AALBC.com eNewsletter - February 6th, 2003
|Celebrating Our Literary Legacy!|
RECENT AALBC.COM BOOK REVIEWS
AALBC.com publishes many articles, books reviews and author profiles each month. Below is sample of the most recently added book reviews. Read the review excerpted below and visit AALBC.com to read the rest of these insightful reviews.
Born by Zelda Lockhart reviewed by Thumper.
"The plot of Fifth Born is not an emotional walk in the park -- it's excruciating and heart wrenching. But interestingly, the narrative and tone had the calming soothing effect of sitting in the clear warm water of an outdoor spring. I was entranced. Lockhart took me beyond the watching-an-accident-happening-in- slow-motion phase, to the next level, where I felt the full impact of the collision. I was whupped, done in, and out done, because Fifth Born is the type of book where it took a while before I could let go of it."
"Loving Donovan left me a little shaken -- not enough to seek therapy or anything -- just enough to make me pause. The story is tight. McFadden deftly manages to convey three unique points of view, gently displaying the nuts and bolts that formed each of the main characters. She also carefully placed words for maximum effect, and fashioned space into a smooth rhythm. The story flowed like ribbons of melted chocolate."
NEXT: A Memoir Toward World Peace. by Walter Mosley
reviewed by Paige
"Mosley places much of the current discord at the feet of American corporations in their quest for globalization, and he describes how, to advance capitalism, globalism is replacing democracy. Mosley urges thinking deeper beyond the issues that are seen and reported in the mainstream media. He parallels America's treatment of black Americans with its treatment of the Islamic world with a brilliant insight that is almost heretical. "I am appealing to black America. I'm asking us to stand up and enter the dialogue about our war on the Middle East, before we find ourselves deeply enmeshed in a logic of violence and murder that will put us on a par with the slave masters of old."
Drift by John Ridley reviewed by Thumper.
"The Drift is a nothing short of a masterpiece. Ridley continues to write mature, smart novels, and stands out as one of his best. Before I read The Drift or Conversation with The Mann, I would have classified Ridley's previous novels in the same sassy, light-mystery vein as Elmore Leonard's novels. The manner in which he wove the words together for The Drift is poignant and lyrical, and enters the lofty realms where William Faulkner and Toni Morrison reigns. The Drift is remarkable."
Atlanta by Tayari Jones reviewed by Thumper.
"Tayari Jones enters the literary scene with Leaving Atlanta, a novel that takes place in 1979 Atlanta, Georgia during what came to be known as the Atlanta Child Murders. What a fiery debut! Tayari Jones' first novel is as bright, luminous and brilliant as the fire General Sherman left to Atlanta as a going away present. It is magnificent!"
In Its Place by Evelyn Palfrey reviewed by Thumper
"Everything In It's Place is the first novel that I read by Evelyn Palfrey. When I finished the novel, I remembered a conversation I had with the late Nora DeLoach, author of the wonderful Mama mystery series. She classified her novels as "cozy", meaning the novels were not hard edged, gritty, or excessively violent. Everything In Its Place fits DeLoach's definition of cozy and I loved it! A nice, comfortable and intelligent read."
Grand by Kenji Jasper reviewed by guest reviewer
"Passionately told through first-person point-of view, Dakota Grand is a behind the scenes look at the writers that glorify hip-hop artists. Jasper sprinkles a humanitarian landscape throughout the book. Each trip on New York�s subway system is littered with vivid descriptions of people simply trying to sustain themselves. Each account, in just a few short words, reveals the individual�s plight and identifies the common link of many New Yorkers�survival."
In Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston by Valerie Boyd reviewed by Thumper
Zora Neale Hurston ensured her place of prominence in the American literary canon with her masterpiece, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Her career was filled with highs and lows, accomplishments, poverty and tragedy. Hurston's life is the subject of Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston written by Valerie Boyd. Wrapped in Rainbows is an average biography that doesn't clear all of the clouds of mystery surrounding Hurston's life, but, despite its deficiencies, is still enjoyable.
by Darnella Ford reviewed by Thumper.
"Although I may appear somewhat stingy in my praise of Rising, I was swept up, and then swept away by Symone's life. I read Rising, in a single sitting on one cold Sunday in December. While portions of the book were awesome, by the end, Rising had lost some of its striking force. Yet, Rising retained enough power to be unforgettable, making Darnella Ford a welcome new talent."
Family Tree, Taking Root by Doc Robertson reviewed by Thumper
A Family Tree, Taking Root by Doc Robertson is an enjoyable, refreshing novel that should have read like a dream. While many of our authors insist on writing the pseudo-family dramas starring the ever-present three-sista girlfriends, it was a delight to finally read a family drama featuring a real family. The family fights, the bent relationships, misunderstandings that with time become harder to resolve are all here in their messy glory. Although the novel contains a number of missteps, a few loose ends, and a second half that lacked the care and attention of the first half, A Family Tree, Taking Root has a strong family storyline and a nice rhythm.
Family Affair by Shirley Hailstock reviewed by Leah Mullen
Too bad we didn't have wide choices of Black contemporary romances in the 80's when I was reading historical romances. Back then the covers and plots featured blonde beauties in Victorian England. In those books Black characters weren't present except as supporting players, perhaps the nanny or the maid. Back then, had I picked up something like Shirley Hailstock's recently released novel, "A Family Affair," I would have felt that for Black people, anything was possible. In Family Affair we are presented with a menu of delights that includes Dr. Wesley Cooper, a tall, fine chocolate geneticist who falls in love with the lovely Dr. Brenda Reid, a renowned astronomer.
A literary rent party to benefit the Hurston/Wright Foundation of
African-American fiction, with selections to savor from bestselling authors as
well as talented rising stars.
Not since Terry McMillan�s Breaking Ice have so many African-American writers been brought together in one volume. A stellar collection of works from more than fifty hot names in fiction, Gumbo represents remarkable synergy. Edited by bestselling luminaries Marita Golden and E. Lynn Harris, this collection spans new and previously published tales of love and luck, inspiration and violation, hip new worlds and hallowed heritage from voices such as:Edwidge Danticat, Eric Jerome Dickey, Kenji Jasper, John Edgar Wideman, Terry McMillan, David Anthony Durham, Bertice Berry and more
Also featuring original stories by Golden and Harris themselves, Gumbo heralds the debut of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards for Published Black Writers (scheduled for October 2002), and all advances and royalties from the book will support the Hurston/Wright Foundation. Combining authors with a variety of flavorful writing, Gumbo will have readers clamoring for second helpings.
Me, Fred: Recollections of a Side Man
by Fred Wesley, with Foreword by Rickey Vincent
"Before hip-hop, there was soul and funk, which gave rise to such highly influential bands and popular stars as Ike and Tina Turner, George Clinton, Parliament, Funkadelic, and, of course, James Brown. Trombonist Wesley has been associated with all of these and more, serving as Brown's bandleader for many years and through his personal sound, compositions, and arrangements contributing immeasurably to the fabric of American popular music. Wesley has written a thoroughly engaging memoir of his life in music, using frank, opinionated, sometimes colorful language that reads as if he were sitting across the room reminiscing. Readers will be fascinated by his insider descriptions of working with the volatile Brown and by his vivid descriptions of the vicissitudes of life as a professional musician; musicians at all levels will find his comments on life on the road particularly compelling. Chapters on his tenure with the Count Basie Orchestra, his struggles with the L.A. music scene, and playing jazz in Denver after brother Ron helped him overcome a cocaine habit round out the picture of Wesley's musicianship and humanity without lapsing into "behind the music" cliche."
"bell hooks is back with another controversial examination of a delicate issue: blacks and low self-esteem. Why do even the "best and brightest" black Ivy League students endure "deep feelings of unworthiness, of ugliness inside and outside"? hooks concedes the power of white racism has receded, but maintains that integration has created emotional trauma as blacks take whites as their models in the workplace and the world at large.."
The Good Girl Book Club� endeavors to encourage aspiring Christian women through pro-active reading and on-line discussions by choosing books that will address every aspect of a woman's world: spiritual, physical, emotional, social and financial.
The Good Girl Book Club� will entertain and inspire readers while strengthening their relationship with Christ, foster personal growth and equip readers to live faithfully in an increasingly secular world. Visit them at: http://www.goodgirlbookclubonline.com/
Mighty Love by Anita Doreen Diggs
Mel and Adrienne Jordan had the kind of marriage most couples only dream about. Mel had abandoned his womanizing ways to settle down with the smartest, sexiest woman he'd ever met - and had absolutely no regrets. Neither did his wife. Between caring for their infant daughter and tending to their small but lovely home in New York City, Adrienne didn't have time to think about the singing career she'd pursued and then abandoned years ago. Landing a recording contract had once been her greatest ambition-but she hardly ever thought about it anymore. Life was that good.
But then one day a fire sweeps through their home, causing a terrible tragedy. Convinced that he is to blame, Mel returns to the mean streets of his youth-and indulges in the drugs, drink, and women he finds there. Adrienne works long hours at a tedious job, desperate to get ahead-even though she's not really sure where she's going. As they drift further away from each other, Mel and Adrienne start to wonder if they can ever reclaim what they had. And they soon realize that their greatest challenge will be trying to save the one thing they had always taken for granted: their mighty love.
Patricia Stephens Due fought for justice during the height of the Civil Rights era, surrendering her very freedom to ensure that the rights of others might someday be protected. Her daughter, Tananarive, grew up deeply enmeshed in the values of a family committed to making right whatever they saw as wrong. Together, they have written a paean to the movement�its struggles, its nameless foot-soldiers, and its achievements�and an incisive examination of the future of justice in this country. Their mother-daughter journey spanning the struggles of two generations is an unforgettable story.
In 1960, when she was a student at Florida A&M University, Patricia and her sister Priscilla were part of the movement�s landmark �jail-in,� the first time during the student sit-in movement when protestors served their time rather than paying a fine. She and her sister, and three FAMU students, spent forty-nine days behind bars rather than pay for the �crime� of sitting at a Woolworth lunch counter. Thus began a lifelong commitment to human rights. Patricia and her husband, civil rights lawyer John Due, worked tirelessly with many of the movement�s greatest figures throughout the sixties to bring about change, particularly in the Deep Southern state of Florida. Read more...
THE COFFEE WILL MAKE YOU BLACK ON-LINE READING
February 2003 Selection
The Coffee Will Make You Black reading group is currently reading What Next: A Memoir Toward World Peace by Walter Mosley
In What Next, Walter Mosley -- New York Times bestselling author -- has crafted a deeply personal and political proposal, offering a commonsense approach to the challenge of finding world peace in a post-9/11 world. Mosley recalls his father�s story about not feeling like an American until German soldiers shot at him during World War II. Now the younger Mosley explores what the terrorist attacks meant to him, and challenges African Americans to use their unique position to help create a new kind of peace between the U.S. and the rest of the world. What Next examines this and other questions in a powerful polemic and call to action for African Americans and freedom-loving people everywhere.
Our chat session is been re-scheduled for Sunday, February 23rd, 2003, 6:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time. If you have already read What Next, and would like to participate in our on-line chat session; please join us in our chat room http://www.thumperscorner.com/chat/
Visit http://thumperscorner.com/Reading_List.htm to view the rest of The Coffee Will Make You Black on-line reading group's reading list for 2003
LITERARY EVENTS CALENDAR
Our events calendar allows visitors to learn about up coming African American literary events. Visitors may even post their own events and include a link back to their web site. If you don't have a web site AALBC.com can build one for you; simply fill out the form on our web site at http://www.aalbc.com/events/
Here are just a few of some of the events planned around the country:
19th Annual Celebration of Black Writing -
19th Annual Celebration of Black Writing February 13 - 16 Black writers use their work to critique, question, protest, negotiate with and re-imagine the world in which we all live. Focusing on this work-- and the process by which it is created, supported or hampered strengthens the community of writers and readers. This year will feature readings, workshops, the Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony, Family Day, authors in the schools, literacy projects and Scholars for the People. 1801 W. Diamond St, Philadelphia, PA 19121 phone 215-232-4485, FAX: 215-232-4088 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Avid Readers' Conference and One Day Cruise to the
February 15 - 16, 2003 Avid Readers' Conference and One Day Cruise to the Bahamas(optional) Ramada Plaza Beach Resort 4060 Galt Ocean Drive Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308 Authors: Timmothy McCann, Kieja Shapodee, James Guitard, Yolanda Joe and Victoria Christopher Murray. Contact: Ruth Bridges (703) 818-2410 email@example.com
Reading Out Loud: An African American Literary Retreat
Reading Out Loud: An African American Literary Retreat, Feb. 14 - 16, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Features: Tina Andrews, Rev. Susan Newman, Virgina Deberry and Donna Grant, Travis Hunter, Eric Pete, Brenda Thomas, Darrien Lee, Denise Turney, RM Johnson, Cyrstal Wilkinson and Chris Chambers. Author's Pavilion and a Vendor's Pavilion, Keynote Luncheon and Brunch. Book Club discussion lead by Paige Turner (AALBC.com's Book Reviews Editor). Contact: D&S Productions, toll-free, 10866-728-1045 or visit www.rolliteraryretreat.com or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
6th Annual Book Fair & Conference - Chicago, IL
February 15, 6th Annual Book Fair & Conference South Shore Cultural Center 71st & South Shore Chicago Presented by Donna Beasley and sponsored by the Park District
Words Escape Me Summit Sheraton Perimeter, Birmingham,
February 21 - 23, 2003 3rd Annual Words Escape Me Summit http://www.mediaclique.com/WEMS03.html Sheraton Perimeter, Birmingham, Alabama Billy D. William, Elizabeth Atkins Bowman, Blair Walker Mary Monroe, Bernice McFadden, Francis Ray Felecia Mason, Solomon Jones, Brian Keith Jackson Michael Datcher, Valorie M. Taylor, Denene Millner, Nick Chiles, Leslie Esdale, Karen E. Q. Miller Toni Staton Harris and Vanessa Davis Griggs Contact:Melva Tate - email@example.com
Slammin: BlackWords Poetry Slam - Washington, DC
February 7 - Slammin: BlackWords Poetry Slam (And every first friday of each month) 8pm until (Poets sign up at 7:30 pm) Takoma Station 6914 4th Street Washington, DC (Two blocks from takoma metro) $120 First prize to the baddest poet Hosted by Tonya Maria Matthews and KABA ( Todd B) with music by Eddie Anderson Special Surprise Guest Author http://www.blackwordsonline.com
Visit the AALBC.com Events calendar for even more event listings http://events.aalbc.com
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