Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas

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Overview

Here Maya Angelou, dazzling entertainer, casts the spotlight on her show business career — a pageant of international scope. Maya, the woman, shares her sad, failed marriage to a white man, her early motherhood and achingly sensitive relationship with her young son, and her bone-deep, painful suspicion of the white world that welcomes her talent so dramatically ...
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Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas

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Overview

Here Maya Angelou, dazzling entertainer, casts the spotlight on her show business career — a pageant of international scope. Maya, the woman, shares her sad, failed marriage to a white man, her early motherhood and achingly sensitive relationship with her young son, and her bone-deep, painful suspicion of the white world that welcomes her talent so dramatically ...
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Washington Star
Honest, funny and heartwarming....The strength of the book is Angelou's lyrical writing...a God-given gift.
From the Publisher
“The buoyant, gifted Maya Angelou continues her autobiography. . . . Both her joy and her despair have twice as much impact as most people’s.”
–New York

“Angelou may be one of the best hunters of the heart, one of the best to explore the insides of folks, black or white, and find what moves them, what makes them real and tangible to themselves and others.”
–The Christian Science Monitor

“Angelou is a sharp observer and commentator on culture. . . . [Her book is] filled with penetrating observations about the people she encounters.”
–Chicago Tribune Book World

“Honest, funny and heartwarming . . . The strength of the book is Angelou’s lyrical writing . . . a God-given gift.”
–The Washington Star

“Angelou is one of the geniuses of the Afro-American serial autobiography.”
–The New York Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394405452
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/12/1976
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 269
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.51 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was raised in Stamps, Arkansas. In addition to her bestselling autobiographies, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Heart of a Woman, she wrote numerous volumes of poetry, among them Phenomenal Woman, And Still I Rise, On the Pulse of Morning, and Mother. Maya Angelou died in 2014.

Biography

As a chronicler of her own story and the larger civil rights movement in which she took part, Maya Angelou is remarkable in equal measure for her lyrical gifts as well as her distinct sense of justice, both politically and personally.

Angelou was among the first, if not the first, to create a literary franchise based on autobiographical writings. In the series' six titles -- beginning with the classic I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and followed by Gather Together in My Name, Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, Heart of a Woman, All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, and 2002's A Song Flung Up to Heaven -- Angelou tells her story in language both no-nonsense and intensely spiritual.

Angelou's facility with language, both on paper and as a suede-voiced speaker, have made her a populist poet. Her 1995 poem "Phenomenal Woman" is still passed along the Web among women as inspiration ("It's in the reach of my arms/The span of my hips/The stride of my steps/The curl of my lips./I'm a woman/Phenomenally/Phenomenal woman/That's me"), and her 1993 poem "On the Pulse of the Morning," written for Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration, was later released as a Grammy-winning album.

Angelou often cites other writers (from Kenzaburo Oe to James Baldwin) both in text and name. But as often as not, her major mentors were not writers – she had been set to work with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. before each was assassinated, stories she recounts in A Song Flung Up to Heaven.

Given her rollercoaster existence -- from poverty in Arkansas to journalism in Egypt and Ghana and ultimately, to her destiny as a successful writer and professor in the States – it's no surprise that Angelou hasn't limited herself to one or two genres. Angelou has also written for stage and screen, acted, and directed. She is the rare author from whom inspiration can be derived both from her approach to life as from her talent in writing about it. Reading her books is like taking counsel from your wisest, favorite aunt.

Good To Know

Angelou was nominated for an Emmy for her performance as Nyo Boto in the 1977 miniseries Roots. She has also appeared in films such as How to Make an American Quilt and Poetic Justice, and she directed 1998's Down in the Delta.

Angelou speaks six languages, including West African Fanti.

She taught modern dance at the Rome Opera House and the Hambina Theatre in Tel Aviv.

Before she became famous as a writer, Maya Angelou was a singer. Miss Calypso is a CD of her singing calypso songs.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Margeurite Johnson
      Maya Angelou
    2. Hometown:
      Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 4, 1928
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Louis, Missouri
    1. Education:
      High school in Atlanta and San Francisco

Reading Group Guide

1. If I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is about self-discovery, and Gather Together in My Name is about self-reliance, what theme would you derive from Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas?

2. What is the significance of the author discarding the nicknames "Ritie", "Sugar", and "Rita"?

3. On her travels around the world and throughout the book, what does Maya learn about prejudice and tolerance?

4. How would you characterize Guy? In what ways are he and his mother alike? How do they differ?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2005

    WOW

    I really like this book it wasn't what I expected I thought I would be sad and deppressing but it wasn't. I was absolutally mesizmerized by it. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2000

    Outstanding!

    I have read the entire collection of autobiographical books from Maya Angelou and can safely say that this book is as wonderful as her first book, 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.' A must read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2014

    R.I.P.

    REST IN PEACE DEAR MS."ANGEL"OU

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted November 10, 2011

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    Posted April 6, 2011

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    Posted December 22, 2013

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