Reading List for The Nubian Circle Book Club
July 23, 2016 — Selection
by Kalisha Buckhanon
St. Martin’s Press (May 03, 2016)
List Price: $25.99 Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 304
Solemn Redvine is a precocious Mississippi girl who senses a nearby baby may be her half-sibling: the outcome of her father’s mistakes with a married woman who lives in their trailer park. After Solemn witnesses a man throw the baby down a community well, she struggles to understand the event, leaving her forever changed.
As Solemn finds refuge in fantasies of stardom as well as friendships with her brother’s wife and a nearby girl, the ill-fated baby’s doomed mother disappears without a trace. Solemn remains trapped by connections to the missing other woman and an honest cop who suspects more to the story than others on the small local police force want to see. When her father’s next mistake - a robbery - lands Solemn in a group home for troubled girls, she meets a Chicago delinquent who wants to escape. There, Solemn must face the truth of who she really is and what she is really made of.
July 9, 2016 — Selection
I Will Find You: A Reporter Investigates the Life of the Man Who Raped Her
by Joanna Conners
Atlantic Monthly Press (Apr 05, 2016)
List Price: $25.00 Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 272
“This is it. My rape. I knew it was coming. Every woman knows. And now here it is. My turn.”
When Joanna Connors was thirty years old on assignment for the Cleveland Plain Dealer to review a play at a college theater, she was held at knife point and raped by a stranger who had grown up five miles away from her. Once her assailant was caught and sentenced, Joanna never spoke of the trauma again, until 21 years later when her daughter was about to go to college. She resolved then to tell her children about her own rape so they could learn and protect themselves, and she began to realize that the man who assaulted her was one of the formative people in her life.
Setting out to uncover the story of her attacker, Connors embarked on a journey to find out who he was, where he came from, who his friends were and what his life was like. What she discovers stretches beyond one violent man’s story and back into her own, interweaving a narrative about strength and survival with one about rape culture and violence in America.
I Will Find You is a brave, timely consideration of race, class, education and the families that shape who we become, by a reporter and a survivor.
June 25, 2016 — Selection
The Book of Harlan
by Bernice L. McFadden
Akashic Books (May 03, 2016)
List Price: $32.95 Format: Paperback
Page Count: 400
“The Book of Harlan was inspired by the life of my paternal grandfather; Harold Isaac McFadden (pictured on the cover)
I never personally knew the man and neither did my father. All I had to recreate his life were a birth certificate, census schedules, a few newspaper articles and my imagination.
In many ways, this book is the culmination of twenty years of family history research. A few weeks after I sent the manuscript to my publisher, I went down to a little town in Burke County, Georgia to meet (for the first time) my third cousins - direct descendants of my GGGrandmother, Louisa White Robinson.”
During World War II, two African American musicians are captured by the Nazis in Paris and imprisoned at the Buchenwald concentration camp.
The Book of Harlan opens with the courtship of Harlan’s parents and his 1917 birth in Macon, Georgia. After his prominent minister grandfather dies, Harlan and his parents move to Harlem, where he becomes a musician. Soon, Harlan and his best friend, trumpeter Lizard Robbins, are lured across the Atlantic Ocean to perform at a popular cabaret in the Parisian enclave of Montmartre—affectionately referred to as “The Harlem of Paris” by black American musicians.
When the City of Light falls under Nazi occupation, Harlan and Lizard are thrown into Buchenwald, the notorious concentration camp in Weimar, Germany. The experience irreparably changes the course of Harlan”s life.
Based on exhaustive research and told in McFadden’s mesmeric prose, The Book of Harlan skillfully blends the stories of McFadden’s familial ancestors with those of real and imagined characters.
June 11, 2016 — Selection
Second House from the Corner
by Sadeqa Johnson
Thomas Dunne Books (Feb 09, 2016)
List Price: $25.99 Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 320
Second House from the Corner centers on the story of Felicia Lyons, a stay-at-home mother of three drowning in the drudgeries of play dates, lost pacifiers and potty training who occasionally wonders what it would be like to escape the demands of motherhood. But when an unexpected phone call threatens to destroy her life, Felicia is forced to return to her childhood home where she must wrestle with an ex-lover and long buried secrets to save the family and home she loves despite the daily challenges.
Felicia Lyons is a character who mothers can identify with and laugh along with. You can't help but cheer for her in Johnson's engaging and well-written novel.
May 21, 2016 — Selection
Lazaretto: A Novel
by Diane McKinney-Whetstone
Harper (Apr 12, 2016)
List Price: $26.99 Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 352
Diane McKinney-Whetstone’s nationally bestselling novel, Tumbling, immersed us into Philadelphia’s black community during the Civil Rights era, and she returns to the city in this new historical novel about a cast of nineteenth-century characters whose colorful lives intersect at the legendary Lazaretto—America’s first quarantine hospital.Isolated on an island where two rivers meet, the Lazaretto quarantine hospital is the first stop for immigrants who wish to begin new lives in Philadelphia. The Lazaretto’s black live-in staff forge a strong social community, and when one of them receives permission to get married on the island the mood is one of celebration, particularly since the white staff—save the opium-addicted doctor—are given leave for the weekend. On the eve of the ceremony, a gunshot rings out across the river. A white man has fired at a boat carrying the couple’s friends and family to the island, and the captain is injured. His life lies in the hands of Sylvia, the Lazaretto’s head nurse, who is shocked to realize she knows the patient.Intertwined with the drama unfolding at the Lazaretto are the fates of orphan brothers. When one brother commits a crime to protect the other, he imperils both of their lives—and the consequences ultimately deliver both of them to the Lazaretto.In this masterful work of historical fiction, Diane McKinney-Whetstone seamlessly transports us to Philadelphia in the aftermath of the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination, beautifully evoking powerful stories of love, friendship and humanity amid the vibrant black community that flourished amid the troubled times.
May 14, 2016 — Selection
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person
by Shonda Rhimes
Simon & Schuster (Nov 10, 2015)
List Price: $24.99 Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 336
In this poignant, hilarious, and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder reveals how saying YES changed her life—and how it can change yours too.
She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. Her iconic characters—Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating—live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes, the mega talent who owns Thursday night television (#TGIT), is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she hugged walls at splashy parties and suffered panic attacks before media interviews so severe she remembered nothing afterward?
Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept. With three children at home and three hit television shows on TV, it was easy to say that she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. Afraid of cocktail party faux pas like chucking a chicken bone across a room; petrified of live television appearances where Shonda Rhimes could trip and fall and bleed out right there in front of a live studio audience; terrified of the difficult conversations that came so easily to her characters on-screen. In the before, Shonda’s introvert life revolved around burying herself in work, snuggling her children, and comforting herself with food.
And then, on Thanksgiving 2013, Shonda’s sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything.
The comment sat like a grenade, until it detonated. Then Shonda, the youngest of six children from a supremely competitive family, knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.
This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood creating imaginary friends to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her (like Cristina Yang, whose ultimate goal wasn’t marriage, and Cyrus Beene, who is a Republican and gay). And it chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and giving the Dartmouth Commencement speech; when she learned to say yes to her health, yes to play and she stepped out of the shadows and into the sun; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.
This wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes, an unexpected introvert, achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. And how you can, too.
April 30, 2016 — Selection
The Book of Memory: A Novel
by Petina Gappah
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Feb 02, 2016)
List Price: $26.00 Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 288
The story that you have asked me to tell you does not begin with the pitiful ugliness of Lloyd’s death. It begins on a long-ago day in August when the sun seared my blistered face and I was nine years old and my father and mother sold me to a strange man.Memory, the narrator of Petina Gappah’s The Book of Memory, is an albino woman languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, after being sentenced for murder. As part of her appeal, her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it. The death penalty is a mandatory sentence for murder, and Memory is, both literally and metaphorically, writing for her life. As her story unfolds, Memory reveals that she has been tried and convicted for the murder of Lloyd Hendricks, her adopted father. But who was Lloyd Hendricks? Why does Memory feel no remorse for his death? And did everything happen exactly as she remembers?Moving between the townships of the poor and the suburbs of the rich, and between past and present, the 2009 Guardian First Book Award winning writer Petina Gappah weaves a compelling tale of love, obsession, the relentlessness of fate, and the treachery of memory.
April 4, 2016 — Selection
The Crossing (Bosch)
by Michael Connelly
Little, Brown and Company (Nov 03, 2015)
List Price: $28.00 Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 400
Harry Bosch crosses the line to team up with Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller in the new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly.
Detective Harry Bosch has retired from the LAPD, but his half-brother, defense attorney Mickey Haller, needs his help. A woman has been brutally murdered in her bed and all evidence points to Haller’s client, a former gang member turned family man. Though the murder rap seems ironclad, Mickey is sure it’s a setup.
Bosch doesn’t want anything to do with crossing the aisle to work for the defense. He feels it will undo all the good he’s done in his thirty years as a homicide cop. But Mickey promises to let the chips fall where they may. If Harry proves that his client did it, under the rules of discovery, they are obliged to turn over the evidence to the prosecution.
Though it goes against all his instincts, Bosch reluctantly takes the case. The prosecution’s file just has too many holes and he has to find out for himself: if Haller’s client didn’t do it, then who did? With the secret help of his former LAPD partner Lucy Soto, Harry starts digging. Soon his investigation leads him inside the police department, where he realizes that the killer he’s been tracking has also been tracking him.
Thrilling, fast-paced, and impossible to put down, The Crossing shows without a shadow of doubt that Connelly is "a master of building suspense" (Wall Street Journal).
March 2016 — Selection
by J.D. Mason, ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Bernice L. McFadden
Gallery Books (Oct 13, 2015)
List Price: $15.00 Format: Paperback
Page Count: 288
Three national bestselling authors join talents in a multi-dimensional novel that illustrates the importance of love, family, and forgiveness.
After a lifetime of womanizing, making babies, and then disappearing and taking no responsibility for his actions, Amos Davis has finally reached an impasse—literally crashing his car down a one-way street. It may be the only road to redemption for the aging musician, now afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, for it has brought together the three daughters he abandoned. But when it comes to their deadbeat dad, their hearts may already be sealed…
Cass, the child of Amos’s mistress, has had enough heartache, from losing her mother to the tragic end of her marriage. Amos was never there for her—why should this talented cake maker be sweet to him now?
Toya, always the “other woman” in her affairs with married men, was deeply scarred by Amos’s public denial of her existence years ago. Will seeing him again send her further down a troubled path?
A gifted writer, Tomiko channels her pain into her stories of the father she never knew. In her imagined world, she is safe—but will she ever risk her heart on real love?
A powerful interplay of memory and reality, this emotionally taut novel weaves the voices of three authors to deliver an unforgettable tale of one man’s struggle to make peace with his failures, his family and the destinies of those who must forgive to move forward with their own lives and dreams.
February 2016 — Selection
The Moor’s Account
by Laila Lalami
Vintage Books (Aug 18, 2015)
List Price: $15.95 Format: Paperback
Page Count: 336
**PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST**
**NOMINATED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE**
**WINNER OF THE AMERICAN BOOK AWARD**
A New York Times Notable Book
A Wall Street Journal Top 10 Book of the Year
An NPR Great Read of 2014
A Kirkus Best Fiction Book of the Year
In these pages, Laila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America: Mustafa al-Zamori, called Estebanico. The slave of a Spanish conquistador, Estebanico sails for the Americas with his master, Dorantes, as part of a danger-laden expedition to Florida. Within a year, Estebanico is one of only four crew members to survive.
As he journeys across America with his Spanish companions, the Old World roles of slave and master fall away, and Estebanico remakes himself as an equal, a healer, and a remarkable storyteller. His tale illuminates the ways in which our narratives can transmigrate into history—and how storytelling can offer a chance at redemption and survival.