Download My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir Audiobook

My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir Audiobook, by Jessica B. Harris Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jessica B. Harris Narrator: Jessica B. Harris Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9781538425091
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In the technicolor glow of the early seventies, Jessica B. Harris debated, celebrated, and danced her way from the jazz clubs of the Manhattan’s West Side to the restaurants of the Village, living out her buoyant youth alongside the great minds of the day—luminaries like Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison. My Soul Looks Back is her paean to that fascinating social circle and the depth of their shared commitment to activism, intellectual engagement, and each other.

Harris paints evocative portraits of her illustrious friends: Baldwin as he read aloud an early draft of If Beale Street Could Talk, Angelou cooking in her California kitchen, and Morrison relaxing at Baldwin’s house in Provence. Harris describes her role as theater critic for the New York Amsterdam News and editor at then burgeoning Essence magazine; star-studded parties in the South of France; drinks at Mikell’s, a hip West Side club; and the simple joy these extraordinary people took in each other’s company. The book is framed by Harris’ relationship with Sam Floyd, a fellow professor at Queens College, who introduced her to Baldwin.

More than a memoir of friendship and first love My Soul Looks Back is a carefully crafted, intimately understood homage to a bygone era and the people that made it so remarkable.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Her wide-eyed and wistful observations…captivate the reader…After a tragic turn of events, the memoir transforms into a beautiful, bohemian coming-of-age story as Harris finds her own voice—at last.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Has a simmering warmth.”

    New York Times

  • “Eloquent and infinitely delightful.”

    Essence

  • "[Harris] is a born storyteller, and her memoir is a joy to read—a beautiful portrait of a remarkable era.”

    Charleston Gazette-Mail

  • “Captur[es] an era that was vibrant with creativity, art, activism, and intellectual life.”

    BuzzFeed

  • “Harris was part of a fascinating social circle in the early ’70s. She shares a unique look at their lives and work, while also opening up about her own career and relationship with one of Baldwin’s colleagues.”

    Bustle

  • “A lively, entertaining, and informative recounting of a time and place that shaped and greatly enriched American culture.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Peppered throughout with favorite recipes, Harris’ book is a warm recollection of life-changing friendships and personal connections…Deeply felt and lovingly remembered.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Library Journal Editor’s Pick of Memoirs
  • Oprah’s Book Club Selection of Memoirs That Will Blow Your Mind
  • Shortlisted for the 2018 PEN Open Book Award

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About the Author

Jessica B. Harris is one of a handful of African Americans who have achieved prominence in the culinary world. She holds a PhD from NYU, teaches English at Queens College, and lectures internationally. Her articles have appeared in Vogue, Food & Wine, Essence, and the New Yorker, among other publications. She has made numerous television and radio appearances and has been profiled in the New York Times. One of the preeminent scholars of the food of the African Diaspora, she has been inducted into the James Beard Who’s Who in Food and Beverage in America, received an honorary doctorate from Johnson & Wales University, holds awards from sources too numerous to note, and has helped the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture to conceptualize its cafeteria.