Category Archives: Discussion

March 1, 2017 Newsletter — Book Award Announcements, New Books, and More

New Book March 2017New Books Coming Out March 2017

Helene Cooper tells the amazing of story Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of the Liberian women’s movement and the first democratically elected female president in African history in Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Early Sunday Morning, a picture book for young children, is the first book from Denene Millner Books, the new children’s line in partnership with Agate’s Bolden. Millner is also a parenting authority, editor, and a New York Times bestselling author.

A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is Adichie’s letter of response.

New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe takes you on the ultimate twist-filled ride with the next installment of her her Lonely Heart, Deadly Heart series, Never Trust a Stranger.

Adrian Matejka, author of The Big Smoke, a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, is back with a new collection of poetry, Map to the Stars.

Learn about these and other excellent new books coming out this month and in the coming months.


Coretta Scott King Award Winning Books AnnouncedCoretta Scott King Award Winning Books

CSK Award MedalOn January 31 the American Library Association announced the 2017 Coretta Scott King award-winning books. These awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.

All of the Coretta Scott King Award-winning books, since the award’s inception, may be found on AALBC.com.


2017 NAACP Image Awards Winning BooksNAACP 2017 Image Award Winning Books

NAACP Image Award TrophyOn February 11, 2017 the winners of the 48th NAACP Image Awards were announced. The awards show aired live on TV One. The winners of the book categories were announced during the non-televised awards dinner.

The big winner of the night was Trevor Noah whose book, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, won in two categories, Biography/Autobiography and Debut Author. I was particularly happy to learn AALBC.com friend, supporter, and bestselling author, Bernice L. McFadden won the fiction category for her novel The Book of Harlan.


…But Only 16 Black Writers Have Won Pulitzer Prizes for BooksPulitzer Prize Winning Books

The Pulitzer Prize has honored excellence in journalism and the arts since 1917, but only 16 Black authors have won the award. Literary giants including Baldwin, Hughes, and Wright were never honored. I reviewed the list over the past 100 years the award has been bestowed in the book-related categories (Fiction, Drama, History, Biography or Autobiography, Poetry, General Nonfiction, and Novel).

August Wilson was honored the most, winning twice and being a finalist three times. As far as I can tell, no Black writer has won the General Non-Fiction category. Ta-Nehesi Coates was the first writer nominated and that category.

I hope I’m wrong and that someone discovers that I missed a few names. Even if it the list of Black winners were doubled, we’d see how very important if is for us to recognize and celebrate Black talent and to celebrate the institutions who do.


Recently Reviewed Books

Life is a canvasLife Is A Canvas by Joy Elan

Lifeis a Canvas is a contemporary novel about finding love and self and how the choices we make early in life, particularly in our twenties, sets us on a path, positively or negatively, for the rest of our life.

Allegra Johnson is a go-getter. She graduated from college in three years, and got her master’s degree in one. At 23 she has secured a $75,000 grant to start a company, Mane Attraction. I didn’t understand this play on the word “Mane/Main” since the business doesn’t have anything to do with hair. It is a cafe in the early hours, then a lounge with live music during the evening where artists can perform spoken word or rap. Allegra wants to give “the youth a platform to perform and share their talents.” Elan is also a spoken word poet, and it is clear that this is an area she is passionate about. Read the complete review.


The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own edited by Veronica Chambers

Barack Obama made history by becoming the first African American President of the United States. Of almost equal significance was Michelle Obama’s becoming the first black First Lady.
Just as her husband undoubtedly inspired a generation of marginalized youngsters to believe that they could achieve anything they set their minds to, Michelle was a transformative figure in her own way, including the way she helped the world appreciate black beauty. Because of the high visibility of her position, almost single-handedly, she managed to successfully challenge the culture’s narrow definition of beauty based on European features (more).


Book Events, Fairs, Festivals, and Conferences

The Annual Harlem Literary Bunch
Videos from Harlem Literary Bruch

Dawn Davis and Sandra L. Richards

Dawn Davis and Sandra L. Richards

The brunch was co-hosted by Dawn Davis VP and Publisher of 37 Ink (an imprint of Simon and Schuster) and Morgan Stanley Managing Director and author Sandra L. Richards.

Check out videos of the readings and pictures from the event featuring Erica Armstrong Dunbar author of Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge; Tiffany Dufu, author of Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less; supermodel Pat Cleveland, author of Walking with the Muses: A Memoir, and Sandra L. Richards reading from her children’s book Rice & Rocks.


The African Americans On The Move Book Club Literary Awards — June 9-11, 2017 — Atlanta, GA

AAMBC AwardsThe annual AAMBC Literary Awards was launched in 2009 in San Antonio, Texas by Tamika Newhouse. Smaller ceremonies were then hosted in the years following in Chicago as well as in Baltimore in conjunction with other literary events. In 2015 the first inaugural red carpet ceremony took place in Atlanta, GA marking the beginning of the black writer’s weekend.

AALBC.com Founder’s, Troy Johnson, was nominated as “Literary Activist of the Year,” and will be at the awards ceremony to celebrate with all the other honorees and readers of Black literature.


One of My Favorite Bookstores – Underground BooksMother Pearl at Unerground Book bookstore

Since the closing of the only library in Oak Park in the 1970’s, it became the mission of St. HOPE founder, Kevin Johnson (former Sacramento Mayor and NBA player), to ensure that the students and the community had access to books. Underground Books hosts book signings by local and national authors, lectures, poetry events, children’s story time, radio shows and much more!

Managed and operated by the effervescent Georgia “Mother Rose” West (pictured above). The bookstore is a wonderful space and an asset to not just the local Oak Park community, but to the national Black book scene as well.


How an Ex-Black Panther Waged a Successful, Four-Decade Revolution In Publishing Without Planning To

W. Paul Coates

Upon leaving a restructured Panther party to focus more energy on assisting local comrades still incarcerated, [Paul] Coates helped forge the George Jackson Prison Movement in 1972 as a means of connecting inmates with a supportive and functional network on the outside.“What I envisioned through this movement was working with brothers who were incarcerated, bringing them out and having them work in our first program, which was to be a bookstore,” Coates says, describing it as a way for them to “contribute to our community some of the goodness that got shaped while organizing with the comrades in jail.” The idea was to then build a progressive publishing house and, subsequently, a printing house that would all work together in a symbiotic relationship with the bookstore, providing knowledge, employment, revenue and a supportive exchange between those in and out of the jail. “This is where Black Classic Press was founded,” says Coates, explaining the vision, largely inspired by the prison-based educations of Malcolm X and George Jackson, and by a literary call from Madhubuti stressing the need for Black publishing. “It didn’t have a name yet, but it was founded inside the George Jackson Prison Movement.” Read the entire article by D. Amari Jackson at the Atlanta Black Star.


AALBC.com Discussion Forums—Join The Conversation!

Discussion ForumElsewhere, this Pop Culture Vulture is motivated to put on her Milo hat because she is sick of BEYONCE who, thanks to the slavish devotion of her social media “Beehive”, thinks that having a big belly full of twins has not only obligated her to parade around and show off her bloated abdomen, but has also elevated her to the realm of Earth Mother – a goddess to be held in awe and worshiped by all who look upon her! Her appearance at the Grammys, looking like a latter-day Cleopatra with a stomach tumor, was a yawner. She needs to go somewhere and sit down and hope Jay-Z’s genes aren’t stronger than hers. I’m also sick of seeing a frolicking Obama’s grinning face plastered all over the internet, as he has embarked on an extended vacation, immersing himself in a lifestyle where the troubles of the world will never again intrude upon his carefree existence. He may be better off as result of his presidency but I’m not so sure about the rest of the black people who put him in office.


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Troy JohnsonDear Reader,

I missed sending a newsletter in February. That short month just got away from me. I will send another newsletter the last week of March to make up.

Today I decided to stop using social media indefinitely. There are several reasons for my decision. Perhaps the most important one, as it relates to AALBC.com, is that engagement on social media comes at the expense of AALBC.com—the relationship benefits the social media platform more than it benefits our website. While this decision may appear abrupt, it was carefully considered and support by years of analysis.

I know my decision is not for everyone, but as someone who runs an independent, mission-driven, website that is also their livelihood. I don’t really have much of a choice. You don’t maintain a website for 20 years by making easy decisions or following popular, often fleeting, trends.

My leaving social media does not mean you should stop sharing links to AALBC.com’s site on the social media platforms you enjoy—by all means please continue sharing information about AALBC.com everywhere.

AALBC.com will continue to thrive not because of some social media platform Troy, but because of your support.

Peace & Love,
Signature
Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


You may receive messages like this directly in your email box by subscribing. It may also be read on your Kindle ebook reader, or any device by downloading a PDF version. Enjoy all of our previous eNewsletters and consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.
AALBC.com eNewsletter – March 2, 2017 – Issue #242

New Books February 2017, Book Reviews, Events, and More

february 2017 New Books

New Books Coming Out February 2017

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
A timely and powerful story about a teen girl striving for success in a world that too often feels like it wants to break her.

Lust: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray
A novel inspired by the seven deadly sins about a woman caught between an entertainment mogul with a shady past and his childhood friend who is out for revenge.

High Cotton: A Novel by Darryl Pinckney
This novel evokes a world that has not often been examined – the world of upper-middle-class blacks, obsessed with light skin and good hair.

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander
The Playbook is intended to provide inspiration on the court of life. Each rule contains wisdom from inspiring athletes and role models such as Nelson Mandela, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Carli Lloyd, Steph Curry and Michelle Obama.

The Lazarus Poems by Kamau Brathwaite
Central to the book is a series of poems outlining the speaker’s (the poet s) experiences with what he calls Cultural Lynching. The speaker’s pain and outrage are almost overwhelming. Filled with longing, rage, nostalgia, impotence, wisdom, and love, this book is moving in every sense of the word.

Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani
“In this racially charged dance of power, the railroad into the interior of the country becomes a journey into the hearts of men and women. It is a dance of love and hate and mixed motives that drive human actions and alter the course of history. Kimani’s writing has the clarity of analytic prose and the lyrical tenderness of poetry.”—Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Learn about these and many more excellent books coming out in February and the coming months.


Recently Reviewed Books

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric DysonTears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

While his previous works were aimed at a Black audience, this is his first intended to be read by whites. It is also written in a unique literary style, namely, as a sermon designed to keep Caucasians standing on their feet like an inspired congregation of holy rollers.

If I were Dyson, I wouldn’t hold my breath for a positive reception from his intended audience, given the ascension of Donald Trump and the celebration of rednecks in the runaway best seller, Hillbilly Elegy. He might be better off redirecting his sermon to the African-American community and changing his incendiary opus’ subtitle to “Preaching to the Choir!” (St. Martin’s Press, Jan17, 2017)


The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era by Elizabeth Dowling TaylorThe Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor

Elizabeth Dowling Taylor’s new book, The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era is an important contribution to ensuring American history during the hundred-year period between the Emancipation Proclamation and the beginning of the Civil Rights era is told. The Original Black Elite communicates this history from the perspective of the life of Daniel Murray and his contemporaries in the Washington DC elite. His life and those in his circle demonstrated that Black success was not dependent upon white largess, and was only hindered when whites actively worked to stop it.. (Amistad, Jan 31, 2017)


width=Finding Heaven in the Dark by William L. Ingram

Ingram is a natural storyteller. Finding Heaven in the Dark is well written, heartfelt and readable. However, his path to self, through religion and meditation using this particular practice and teachings, is immensely personal. His belief system won’t be for everyone and at times it bordered on proselytizing, however his search for self, self-love and self-acceptance is universal. Ultimately, Ingram is asking big questions—questions we’ve all contemplated at one point or another—about existence, about faith, about how our choices make us, for better or worse, who we are. What he learns is that it is not what happens to us, but how we handle it, that really shows our strength of character. How he comes to this discovery isn’t really the point, it’s that he comes to it it all. That he finds redemption, faith, and self-acceptance in a life filled with such hardship, gives hope to all of us. And that is really the point. (Dog Ear Publishing, Jul 22, 2016)


A Blast from the Past: “The Book Beat” Radio Program

Lee MeadowsIn the late 1990’s Lee Meadows hosted a weekly radio program on WPON in Detroit called “The Book Beat”. Meadows’s program included interviews of our favorite African American Authors—some of them at the beginning of their careers.

AALBC.com has archived many of this programs including interviews with J. California Cooper, Eric Jerome Dickey, Tananarive Due, Lolita Files, Linda Dominique Grosvenor, Omar Tyree, and others for your enjoyment. You can even listen to an interview with me (AALBC.com’s founder and webmaster) which was conducted less than a year after this site’s launch. Visit the “Book Beat” to listen to these wonderful interviews.


AALBC.com Discussion Forums—Join The Conversation!

African-American Literature Discussion

Where is the highest concentration of Black-owned bookstores in the United States?
Three Black writers have won the Nobel Prize for Literature; do you know who they are?
What are 8 things writers need to do to get published and not exploited\

Culture, Race & Economy Discussion

Why Obama’s statement, “The country is better off” Rings Hollow
I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!
The Best Definition of White Supremacy Ever


jeff at the fairTampa Bay Black Heritage Festival – Author Village

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the 17th Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival. The highlight for me was the Author Village, where I had to opportunity to meet several authors and even a couple of clients.

Some of the participating authors included Jeff Carroll, Holly Mosley Cooper, Darrin DeWitt Henson, William L. Ingram, Pamala McCoy, Ersula Knox Odom, Stephanie Outten, Paul C. Thornton, and Cathy Finch White. Learn more about these authors and thousands of others on AALBC.com.

Never miss another terrific event, visit our Events Calendar.


Pamala McCoyPamala McCoy Interviewed by Beauty Talk Illustrated Magazine

Managing BONA5D full-time gives Pamala the opportunity to help individuals navigate their financial woes through a struggling economy to reach a place of freedom. She has a special interest to work with women and support women issues, particularly financial education. She believes teaching them the important tools necessary to mastering their finances will subsequently build confidence and lead women to a place of financial independence.


Get Your Book on AALBC.com’s Homepage Until March 21st!

Winter SpecialYour book will appear on our Homepage and our Book’s Main Page for the entire winter until midnight March 21, 2017). Buy it now; this special deal ends January 31.

All Winter Special advertisers will get a 25% discount on the Spring Special. The winter and spring are the busiest seasons of the year on AALBC.com.

Also, if you purchase your Large Book Cover Advertisement we’ll give you a free Author Profile—permanent placement on AALBC.com—as an added bonus!

AALBC.com is the oldest, largest, and most frequently visited website dedicated to books written by, or about, people of African descent. There is no other website that reaches readers of Black literature more effectively.


Dear Reader,

AALBC.com 19th YearAALBC.com continues to grow and improve because of your ongoing support. If you value our content, here are four simple things should do to support AALBC.com;

1. Do not use an ad blocker to block AALBC.com’s ads.
Advertisements are AALBC.com’s primary source of revenue. Our ads, which are usually books, are nonintrusive and are actually a great way to discover an excellent read.

2. Share our content.
It is our responsibility to ensure our that we relate our stories and history and are that they are shared and known widely.

3. Buy your books through AALBC.com.
If you use Amazon to buy anything, bookmark this link http://aalbc.it/supportaalbc and generate commissions for AALBC.com. Book sales count toward our bestsellers list. If a link to buy a book directly from the publisher is presented, please consider using that link instead.

4. Pay for your subscription to our newsletter.
Subscribe to our eNewsletter today. It is less than an $1 a month

Thanks for reading and supporting Black books.

Peace & Love,

troy signature 1

Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


You may receive messages like this directly in your email box by subscribing. It may also be read on your Kindle ebook reader, or any device by downloading a PDF version. Enjoy all of our previous eNewsletters and consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

AALBC.com eNewsletter – January 25, 2017 – Issue #241

Blackstar