eNewsletter Highlights – January 31st 2013 – Issue #198


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AALBC.com’s Bestselling Books Lists

We’ve just published three new bestselling books lists.

  1. Our bimonthly bestselling books for Nov/Dec 2012
  2. Our 25 Bestselling Books for all of 2012
  3. Our 20 Bestselling eBooks for all of 2012

This most interesting thing about books sales in 2012 is that 2 eBooks were sold for every 1 physical book — eBooks were %69 of all book sales in 2012.  In 2011 in was just a small percentage

Authors You Should Know

Gwendolyn Brooks (Jun. 7, 1917 to Dec. 3, 2000)

Brooks taught at many institutions and succeeded Carl Sandburg as poet laureate of Illinois (1968). Her verse narrative Annie Allen (1949) won the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to an African-American woman (1950). She was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1985 to 1986.

Be sure you check out the video of an interview with Gwendolyn Brooks and poet E. Ethelbert Miller in 1986 it is a pleasure to watch.

Nonfiction Book Reviews

Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life of Motown’s First Superstar

One of the most captivating personalities on the Motown roster during its glory days, singer Mary Wells was a force of nature: complex, independent, and resourceful. With this new book about Wells, Pater Benjaminson (Chicago Review Press, November 1, 2012), journalist and author of The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard, wants to do a good job of telling the Detroit native’s turbulent story from start to finish. It’s an impressive work, with interviews from family, friends, husbands, and lovers giving the readers the juicy parts.

Looking back, Mary regretted departing Motown and Gordy confessed he slighted the singer. Mary’s favorite drug was heroin. It bankrupted her just when he would get a leg up in the business. Never a healthy person, she pushed herself past her limits, touring almost nonstop. When Mary died in 1982 at 49 of throat cancer, her funeral was well-attended with many celebrities and her four children.

Film Reviews

The Pirogue

Directed by Moussa Toure, the fact-based drama revolves around 30 Senegalese peasants, 29 men and 1 woman (Mame Astou Diallo), who make a break for Spain by sea in search of a better life. Because of their country’s bad economy, even the fishing industry is dying, which means some ship owners have turned to using their vessels to smuggle needy refugees to Europe.

The story was inspired by the over 30,000 souls who attempted the transoceanic voyage between 2005 and 2010, and it is dedicated to the 5,000 of them that perished in the financial freedom flotillas. The captain of the Pirogue at the center of the adventure is Baye Laye (Souleymane Seye Ndiaye), a married man who requests that his wife be paid his fee of a million Francs before his departure on the dangerous journey.

AALBC.com Recommends

Spook Literary Magazine

“Spook is a biannual literary magazine conceived by minority writers and artists, a sort of literary arts mixtape (think The Paris Review meets Wax Poetics, or better yet: a Lucille Clifton verse set to a Madlib beat).

Issue One features rhapsodies from Patrice Evans (Negropedia), Justin Torres (We The Animals), Rembert Browne (Grantland.com), Tavia Nyong’o (The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory), Warsan Shire (Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth) and Kyla Marshell (Cave Canem Fellow), among others. Spook is the essence, the pulse—it is a brilliant dissonance of ideas and art that contain no bound, an ever-evolving dialog between past and present. ”


Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. A teacher in astronomy and astrophysics at Princeton, the author of ten books, and a frequent guest on late night TV.

Sandra Kitt, the author of nearly 40 published novels worked for many years with Dr. Tyson as the Managing Director of the research library in astronomy and astrophysics at the Hayden. Sandra was able to get the notoriously busy Dr. Tyson to agree to a sit-down conversation where he weighed in, with humor, on writing, the Mars Mission, intellectual curiosity, Isaac Asimov, and Higgs Boson (The God Particle).


Visit the AALBC.com Homepage to Learn More About Book Events, Including;

  • 21st Annual African American Children’s Book Fair, Feb 9, Philadelphia, PA
  • Queens Spring Book Fair, April 20, Jamaica, NY
  • 1st Annual Bronx Literary Festival, May 18, Bronx, NY
  • 3rd Baltimore Urban Book Festival, July 14, Baltimore, MD
  • The 15th Harlem Book Fair, July 19, Harlem, NY
  • National Book Club Conference, Aug 2-4, Atlanta, GA
  • National Black Book Festival, Oct 24-26, Houston, TX

You may easily share information about your events (anywhere in the world), by posting the information on our discussion board.


AALBC.com Announcements

Get Your “Mug” on AALBC.com

Poet, Maurice McFadden author of Strength Like Yours: Poems Got his “mug” on AALBC.com

With words that edify, entertain, and provoke thought, Strength Like Yours gives its reader a personal eye view into the life and times of a modern-day black man with sensibilities that are solid, traditional, innovative, urban, culturally and spiritually conscious, and always real.

Learn how to get you “mug” on AALBC.com too.

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Note: Starting in January 2013 only highlights from the AALBC.com eNewsletter will be published on our Blog.  The foll content of the eNewsletter will of course be mailed directly to subscribers and will continue to be available in our archives.


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