A mini-doc of Nelson George's upcoming book release: "City Kid: A Writer's Memoir of Ghetto Life and Post-Soul Succes" (April 2009, Viking).
City Kid: A Writer's Memoir of Ghetto Life and Post-Soul Success by NELSON GEORGE
book is called City Kid because, well, quite honestly I couldn’t
survive in the suburbs or the country. I don’t drive. Malls give me
hives, and I’ve never dined in a Denny’s and don’t wanna start now.
This book contains few descriptions of rolling hills, limpid pools of
water, or clear blue skies. There is, however, much talk of playground
games, nightclubs, and boundless ambition.
Almost the entire
book takes place in four of New York’s boroughs with the exception of a
chapter in Detroit, two in Los Angeles, and two in the Tidewater area
of Virginia. I could have slipped in chapters set in my other favorite
cities (London, Paris, Amsterdam) but this book is about how family and
art intersect, and the most important connecting points for me are the
concrete jungles of America.
An excerpt from City Kid Chapter 18 "Kings From Queens" will be posted next week.
City Kid: A Writer's Memoir of Ghetto Life and Post-Soul Success will be available April 2nd, 2009.
City Kid: A Writer's Memoir of Ghetto Life and Post-Soul Success Nelson George. Viking, $25.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-670-02036-2
black nerds were chic” – not just athletes, musicians and activists.
The award-winning author of Hip Hop America (1998) and other books and
films on popular culture writes about his coming-of-age in his Brooklyn
inner-city neighborhood. Rooted in George’s personal experience, this
memoir is also a lively look back at historical changes in popular
music, film and writing. A voracious reader, George was thrilled as a
kid by Wright and Baldwin but also by Hemingway and Fitzgerald. As a
music critic at Billboard, then the Village Voice, he charted the
journey from segregation to integration via popular music, connecting
the established world of rhythm and blues with the still relative
underground world of rap. His moving family story grounds the book –
accounts of his still-troubled relationship with his druggie dad and
his adult reconciliation with his sister – but it is the wry, sharp,
unpretentious cultural analysis that is at the core here, especially
what he calls the exhilarating mix of fear and freedom that comes with
listening to music. – Hazel Rochman (Booklist: February 15, 2009)
his vivid and charming memoir, novelist and screenwriter George (Hip
Hop America) recounts incidents from an eventful life that has ranged
from a tough upbringing by his single mother in Brooklyn in the 1960s
to a career of assorted writing gigs in music journalism, television
and film. Early in the book, George captures the anxieties of an
intelligent child in a dangerous neighborhood, finding solace in his
mother's soul records, screenings of Planet of the Apes and Hemingway
and Fitzgerald novels. Later, George provides a welcome and
appropriately nerve-wracking portrait of a young New York writer,
interning at the Amsterdam News and writing concert reviews for
Billboard. Slowly, the mature writer and tastemaker emerges, witnessing
and shepherding hip-hop's sometimes rocky transition into the
mainstream pop-music world, as exemplified by a bizarre concert bill
featuring the Commodores, Bob Marley and hip-hop pioneer Kurtis Blow.
George's life has been blessed by the presences of an eclectic array of
black entertainers, including a young Russell Simmons and a struggling
Chris Rock, and he sketches these characters with affection, though at
times the book feels more like a collection of anecdotes than a
cohesive narrative. Nonetheless, George provides tempting glimpses of
the vibrant New York of the recent past. (Apr.) -- Publishers Weekly,
Stay tuned for more info on Nelson George's upcoming City Kid appearances:
April 2nd, 2009 – Vertigo Books (College Park, MD) April 6th, 2009 – Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe (Harlem) April 7th, 2009 – Barnes & Noble (Brooklyn Heights) April 15th, 2009 – Marcus Books (Oakland, CA) April 16th, 2009 – Book Soup (West Hollywood, CA) April 17th, 2009 – Eso Won Books & The Root Down (LA, CA) May 13th, 2009 - Brooklyn Historical Society
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J. Miller on december 20, 2011 at 03:57:09 AM says:
Congrats on all your success Nelson. Just saw a page (Senior Celebrities) from Tilden’s yearbook that brought back memories. Our pictures are side by side- I’m Most Congenial and you were voted Class Journalist. Where did the time go?!? Somewhat ironic that I, too went on to pursue a degree in journalism. You knew early on that this was your calling. I was a late bloomer, as I didn’t discover my love for writing until a failed attempt at majoring in speech pathology! So glad to see you continuing to pursue your dreams. You make this Tildenite very proud! Continued blessings!
Sounds like a good read. I always enjoy reading books that exposes what really happens in a ghetto setup. Surprises me at times.
Joey Urban on september 9, 2010 at 05:09:27 AM says:
I actually just stumbled onto this page, but I think I might have to check out this book now. Looks like it will be a good one.
connie on august 18, 2010 at 00:07:06 PM says:
Read City Kids...good book, well written (of course your a good writer anyway) and so thoughtful of family, specially your mom. But I could read in the edginess you felt bout your father. I like that your "biting" humor shows through in your writing. I once had a best friend from LA. who had that edge-he's moved on-and I miss that sort of interaction. Now, I'm reading The Death of Rhythm & Blues--talk about being in the "Stacks" at the library...I may try one of the novels next!
Darius McCullum on december 14, 2009 at 11:24:03 AM says:
Hey, Ive recently finished your book and it was very well written. I enjoyed reading it because you didnt beat around the bush on certain topics in my opinion and you expressed your thoughts with the reader. I find your Life interesting and I admire you for being a positive Black man. My favorite part of the book is where you and your mother watched boxers speak and how your mother couldnt stand a black man who got on tv and spoke like a fool. my father and I do the same thing. Well thanks for a great read, stay positive and I hope to read more of your work.
Dear Nelson, this note immediately follows my checking out your interview on "The Michael Eric Dyson Show" on WCLK-FM in Atlanta,which I thoroughly enjoyed! In your above narrative you mention of the unique concert collaboration among The Commodores, Bob Marley and Kurtis Blow at Madison Square Garden. Coincidentally, the week of that concert marked the second time I had run into Marley (almost to the day) at the Vim & Vigor Restaurant across from Carnegie Hall. When you get a chance, ask Warrington Hudlin about the chance run-in with Marley. I will pick-up "City Kid" today! Happy Sales! Best regards, Wayne