Plano Reads: Second Tuesday Book Club Meets at Schimelpfenig Library on October 12 for ‘Deacon King Kong’

Second Tuesday Book Club will meet in-person from 7 to 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, October 12, in the program room at Schimelpfenig Library. This will be our second in-person meeting of the fall, and we will observe careful social distancing, with face coverings recommended. Please email Cathe Spencer at cathes@plano.gov if you have questions or comments. See you at Schimelpfenig Library soon!

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Deacon King Kong by James McBride

There were a lot of theories floating around the projects as to why old Sportcoat, a wiry, laughing, brown-skinned man … shot the most ruthless drug dealer the projects had ever seen. He had no enemies. He had coached the projects baseball team for fourteen years. His late wife, Hettie, had been the Christmas Club treasurer of his church. He was a peaceful man beloved by all. So what happened?

This new novel from award-winning author James McBride is a wry, fast-paced, heartfelt tribute to the New York City he knows so well. On a September day in 1969, Deacon Cuffy Lambkin, known as Sportcoat to his friends in Brooklyn’s Causes housing project, astonishes them all when he shoots a well-known local drug dealer at point-blank range–in the ear! It’s the starting point for a tale that will keep readers amazed and enthralled as it dashes toward its surprising and moving final pages.

Deacon King Kong was awarded the 2021 Carnegie Medal for Fiction by the American Library Association, and also won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction, and the first-ever Gotham Book Prize, for outstanding writing about New York City.

Deacon King Kong is available at Plano Public Library in these formats: Print | eBook | eAudiobook | Large Print | Playaway


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Writing for NPR, Austin-based reviewer Gabino Iglesias comments, “Deacon King Kong is fast, deep, complex, and hilarious. McBride’s prose is shimmering and moving, a living thing that has its own rhythm, pulls you in from the first page and never lets go. His story focuses on the people that make the Big Apple what it is: the strange, the poor, the insane, the mobsters. He also showcases the city’s wonderful diversity, filling his pages with Puerto Ricans, African Americans, Italians, and Irish folks. Deacon King Kong is full of heart, humor, and compassion. It contains page-long sentences that sing and individual lines that stick to your brain like literary taffy.”

Kirkus notes in its starred review that the novel is “a dark urban farce crowded with misjudged signals, crippling sorrows, and unexpected epiphanies. McBride has a flair for fashioning comedy whose buoyant outrageousness barely conceals both a steely command of big and small narrative elements and a river-deep supply of humane intelligence. An exuberant comic opera set to the music of life.”


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James McBride, author, jazz musician, and screenwriter, is best-known for his memoir about his biracial family, The Color of Water, and for his novel The Good Lord Bird, which won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2013. He is a native New Yorker, studied composition at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and holds a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2015, and is currently Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

His website is here.

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