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4.5 

Ordinary Notes

By Christina Sharpe
Ordinary Notes by Christina Sharpe digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

A finalist for the National Book Award in Nonfiction
A finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle Award in Nonfiction

Named a Best Book of 2023 by The New York Times, NPR, New York Magazine, Kirkus, and Barnes and Noble

Critically acclaimed author of In the Wake, "Christina Sharpe is a brilliant thinker who attends unflinchingly to the brutality of our current arrangements . . . and yet always finds a way to beauty and possibility" (Saidiya Hartman).

A singular achievement, Ordinary Notes explores profound questions about loss and the shapes of Black life that emerge in the wake. In a series of 248 notes that gather meaning as we read them, Christina Sharpe skillfully weaves artifacts from the past—public ones alongside others that are poignantly personal—with present realities and possible futures, intricately constructing an immersive portrait of everyday Black existence. The themes and tones that echo through these pages—sometimes about language, beauty, memory; sometimes about history, art, photography, and literature—always attend, with exquisite care, to the ordinary-extraordinary dimensions of Black life.

At the heart of Ordinary Notes is the indelible presence of the author’s mother, Ida Wright Sharpe. “I learned to see in my mother’s house,” writes Sharpe. “I learned how not to see in my mother’s house . . . My mother gifted me a love of beauty, a love of words.” Using these gifts and other ways of seeing, Sharpe steadily summons a chorus of voices and experiences to the page. She practices an aesthetic of "beauty as a method,” collects entries from a community of thinkers toward a “Dictionary of Untranslatable Blackness,” and rigorously examines sites of memory and memorial. And in the process, she forges a brilliant new literary form, as multivalent as the ways of Black being it traces.

4-color art throughout

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8 Reviews

4.5
“What a wonderful set of notes, emotions, observations and everything in between.”

About Christina Sharpe

Christina Sharpe is the author of In the Wake: On Blackness and Being—named by The Guardian as one of the best books of 2016—and Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects. She is currently the Canada Research Chair in Black Studies in the Humanities at York University, in Toronto, Canada, where she lives.

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