Monday, October 6, 2008

New Feature! Ask a Book Club: APOOO

Dear Readers!

This week I'm kicking off a new feature on Amistad Confidential: "Ask a Book Club" Book clubs remain instrumental to the success of our industry and particularly African-American book clubs. This week I've caught up with Yasmin Coleman of APOOO
(A Place of Our Own):

How did APOOO books start and how many members do you have?
With the encouragement of fellow review friends, APOOO Books was founded in 2000 by Yasmin Coleman as a book club for friends and fellow reviewers who wanted "A Place of Our Own" to release, relate, relax and fellowship in a comfortable environment while discussing a good book.
Currently we have 35 members in the book club; and almost 150 members in the authors and readers connections group.

How did you continually grow?
Since inception, APOOO Books has grown from a book club to include a review team, bookstore and promotional/publicity arm. APOOO is an authority on book recommendations for all African-American genres and is known for our ability to read, discuss, and critically dissect a book. Need the 411 regarding a good book? Look no further than APOOO. We can offer recommendations for a good book in any genre. We continue to grow because readers of African American literature recognize us as a literary authority and, as such, we've grown to become the #3 most popular online site for African-American literature.

A lot of people I know don't think they have time to read, let alone join a bookclub. What's the best thing about participating in a bookclub you'd say to those reluctant readers?
A book club helps you to make the time. Nothing like coming together with other like minded individuals to discuss a good book. Reading, when done in a group setting, can be so contagious that you feel left out if you're not reading. If you're not reading, you can't discuss the book with others. Some books that I was hesitant to read...came to life and in a different light because of book clubs. But book clubs are about more than just reading together, some of my bestest buds are also book club members and we share the good, the bad and the ugly about our personal lives while discussing a good book. When I was going through breast cancer eight years ago..after my husband and kids...I immediately turned to my book club members for support, encouragement, and a shoulder to lean and cry on. They helped me to get through one of the darkest times in my life.

What book has been one of your most memorable choices?
Definitely I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, and Mama Day by Gloria Naylor. I couldn't just choose one because all of them mean a lot to me and affected me at different points in my life. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was the first book I ever read by an African-American author...and my introduction to African-American literature when I was only 11 years-old. Their Eyes Were Watching experience with a Harlem Renaissance writer but from a female perspective. Mama Day...oh my gosh...that book is so well-written, lyrically and symbolically and such a great love story, that you have to read it more than once to feel the full affect. Every time I read it I take away something different from it. If an individual reads no other book by an African-American author, they should read Mama Day because it is a very powerful and moving story. Finally, all three of these books/writers can write circles around much of the stuff that is passed off as African American literature today; it's a shame that so much of what is currently out there is so one-dimensional. :(

APOOO's Mission Statement:
APOOO ( A Place of Our Own) is an online book club and author and reader community dedicated to advancing African American literature. Our mission is to expose readers of all ages to a good book in any genre; to support African American authors, books, literary events and book clubs; to provide marketing resources, tools and tips to authors; and, to promote literacy within the African American community.


Yasmin said...

Thanks for the wonderful was our pleasure!

Genesis said...


Dera Williams said...

Yayyyyy APOOO!

Beverly said...

As a "newbie" to APOOO, I can say all that Yasmin is true. I really enjpy this book group and they have expanded by reading horizons.

Thanks for showcasing APOOO.

JC Martin said...

Great interview! YAY to APOOO for all the things that Yasmin makes available for authors and more for the readers.

Julia said...

APOOO is the bomb!!!!
A wonderful feature

Phyllis said...

Great article!


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