A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Michael Brown’s Summer Book Bingo Pick

Summer Book Bingo, a joint program of Seattle Arts & Lectures and The Seattle Public Library, is designed to provide free summer reading fun for all ages. Last summer, participants read a whopping 10,870 books, submitting 668 entries and 323 blackouts—let’s do it again! Download the Adult Card or Kids Card and spend the summer of ’18 reading great books.

By Michael Brown

For 2018 Summer Book Bingo, I’m planning to read The Sellout by Paul Beatty. It’s been on my reading list for awhile, so as I fly to New Orleans to visit family this summer, I plan to delve into it.

Growing up in New Orleans, the issues of racial and economic injustice were always present. The dream of a ‘post-racial’ society has not materialized, and each day, we’re reminded of the work we need to continue to do to achieve equity and justice. This serves as a motivator for me in the work I do, but I also appreciate the use of humor and satire to help us all confront (and get uncomfortable with) the deep historical legacy of racism and its lingering effects. It’s why I find entertainment such as Chappelle’s Show, Get Out, and SNL’s ‘Black Jeopardy’ both humorous and thought-provoking.

I was drawn to The Sellout partially for winning the Man Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in literature, but also for the premise: a biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court. Beatty said during the Man Booker Prize ceremony, ‘It was a hard book for me to write; I know it’s hard to read. I’m just trying to create space for myself. And hopefully that can create space for others.’ Maybe that’s how we change the narrative of race in this country—we get comfortable with the uncomfortable and create space to challenge ourselves and each other.”

Michael Brown is Seattle Foundation’s Community Leader and Seattle Foundation senior executive, and the new Civic Architect at the new Civic Commons Initiative, a new regional civic infrastructure to unite more community voices in decision-making.

Posted in Summer Book Bingo