Blog of’s Founder & Webmaster Celebrating our Literary Legacy #readingblack NewsAuthor InterviewsAuthors You Should KnowBestsellersBook ReviewsEventsVideo eNewsletter – August 1st 2012 – #193

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The Reverend's Wife (A Reverend Curtis Black Novel) By Kimberla Lawson Roby

#1 – The Reverend’s Wife by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#2 – My Name is Butterfly by Bernice McFadden
#3 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven by Leonce Gaiter
#4 – Be Careful What You Pray For by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#5 – Secret Obsession by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#6 – Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One by E L James
#7 – Love, Honor, and Betray by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#8 – Sin No More by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 – One Blood by Qwantu Amaru
#10 – Church Boyz: Rod of the Wicked by Mr. H H Fowler


ledisi better than alright

#1 – ESSENCE Presents Ledisi Better Than Alright by Ledisi
#2 – Inspiration by Crystal McCrary
#3 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#4 – The Rich And The Rest Of Us by Tavis Smiley
#5 – The Oprah Winfrey Show by Deborah Davis
#6 – Tuskegee Love Letters by Kim Russell
#7 – Afrikan-Centered Consciousness by Amos N Wilson
#8 – The Vixen Manual by Karrine Steffans
#9 – Awakening the Natural Genius of Black Children by Amos N Wilson
#10 – Blueprint for Black Power by Amos N Wilson

Check out’s Bestsellers for May and June 2012

 Authors You Should Know

Danzy SennaDanzy Senna – Nominated for 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award
Danzy Senna was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the middle child of three children. Her mother is the poet and novelist Fanny Howe. Her father, Carl Senna, a scholar author of The Black Press and the Struggle for Civil Rights and The Fallacy of I.Q.  Senna earned her B.A. from Stanford University and MFA in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine, where she received several creative writing awards. Danzy Senna’s debut novel, Caucasia, was the winner of the BOMC Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and of a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year.

Percival EverettPercival Everett – “Personally, I think Everett is a Freaking Literary Genius”
Everett is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California and the author of more than twenty books, including Assumption, Erasure, I Am Not Sidney Poitier, The Water Cure, Wounded, and Glyph; three collections of short fiction; and one book of poetry. He is the recipient of the Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the 2006 PEN USA Center Award for Fiction.

Tracy SmithTracy K. Smith – Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
Poet and educator Tracy K. Smith was born in 1972. As of 2012 she has published three collections of poetry. Her collection Life on Mars won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  Smith received her B.A. from Harvard University in 1994, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University in 1997. From 1997 to 1999 she was a Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University. She has taught at the City University of New York, the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University. In 2006 she joined the faculty of Princeton University, where she teaches creative writing.

Nuruddin FarahNuruddin Farah – Author of Knots, One of the Most Sophisticated Voices in Modern Fiction
Farah was born November 24th 1945 in Baidoa, in what is now the Republic of Somalia. Farah is the author of several novels, including From a Crooked Rib, Links and his Blood in the Sun trilogy: Maps, Gifts, and Secrets. His novels have been translated into seventeen languages and have won numerous awards. In 1991, he received the Swedish Tucholsky Literary Award, given to literary exiles, and he was the recipient of the German DAAD fellowship in 1990. Farah was named the 1998 laureate of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, “widely regarded as the most prestigious international literary award after the Nobel”.  Born in Baidoa, Somalia, he now lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with his wife and their children.

Helen OyeyemiHelen Oyeyemi – Author of Mr. Fox, Nominated for 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award
Helen Oyeyemi was born in Nigeria on December 10th 1984 and has lived in London from the age of four. She completed The Icarus Girl just before her nineteenth birthday while studying for her A-level exams. She is a member of the class of 2006 at Cambridge University, where she studied social and political sciences. We described Oyeyemi’s debut novel, The Icarus Girl, as follows, “The Icarus Girl is almost transcendent, seamlessly weaving the perspectives of Greek myth, Yoruba folklore and the cosmopolitan sensibility of modern day London, into a suave, satisfying, well-crafted psychological thriller.”

Keith Lee JohnsonKeith Lee Johnson – Author of the Bestselling Little Girl Lost Series
Keith Johnson’s journey to publication began at Owens Community College, and was accidental as he never intended to be an author. He began writing when a literature professor unwittingly challenged his ability to write a credible story in class one day. He picked up a pen that very day and has been writing ever since. Keith went on to graduate with honors and became the commencement speaker for the December 1996 graduating class.

Flesh: The Disappearance of Portia Barrington, Johnson’s most recent novel, was described by reviewer Robert Fleming as “…powerfully seductive yarn full of erotic fantasies, carnal obsession, sexual secrets, emotional betrayal, and downright deviance.”

Kiini Iburu SalaamKiini Ibura Salaam – Author of the Critically Acclaimed Novel Ancient, Ancient
Kiini’s work encompasses speculative fiction, erotica, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Her writing is rooted in eroticism, speculative events and worlds, and women’s perspectives. Preferring to operate outside of the separation of genres, she has published speculative fiction in erotic anthologies and erotic works in speculative fiction anthologies. Her fiction has been included in such publications as: Dark Matter, Mojo: Conjure Stories, Dark Eros, FEMSPEC, Ideomancer, and One of her earlier (and most distinctive) stories “Of Wings, Nectar, and Ancestors” was translated into Polish and two of her short stories “Desire” and “Rosamojo” were praised in Publishers Weekly reviews.

Paulo CoelhoPaulo Coelho – Best Selling Author of The Alchemist
To date, Coelho has sold a total of 100 million copies.  His novel The Alchemist was one of the most important literary phenomena of the 20th century. It reaches the first place in bestselling lists in 74 countries, and so far has sold 35 million copies. This book also brought the author, in 2008, the Guiness World Record for most translated book in the world (67 languages).

For a limited time, Coelho’s novels they are available, via eBook, for 99-cents including his latest novel Aleph (Vintage Jun 26, 2012).

Monda WebbMonda Raquel Webb – Authors, Poet, Filmmaker
Author and Poet Monda Raquel Webb lives in Rockville, Maryland. She works as a freelance consultant, sells real estate, and has been a featured Realtor on several episodes of HGTV s Get it Sold. She performs her poetry at select venues nationwide, including The Congressional Black Caucus, The Harlem Book Fair and Women’s Conferences. Monda is currently working as Producer on 7:33am the Movie, an independent full-length feature film adapted from her novel by director Aimee Dixon. Her book of short stories, Red Clay Dirt & Mountains was published in June.

Lorna GoodisonLorna Goodison – Her Novel From Harvey River Named Best Book of the Year
Celebrated poet Lorna Goodison is the author of the highly acclaimed memoir From Harvey River, which was named a Washington Post Book World Best Book of the Year. She is the recipient of the Musgrave Gold Medal and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, among other accolades. Born in Jamaica, she now teaches at the University of Michigan.

Lorna Goodison’s latest book, By Love Possessed, is a Jamaican-themed, short-story collection with an emphasis on love in its various stages.

The McKissacksPatricia C. and Fredrick L. McKissack – Husband Wife Team have Written Over 100 Books
Patricia C. and Fredrick L. McKissack have won countless awards and received much critical acclaim, all the while bringing enjoyment and information to young readers.  And just how does the collaboration process work? “There is no magic formula,” Fred says. “Pat and I talk all the time.” “After talking through a project,” Pat continues, “We outline it. Then Fred does most of the digging and the research, and I write it up on the computer and run off a hard copy. Fred fact-checks and refines it, and then gives it back to me to make his changes and any more of my own.” “Then we run off another hard copy and keep doing that until it satisfies us both,” Fred adds.

This collaboration has led to the publication of several award-winning titles, including their 2004 Coretta Scott King Honor Book, Days of Jubilee. The end of slavery is one of the most important events in the history of the United States, but there was not one single day when all of the slaves were freed. The McKissacks drew from slave narratives, letters, and diaries to document the days, weeks, and years leading to freedom.

Rosa GuyRosa Guy – Author and Literary Activist (9/1/22 — 6/3/12)
In 1950, Guy, along with John Oliver Killens, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Willard Moore and Walter Christmas, co-founded the Harlem Writer’s Guild.  Guy was a member of a Black nationalist literary organization, On Guard for Freedom, which was founded on the Lower East Side of New York City by Calvin Hicks. Other members included, Harold Cruse and LeRoi Jones. On Guard was active in a famous protest at the United Nations of the American-sponsored Bay of Pigs Cuban invasion and was active in support of the Congolese liberation leader Patrice Lumumba.

Her work has received the Coretta Scott King Award, , The New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year citation, and the American Library Association’s Best Book Award. She lives in New York.

Fiction Book Reviews

Going Home in Chains (stories)Going Home in Chains: Stories by Glenville Obrian Lovell
Glenville Lovell, one of the foremost Caribbean writers, has written several novels, including the acclaimed Fire in the Canes, Too Beautiful To Die, and a number of prize-winning plays. With this collection of short fiction, Going Home In Chains, he reaches a new level of narrative maturity, one that allows his characters to become more nuanced and multi-faceted.

The centerpiece of this collection, Going Home In Chains, is from a work-in-progress, “Dreaming of Luis: A Bomber’s Tale of Unyielding Love,” and rates as one of his grand achievements. In the title story, Tunde Ham, an Americanized immigrant and a sandhog from Barbados, accidentally leaves a bag in the Great Hall in the Grand Hall in the Grand Central Market. What happens after that is a stirring tribute to the paranoia about foreign-born citizens as terrorists in the horrifying wake of the 9/11 tragedy. Tunde’s harsh treatment by authorities is a revelation, as the police accuse him of being a tool of al-Queda.

Kingston NoirKingston Noir Edited by Colin Channer
With his first anthology for Akashic, Iron Balloons, Colin Channer, author of the celebrated novel, Waiting In Vain, showcased the full range of contemporary Jamaican literature. Now, with his follow-up collection, he sharpens his focus with a gathering of tales from such stellar writers such as Marlon James, Kwame Dawes, Marcia Douglas, Kei Miller, Leone Ross, Christopher John Farley, Ian Thomson and Thomas Glave.

In Channer’s introduction, he sets the bar very high, recruiting capable storytellers who know the city of Kingston well: “In addition to having this intimate knowledge, the eleven writers share something else – a fascination with the city’s turbulent dynamics, with the way its boundaries of color, class, race, gender, ideology, and sexual privilege crisscross like storm-tangled power lines.” (pp. 14)

Uncle Yah Yah Part II 21st Century Man of WisdomUncle Yah Yah Part II 21st Century Man of Wisdom by Al Dickens
“My name is Rudy Hawkins, and I’m a reporter for the Essex Weekly Forum News. Dottie … a beautiful black sister and typist in the office, was the first to inform me of the man called Uncle Yah Yah.” So starts the first Uncle Yah Yah, 21st Century Man of Wisdom. Dottie had spent a week at the bucolic Paradise Gardens in upstate New York where the “acme of her pleasure” was meeting an old man called Uncle Yah Yah. Rudy is self-involved and over-confident when we first meet him and when he sees his chance to seduce Dottie who wants him, as a favor to her, to interview Uncle Yah Yah, he agrees. After Rudy meets the sage Uncle Yah Yah and reads the manuscript he gives him, his life changes forever.

Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura SalaamAncient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam
Salaam’s new book may be unlike anything you’ve ever read before. It commences with “Desire,” a tale of half-human creatures who much like humans give in to forbidden desires despite their commitments.

In “Of Wings, Nectar, and Ancestors,” the other-worldly main character, WaLiLa, is given the assignment of retrieving nectar from human men. What exactly is nectar? Perhaps its sweat or saliva or maybe it’s just a man’s sexual energy. Just know that she has to have it. What’s interesting about this story is the character’s Terminator-like vision. Just by looking at a man, she can tell his age and ethnic background; and of course, if he is a prime candidate for releasing the nectar.

FleshFlesh: The Disappearance of Portia Barrington by Keith Lee Johnson
As the author of over a dozen novels including the bestselling Little Girl Lost series, Keith Lee Johnson has created his most accomplished story yet. It’s a complicated, twisty kidnapping caper, similar to crime master Ed McBain’s King’s Ransom and Japanese film legend Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 High And Low. Commanded by the President of the U.S., FBI agents Phoenix Perry and Kelly McPherson join with the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) team to find the daughter of a prominent white attorney, Myles Barrington.

Portia, his fifteen-year-old daughter, is gone, along with her Black bodyguard. Her daddy pays the ransom, not once but three times, and wonders why his girl has not released. As one character wonders aloud: “If you were a kidnapper, would you ask for more than one ransom? I mean, why not ask for all at once and minimize the risk?” Is the whole thing a hoax? Johnson turns up the heat and suspense as everyone is a suspect.

Nonfiction Book Reviews

The Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and Rise and Decline of Black PoliticsThe Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and the Rise and Decline of Black Politics by Fredrick C. Harris
All you have to do is take a quick look at the black dropout, unemployment, health insurance and home foreclosure rates to know that the election of Barack Obama hasn’t transformed America into a post-racial paradise quite yet. What is even more troubling is the suggestion that the Age of Obama might actually have ushered in an era marked by a reversal of fortune for most African-Americans.

That’s precisely the case being made by Frederick C. Harris, a Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, in The Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and the Rise and Decline of Black Politics. This groundbreaking book assesses the state of African-American affairs through the prism of a revised, 21st Century paradigm.

ESSENCE Presents Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love & Power by LedisiESSENCE Presents: Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love & Power by Ledisi
Ledisi Anibade Young was born in New Orleans on July 9, 1978 to Nyra Dynese and Larry Sanders, a musician who abandoned the family when his daughter was still an infant. The name Ledisi, which means “to bring forth” in Yoruba, was picked because of the spunk she exhibited during her valiant struggle to survive a host of life-threatening ailments as a premature baby.

In the book, Ledisi lets us know that she admires First Lady Michelle Obama (“I love her!”), Nina Simone (“Reminded me to be proud of my skin”), Malcolm X (“A class act”) and Miles Davis (“My muse”). However, she credits another role model, her beloved Aunt Gussie, a choir member who only performed for the Lord, with helping her cultivate that soulful singing voice, a blessing she had to learn the hard way not to take for granted.

The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of the nation’s most acclaimed scholars, is a masterful jack of all trades, including educator, editor, critic and filmmaker. This omnibus of essays on race, culture, and genealogy, The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader, collected over thirty years, showcases Gates, the Harvard professor, at his best.

While this reader provides us with range and determined loyalty to research, Gates shows himself on a scholarly par with any of the noted white intellectuals. He’s a force to be reckoned with. He explains to this community about the depth of our ancestry, the courage and boldness of our pioneers, and the persistence of our leaders in achieving equality and freedom. This sampler is more than a history lesson, but a cultural quest by Gates for excellence and historical clarity.

Slaves with SwagSlaves with Swag: The Negroes Your History Teacher Forgot to Mention by Daryl T. Hinmon
Very rarely does a book come with a money-back guarantee. But that is precisely the case when you invest in Slaves with Swag by Daryl T. Hinmon, a riveting read which endeavors to fill in some of the blanks in black history.

For, it is the author’s contention that the generic, grade school education leaves most students with “the very false impression that ALL slaves were submissive, timid, illiterate, severely oppressed and dirt poor.” So, he sets about disabusing us of that conventional wisdom via biographies of some heroes who defied that very demeaning definition of African-Americans forefathers.

Race, Power and Politics: Memoirs of an ACORN Whistleblower Race, Power & Politics: Memoirs of an ACORN Whistleblower by Michael McCray
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, aka ACORN, was founded in 1970 with the goal of attaining higher wages, better education and decent housing for the poor. Over the years, the activism-oriented non-profit operated mostly under the radar, gradually growing into a formidable force to be reckoned with by virtue of its half a million members and over a thousand chapters spread all across the country.

Yet, the charity collapsed in just a matter of months in the wake of a damaging video shot with a hidden camera by a couple of conservative bloggers posing as a pimp and a prostitute. Released to the press in the fall of 2009, the deceptively-edited footage appeared to show street-level ACORN employees being tricked into instructing the visitors how to cheat the IRS.

Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery Help Me to Find My People: The African-American Search for Family Lost in Slavery by Heather Andrea Williams
One traumatic side-effect of slavery left unaddressed by the history books is the tragic toll the evil institution exacted on the African-American psyche. After all, for hundreds of years, not only were black families routinely ripped apart at the whim of their owners, but males and females were even forced to breed like beasts of burden at the direction of avaricious traders.

Help Me to Find My People: The African-American Search for Family Lost in Slavery is a heartrending opus which chronicles the desperate efforts of some of the inconsolable souls undertaking that noble quest.  Author Heather Andrea Williams must be credited for conducting the painstaking research yielding such irrefutable proof that slaves did indeed feel some very deep emotions as a consequence of the horrors they experienced

HIV/AIDS: The Facts and The Fiction by Chris JenningsHIV/AIDS: The Facts and The Fiction by Chris Jennings
A few years ago, I saw a documentary about AIDS which began by asking which of a number of places had the highest HIV infection rate. I was shocked to learn that the correct answer to the question was the only American city on the list, Washington, DC, since all the other choices were either in Africa or the Caribbean.

I had unwittingly fallen prey to the conventional wisdom which has led most people to believe that AIDS originally started in Africa where it had infected millions of victims for decades prior to crossing the Atlantic and arriving on these shores around 1980. That piece of propaganda simply isn’t true, according to Chris Jennings, a Harvard-educated medical writer who has staked his career in the field of HIV research.

What in the Hell Happened?What in the Hell Happened? An Intimate Look at Love and Relationship with Raw Honesty by Bishop Alphonso Lee Smith
Smith is pastor of Destiny Worship Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, Bishop Alphonso Lee Smith has pronounced plenty of couples husband and wife over the years, only to see some of those supposedly-sacred unions ultimately end in divorce. This has led the good reverend to wonder whether “vow-takers really know to what they are committing” or if they appreciate “the gravity of the wedding ceremony.”In What in the Hell Happened? An Intimate Look at Love and Relationship with Raw Honesty, he maintains that “marriage, as a practical consideration, should be entered into with wisdom… reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God.” For he feels that engaged couples ought to be ought to be fully conscious of the covenant they are about to make with the Almighty.

Fifteen Steps to Corporate FeudalismFifteen Steps to Corporate Feudalism: How the Rich Convinced America’s Middle Class to Eliminate Themselves by Dennis Marker
How did the America Dream turn into a never-ending nightmare after what used to be just a temporary setback? That is the question addressed in depth by Dennis Marker in Fifteen Steps to Corporate Feudalism: How the Rich Convinced America’s Middle Class to Eliminate Themselves.The book is basically a scathing indictment of the country’s wealthiest 1%, a greedy corporatocracy that the author alleges has been strategically turning the rest of us into paupers for several decades. Why? To institute a 21st Century version of an exploitative, medieval economic system that would reduce the masses to serfdom while funneling most of the money, resources and means of production into the hands of a few individuals.

Alas, Peace Be StillAlas, Peace Be Still by Jessica L. Angelique
Jessica Angelique was surrendered in infancy by parents she’s never known to a foster care system that would prove to be a living hell. For, from an early age, the unfortunate ward of the state became the victim of unspeakable violations as she found herself being shuttled from home to home and from molester to molester, each worse than the last.

At 5, her legs were permanently disfigured by a foster father who put out his cigars on her legs as punishment for forgetting to make her bed. That remains Jessica’s earliest childhood memory. At 7, she was raped by another “daddy” who forced her to watch pornography while sitting on his naked lap. And so forth…


The Book Look LedisiLedisi discusses her new book with The Book Look
Recording artist & new author Ledisi sits down with The Book Look’s Charisse Carney-Nunes to talk about Ledisi new book ESSENCE Presents Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love & Power.  This video was recorded in July during Book Expo America in New York City

Kevin Roberts of Azizi BookstoreKevin Roberts Owner of Azizi Books in Matteson, IL
Azizi Books is a community based, independent bookstore where conscious readers will find current and classic works of fiction along with a wide variety of informative, eclectic, progressive, spiritually uplifting and culturally relevant titles. This video was recorded in July at the African American Pavilion at Book Expo America in New York City

Walter MosleyWalter Mosley Discusses His Novels and Writing at the National Black Book Festival (June 2012)
Walter Mosley the prolific novelist, cultural critic and literary activist discusses his work and writing.  This video was recorded in June on during the National Black Book Festival, hosted by Cush City, in Houston, TX.

Daniel BlackDaniel Black at the National Black Book Festival in Houston, TX
Dr. Daniel Omotosho Black is the authors of several popular novels including They Tell Me of a Home and Perfect Peace.  Here is talks about his next two novels.  This video was recorded in June on during the National Black Book Festival, hosted by Cush City, in Houston, TX.

Michael BaisdenMichael Baisden Offers a Tip on How to Sell One’s Memoir
Michael Baisden is one of the nation’s top selling self-published authors. Here the nationally syndicated radio talk show host, offers a tip on selling one’s memoir.  This video was recorded in July at the African American Pavilion at Book Expo America in New York City


GraphThe Entire Publishing Industry as it Relates to Black Books, is at a Crossroads by Troy Johnson
While the industry is reporting sales growth (2.77 billion units sold in 2011 up 3.4% from 2010) there are fewer Black (non-celebrity) novelists being published and smaller advances are being paid. More Black writers are self-publishing than ever before but, despite social media’s impact, it is increasingly difficult to build an audience and generate meaningful sales.

Visit These Web Sites — All Support Books Written by People of African Descent
These web sites are in the top 1% of all web sites, of any type, and represent an excellent sample of the best of the Black book web sites.

Given the current trend of physical bookstores closing and the lack of coverage in newspapers and magazines; websites that promote Black books and authors are more important than ever. from the 2012 Black Pack Party
Londel’s Restaurant served as the venue for the 6th Black Pack Party held June 6th, 2012. The Black Pack Party, held during Book Expo America (BEA), is an opportunity for publishing professionals to mix, mingle, and have a good time. The event is presented annually by Linda Duggins, Michelle Gibson (Written Magazine), Troy Johnson (, Ron Kavanaugh (, and the 2012 guest host

Film Reviews

Madea's Witness Protection (2012) - Movie PosterMadea’s Witness Protection – Tyler Perry and Eugene Levy Make for Strange Bedfellows in Fish-Out-of-Water Comedy
In trying to decide the last place that anybody would look for a wealthy white family from Connecticut, the Feds settle on a humble abode in faraway Atlanta belonging to none other than Madea Simmons (Tyler Perry). The sassy granny jumps at the $4,000 per month compensation, unaware of just how much of a challenge she’s about to take on.

For Needleman is a package deal who arrives with his family in tow, including his senile mother (Doris Roberts), a pampered trophy wife (Denise Richards) half his age, and a couple of spoiled-rotten kids (Devan Leos and Danielle Campbell). There’s friction right from the start when daughter Cindy complains “What, are we sharecroppers, now?” about living in a black community. Madea is concerned, too, asking, “How am I supposed to hide five white people in this neighborhood?”

Dark Knight Movie PosterThe Dark Knight Rises – Batman Emerges from Exile to Battle Terrorist in Trilogy Finale
The Dark Knight Rises brings down the curtain on the brilliant Batman trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader. Each of the earlier episodes, Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008), earned a spot on this critic’s annual Top Ten List, #s 9 and 1, respectively.

Given how the late Heath Ledger played The Joker to perfection, delivering an inspired, Oscar-winning, career performance in the previous installment, you knew it would be hard for Nolan to find as compelling a character for his highly-anticipated finale. And if The Dark Knight Rises does have a weakness, it lies in the fact that its primary villain pales in comparison. Otherwise, the movie measures up to franchise expectations, though its convoluted plot and 2¾ hours running time is likely to have younger kids squirming in their seats.

United in Anger: A History of ACT UPUnited in Anger: A History of ACT UP – Riveting Gay Rights Retrospective Revisits Rise of AIDS Activism Movement
By the late Eighties, someone was dying from AIDS every half hour in this country, while the government continued to exhibit a shocking indifference to the epidemic, ostensibly because the disease was seen as an affliction primarily affecting homosexuals. First the Reagan administration and then that of George H.W. Bush handled the crisis with a criminal neglect that, in retrospect, many consider tantamount to genocide.

Because of that bureaucratic indifference, a few visionaries like Larry Kramer, Ann Northrup and Phil Reed realized that “This disease will either kill or politicize this community.” Sensing that Silence = Death, they founded ACT UP in order to pressure the government to take the plague seriously.

Men in Black IIIMen in Black III – Alien-Fighting Franchise Revived for Time-Travel Finale
One sign that scriptwriters have run out of fresh ideas is when they lazily recycle the shopworn, time-travel theme in order to extend an expiring film series. This ill-advised approach has been employed over the years in service of such sorry sequels as The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time (1991), to name a few.

Fortunately, the relatively-captivating Men in Black III is more than just another, idea-bereft take-the-money-and-run rip-off. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (MIB & MIB II), the picture reunites Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as alien-hunting Agents J and K, respectively.

A Beautiful Soul Film ReviewA Beautiful Soul – Shades of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Abound in Faith-Based Morality Play
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) is a much-beloved fable about a depressed businessman who decides not to commit suicide after an angel intervenes and shows him how much worse off the world would be without him. Shades of that Frank Capra classic abound in A Beautiful Soul, a faith-based variation on the theme, but in blackface.

Directed by Jeffrey W. Byrd (King’s Ransom), this music-driven, hip-hop opera stars Dietrick Haddon as Andre “Dre” Stephens, a booty and bling-obsessed pop icon who has turned his back on the Lord. We witness his misbehavior firsthand when the shallow singing sensation only goes to church grudgingly, and then proceeds to insult the deacon (Jeris Poindexter) by trying to pick up female parishioners and by failing to encourage a promising young soloist (Trevor Jackson) in the choir.

Chaning the Game [2012] = Movie PosterChanging the Game – Ambitious Ghetto Orphan Tested in All Ways in Sobering Coming-of-Age
Darrell Barnes (Sean Riggs) was dealt a horrible hand as a baby, having been abandoned by his mother after his father was shot dead on the rough streets of North Philly. At least he was lucky enough to be taken in by his paternal grandmother (Irma P. Hall), a Bible-quoting Christian who did her best to insulate the boy from the host of evils permeating their crime-infested neighborhood.

Heeding her admonition to trust in the Lord, Darrell stuck to the straight and narrow as a child. He did his best to keep out of trouble, excelling in school, where he cut a sharp contrast to his best friend, Dre (Dennis L.A. White), a clueless victim of social promotion allowed to slip through the academic cracks at an early age.

The Amazing Spider-Man movie posterThe Amazing Spider-Man – Andrew Garfield Stars in Reboot of Marvel Comics Franchise
When Columbia Pictures first brought Spider-Man to the big screen in 2002, the Marvel Comics adaptation was such a box-office bonanza that it spawned a couple of equally-phenomenal sequels. Now, just a decade later, the studio has already seen fit to reboot the popular franchise.

Although that might strike some as too soon to attempt to replicate a winning formula, director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) proves himself to be more than up to that daunting challenge. For The Amazing Spider-Man easily eclipses the earlier trilogy via a relatively-sophisticated combination of shadowy cinematography, edgier dialogue, seamless special effects and palpable romantic chemistry.


Nyambi Nyambi Nyambi Nyambi The “Mike & Molly” Interview
Versatile Shakespearean thespian and television comedy sensation Nyambi Nyambi stars on the television sitcom “Mike & Molly” airing Mondays at 9:30pm (8:30 Central) on CBS. The show’s title characters are played by Billy Gardell and Emmy Award-winner Melissa McCarthy as a working class couple from Chicago who met at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

A true film buff, Nyambi watched 365 movies in 365 days last year. Here, he talks about life and about what it’s like to be on “Mike & Molly.”

Sugar Ray LeonardSugar Ray Leonard – “The Big Fight” Interview
One of the most prodigious pugilists of all time, Sugar Ray Leonard was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on May 17, 1956 to Cicero and Getha Leonard. The fifth of seven kids, his family moved to Washington, DC in 1959 before settling down seven years later in Palmer Park, Maryland where his father was employed as a supermarket night manager and his mother as a nurse.

Ray retired from the ring in 1997 with a record 36-3-1, with 25 of those wins coming by knockout. Today, he lives in California with his wife, Bernadette, and their children, Camille and Daniel. Here, he discusses his moving memoir, “The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring.”

Laurel J. RichieLaurel J. Richie – WNBA President on Her Life, the League and the Olympics
Laurel J. Richie has more than three decades of experience in consumer marketing, corporate branding, public relations, and corporate management, with a long track record of developing award-winning campaigns that transform brands and drive business results. As President of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), she oversees all of the league’s day-to-day business and league operations.

A recipient of the YMCA’s Black Achiever’s Award and one of Ebony Magazine’s Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications, Richie was named one of the 25 Influential Black Women in Business in 2011 by The Network Journal. A graduate of Dartmouth College with a bachelor’s degree in policy studies, Richie lives in New York City.

Dante James credit: dmdfilms.comDante James – The “Huey P. Newton Documentary” Interview
Dante James is an Emmy Award-winning independent filmmaker who has produced and directed critically-acclaimed documentary and dramatic films. He is also the assistant director of the African Cultural Center at North Carolina State University (NCSU).

During the summer of 2010 he served as a guest lecturer at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. And he plans to return to Cape Town to make a film with a black South African resident of the Khayelitsha Township. A member of the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America, Dante is currently developing an independent feature-length documentary about Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party.

Tyler Perry as MadeaTyler Perry – The “Madea’s Witness Protection” Interview
Tyler Perry’s inspirational journey from the hard streets of New Orleans to the heights of Hollywood’s A-list is the stuff of American legend. Born into poverty and raised in a household scarred by abuse, Tyler fought from a young age to find the strength, faith and perseverance that would later form the foundations of his much-acclaimed plays, films, books and shows.

Tyler Perry practices what he preaches, and what he preaches has endeared him to millions of fans drawn by that unique blend of spiritual hope and down-home humor that continues to shape his inspiring life story and extraordinary body of work. Here, he talks about his latest film, “ film, “Madea’s Witness Protection,“ which he not only wrote, directed and produced, but also stars in, playing three roles, including the sassy, straight-talking title character.

Jimmy Carter 1993 Atlanta, Ga., U.S.A.President Jimmy Carter The “NIV Lessons from Life Bible” Interview
James Earl Carter, Jr., the 39th President of the United States, was born on October 1, 1924 in the tiny town of Plains, Georgia. His father, James, Sr., was a farmer and businessman, and his mother, Lillian Gordy Carter, was a registered nurse. Jimmy was educated in the public school of Plains, attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1946. On July 7th of that year, he married his childhood sweetheart, Rosalynn Smith of Plains.

In 2002, President Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.” The author of 25 books, here, he talks about his latest, NIV Lessons from Life Bible.


SparkleSparkle: A Novel by (Atria Books, August 7, 2012) By Denene Millner
Detroit, 1968. The Motown sound is sweeping the nation. Girl groups are hotter than ever. Over their mother’s objections, three beautiful sisters—Delores, Sister and Sparkle—are taking the local music scene by storm. But their dreams are bigger than Detroit. Their manager, Stix, is just as ambitious and will do whatever it takes to make it to the big time, even if it means using the girls—and his love for Sparkle—as the foundation of a new musical empire.

Behind the music and lights, the recording industry is a ruthless and unforgiving place, just as Mama had warned her girls. Sister, with her good looks and voice, is the natural headliner of the trio, yet her complicated personal life threatens to overshadow her talent; Delores has her sights set on a different kind of life outside the spotlight; and young Sparkle must push past her deepest fears if she is to fulfill her destiny—does she really have what it takes to go all the way?

SOula CoastaSoulacoaster: The Diary of Me by R. Kelly with David Ritz
Through the iconic anthem “I Believe I Can Fly” and such sexy R&B mega-hits as “Bump N’ Grind,” “Ignition,” and “When a Woman’s Fed Up,” R. Kelly has proven to be one of the greatest musical talents of his generation. Yet his rollercoaster ride to the top has been as perilous as it has been exhilarating. In Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me, Kelly shares his life story through episodic tales and exclusive color photographs, exploring his meteoric rises and sudden falls.

From the crippling learning disorder that rendered him unable to read or write, to the teacher/mentor who prophesized that his destiny was in music, not basketball, we follow his evolution from Chicago street performer to struggling L.A. musician and beyond. Kelly reveals his hard-won ascent to superstardom and his battle to move forward after legal and personal ordeals that threatened to destroy his life.

Photo: Conscious, independent, Black owned bookstore makin' it in a challenging economy visit @ 1942 Amsterdam Ave, NYCSisters Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center, Inc.
1942 Amsterdam Ave. on the corner of 156th St, New York, NY

I highly recommend Sisters Uptown Bookstore.  The store’s owner Janifer is friendly, knowledgeable and sensitive to the needs of the community.

On August 4th Sisters Uptown welcomes Queen Afua an internationally renowned best-selling author, holistic wellness entrepreneur, and highly sought after natural health practitioner.

Sisters Uptown Bookstore 212.862.3680

Book Events

Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair and Arts FestivalTulisoma – South Dallas, TX  Book Fair and Arts Festival, August 24-26
Tulisoma, Swahili for “we read”, is a community-based literary festival promoting literacy and the arts in the South Dallas/Fair Park area.  Award-winning authors, poets and artists will again come to Dallas for the tenth annual Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair and Arts Festival.

The festival kicks off at 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, with the Heart and Soul Tour of South Dallas historical sites and landmarks. Saturday, Aug. 25, book readings, storytelling, writing workshops, children’s programs, spoken word poetry, panel discussions and performances will be held at the African-American Museum in Fair Park, 3635 Grand Ave.

Black Writers Reunion & Conference 2012Black Writers Reunion & Conference – August 29-31, 2012, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Black Writers Reunion & Conference 2012 ensues Labor Day weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the Westin Beach Resort & Spa in conjunction with the first Write Time Black Writers Retreat. The conference, held August 29-31, offers the trademark interactive hands-on writing workshops, seminars, inspirational sessions, book sales, exhibitor expo, sponsorship opportunities, and networking events. From September 1st to 3rd, the retreat will lend inspired conference attendees and writers simply seeking a few days away from busy lives the chance to focus on their writing for extended blocks of time.

Birth Ur Book ConferenceBirth Ur Book Conference – Atlanta Technical College – October 5 to 7, 2012 at 6:00 PMFriday, October 5, 2012 at 6:00 PM to Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 11:00 PM (PDT), Atlanta Technical College, 1560 Metropolitan Pkwy SW, Atlanta, GA 30310

Get all the tools you need to bring your book to print. Meet Authors, Printers, Publishers, Editors, Graphic Artist, and more all under one roof. Learn the do’s and don’t of the publishing business from industry experts
Avoid Cost mistakes and publishing pitfalls. Meet and Develop your A-team to ensure your success. We have extended the Early Bird Special until August 18th, 2012 Midnight. Founder Troy Johnson will present a seminar entitled: “How to you use social media and other methods to sell your book online for free”.  Click Here to register.

8th Annual Cavalcade of Authors – Chicago, IL October 12th-14, 2012
The 8th Annual Cavalcade of Authors events in Chicago will begin with a Caribbean Party & Steppers Set at Room 43, author panel discussion at India House Restaurant, shopping with your favorite authors at Gurnee Mills and Prime Outlet Mall in Wisconsin, a World Ball at Grand Lux Cafe, and culminates with an Inspirational Sunday Buffet Brunch at the Marriott Courtyard Downtown Chicago. Featured national bestselling authors, Victoria Christopher Murray, Sierra Kay, Lutishia Lovely, Daniel Black, Adrianne Byrd, Karyn M. Grice, Susan D. Peters, Gloria Franklin, Renee Daniel Flagler, Shunice Hill Sullivan, C. Lynn Williams, Pheare Alexander, Sherelle Green, E. V. Adams, Martha Kennerson, Phyllis Robinson, and many more to come!! Hosted by national bestselling author Naleighna Kai, NAACP Image Award Nominee, J. L. Woodson, bestselling author Rev. Renee “Sesvalah” Cobb Dishman.

Wadsworth EstateSave the Date: Charlotte Book Festival – Saturday, October 06, 2012, 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.The new book festival will be held on the grounds of the Historic Wadsworth Estate (pictured) and the Historic Wesley Heights Community and Surrounding Neighborhoods in Charlotte, NC. Services

Edit 1st Manuscript Editing Service
Edit 1st is a full service manuscript editing company. Our editorial staff has a great deal of experience including senior level positions with major publishing houses.

Get a sense of how we can make your book better with our Manuscript Review Service.  The manuscript review a short assessment of your manuscript by one of our editors, to judge what we think it needs–such as a line-edit, an editorial letter, proofreading, copy editing, or a combination of those.   This fee is deducted from the final fee for the overall work. The review will provide a fee quote for the recommended work and proposed schedule for completion of the work.   (Read an example of a Manuscript Review)

Video Creation and Distribution
Would you like a video to promote your book or business? now offers inexpensive video creation.  With rates starting as low as $89 for a 45 second video, this service is within everyone’s budget.   We provide you with the raw video which you can add directly to your website or share via YouTube or Vimeo.   You can even take advantage of’s network with our Video Distribution Service to increase the visibility of your book trailer or commercial.

Interesting Discussion Board Conversations

Culture, Race & Economy Discussion Forum – Cynique’s Corner

What do you think about the idea of guns being banned in America?
“To nip the problem in the bud, schools should also start at the kindergarten level brainwashing youngsters about the negative ramifications of random violent acts. So many of today’s young perpetrators seem clueless about the consequences of committing murder, and how lives can be forever ruined by one impulsive act.”  What do you think?

As I See It – Reflections on Crisis in Black America
What I have to say is debatable and even negative, but it is my “truth”, the personal opinion and theories that I have formed over 60 years of observing a struggle that recycles itself decade after decade as the same laments come and go, and the same calls for reforms echo each other, and the same strategies are swallowed up in the black hole of frustration.  Read the entire essay.

Book Related News

Visit Daily to Get the Latest News in the World of Books

Hue-man Bookstore Harlem ClosesThe Iconic Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe in Harlem Closed July 31st 2012

Owner, Marva Allen announced the store’s closing on Hueman’s website:: “On July 31, 2012, Hue- Man will close its current location. We all know that there is a season for everything under heaven and the season of “traditional book” selling has come to a close.”   Marva adds while Hue-man is closing their physical store they continue to maintain an online presence and conduct “pop-up” book signings including one scheduled with Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade on September 6th 2012.

The original Hue-man, The Hue-Man Experience Bookstore, was opened in 1984 by Clara Villarosa in Denver Colorado.  At the time the Denver Hue-Man was perhaps largest African American Bookstore in the country.  Clara sold her Denver store and, with partners Rita Ewing and Celeste Johnson (wives of former New York Knicks basketball stars Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson), opened the 4,000 square foot Hue-Man Bookstore in Harlem in 2002.  Marva Allen became a full partner in 2004 and has been managing the store’s day to day operations ever since.’s Troy Johnson was honored to asked by author’s Pat Tucker and ReShonda Tate Billingsley to moderate a conversation at Hue-man this past Thursday.  This was the last book event held at the store.

Toni and BarackToni Morrison on love, loss and modernity
From The Telegraph, By Ariel Leve, Jul 17, 2012

Toni Morrison believes that divorce is good for you, that Viagra should be banned, and that reality TV shows are little more than modern-day ‘lynchings’. And when she talks, presidents listen

“People speak to me about my son – ‘I’m so sorry for you’ – but no one says, ‘I loved him so much.’ I was busy in grief, which I don’t expect to stop. Suddenly realizing that the last thing my son would want was for me to be very self-involved and narcissistic and self-stroking. It stopped me from writing. Which doesn’t mean you stop feeling the absence. It was being willing to think about it in a way that was not self-serving.” Morrison was asked about Slade’s death on Oprah Winfrey’s television show last year, and rejected the idea of getting any kind of “closure” as “some kind of insult”.

Cloud AtlasSocial Media Power a Novel
The Wall Street Journal, By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg July 29, 2012

Eight-Year-Old Cloud Atlas Climbs Amazon’s List After an Apple Trailer.  Last Monday, David Mitchell’s eight-year-old novel Cloud Atlas was ranked 2,509 on Inc.’s best seller list. On Friday, it was No. 7.  The movie version of Cloud Atlas features an all-star cast including Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon and Halle Berry. Released by Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros., it is slated to open Oct. 26. Information & Housekeeping

ABLEA.B.L.E. – The Alliance for Black Literature and Entertainment

ABLE (the Alliance for Black Literature & Entertainment) is a group of media entities dedicated to preserving and growing black literature, entertainment, art and culture while supporting our collective and our individual organizations.  Stay tuned for information about this emerging movement.

Obama Says eNewsletter Management


Where is’s founder Troy Johnson speaking next?

A luta Continua,

Troy Johnson
President,, LLC
Toll Free: 866-603-8394

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