Blog of’s Founder & Webmaster Celebrating our Literary Legacy #readingblack

African-AmericanbookBook BlogbookseNewsletterreading May 2013 eNewsletter Book Highlights Best-selling Books – March to April 2013

This version of’s eNewsletter, which focuses on book related content is designed for Amazon Kindle subscribersFollow this link to read the complete eNewsletter.


  1. Best-selling Books - March to April 2013 The Perfect Marriage by Kimberla Lawson Roby
  2. Friends & Foes by ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray
  3. Echoes of a Distant Summer by Guy Johnson
  1. Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African-American Community by Gil L. Robertson IV (Editor)
  2. The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
  3. Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans

Check out all the Fiction and Non-fiction Best-selling titles


Authors You Should Know

Pick up any book with one of these author’s names on the cover, you will be happy that you did.

June Millicent JordanJune Millicent Jordan (July 9, 1936 – June 14, 2002)

A poet, activist, teacher, and essayist, June was born in Harlem and grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She was a prolific, passionate and influential voice for liberation. Jordan was Professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she taught for many years.June Jordan’s twenty-eight books include poetry, essays, fiction, and children’s books. Her honors include Special Recognition by the United States Congress, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Conference of Black Writers, The Prix de Rome in Environmental Design, a National Book Award finalist nomination for her novel, His Own Where, a National Association of Black Journalists Award, and a PEN-West Freedom to Write Award.

Dorothy West (1901 - 1998)Dorothy West (1901 – 1998)

West tied for second prize in a short story contest with Zora Neale Hurston. Her first novel, The Living Is Easy, about the black middle class in Boston, came out in 1948.Hurston befriended West and brought her to New York, where she was adopted by the more established writers of the Harlem Renaissance, including Richard Wright and Langston Hughes.“We didn’t know it was the Harlem Renaissance, because we were all young and all poor,” West told The Associated Press in 1995. “We had no jobs to speak of, and we had rent parties to raise rent money.”West published her second novel, The Wedding, at the age of 88, nearly 50 years after her first in 1926.

newlouiseLouise Meriwether (b. 1923)

Meriwether is a short fiction writer, essayist, novelist, writer of children’s literature, and black activist. Louise Meriwether holds an established place among literati whose writings reassess African Americans’ past. Her fiction treats bygone times to revise American history and to record African Americans’ tremendous achievements despite overwhelming odds.Her first book, Daddy Was a Number Runner, a fictional account of the economic devastation of Harlem in the Great Depression, appeared in 1970 as the first novel to emerge from the Watts Writers’ Workshop. It received favorable reviews from authors James Baldwin and Paule Marshall.


Fredrick Lemuel McKissack (August 12, 1939 - April 28, 2013)Fredrick Lemuel McKissack (August 12, 1939 – April 28, 2013)

Fredrick L. McKissack and his wife Patricia have written over one hundred books about the African-American experience. They have won countless awards and received much critical acclaim, all the while bringing enjoyment and information to young readers.Some of their most popular titles include; Let My People Go, Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery In The United States; Christmas In The Big House: Christmas in the Quarters (a 1995 Coretta Scott King Author Award winning book); and Bible Stories Told by a Freeman of Color.

 divider Recommendations

‘Friends & Foes’ by ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray‘Friends & Foes’ by ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray

It’s “A Match Made in Heaven!” when the bestselling authors of Sinners & Saints bring back their outrageous first ladies in this sassy, witty, and poignant sequel!Now that Rachel Jackson Adams’s husband has won the coveted position of president of the American Baptist Coalition, Jasmine Larson Bush has concocted a scheme to one-up her rival—by promoting her new community center on the nation’s #1 television talk show! The power play won’t stop Rachel, who jets from Houston to Chicago to sabotage Jasmine’s TV appearance. But Chicago is the last place Rachel should be when one of the Coalition’s heaviest hitters turns up dead— and Rachel looks guilty as sin. Will her nemesis leave her stranded and let her take the rap? Or will Jasmine help Rachel hunt down a killer? Could danger this deep turn the enemies into BFFs? After all, miracles do happen. . . .

Friends and Foes is both a #1 Power List Best-selling book and best-seller.

‘A Social Affair’ by Pat Tucker and Earl Sewell‘A Social Affair’ by Pat Tucker and Earl Sewell

A cautionary tale about finding love online and the trouble that comes with cheating.Bored with her humdrum married life, thirty-two-year-old Codi Norman is searching for excitement. After teaming up with her best friend, Katina, Codi discovers that the Internet offers both money and an escape from her earthly life. In cyberspace anything is possible, and that is what Codi loves most.While online, she meets a charming and handsome man named Quinn Hamilton. Sparks fly and the two begin a torrid affair with unpredictable consequences. But their virtual lives collide with reality when their spouses discover their illicit relationship.

‘Ghana Must Go’ by Taiye Selasi‘Ghana Must Go’ by Taiye Selasi

In Ghana, Kweku Sai was a famous surgeon, renowned for his life-saving skills; but when his family gathers together for his funeral, they do not bask in fond memories of his professional deeds. Instead, they grapple with the personal wreckage that he left behind. When he abandoned his wife for another woman, he lost not only her, but also all four of his children. In this first novel by London-born, American-raised novelist Taiye Selasi, a family struggles towards a partial reconciliation.

Unleashing a strong new literary voice, Selasi joins other gifted writers such as Zadie Smith and Edwidge Danticat with connections to Africa or the African diaspora. —Library Journal


‘Mom & Me & Mom’ by Maya Angelou‘Mom & Me & Mom’ by Maya Angelou

The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.

For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.

news-a-rovingtree‘The Roving Tree’ by Elsie Augustave

Elsie Augustave’s debut novel explores multiple themes: separation and loss, rootlessness, the impact of class privilege and color consciousness, and the search for cultural identity. The central character, Iris Odys, is the offspring of Hagathe, a Haitian maid, and a French-educated mulatto father, Brahami, who cares little about his child. Hagathe, who had always dreamed of a better life for her child, is presented with the perfect opportunity when Iris is five years old. Adopted by a white American couple, Iris is transported from her tiny remote Haitian village, Monn Neg, to an American suburb.

The Roving Tree illuminates how imperfectly assimilated adoptees struggle to remember their original voices and recapture their personal histories and cultural legacy. Set between two worlds—suburban America and Haiti under Papa Doc’s repressive regime—the novel offers a unique literary glimpse into the deeply entrenched class discrimination and political repression of Haiti during the Duvalier era, along with the subtle but nonetheless dangerous effects of American racism.

‘Game Over: My Love for Hip Hop’ by Winter Ramos‘Game Over: My Love for Hip Hop’ by Winter Ramos

Game Over, published by Life Changing Books in April, debuted on the NY Times Bestsellers List.In Game Over, Winter puts all of her emotions on the page leaving no experience, emotional abuse, or former lover uncovered. From her days as assistant to rapper, Fabolous and friend to Jada Kiss, to appearing on Love and Hip Hop and being Creative Costume Designer for Flavor unit Films, Winter delivers a tell-all book on her famous ex-lovers and experiences in the music industry.

As the chick that was always in the mix and cool with everyone, Winter was privy to the cray beyond the videos, private flights, and limos that the cameras caught for us. Her reality and theirs was no game. Game Over is Winter’s cautionary tale for the next generation of young women who believe that the fabulous lives of celebrities unveiled in blogs and on reality television shows are all fire! Stay tuned, because this game is about to get real.

‘A Brother’s Honor’ by Brenda Jackson‘A Brother’s Honor’ by Brenda Jackson

The Granger brothers left behind their family’s Virginia estate—and the bad memories it holds—years ago. But their dying grandfather’s request brings them home: to a failing business, a legacy of secrets and a deathbed promise to make things right.As the eldest brother, attorney Jace Granger is determined to take responsibility for Granger Aeronautics, his family’s failing business. But the years of mismanagement seem impossible to untangle.

As CEO, he hires a consultant to turn the company around. Smart, sexy Shana Bradford is the right person for the job—and the right woman to turn Jace’s world upside down.But the passion between them is jeopardized when old secrets begin to emerge. A woman from Jace’s past suddenly reappears. And an explosive discovery changes everything Jace thinks he knows about his mother—and his father, who was convicted of her murder.Jace Granger tried to leave his family history behind once before. But this time he needs to face the past…or risk losing his future.


Nonfiction Book Reviews

‘Soul Recovery: 12 Keys to Healing Addiction’ by Ester Nicholson‘Soul Recovery: 12 Keys to Healing Addiction’ by Ester Nicholson

Ester Nicholson is a gifted gospel, jazz and R&B artist who has toured the world singing backup with everyone from Rod Stewart to Bette Midler. Perhaps more importantly, she recently celebrated the quarter-century of sobriety she’s enjoyed since resolving the host of childhood traumas that had led her down a self-destructive path marked by drugs, unemployment, near homelessness, and the loss of custody of the daughter she gave birth to in her mid-teens.Hard to say whether starting a diary and chanting stuff like, “I am now ready to release all thought patterns and behaviors unlike my true nature,” would be enough to get a monkey off my back. Regardless, it did the trick for Ester, and the sister is very able to argue persuasively on behalf of her proven method.


news-frim-the-family-tree‘From the Family Tree: and Sundry Tales’ by Cassandra Foster

The profiles contained in this slim volume are personal yet universal. They tell the stories of a single family, the descendants of Freeman and Martha Foster who lived and died in Nash County North Carolina in the mid 19th century.

The stories reveal the universality of raising a family, making ends meet, raising children, making decisions both big and mundane, struggling, triumphing and so much more. Reading this book will give you hope for the future and an appreciation of your past. Author Casandra Foster has taken an important step in preserving her family’s stories. I’d encourage everyone to do the same.By the way, the author, who has a Ph.D. in computational linguistics, is my (’s Founder, Troy Johnson) 1st cousin. I’m profiled in the book too.


news-raising-the-bar‘Raising the Bar’ by Gabrielle Douglas

The talented 17 year-old role model published an autobiography last fall, and has just now released another aimed at impressionable young minds inclined to place her up on a pedestal. Entitled Raising the Bar, this coffee table book is more like a fancy, bound fanzine than her longer-winded, anecdote-driven memoir.

Besides humbly spreading around credit for her success, Gabby shares some personal info, such as her favorite books (the Twilight series), fast food (McDonald’s), clothing brands (Nike and Miss Me Jeans) and TV show (The Vampire Diaries). A kid-friendly opus which makes it easy to understand why a poised and pretty shining star never let her Olympic glory go to her head. Also, read’s interview with the Olympic champion Gabrielle Douglas.


‘Mimi's Village and How Basic Health Care Transformed It’ by Katie Smith Milway, Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes‘Mimi’s Village and How Basic Health Care Transformed It’ by Katie Smith Milway, Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

The story is set in rural Kenya where it revolves around a cute little girl with cornrows called Mimi Malaho. As the tale unfolds, we find the women of her village weeping and eating from a common bowl as they mourn the passing the previous night of a baby named Kanzi. The death concerns Mimi, since her mother is pregnant. After all, their country has a high rate of infant mortality as a result of combination of poor sanitation, malnutrition, contaminated drinking water, disease-carrying mosquitoes, a need for vaccinations and more.

The narrative proceeds to delineate each of the aforementioned dangers before discussing some simple solutions, such as inoculations, sleeping under netting and boiling water.




Held during, but not affiliated with, Book Expo America (BEA), the Black Pack Party is an annual celebration of book industry professionals, authors, and friends which is hosted by, Linda A. Duggins,, and Written Magazine. Click here to RSVP.

This year’s celebration, our 7th, will be held at Harlem’s iconic restaurant, Londel’s Supper Club, this Thursday, May 30th 2013, from 7 to 9 PM. Check out images from previous Black Pack Parties on Pinterest #bpp2013

Other Events To Check Out if You are in New York City for BEA


Highlights from the U.S. Book Consumer Annual ReviewHighlights from the U.S. Book Consumer Annual Review

  • Amazon is the country’s largest bookseller; not matter how you measure it sales (26%), units or book buyers
  • Online retailers accounted for 39% of consumer book spending
  • Independent Bookstores’ share of the book market rose 1%
  • Bookclubs shared dropped to 2% from 13% in 2009 (ex. Black Expressions, Book-of-the-Month Club)
  • B&N was the 2nd largest bookseller with a 16% share

logo-transOn a related note, Publishers Weekly (PW), uses Nielsen BookScan’s figures for their bestseller’s list. Not only does PW rank book sales they also share units sold. Units sold provides valuable insight into the publishing industry. Check out PW today.


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Troy Johnson


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.