Blog of’s Founder & Webmaster Celebrating our Literary Legacy #readingblack NewsAuthors You Should KnowBook ReviewsCelebrity InterviewseNewsletterEventsMovie Reviews eNewsletter – November 30th 2012 – Issue #196 eNewsletter Banner would like to thank all of you for being loyal readers of our eNewsletter. We are proud to have continuously published this eNewsletter for over 15 years — perhaps the longest running eNewsletter of its kind! Our eNewsletter is also available on your Kindle ebook reader and via RSS.

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Bestselling Books September/October 2012

The Reverend's Wife by Kimberla Lawson Roby

1. The Reverend’s Wife by Kimberla Lawson Roby
2. I Dreamt I Was in Heaven: The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
3. When Sunday Comes Again by Terry E. Hill
4. Payback Is A Mutha by Wahida Clark
5. The Family Business by Eric Pete, Carl Weber
6. Zane’s Z-Rated: Chocolate Flava 3 edited by Zane
7. Payback Ain’t Enough: Payback 3 by Wahida Clark

Raising Black Boys by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

1. Raising Black Boys by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu
2. Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
3. Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys Vol. 1 by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu
4. Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys Vol. 2 by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu
5. Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys Vol. 3 by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

Check out all 25 of’s Fiction and Non-fiction Bestselling Books


Authors You Should Know

news-kevin-youngKevin Young
Young was born November 8th, 1970 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Young is a poet and teacher of poetry. Young graduated from Harvard College in 1992, was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University (1992–1994), and received his Master of Fine Arts from Brown University.His 1st work of prose, The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness (Graywolf) was recently selected as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2012 by the New York Times.

news-andrea-brianAndrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney
Andrea is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of many books for children and young adults, including picture books, novels, works of historical fiction and non-fiction.Brian is the illustrator of several highly-praised picture books including The Faithful Friend, In the Time of the Drums, and Duke Ellington . He is a graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and holds a master’s degree in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

news-gary-golioGary Golio
Golio is a children’s book author who writes about subjects one might not readily assume would resonate with children. His book “JIMI: Sounds Like A Rainbow” was a New York Times bestseller.His most recent book Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey is illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez (Clarion Books), is described by reviewer Robert Fleming as a, “…warts-and-all, cautionary tale chronicling both Coltrane’s personal flaws and incomparable genius.”

new-eric-deggansEric Deggans
Eric serves as TV/Media Critic for the Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s largest newspaper. Some people call him the most critical guy in the place, because he’s served as TV critic, Pop Music Critic and Media Critic at various times. He also provides regular commentaries on TV for National Public Radio and writes about media issues for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University.Look for out an author event, hosted by, in the Tampa Bay, FL area the 2nd week of January 2013. We will feature Eric and his latest book, Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation.

new-julia-nathan-hareDr. Nathan & Dr. Julia Hare
This married duo have published numerous critically acclaimed books on the Black family and raising Black children. Haki Madhubuti, Publisher of Third World Press called their book, The Endangered Black Family: Coping With the Unisexualization and Coming Extinction of the Black Race “…one of the most important books published in the past fifteen years.”Julia Hare gained some notoriety during the 2007 State of the Black Union where she asserted, in a fiery oratory that, “We need black leaders not leading blacks!”

news-ty-allanTy Allan Jackson
Jackson is the winner of the Dr. Martin Luther King Content of Character Award and received citations by the Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, Massachusetts Senator, Benjamin Downing and the House of Representatives because of his efforts to promote literacy. His books build self esteem and confidence in today s children by representing them in a modern, positive and fun way.Ty will not stop at just writing books, his goal is to teach the power of reading to every child. He has spoken to thousand of kids about the importance of literacy and they in turn have spoken to him, in person and through social media telling him how his books have changed the way they think about reading.


Fiction Book Reviews

news-the-cutting-seasonThe Cutting Season by Attica Locke
Attica Locke’s (Black Water Rising) latest novel, The Cutting Season, takes place on a sugar cane plantation in Louisiana. Though the story is set in present day times, the memories of slavery remain alive.The Cutting Season, is a treat that successfully marries old and new. Not only will it cause readers to reflect on the long-ago atrocities of slavery but it will also cause them to imagine what it would be like to work on the very grounds the atrocities were committed and live in the shadows of the ghosts that were wronged. Definitely pick this one up.

news-black-coffeeBlack Coffee by R.L. Byrd
In Black Coffee, the sequel to R.L. Byrd’s Looking for Sweet Love, men take center stage.In this testosterone-driven novel, characters known as Dr. Houston, D.K., Quentin, Brass, Miguel, Michael, Donnell, and Pastor Lee form what becomes The Brotherhood. Before they can share the male point of view on The Love Forum radio show, they must first travel to Alaska for some male bonding and a bit of therapy. It’s during this bonding that readers come to know these men, including a radio producer and host, a man of the cloth who is not so holy, and a man with big money and an interesting past involving a mistress.


Nonfiction Book Reviews

new-rebiuld-the-dreamRebuild the Dream by Van Jones
Just because President Obama has been re-elected is no reason to presume that the concerns of the constituents who put him back in office will be addressed. After all, he garnered over 90% of the black vote before, yet failed to deliver much in the way of the promised change.Yes, the Republicans who openly admitted that their mission was to make sure his first term was a failure deserve a big share of the blame. But so do the masses of American citizens who failed to attempt to hold him accountable. That is the contention of Van Jones,…

news-darkest-americaDarkest America: Black Minstrelsy from Slavery to Hip-Hop by Yuval Taylor and Jake Austen
According to Taylor and Austen, black minstrelsy is described as “not only stereotypes and caricatures, but comic traditions, linguistics, low humor, verbal dexterity, improvisation, and numerous other elements.” The book tightens its focus when the writers discuss the importance of sitcoms like Good Times, Sanford and Son, and The Cosby Show, which went against the customary norms of the concepts of acting niggerish and provide some sense of humanity to black characters and themes.Well documented and very comprehensive, Taylor and Austen are at ease discussing the artistry and social traditions of the Zulu Krewe at the Mardi Gras carnival from the zaniness of Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston to the rich hip-hop clowns Flavor Flav and Lil Wayne. However, pay attention to the astute analysis of Tyler Perry’s commercially profitable films and plays which are an offshoot of the low brow theater vehicles from the “Chitlin Circuit” pipeline. The writers also zoom in on one of the most satirical, articulate Spike Lee films, Bamboozled, a modern take on a latter-day minstrel show.

news-the-black-church-where-women-pray-and-men-preyThe Black Church: Where Women Pray and Men Prey by Deborrah Cooper
This fearless feminist levels so many accusations against brothers it’s frightening. But she does make a persuasive case by way of a compelling mix of statistics and anecdotal evidence.She chides black females for being the most religious demographic in the country, since they’re getting little out of religion besides pie-in-the-sky promises. Meanwhile, their pastors are pressuring them to tithe 10%, even though such a directive is apparently nowhere to be found in the bible.

news-when-i-left-homeWhen I Left Home: My Story by Buddy Guy
When I Left Home, the memoir of legendary blue guitarist Buddy Guy, with support from noted writer David Ritz, traces the musician from his sharecropper roots in Lettsworth, Louisiana, in a shack with no water or light, to his first strummings on a battered guitar with two strings and his initial exposure to the blues overheard when a neighbor played the classic Lonnie Johnson’s tune, “Tomorrow Night.”Guy doesn’t spare the reader his grueling apprentice time before his skills approached professional level. It was trial-and-error as Guy taught himself to play the basic blues chords, growing better over time, until he hopped a train for the Windy City in 1957. With a rough demo cut and his Les Paul Gibson guitar, he settled into Chicago’s bustling blues scene but it was tough going at first; in fact, he called his father to send train fare back home after six months.

news-unfinished-businessUnfinished Business: Black Women, the Black Church and the Struggle to Thrive in America by Keri Day
In this age of mega-churches and prosperity theology, it is natural to wonder how many members of the black clergy even bother to minister to the needs of the least of the their brethren anymore. That question came to intrigue Professor Keri Day, Director of Black Church Studies at Brite Divinity School, after noting that Christianity is now a very different experience for sisters, depending on their social class.While many black females have been fortunate enough to make the leap to the middle and upper-classes, the bulk remain poor with less and less hope for deliverance from their plight. In her book, Unfinished Business, Dr. Day outlines a plan to return to the times when poverty was a primary concern of the Black Church.

news-nicki-minaj-book-coverNicki Minaj: The Woman Who Stole the World by Lynette Holloway
Ms. Minaj might strike the uninitiated as Lady Gaga in blackface, given her similarly-bizarre sartorial style. Furthermore, she has no problem wearing wigs of any hue, natural or man-made atop those ridiculous, revealing outfits which defy description.As far as clues about where Nicki learned to swear, look no further than her father who, she admits, “would yell and curse a lot.” And that wasn’t the worst of her dysfunctional childhood, since her dad was also a crackhead who routinely ripped-off his own relatives. Is it any surprise, then, that she’s still a little rough around the edges?



news-donna-virginiaVeteran Authors Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant have put the writing career on hold
The authors at the top-you know the names, are doing just swell. Their books sell on their names alone, they get gobbled up by Hollywood and the beat goes on. Those at the bottom are eager and willing to do whatever is asked of them, including work very hard for very little. We fall somewhere in the middle and like the rest of the “middle” the squeeze is tight-especially for black authors.When we started, there was no African American category. We wrote contemporary women’s fiction. Then they created a “Black Box” for “us” (one publisher actually did this-with a real black box) and in many ways decided what would go in that box. And as they put more and more of what they wanted in the box, the space for the kind of books we write became smaller and smaller. We’ve been asked to do things we’re not interested in or willing to do. “Can you put in more sex?” “NO!” “How about making this more ‘urban’-a little more ‘street’?” “NO!” “You could write erotica under a pseudonym…” “NO!” “You guys are so good, you could write anonymously as a white author…” “NO!”

news-readI have not read a book in three months!
The last time I walked into a book store, purchased a book (Toni Morrison’s Home), and read it from cover to cover, was this past summer. Now I’ve purchased books, in stores since, but I have not finished reading any of them.I’ve been “working” on Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns for 3 months — that is if you count “working” on it as it sitting on my nightstand for 3 months with the hope of being read someday. Wilkerson’s tome isn’t lonely, there are at least 10 other books I’m “working” on to keep it company.

news-are-bookstores-relevantAre Bookstores Relevant?
I recently conducted an on-line survey asking just one question: Are Bookstores Relevant? Over 300 hundred people answered the question. An overwhelming majority, almost 87% , said “Yes”. Despite querying a demographic that is 100% online, the vast majority felt brick and mortar bookstores are indeed relevant.


Film Reviews

news-lincoln-movie-posterLincoln – Civil War Docudrama Revisits Great Emancipator’s Team of Rivals
Based on Harvard historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s 944-page opus “Team of Rivals,” Lincoln telescopes tightly on the last five months of the Great Emancipator’s life, a period during which he was desperately devoted to both abolishing slavery and reuniting the country by ending the Civil War. The movie was directed by Steven Spielberg, and bears many of the legendary director’s trademark visual effects like blowing curtains and light flares.Abraham LincolnThe production is first rate in terms of cast, from Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role to a stellar supporting ensemble which includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, James Spader, David Strathairn, Gloria Reuben, S. Epatha Merkerson, Hal Holbrook, Tim Blake Nelson, John Hawkes, Jackie Earl Haley and Bruce McGill. Nor did Spielberg scrimp when it came to costuming or set design, which means the film feels authentic and never hits a false note plot-wise.

news-flight-moive-posterFlight – Hero Pilot Participates in Cover-Up in Special F/X-Driven Legal Thriller
Directed by Academy Award-winner Bob Zemeckis (for Forest Gump), Flight is a riveting thriller marked by spellbinding special effects and a nonpareil performance on the part of two-time Oscar-winner Denzel Washington (for Glory and Training Day). After the spectacular, stomach-churning, opening scene plane crash, the picture shifts in tone to a character-driven portrait of a self-destructive addict in denial and plagued by demons.An instant screen classic destined to be deemed among the very best of Zemeckis, alongside Gump, Back to the Future and What Lies Beneath.

news-middle-of-nowhere-movie-posterMiddle of Nowhere – Wife Weighs Absentee Hubby’s Worth in Introspective Tale of Female Empowerment
The picture was written and directed by rising star Ava DuVernay, this year’s winner at the Sundance Film Festival in the Best Director category. The story revolves around Roberta “Ruby” Murray (Emayatzy Corinealdi), a med student who’s on the brink of becoming a doctor when her husband, Derek (Omari Hardwick), is sentenced to 8 years behind bars for a drug conviction.Rather than abandon the love of her life, the loyal wife decides to drop out of med school to give her man the emotional and financial support he’ ll need while in prison. This means she’ ll have to endure long bus rides just to see him, and also have to pay his legal bills on a nurse’s salary.

news-hoodwinkedHoodwinked – Black Stereotypes Debunked in Thought-Provoking Sequel
In 2007, I named What Black Men Think the Best Documentary of the year in my annual Blacktrospective film feature. Now, Janks Morton, Jr.. is back with Hoodwinked, an equally thought-provoking sequel to his groundbreaking directorial debut.This go-round, Janks again handles emcee duties in a project ostensibly designed to debunk a host of harmful stereotypes about African-Americans. He’s helped in that endeavor by an impressive supporting cast comprised of esteemed luminaries like Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Dr. Boyce Watkins, Dr. Steve Perry, Dr. Ivory Toldson, Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, Dr. Joseph Marshall, Maniko Barthelemy and Kai Jackson.



new-yolandaYolanda Adams on “How Sweet the Sound” Competition
Ever since her late-Eighties debut, “Just as I Am,” Yolanda Adams has triumphantly carried the torch for contemporary gospel and inspirational music via a dozen glorious albums. Stunningly beautiful, exceptionally educated, filled with the spirit and blessed with one of the most powerful voices in any genre of music, this former schoolteacher is a stately beacon of God’s light.Here, she talks about her life and career, and about hosting Verizon’s “How Sweet the Sound,” the country’s most prestigious gospel music celebration and competition. Now, in its fifth year of celebrating the community and the power of gospel music.

news-soledadSoledad O’Brien on “Who is Black in America?” (Black in America 5)
Soledad O’Brien is the anchor for CNN morning show Starting Point and a special correspondent for CNN/U.S. Since joining the network in 2003, O’Brien has reported breaking news from around the globe and has produced award-winning, record-breaking and critically acclaimed documentaries on the most important stories facing the world today.A graduate of Harvard University, Soledad lives with her husband and four children in Manhattan. Here, she talks about her upcoming Black in America special “Who Is Black in America?” which is set to premiere on CNN on Sunday, December 9th.

news-naomiNaomie Harris on being the New “Bond Girl” and Daniel Craig on Skyfall
Naomie Harris was born on September 6, 1976 in London, England where she was raised as an only child by Lisselle Kayla, a single-mom and TV scriptwriter of Jamaican extraction. The accomplished young actress has already made a name for herself in film, television and theater, and just completed production on A Long Walk to Freedom, a biopic in which she portrayed Nelson Mandela’s wife Winnie.Here, she talks about her latest outing as a Bond girl opposite Daniel Craig as 007 in Skyfall.

news-toksToks Olagundoye on her role on “The Neighbors” Sitcom
Born in Lagos, Toks Olagundoye was raised not only in Nigeria but also in Switzerland and England. The exotic Nigerian-Norwegian beauty moved to the United States to attend Smith College where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts.In addition to acting, Toks enjoys writing and producing films for the web and is the founder of Unlimited Ceiling for which she’s created web series like “Callbacks” and “AlphaSeries.” In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, horseback riding, Pilates, archery and going to the gun range. Toks’ secret talent is doing all sorts of accents from around the world. Here, she talks about her life, career and work on The Neighbors.


Book Related News

news-a-gatheringThe New York Times – 100 Notable Books of 2012

On November 27th the New York Times released a list of 100 notable books for 2012. “The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.” is pleased to see Bernice McFadden’s novel Gathering of Waters (Akashic Books) included on this list. The Washington Post also named Bernice’s moving novel as one of the 50 Best Books of 2012 — Go Bernice!Described as “…reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s Beloved“. Gathering of Waters tells the story of three generations of black women who confront floods and murder in Mississippi.

news-animalK’wan’s Animal is #1 “Amazon Top Rated” Book
K’wan’s Kindle eBook novel Animal (Cash Money Content) has been in the top position for days. Rankings are based upon customer reviews and are updated daily.K’wan is the #1 Essence bestselling author of Section 8, Gutter, Still Hood, Hood Rat, Eve, Hoodlum, Street Dreams, Gangsta, Road Dawgz, and others. He has been featured in Time, New York Press, King, Big News, and on MTV.

news-cash-4-booksCash 4 Books: Sell Your Used Books Online
Cash 4 Books makes selling your used books very easy. A free iPhone ap scans your book’s barcode and tell you exactly how much they are willing to pay you. Shipping is free you print the mailing label and apply it to the box.Use bonus code “BLOGGER3” Sell a minimum of 3 books for an extra $5 bucks on your order good of all of 2012!

ghetto-heat-num1-sept-nov-2012GHETTOHEAT® Magazine Publishes 1st IssueSep 2012 – Nov 2012 #1
“GHETTOHEAT continues to work within real industry standards, and has done so since its creation on June 4th 2003. No prices have ever been reduced, no prices will ever be reduced: not even during recessions. I take great pride in producing wonderful works and quality goods, and will not devalue my company, authors, merchandise and productions, nor will I allow chaotic economic climates or unethical business practices by some within the industry, dictate operations at GHETTOHEAT®, or compromise my integrity. I love what I do and do what I love, and will continue to do so, righteously…. If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything: GHETTOHEAT® remains top shelf. GOD bless you all….” —HICKSON Also, check out a few popular book published by Ghettoheat.

new-free-ebooksAmazon’s Top 100 Free eBooks
Here you will find a list of Amazon’s top free Kindle eBooks. I can’t vouch for any of these titles.The tactic of pricing one’s ebook at $0.99 or free is controversial. Some authors argue it is a good way to get your product out and build an audience. While others believe giving one’s book away merely lowers the perceived value and hurts prospects for revenue generation in the long term.We had a long conversation on the discussion forums recently. Let us know what you think?

news-blackboowebsiteneedlovetooLooking for More Excellent Book Websites?
Here you will find a list of over 40 websites that promote books and authors of African descent. Check out the list and visit a few of the sites.If you discover a site that you really like shares the news with others — or just share them all by sharing the link to the page:



new-hurston-wrightHurston/Wright Legacy Award
On December 1, 2012 at Howard University, the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation awarded Black writers for their outstanding contribution to literature in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry during an award ceremony at Howard University.  The event was co-hosted by Terry McMillan and Lucy Hurston (Zora Neale Hurston’s niece).

The winners were; Fiction – Helen Oyeyemi’s Mr. Fox (Riverhead), Poetry – Evie Shockley’s The New Black (Wesleyan), Nonfiction – Tomiko Brown-Nagin’s Courage to Dissent (Oxford University Press).   Also, Cheryl and Wade Hudson, founders of Just Us Books received the Hurston-Wright Foundations’ Madame CJ Walker Award for Entrepreneurship.

The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award is the first national award presented to published writers of African descent by the national community of Black writers. This award consists of prizes for the highest quality writing in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry.  Submission deadlines for the 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award has extended to December 10, 2012.  Visit their site for more details.


Get Your “Mug” on

sarah-gordon-weathersbySarah Gordon Weathersby is the youngest of seven siblings, and the first to migrate back to the South after living in DC, New Jersey and New York. She is a retired Information Technology professional. She lives in Raleigh with her husband, and imaginary dog, Dusty. Sarah is the author of a memoir, Motherless Child – stories from a life, and publisher of a family saga, The Gordons of Tallahassee, written by her sister LaVerne Gordon Goodridge. Tell Them I Died is her first work of fiction. Learn how to get you “mug on too.


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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.