Author Archives: Troy

About Troy

Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of AALBC.com, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, AALBC.com has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.

Black Books Galore! AALBC.com’s November 2016 eNewsletter

thesellout_shelfreader

Picador USA – Our eNewsletter Sponsor for November

Read one of the year’s most highly lauded – and highly provocative – books, now the first American winner of the Man Booker Prize. A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. Sure to spark lively conversation and debate, The Sellout is the perfect pick for book clubs looking for a timely and thought-provoking read. Learn more.


September/October Bestselling Books

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Our September/October bestsellers reflect strong offerings from independent publishers. The bestselling book across all genres was Single Mama Dating Drama. Here seventeen talented writers share fictional stories about the woes, pitfalls, and joys of dating while raising kids. From Monica Lynne Foster’s explosive tale of an ex who fights for custody of his child while fighting to gain his ex-wife back from her newfound love; to Candice Y. Johnson’s laugh-out-loud take on a mama whose baby girl prophetically dismisses all of her potential suitors. There is something for everyone not just in this anthology but on our entire bestsellers list.


New Books Coming in December

New Books Coming in December

JJ Smith’s Green Smoothies is the follow-up to her #1 New York Times bestseller 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. Something Good is the wrenching memoir of Simba Sana, the CEO of Karibu Books, which was the most successful black-owned bookstore chain in the U.S. before closing. Charles Johnson, a National Book Award winner and one of America’s preeminent scholars in literature, brings us an instructive and inspiring guide on the art of writing in The Way of the Writer. Learn more about these, and other terrific reads, on our curated and frequently updated list of soon to be released books.


Black Writers Dominate the National Book Awards — Is it White Guilt?Black Writers Dominate the National Book Awards

“BET Presents the National Book Awards.” —Larry Wilmore (MC, 2016 National Book Awards)

Larry WilmoreThree of the four books honored during the 67th National Book Awards were written by Black writers; Congressman John Lewis (and Andrew Aydin) won for March Book Three, Ibram X. Kendi won for Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, and Colson Whitehead took the Fiction prize for his novel The Underground Railroad. Terrance Hayes presented the Literarian Award to Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady of Cave Canem, and comedian Larry Wilmore hosted the event.

It was a great evening, but it was sad to read comments the following day, on the websites of respected publications, like The New York Times and The Atlantic suggesting that awarding these three writers was somehow the result of white guilt, reverse racism, or liberalism and political correctness run amok. Only a minority of readers were willing to accept that the winners won on merit alone. Check out our coverage of this year’s Awards Ceremony.


The 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Winning BooksThe 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Winning Books

The winning titles were announced October 23rd. The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award™ honors the best in Black literature. Introduced in 2001, the Legacy Award was the first national award presented to Black writers by a national organization of Black writers. Fiction, debut fiction, nonfiction, and poetry honorees are selected in a juried competition. Each October, the award winners are celebrated during a gala that draws hundreds of literary stars, readers, representatives of the publishing industry, the arts, media, politics, and academia. Learn more about all the award-winning titles, finalists, and nominees.

Submissions for 2017 are now being accepted; the deadline is December 5th.


2017 Reading List for Go On Girl! Book Club, Inc.2017 Reading List for Go On Girl! Book Club, Inc.

Go On Girl! Book Club, Inc. is the largest and most influential book club in the country. Their reading list is compiled from a curated list of prospective titles in the following categories, historical, international, mystery/thriller, novel, short stories, and social commentary. These titles are voted on, by hundreds of members across the country, to determine which ones are ultimately selected for their club’s reading list. In other words, you can’t go wrong reading any of the books on their list—there is something for everyone to enjoy! (Note: The order the 2017 titles will be read is not final.)


Recommended Reads

Fidel & Malcolm Book CoverFidel & Malcolm X: Memories of a Meeting by Rosemari Mealy
In 1960 Castro and his delegation had come to New York to attend the UN General Assembly, but the management of the Manhattan hotel they had booked refused to house them. Upon learning of their plight, Malcolm X invited the Cuban emissaries to come uptown to Harlem’s Black-owned Hotel Theresa.where he claimed they would be greeted with open arms.

Indeed, Harlemites by the thousands gave Castro a rousing, even magnificent welcome, keeping a round-the-clock vigil in the pouring rain outside his balcony window. To Harlem’s masses, unfazed by the red-baiting and anti-Cuba hysteria of the day, Castro was that bearded revolutionary who had told White America to go to hell (Black Classic Press, May 2013).


news-furqan-flattopFurqan’s First Flat Top – El Primer Corte de Mesita de Furqan
With text in both Spanish and English, Furqan’s First Flat Top is written and Illustrated by Robert Liu Trujillo and has been named a Top 100 Recommended African-American Children’s Book.
Furqan Moreno wakes up and decides that today he wants his hair cut for the first time. His dad has just the style: a flat top fade! He wants his new haircut to be cool but when they get to the barbershop, he’s a bit nervous about his decision. He begins to worry that his hair will look funny, imagining all the flat objects in his day to day life. Before he knows it, his haircut is done and he realizes that his dad was right-Furqan’s first flat top is the freshest!


The Summer of my Fifteenth Year by Geri Spencer HunterThe Summer of my Fifteenth Year by Geri Spencer Hunter
Geri Spencer Hunter is a formidable storyteller who has crafted a genuine masterpiece with The Summer of My Fifteenth Year. When 86-year old Etta Mae Netter sits down to record her personal history, she releases a torrent of closely held family secrets that threaten to engulf her even after 71-years. Geri Hunter deftly draws us into the lives of the Netters, a well-to-do Black family living what appears to be an idyllic life in a small Iowa town during the tough times of the late 1930’s.

The Summer of my Fifteenth Year is an AALBC.com bestselling book and was a finalist for the 2016 Phillis Wheatley Book Award.


Life Is A Canvas by Joy ElanLife Is A Canvas by Joy Elan
Born with a hearing loss, Joy Elan has been wearing hearing aids since she was 15 months. Her mother always told her that she had three things against her: Black, female, and disabled. However, she’s exceeded low expectations that others had for her earning a Master’s Degree from Stanford University, becoming an award-winning poet, and novelist.

In Life Is A Canvas Elan tells the story of Allegra Johnson, a young, vibrant entrepreneur with dreams. From the outside, she seems to have all the things that she dreamed of… except love.


Rice & Rocks by Sandra L. RichardsRice & Rocks by Sandra L. Richards
Giovanni’s friends are coming over for Sunday dinner, and his grandmother is serving rice and beans. Giovanni is embarrassed—he does not like “rice and rocks” and worries his friends will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. But his favorite Auntie comes to the rescue. She and Giovanni’s pet parrot, Jasper, take him on a magical journey across the globe, visiting places where people eat rice and rocks. This exciting story celebrates the varied traditions of every culture while also highlighting the delicious similarities that bring us all together.
Rice & Rocks is a Top 100 Recommended African-American Children’s Book and an AALBC.com Bestseller.


Film Reviews

MoonlightMoonlight
It isn’t bad enough that Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert/Ashton Sanders/Trevante Rhodes) is being raised by an emotionally-unavailable, drug-addicted, single-mom (Naomie Harris). The shy youngster also has the misfortune of having to hide the fact that he’s gay, since he’s experiencing pangs of sexual awakening in the midst of an African-American, ghetto culture which is homophobic to the point of violence.

Consequently, he finds himself not only being teased for being a “faggot” by a school bully (Patrick Decile) but sadistically beaten to a pulp by his best friend and secret lover, Kevin (Jaden Piner/Jharrel Jerome/Andre Holland). This sorry state of affairs has understandably left the closeted kid terribly confused.


Loving Movie PosterLoving
Mildred Jeter (Ruth Negga) and Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) committed a crime just by falling in love when they were in the bloom of youth back in 1958. That’s because she was black and he was white, and they were living in Virginia, one of the many Southern states with anti-miscegenation laws still on the books forbidding cohabitation, marriage, procreation or even sexual relations across racial lines.

Nevertheless, Richard was so smitten he proposed and after Mildred accepted, he purchased a vacant plot of land where he promised to build their dream home. However, when it came to time to wed, they had to travel north to Washington, DC, a city where they could secure a marriage license.


Put Your Book on AALBC.com Until December 31st

Fall SpecialYour book will appear on our Homepage and our Book’s Main Page for the entire fall (campaign duration extended until midnight December 31st). Buy it now, because there are only two positions left.

All Fall Special advertisers will get a 25% discount on the Winter Special ad. The winter and spring ads will be priced higher than the Fall Special due to the increased level of traffic during those seasons.

Also, if you purchase a Large Book Cover Advertisement we’ll give you a free Author Profile—permanent placement on AALBC.com—as an added bonus!
AALBC.com is the oldest, largest, and most frequently visited website dedicated to books written by or about people of African descent. There is no other website that reaches readers of Black literature more effectively.


Dear Reader,

Remember, AALBC.com continues to grow because of your support. If you value our content, here are four simple things you can do to support AALBC.com;

  1. All About AALBC.comDo not use an ad blocker to block AALBC.com’s ads.
    Advertisements are AALBC.com’s primary source of revenue. Our ads, which are usually books, are nonintrusive and are actually a great way to discover an excellent read.
  2. Share our content.
    It is our responsibility to ensure our that voices relate our stories and history and are that they are shared and known widely.
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Thanks for reading and supporting Black Literature.
Peace & Love
,Troy Johnson
Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com

You may receive messages like this directly in your email box by subscribing. It may also be read on your Kindle ebook reader, or any device by downloading a PDF version. Enjoy all of our previous eNewsletters and consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

AALBC.com eNewsletter – November 29, 2016 – Issue #239
© 2016 AALBC.com, LLC

100 Bestselling Authors, New Books, and More: October 2016 eNewsletter

Our Top 100, All-time, Bestselling Authors

top 100 authorsWe are excited to present our regularly updated list of our top 100, all-time, bestselling authors. This list of bestselling authors is compiled from sales data going back to the first book we sold in 1997. How many authors do you recognize? How many have you read? You may learn more about all of these authors and thousands more on AALBC.com.


New Books Coming in November

There are so many terrific new books, and there is simply is not enough space to describe them all in our eNewsletter. Please visit our website for a list of newly published and soon to be released books.


Paul Beatty Wins the Man Booker Prize

Paul BearttyPaul Beatty’s novel The Sellout won the Man Booker Prize on October 25, 2016. Beatty is the first American to win the award.

In 1990, Paul Beatty was crowned the first Grand Poetry Slam Champion of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. One of the prizes for winning that championship title was the book deal which resulted in his first volume of poetry, Big Bank Takes Little Bank. His first novel, The White Boy Shuffle, received a favorable review in The New York Times. Beaty’s award-winning novel The Sellout, Beatty chronicles an urban farmer who tries to spearhead a revitalization of slavery and segregation in a fictional Los Angeles neighborhood.


National Book Awards Finalists Announced

Black National Book Award FinalistsThe National Book Foundation has announced the finalists for the 2016 National Book Awards for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature. The winners will be announced on November 16 at the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner, which will be hosted by award-winning writer and comedian Larry Wilmore. AALBC.com will be on hand to cover the event. Check out the 2016 finalists of African descent and all the others going back to 1953.


Book Reviews

Telling It Like It Is: The Remarkable Life Experiences of My Aunt Edna by Carrolyn PichetTelling It Like It Is: The Remarkable Life Experiences of My Aunt Edna by Carrolyn Pichet

“Telling It Like It Is, is equal parts historical biography, personal recollections, family memories, and self-help in the guise of lessons from a well-lived life. It is a love letter to not only a person, Pichet’s beloved Aunt Edna, but also to a long gone time and place—when neighborhoods were tightly knit communities and families looked out for each other. Filled with anecdotes and life lessons, favorite sayings are used as titles throughout the book and serve to highlight the many roles Aunt Edna has taken and played in her life—mother, fierce family defender, and advocate, to name only a few.”—Carol Taylor (more ►)


Legend of the Orange Scepter by M. HaynesLegend of the Orange Scepter by M. Haynes

“Overall, Haynes’ Legend of The Orange Scepter takes us on a classic battle between good and evil. The final battle between the teen Elementals and the evil Queen and her metal minions is well worth the wait and should provide some thrills for the young readers. Impassioned, exciting, and well-conceived, the novel is a marvelous achievement.” —Robert Fleming (more ►)


Recommended Reads

The Prince of Kokomo — Poetry by Laini MatakaThe Prince of Kokomo — Poetry by Laini Mataka

Laini Mataka is wiser, smarter, and stronger than ever. If you’ve read any of her earlier books and thought she might mellow, you’d be wrong. If you loved reading Bein A Strong Black Woman Can Get U Killed!! and wanted more, The Prince of Kokomo is for you. Laini doesn’t just write about Black reality, she tears it apart, piercing the boundless and forgotten moments that shape our reality.

When you read The Prince of Kokomo, be ready to follow Mataka into battle. She is Harriet Tubman restored. Like Harriet, she has no time for those who love the comfort of their prisons or the seductions of their enslavement.


Good2go Publishing – Over 1 Million Books SoldGood2go Publishing – Over 1 Million Books Sold

“Our goal is to provide an opportunity for prospective authors to help them fulfill their dreams of becoming a publish author and turning them into a reality. To date, we have helped over 10 authors become national best sellers including, Silk White, Mychea, Ernest Morris, Reality Way, Asia Hill, Jay Morrison, Jacob Spears, J.L Rose, and Jason Brent. Good2go Publishing has over 20 #1 Amazon bestselling books. In addition, we have three of the bestselling urban fiction series of all time. Tears of a Hustler Pt 1-6 by Silk White, He Loves Me, He Loves You Not Pt 1-5 by Mychea & The Teflon Queen PT 1-6 by Silk White. Our original goal was to reach 1 million sales worldwide, but since we’ve reached that goal the new goal is 10 million. Thanks to everyone for the love and support we really appreciate it.”— Ray Brown, Publisher Good2go Publishing (www.good2gopublishing.com)


Fim Reviews

Maya Angelou: And Still I RiseMaya Angelou: And Still I Rise

“…a single-mom at 17 after being pressured into a sexual encounter with a boy who wanted nothing more to do with her. She subsequently supported herself and her son, Guy Johnson (an AALBC.com Bestselling novelist), by holding an array of odd jobs, including work in the sex trade industry as a stripper, prostitute, and even a madam.

Yet somehow, Maya would overcome her humble roots and checkered early career to become an African-American icon and a very respected writer in her own right. That miraculous recovery is the subject of Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, a reverential retrospective offering an intimate look at the life of the late poet, author, actress, director, and civil rights activist.” —Kam Williams (more ►)


The Birth of a NationThe Birth of a Nation

“…judging The Birth of a Nation strictly on the merits, it undeniably deserved its previous status as a prime Oscar contender.” —Kam Williams (more ►)

Read our interview with Nate Parker, the film’s star, writer, and director (he addresses the rape allegations).

Learn about “Nat Turner’s Mental and Military Motivations” in an article by Ezrah Aharone. Also, read a scathing review of the film written by Professor Leslie M. Alexander who called the film an “Epic Fail.”


13th — Documentary Discusses Contemporary Slavery in America13th — Documentary Discusses Contemporary Slavery in America

The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”

The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.


124 Book Festivals & Fairs Book Lovers will Enjoy

RT Booklovers Convention – May 2-7 2017 – Atlanta, GA AALBC.com’s Events Calendar will track all of the important book festivals in North America (Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean). We currently have 124 terrific events, covering the next 12 months, and are actively expanding our calendar.

Editor’s Picks:

RT Booklovers Convention – May 2-7 2017 – Atlanta, GA
A senior publishing industry professional highly recommends this event. It is well run and a lot of fun. The organizers RT Book Reviews (formerly Romantic Times Magazine) describes the RT Booklovers Convention as a “…book industry event where you can mix business with pleasure. Attend more than 200 workshops as well as numerous parties and reader events that will keep you informed, and in touch, while having fun.”

New York Comic Con – October 5-8, 2017 – New York, NY
Author tip: “…if you’re a speculative fiction author (horror, fantasy, paranormal, urban fantasy, sci-fi, etc.) you should definitely go”—Cerece Rennie Murphy

Mosaic Literary Conference – November 19, 2016 – Bronx, NY Mosaic Literary Conference – November 19, 2016 – Bronx, NY
This year’s conference will focus on the influence James Baldwin’s prescient writings continue to have on American culture. The conference will feature film, lesson plans, panels, and workshops.

The Mosaic Literary Conference is a grassroots event and a great opportunity for the community, educators, students, program administrators, and parents to learn ways to integrate books and reading into the lives of teenagers. MLC offers a mix of informative programs and creative workshops to engage young minds, strengthen literacy, and develop education strategies. Register here.


Increased Interest in the Survival of Independent Bookstores

Troy Johnson supporting BookstoresBlack-Owned Bookstores Soldier-On in the Fight to Survive and Thrive
by Tony Williams, Caribbean Book Blog (October 20, 2016)

Black-owned indie bookstores look forward to the next chapter
by Kelsey McKinney, Fusion (October 20, 2016)

A Glimmer of Hope for Black-Owned Bookstores
by Judith Rosen, Publisher Weekly (Feb 19, 2016)

For more information check out our list of bookstores in the United States that specialize in Black literature, and our list of websites dedicated to authors of African descent.


Put Your Book on AALBC.com for the Entire Fall

Put Your Book on AALBC.com for the Entire FallYour book will appear on the AALBC.com Homepage and our Book’s Main Page for the entire fall (until midnight December 21st). Buy it now, because there are only a couple of positions left. Current advertisers will also qualify for a discount on the Winter Special (the busiest season for AALBC.com).

If you buy a Large Book Cover Advertisement or an Author Profile we’ll give you the Book on the Homepage advertisement for free as an added bonus!

AALBC.com is the oldest, largest, and most frequently visited website dedicated to books written by or about people of African descent. There is no other website that reaches readers of Black literature more effectively.


Troy Johnson working on websiteDear Reader,

On the evening of October 3, 1997, after the kids were put to bed, I fired up my 28.8KB modem and dialed up my ISP to connect to the World Wide Web. My custom built Pentium-powered PC was optimized for speed and sported a new 14″ CRT monitor capable of displaying 256 colors. I was ready to launch AALBC.com.

Over the years the site has grown by leaps and bounds, especially over the last year, as I’ve been fully engaged working on the website’s 4th major overhaul.

But in the final analysis Troy, AALBC.com thrives, due to your support. If you value our content, here are four things you can do to support AALBC.com;

1. Do not use an ad blocker to block AALBC.com’s ads.
Advertisements are AALBC.com’s primary source of revenue. Our ads, which are usually books, are nonintrusive and provide important content for the website.

2. Share our content.
Word of mouth, letters, blogs, social media, smoke signals, and carrier pigeon are all acceptable. Spread the word by any means necessary.

3. Buy Your Books Through AALBC.com.
We sell books any way they can be sold; through our publisher partners (like Black Classic Press and Just Us Books); as an affiliate of all the major online booksellers (B&N and Amazon); and even through other indie booksellers like MahoganyBooks. The commissions we earn support, not just AALBC.com, but the entire Black Book Ecosystem. If you use Amazon, bookmark this link http://aalbc.it/supportaalbc to buy any book and generate commissions for AALBC.com.

4. Support AALBC.com with a paid subscription to our newsletter.
Subscribe to our eNewsletter today.

Thanks for reading and supporting Black Literature.

Peace & Love,
signed by Troy Johnson
Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


You may receive messages like this directly in your email box by subscribing. It may also be read on your Kindle ebook reader, or any device by downloading a PDF version. Enjoy all of our previous eNewsletters and consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

AALBC.com eNewsletter – October 27, 2016 – Issue #238

 

The Louisiana Girls Trilogy from Jewell Parker Rhodes

Three books by Jewell Parker Rhodes

The Louisiana Girls trilogy from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes brings together three heroic girls from across history. These coming of age books tell the stories of Lanesha, Sugar, and Maddy, each living in Louisiana during a time of crisis, and each finding bravery within themselves in the face of overwhelming adversity. Steeped in the folklore tradition of the American deep south, this trilogy celebrates the power of friendship and family and demonstrates how anyone with enough strength in their heart can change the lives of those around them. All three Louisiana Girls books are now available in paperback.


Bayou MagicBayou Magic

It’s Maddy’s turn to have a bayou summer. At first she misses life back home in the city, but soon she grows to love everything about her new surroundings—the glimmering fireflies, the glorious landscape, and something else, deep within the water, that only Maddy sees. Could it be a mermaid? A coming-of-age tale rich with folk magic, set in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, Bayou Magic celebrates hope, friendship, and family, and captures the wonder of life in the Deep South.

SugarSugar

Slavery is over, but ten-year-old Sugar doesn’t feel very free laboring in the fields all day. When Chinese workers are brought in to help harvest the cane, the older River Road folks feel threatened, but Sugar is fascinated. As she befriends young Beau and elder Master Liu, they introduce her to the traditions of their culture, and she, in turn, shares the ways of plantation life. Sugar soon realizes that she must be the one to bridge the cultural gap and bring the community together. Here is a story of unlikely friendships and how they can change our lives forever.

Ninth WardNinth Ward

Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. She doesn’t have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya’s visions show a powerful hurricane–Katrina–fast approaching, it’s up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm. Ninth Ward is a celebration of resilience, love, family, and friendship, and a deeply emotional story of transformation.

Jewell is currently touring, look for her in a city near you.

You may also find Jewell on Facebook and Twitter.