Book Review: No Crystal Stair

February 18, 2012

stairNo Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson is a fictional account of the life of Lewis Michaux, the author’s great-uncle. Nelson compiled stories of her uncle from family oral history, interviews, newspaper articles, and photographs and shaped them into this narrative.

Like I said in my Goodreads review, I love reading about little known figures who won’t be covered in history books. Michaux is definitely one of those figures. He takes five books and $100 and starts what will become one of the biggest bookstores in Harlem: the African National Memorial Bookstore.

I also loved the way Nelson juxtaposed the story of Lewis Michaux with his brother, a very big deal preacher named Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux. All in all, the story was really nicely done.

I am also really, really bummed I will never get a chance to visit the bookstore. I mean, really. How amazing would it be to not only go to a place where some of the biggest Civil Rights leaders used to hang out, but to go to a place with such a large collection of books by and about black people? With books that you couldn’t find anywhere else? I would totally have gone to Harlem just to visit this bookstore.

POC Reading Challenge: 2

Source: NetGalley

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