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Nelson George: City Kid
By Nelson | february 22, 2009 | Post a comment



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

Introduction

This 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.

Peace.

---


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

“Suddenly 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)

In 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, 1/19/2009


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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15 comments for 'Nelson George: City Kid '

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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!



Deborah Turton on october 3, 2011 at 07:31:20 PM says:

Great article. I enjoyed watching the video. Thanks for posting this stuff!!



Adam White on may 19, 2011 at 03:15:28 PM says:

Nelson: I recognise the signature on that Billboard correspondents' card! Talk about back in the day. Best, Adam



Ruby @ Science Camp on february 20, 2011 at 11:06:30 AM says:

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.




Wayne K. Garfield on august 6, 2009 at 04:14:22 PM says:

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



Steven Hawley on may 25, 2009 at 06:22:27 PM says:

Haven't been this excited about a new book in awhile.



Brooklyn Historical on may 6, 2009 at 08:43:27 AM says:

BHS is very excited to be hosting Nelson George in conversation with his sister, Andrea Williams, BET's Samson Styles, and Mike Thompson of Brooklyn Moon Cafe in Fort Greene, BK!

http://rooklynhistory.org/visitor/calendar.html#0513



Setra Sundahta on march 25, 2009 at 10:10:29 PM says:

April 16th is on my calendar!
Can't wait for the reading!
Travel safe and be well!
Setra



kholifin on march 9, 2009 at 03:59:42 AM says:

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