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

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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.
  3. Buy your books through AALBC.com.
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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

Celebrating the Best in Black Literature (May 31, 2016 Newsletter)

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Books to be Published in JuneBooks to be published in June

Summer will heat up with some great new titles. Walter Mosley is back with his latest installment in the Easy Rawlins series, Charcoal Joe. Can you believe it has been 25 years since the first book in the series, Devil In A Blue Dress, was published?

We are also excited by the first novel, The Reactive, from Masande Ntshanga who is the winner of the 2013 PEN International New Voices Award, as well as a Finalist for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing.

Bobby Brown, with help from acclaimed author Nick Chiles, reveals intimate details of his marriage to Whitney Houston, speaks about losing his daughter Bobbi Kristina, and shares insights into his amazing career in his new memoir,Every Little Step: My Story.

Also look out for new books from other AALBC.com Bestselling authors including Kimberla Lawson Roby (A Sinful Calling) and Timothy George (The Dagger). To discover these and other great soon to be released books, visit our Books Coming Soon section.


AALBC.com Bestselling Books

The publishing company founded by authors ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray, Brown Girls Books, dominated our bestsellers list this period, claiming the top three fiction positions. Our #1 fiction bestseller, The Ex Chronicles is an anthology where 20 writers share relationship stories. At #2 we have The Perfect Find by Tia Williams and completing the trifecta is Dirt by Teffanie Thompson.

Congratulations to Brown Girls Books and all of the bestselling authors. Check out our full list bestselling titles for fiction, nonfiction, poetry and children’s literature.


Beyond Phillis Wheatley — Important Firsts In Black Literature

Phillis Wheatley Most readers know Phillis Wheatley was the first published African-American female poet. Did you also know that George Moses Horton (ca. 1797-1883), was the only man to publish volumes of poetry while in bondage and the first African American to publish any book in the South? Were your familiar with Solomon Plaatje who was born October 9, 1876, and was the author of Mhudi which was published in 1930; making it the first novel by a black South Africa?

Jupiter Hammon, who was born on October 17, 1711, was perhaps the first Black person to be published, in 1761 before the United States was even formed.


The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain

Langston Hughes“One of the most promising of the young Negro poets said to me once, “I want to be a poet—not a Negro poet,” meaning, I believe, “I want to write like a white poet;” meaning subconsciously, “I would like to be a white poet;” meaning behind that, “I would like to be white.” And I was sorry the young man said that, for no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself. And I doubted then that, with his desire to run away spiritually from his race, this boy would ever be a great poet. But this is the mountain standing in the way of any true Negro art in America—this urge within the race toward whiteness, the desire to pour racial individuality into the mold of American standardization, and to be as little Negro and as much American as possible.“—Langston Hughes, Originally published in The Nation magazine, June 23, 1926

This ninety-year-old article could be been written yesterday; read it in its entirety.


The 2016 Black Pack Party: A Wonderful Celebration!A collage of the 2016 Black Pack party in Chicago

The 2016 Black Pack Party was a really wonderful celebration. Read my thoughts about the event. If you were able to join us in Chicago, please share your thoughts and photos in the article’s comments section.


Events Coming in June

BAM Anniversary

Summer is the busiest period for book festivals. In June the Go On Girl! Book Club will host their 25th Annual Awards Weekend. The international literary festival Calabash will kick off in Jamaica; Chris Abani, Paul Beatty, Teju Cole, Nicole Dennis-Benn, jessica Care moore, Marlon James and many other authors will be featured. The Sacramento Black Book Fair will celebrate their third year. And that is just the first week!

Also consider checking out the, AAMBC Literary Awards and the combined celebration honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Black Arts Movement and the 20th Anniversary of Cave Canem (pictured above). Learn more about these events and all the others coming in June and the rest of the year.


A Great Deal to Promote Your Books on AALBC.com

Promote Your Books with Large Book Cover Advertisement and Horizontal Ad BannersOur Large Book Cover Advertisement and Horizontal Ad Banners appear on virtually every one of the several thousand AALBC.com web pages. Plus, each author whose book is promoted with this very prominent placement also receives a free Author Profile. If you already have an Author Profile, we’ll extend your campaign by two weeks.

With this deal, your AALBC.com Author Profile will give you a permanent, high profile web presence, which is great if your only presence is social media. Plus the highly visible placement of your advertisement will expose your book to over 100,000 avid readers of African American Literature. Learn more about this terrific deal.

Also consider Sponsoring our Monthly Newsletter. This is a great way to reach readers of Black literature. All of our mailings are permanently archived on our website.


Dear Reader,

AALBC.com celebrates 18 years!Authors and publishers, here is a great way to support AALBC.com without spending a dime: Use our affiliate code when sending readers to Amazon to purchase your book.

The vast majority of the time when links to Amazon are shared with me, no affiliate code is a used. This means money is being left on the table. Why forego that revenue?

Here is the format for the link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1617737984/ref=nosim?tag=aalbccom-20
Simply replace you book’s ISBN10 or ASIN with the boldface number in the URL above. It is that easy!

As always, thanks for reading!

Peace & Love,
Troy Johnson


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 our previous eNewsletters and consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

AALBC.com eNewsletter – May 31, 2016 – Issue #234

Our Future is Cyberspace

Black Issues Book Review Nov-Dec 1999 cover“Outsiders” have often dictated the trends of African American Culture, sometimes doing the job themselves, sometimes using what authors John A. Williams called “surrogates.”  Both W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington accused each other of being manipulated by outsiders.

With the introduction of cyberspace, younger writers have the ability to reach audiences unheard of during the sixties when African American writers produced broadsides and saddle-stitched chapbooks.  As access to cyberspace becomes less expensive, more voices will be heard and this period, the most prolific in the history of African American Literature, will rise to worldwide prominence, no longer having to obey the tastes of the outsiders in power or the dictates of the establishment-manufactured Talented Tenth.
Ishmael Reed (Black Issues Book Review; November-December 1999)

During the period Ishmael Reed wrote this I would have agreed with him.  A year earlier, I’d started AALBC.com with just that belief in mind.  But I was naive, and today I strongly disagree with the statement.  I wonder if Ishmael disagrees with it now too.  I will reach out to him, and see if he is willing to share his thoughts here.  He is active on Facebook so…

“Cyberspace,” or the World Wide Web, as it is more commonly known today, has actually made it easier for “Outsiders” to dictate the trends of African American Culture. Nothing has changed indeed it has gotten much worse for us.

Market forces drive us to conform to the dictates of the “Outsiders” referred to by Reed. The most popular “Black” websites are not owned by Black people.  The ones that are owned by Black folks take their marching orders from the white owned sites they minick, in an attempt to attract visitors.  Anyone who has been online for 5 minutes knows about the-celebrity-scandal-click-bait content that drives our most popular, so called, Black sites.

Sure there may be more Black writers with the potential to reach more people, but they are finding it increasingly difficult to be heard, unless of course they are cosigned by one of the massive sites run by “outsiders”; which then of course requires conforming to their dictates.

Despite all of this virtually free access to the web and numerous tools to publish content, we do not drive the narrative, rather the “outsiders” created narrative drives us.  Anyone attempting to do something other than what the “outsiders” have prescribed will fail or struggle miserably.

I often read old magazines for a historical perspective.  I subscribed to Black Issues Book Review (BIBR) for it’s entire run.  The issue from where I transcribed Ishmael’s quote was brilliant.  I’m unaware of any other magazine that comes close to producing the content  Black Issues Book Review did during it’s prime.  Both the magazine and the associated website are long gone.

Part of the problem is the we simply do not work in our own self interest.  Sure there are some great exceptions, but not enough to really make a difference.  When I was a corporate employee, this was not apparent to me, but the minute I became a business owner it became very obvious. It is very sad.

For example, I would listen to Black writers give Black Issue Book Review, a lot of grief for not paying them enough, or fast enough, for the articles they wrote.  Of course if you say you are going to pay someone, you need to pay them.  But I also observed some of these very same writers proudly write for the Huffington Post for free!  Just the idea of having a HuffPost byline was enough compensation. There was never as much pride in having a BIBR byline.

Today we have fewer websites dedicated to Black books.  One would think there would be an uproar, but media, like a BIBR, who would report on this problem, no longer exists.  I’d image the general public has no idea a problem even exists.  Even saying there are few Black book websites, would not mean much absent a historical context.  Meanwhile, the “outsider” has sold us on the idea popularity on their platforms is the only meaningful measure of success.

Sites like AALBC.com who are inclined to report on this issue, an issue that does not conform to the “dictated the trend,” defined by the “outsiders,” have to fight to be heard. Trust me; it is a fight. Social media is pay to play, and search results skew away from Black independent websites.  But most importantly, our people will not sacrifice to support, no invest, in our own platforms.  Paying a bit more or clicking away from a massive social media site is apparently too much of a sacrifice for us to make, to control our own narrative.

Black websites certainly don’t matter to the massive corporations who control the World Wide Web, but based upon our behavior they don’t matter to us either.

Our future may be cyberspace, but that future looks pretty bleak.  I hope to tell a very different story in 15 years.