Get Woke Book Discussion | Ordinary Notes [2/2]
Wed, Apr 24, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Join us for a Get Woke! discussion of Christina Sharpe’s “Ordinary Notes,” finalist for the National Book Award and named a Best Book of 2023 by The New York Times, NPR, New York Magazine, Kirkus, and Barnes and Noble. **Please read part iv to the end for our April 24 meet-up.

If purchasing a copy of the book, please consider supporting our neighborhood independent book seller, The Lost Bookshop. They have copies of “Ordinary Notes” available for our readers behind the counter. Also, please reach out if you are having trouble acquiring a copy. We want our discussions to be accessible to all who are interested! Email


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.