I can get. Just got back from Bookman's, a second hand bookstore. They had one hardbound copy of "A Woman Called Fancy" by Yerby which I bought for $4. I still had a $10 credit from bringing other books in. You get more money with a store credit than you do if you accept cash back when bringing books in.

  10. I_ArtMan says:

    yes. it was with donald sutherland and he was coolly diabolical. glad you found a yerby fook on your excursion to the bookstore. :up:

  11. I_ArtMan says:

    yep. very good movie. very suspenseful.

  12. TheDarkKing says:

    Pam, great post.I don't know anything about him but after reading your post I will look for his books. I'm not a big fan of Romance Novels too but its nice to see that people still reading. I read very often and I'm currently reading The Power of Story by Jim Loehr.Have a nice day Pam, Ciao.

  13. PainterWoman says:

    Scott, I do remember how diabolical Sutherland was. I'll have to rent it to see it again. Thanks Ricardo. Since you are part Italian, I'd bet you'd enjoy The Saracen Blade. This novel is set in 13th century Italy. It's my favorite so far, although they are all good.Linda, I will take a look again on eBay. I know I saw some of his books there before. I'll probably start Fancy in a couple of weeks and I'll want to find another one of his to read afterwards.

  14. L2D2 says:

    I got all his books in the 60s I guess it was. A Woman Called Fancy was good, Pam. I think you will enjoy it. As I remember, he was pretty much historically accurate, but often from a Afro-American point of view.Don't be afraid to buy on ebay. I have made over 200 puchases on ebay and have only ever had problems with three sellers/items. I get CDs and LPs from ebay a lot, also have ordered books.Probably more likely to find Yerby novels on ebay than in bookstores becaue he has been out of print for so long.

  15. TheDarkKing says:

    Originally posted by PainterWoman:

    Thanks Ricardo. Since you are part Italian, I'd bet you'd enjoy The Saracen Blade. This novel is set in 13th century Italy. It's my favorite so far, although they are all good.

    Okay Pam, I will look for this novel.

  16. claudeb says:

    Originally posted by PainterWoman:

    I had a hard time getting through the first book set in the south because the ‘N’ word was used throughout.

    Well, he was an African-American. Imagine how he must have felt writing the book. But since he was so big on historical accuracy, he had little choice but to use the 'N' word. So much for idealizing the past, eh?

  17. PainterWoman says:

    Exactly Claude. Except for one, the timeline of the novels I've read so far, were all in the 1800s and early 1900s and slavery was a way of life then. Yerby wrote many of these during the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s. There was no longer any slavery, but racial discrimination was still rampant. I don't blame him for leaving the U.S.

  18. Harrrie says:

    Thank you for this Pam. He sounds a very interesting writer, to be able to place himself and the reader into the era, Im not normally a history or romance reader, but this has got me intrigued.I love books, my parents house had a room dedicated to books, floor to ceiling, it was a huge effort when they downsized to go through and sort them! I never seem to throw a book out, and am rapidly filling my own home with them, though I confess I dont have much time or patience to sit and read recently, so stick more to the factual.

  19. PainterWoman says:

    You're welcome Harrie. Enjoying his novels was a pleasant surprise. I've always liked historical fiction but not necessarily romance novels. My mom read more than any of us and read everything and my dad read history books. It sounds like your parents had the same amount of books mine did….hundreds. It was painful to give away the ones I did but with a house filled with art stuff, something had to go.

  20. edwardpiercy says:

    Maureen O'Hara — a great black actress. :pMaybe he was right moving to Spain.

  21. L2D2 says:

    Nah, Amos and Andy a long time ago. Red Fox. Eartha Kitt

  22. PainterWoman says:

    Found this nice tribute on YT:

  23. PainterWoman says:

    Lena Horne is the first name that comes to my mind.

  24. edwardpiercy says:

    Interesting. You know I was thinking about it and the first black actor I can remember seeing was Sammy Davis Jr in Ocean's Eleven. And the next was Sidney Poitier. As for actresses, there was the woman who played the secretary on Mannix (Peggy?), that one teacher on Room 222, and eventually Uhura on Star Trek.

  25. PainterWoman says:

    I looked in imbd to find out who the other actors were in The Foxes of Harrow. The main character, Harrison, was married and had two mistresses. One was his wife's sister and the other was a black woman by the name of Desiree. Patricia Medina played Desiree. Medina was born in Liverpool to a Spanish father and English mother. She is far from black so I'm assuming makeup was used. I guess, in 1947 when the movie was made, there were no black actresses suitable for the role? Surely there was. Something to research……

  26. edwardpiercy says:

    @ ScottThey didn't use many real Indians or Asians either.

  27. L2D2 says:

    You are right Scott. Diane Cannon, also. They were not allowed in leading roles.

  28. I_ArtMan says:

    dorothy dandridge was in the hit parade the year i was born. 1943. she would have made a perfect 'desiree'they just didn't use black women back then. :sherlock:she could be in movies as a singer in a band but not the female lead. unheard of. :down:

  29. PainterWoman says:

    Originally posted by I_ArtMan:

    she could be in movies as a singer in a band but not the female lead

    Or as a cook or maid.When did things start changing? The sixties maybe?

  30. I_ArtMan says:

    jackie robinson. harry belafonte. frank sinatra. john f. kennedy. martin luther king. lyndon b. johnson and thurgood marshall made it happen.yes. sixties. fifties copied the past. still reeling from the second world war. affluence precedes generosity. (i said that) 🙂

  31. PainterWoman says:

    Lena Horne would have been a wonderful Desiree but, as a singer, she mainly appeared in musicals in the thirties, forties and fifties. I was surprised to find she is still alive at 92 and living in Brooklyn.Linda: Always liked Red Fox's junk shop in the tv series. I'd heard of Amos and Andy, but never heard them on the radio. Come to find out, they were actually two white actors who'd overheard two old black guys talking and decided to make a radio skit out of it. Scott: You're right, Dorothy Dandridge would have been a great Desiree. It's too bad the movies didn't use more black actresses to play black characters. Would have made perfect sense and too bad a producer didn't have the guts to do it then. There were plenty of them to choose from. Fifties DID copy the past and I'm glad things changed during the sixties. Originally posted by I_ArtMan:

    affluence precedes generosity.

    Well said. Ed: I think you're right about that.Leazz: Nice to see you.

  32. PainterWoman says:

    She sure is Ed. I catch that show every once in a while. Never seem to remember the night it's on. Have been watching all the re-runs of Criminal Minds and NCIS. Oh, and did you catch the season opening show of House with him in the re-hab hospital?

  33. edwardpiercy says:

    Well the black actress I think is most beautiful currently is Sophina Brown of the show "Numb3rs." (Squeezed in a little Celebrity Babe Watching here. :p )

  34. TheDarkKing says:

    Criminal Minds and NCIS are two of my favorite shows. Last night I watched Cougar Town, a very hilarious show.By the way, I don't like House because of Dr. House which is the main character… He is controversial and racist!!!

  35. edwardpiercy says:

    I thought that the actress who played his friend in the hospital looked familiar, so I just looked it up on and found that it was Franka Potente, who played in Run Lola Run and also the first Bourne movie. That was a hot love scene.

  36. edwardpiercy says:

    The opening of House was awesome. It's nice that they were able to give Laurie some new situations to show off his talents in a broader sense. Sad about the woman he liked. I wonder if they will bring her back in later. FYI Numbers is always on Fridays at 10:00.

  37. edwardpiercy says:

    Love to hate him, hate it that you love him. That's the edge that makes the show.

  38. PainterWoman says:

    House is indeed a controversial character and is extremely annoying but I watch it anyway. I guess I've missed the episodes where he shows his racism. I was disappointed when Mandy Patinkin left Criminal Minds but I am fascinated with profiling so will continue to watch. I love the other actors too.

  39. PainterWoman says:

    Yeah, that was a good scene.I'll bet they'll bring her back.

  40. L2D2 says:

    Amos and Andy became a TV series in the early days of TV, and the actors were definitely Black. We used to watch it after having listened to it on radio for years. Do not remember who the two lead actors were.

  41. PainterWoman says:

    We didn't have a tv till 54 or 55 but we kids weren't allowed to watch it. I barely remember a show called Howdy Doody and that was when I was around 7. My dad was kind of controlling that way.

  42. PainterWoman says:

    After howdy doody were the cartoons. A few more shows are coming back to me now. Horse shows: Fury, Lone Ranger and My Friend Flicka. I was 10 or 12 then. But it was only on Saturdays we were allowed to watch tv. With my kids, I was a stay at home mom so I pretty much knew what they were watching and how long. I wasn't as strict as my dad but I never cared for the violent or really scarey stuff anyway.

  43. I_ArtMan says:

    howdy doody show. amazing what pablum that was compared to the fare the kids are getting now. and i might add without parental supervision. who knows what effect all that violence is having on our kids and their kids. too late now.

  44. I_ArtMan says:

    cool. i knew that. there is a middle ground for of my sons was very into video games. i used to sit next to him while he advanced to higher and higher level. finally, i decided that this would be good training for future fighter pilots. reflexes and thinking on the fly.i don't think it harmed him in any way. he is still the gentle soul he was as a small fry. :happy: he still likes those games though. now he has kids… i wonder how he will handle it.

  45. L2D2 says:

    I wastched Howdy Doody, and Party Time and Mickey Mouse Club, Sky King, Lash LaRue, Of course Roy and Gene, My Friend Flick, Fury, so many. Then when Chris got old enough, there was Roadrunner, Speedy Gonzalez, Buffalo Bob, Sesame Street, many other cartoons, and after he was a teenager and I divorced, Chris and I would get up on Sat. morning and watch Pirates of Dark Water.

  46. FIFINELEB says:

    Brilliant post,Pam. It makes me think of "North and South" with late Patrick Swayze. A very picturesque historical romance in my opinion.Hi,Linda. Nice to see you watching so many comics. I liked the smurfs very much.

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