1286 Books Published by Penguin Random House on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch: A Novel

by A.J. Verdelle
Spiegel & Grau (Feb 06, 2999)
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A literary epic, many years in the making: The panoramic, breathtaking story of two runaway slaves who forge the western frontier, by the author of the acclaimed ("Truly extraordinary." — Toni Morrison) and award-winning novel The Good Negress.

Eloquent, inventive, heartbreaking, riveting, this is the second novel by the acclaimed writer A.J. Verdelle, a long- awaited follow-up to her prize-winning debut The Good Negress. MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH tells the story of two slaves who escape their Arkansas plantation and cross the country on foot to live free on the lawless plains of the western frontier. Harriet is the "garden gal" on the Scott’s plantation—an industrious, skilled midwife who has the gift of making things grow. P. is a hostler who is loaned out for his labors and given unusual privileges by his master. P. dreams of escape but needs a partner and sets his sights on Harriet. When Harriet’s young daughter is sold off to another plantation, she becomes despondent—and reckless enough to run. Together the two overcome myriad obstacles that stand between them and the inchoate notion of freedom—illiteracy, harsh weather, violence, and the ever-present threat of capture—and set up a homestead outside of the crossroads that would become Cheyenne. Verdelle has brought to life on a broad canvas and in exquisite detail the industry of slavery in mid-nineteenth century America, the terror and majesty of the Western frontier, and the haunting and captivating interior life of the slave.


Click for more detail about The Nickel Boys: A Novel by Colson Whitehead The Nickel Boys: A Novel

by Colson Whitehead
Doubleday (Jul 30, 2019)
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In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called The Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men."

In reality, The Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors, where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr. King’s ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked and the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.

The tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys’ fates will be determined by what they endured at The Nickel Academy.

Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.


Click for more detail about The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes The King of Kindergarten

by Derrick Barnes
Nancy Paulsen Books (Jul 02, 2019)
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A confident little boy takes pride in his first day of kindergarten, by the Newbery Honor-winning author of Crown.

The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets.It sits and shines behind your head—like a crown. Mommy says that today, you are going to be the King of Kindergarten!

Starting kindergarten is a big milestone—and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He’s dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can’t wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he’s up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can’t wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements—and then wake up to start another day.
     Newbery Honor-winning author Derrick Barnes’s empowering story will give new kindergarteners a reassuring confidence boost, and Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s illustrations exude joy.


Dancing Queen #4 (Jada Jones)

by Kelly Starling Lyons
Penguin Workshop (Jun 25, 2019)
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Jada Jones is back for the fourth book of this popular, celebrated series perfect for STEM fans!

"Readers who love Ivy and Bean or Katie Woo will want to meet Jada Jones." —School Library Journal

When the student council decides to host a dance as their next fundraiser, Jada feels nervous and queasy. She can’t dance! Still, she’s determined to contribute to the cause. She practices her moves, gets help from friends, and even does research at the library to prepare—but will it be enough?

Praise for Jada Jones: Rock Star
"Fast-paced, with supersimple vocabulary and a smattering of earth science to spark interest in young rock collectors everywhere." —Kirkus Reviews


Click for more detail about Jake the Fake Stands Up by Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach Jake the Fake Stands Up

by Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach
Crown Books for Young Readers (Mar 26, 2019)
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For fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate comes the second book in the side-splitting series about a class clown faking his way to comedy stardom from comedian and film star Craig Robinson, #1 New York Times bestselling author Adam Mansbach, and NAACP History Maker recipient and cartoonist Keith Knight.

No one is more surprised than Jake when he impresses at the Music & Art Academy talent show with a few off-the-cuff wisecracks. This class clown finally found his callingand he isn’t ready to step away from the lime light, yet.

But Jake’s new ego is no laughing matter. When he starts blowing off his friends to pursue "his art," his big head becomes a big bummer.

Plus, it turns out being the funny man actually is hard work. Luckily, Jake has mentor Maury Kovalski, the Mr. Miyagi of comedybut more unhinged, to show him the ropes. But this old-timer will need to teach Jake a thing or two about humorand humilitybefore Jake loses all his biggest fans and best friends!

Featuring more than 200 illustrations, Jake the Fake stuns again with greater gags and guffaws than before!


Click for more detail about The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations

by Toni Morrison
Knopf (Feb 12, 2019)
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The most celebrated and revered writer of our time now gives us a new nonfiction collection—a rich gathering of her essays, speeches, and meditations on society, culture, and art, spanning four decades.

The Source of Self-Regard is brimming with all the elegance of mind and style, the literary prowess and moral compass that are Toni Morrison’s inimitable hallmark. It is divided into three parts: the first is introduced by a powerful prayer for the dead of 9/11; the second by a searching meditation on Martin Luther King, Jr., and the last by a heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. In the writings and speeches included here, Morrison takes on contested social issues: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, "black matter(s)," and human rights. She looks at enduring matters of culture: the role of the artist in society, goodness in the literary imagination, the Afro-American presence in American literature, and in her Nobel lecture, the power of language itself. And here too is piercing commentary on her own work (including The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Beloved, and Paradise) and that of others, among them, painter and collagist Romare Bearden, author Toni Cade Bambara, and theatre director Peter Sellars. In all, The Source of Self-Regard is a luminous and essential addition to Toni Morrison’s oeuvre.


Ralph Ellison: A Life in Letters

by Ralph Ellison
Random House (Jan 22, 2019)
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An autobiography through the previously unpublished letters of the renowned author of Invisible Man, with insights into the riddle of American identity, the writer’s craft, and his own life and work.

Over six decades (1933 to 1993), Ralph Ellison’s extensive and revealing correspondence remarkably details his aspirations and anxieties, confidence and uncertainties throughout his personal and professional life. From early notes to his mother, as an impoverished college student; to debates with the most distinguished American writers and thinkers of his time, including Romare Bearden, Saul Bellow, Robert Penn Warren, Richard Wright, and Alfred Kazin, among others; to exchanges with friends and family from his hometown of Oklahoma City, whose influence would always be paramount, these letters communicate the immense importance of Ellison’s life and work. They show his metamorphosis from an impressionable youth into a cultured man of the world, from an aspiring composer into a distinguished novelist, and ultimately into a man who confronted America’s many complexities through his words.


Click for more detail about Sleepover Scientist #3 by Kelly Starling Lyons Sleepover Scientist #3

by Kelly Starling Lyons
Penguin Workshop (Jan 08, 2019)
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Jada Jones is back for the third book of this popular, celebrated series perfect for STEM fans!

Jada is hosting her first sleepover, and she has lots of cool scientific activities planned: kitchen chemistry, creating invisible ink, and even making slime! But when her friends get tired of the lessons and just want to hang out, can Jada figure out the formula for fun and save the sleepover?

Praise for Jada Jones: Rock Star
"Fast-paced, with supersimple vocabulary and a smattering of earth science to spark interest in young rock collectors everywhere."—Kirkus Reviews

"Readers who love "Ivy and Bean" or "Katie Woo" will want to meet Jada Jones."—School Library Journal


Click for more detail about Becoming by Michelle Obama Becoming

by Michelle Obama
Crown (Nov 13, 2018)
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An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States


In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role--she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it--in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations--and whose story inspires us to do the same.


Click for more detail about Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves

by Glory Edim
Ballantine Books (Oct 30, 2018)
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An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.

Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging remains with readers the rest of their lives—but it doesn’t happen as frequently for all of us. In this timely anthology, "well-read black girl" Glory Edim brings together original essays by some of our best black female writers and creative voices to shine a light on how important it is that everyone—regardless of gender, race, religion, or abilities—can find herself in literature.

Contributors include Jesmyn Ward (Sing Unburied Sing), Lynn Nottage (Sweat), Jacqueline Woodson (Another Brooklyn), Gabourey Sidibe (This Is Just My Face), Morgan Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing), Tayari Jones (An American Marriage), Rebecca Walker (Black, White and Jewish), Barbara Smith (Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology), and others.

Whether it’s learning about the complexities of femalehood from Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison, finding a new type of love in The Color Purple, or using mythology to craft an alternative black future, each essay reminds us why we turn to books in times of both struggle and relaxation. As she has done with her book-club-turned-online-community Well-Read Black Girl, Edim has created a space where black women’s writing and knowledge and life experiences are lifted up, to be shared with all readers who value the power of a story to help us understand the world, and ourselves.


Click for more detail about Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott Dragons in a Bag

by Zetta Elliott
Random House Books for Young Readers (Oct 23, 2018)
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The dragon’s out of the bag in this diverse, young urban fantasy from an award-winning author!

When Jaxon is sent to spend the day with a mean old lady his mother calls Ma, he finds out she’s not his grandmother—but she is a witch! She needs his help delivering baby dragons to a magical world where they’ll be safe. There are two rules when it comes to the dragons: don’t let them out of the bag, and don’t feed them anything sweet. Before he knows it, Jax and his friends Vikram and Kavita have broken both rules! Will Jax get the baby dragons delivered safe and sound? Or will they be lost in Brooklyn forever?


Click for more detail about Tigerland: The Miracle on East Broad Street by Wil Haygood Tigerland: The Miracle on East Broad Street

by Wil Haygood
Knopf (Oct 16, 2018)
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From the author of the best-selling The Butler—an emotional, inspiring story of two teams from a poor, black, segregated high school in Ohio, who, in the midst of the racial turbulence of 1968/1969, win the Ohio state baseball and basketball championships in the same year.

1968 and 1969: Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy are assassinated. Race relations are frayed like never before. Cities are aflame as demonstrations and riots proliferate. But in Columbus, Ohio, the Tigers of segregated East High School win the baseball and basketball championships, defeating bigger, richer, whiter teams across the state. Now, Wil Haygood gives us a spirited and stirring account of this improbable triumph and takes us deep into the personal lives of these local heroes: Robert Wright, power forward, whose father was a murderer; Kenny Mizelle, the Tigers’ second baseman, who grew up under the false impression that his father had died; Eddie "Rat" Ratleff, the star of both teams, who would play for the 1972 U.S. Olympic basketball team. We meet Jack Gibbs, the first black principal at East High; Bob Hart, the white basketball coach, determined to fight against the injustices he saw inflicting his team; the hometown fans who followed the Tigers to stadiums across the state. And, just as important, Haygood puts the Tigers’ story in the context of the racially charged late 1960s. The result is both an inspiring sports story and a singularly illuminating social history.


Click for more detail about No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas by Tonya Bolden No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas

by Tonya Bolden
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Oct 16, 2018)
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Discover the incredible true story of how one of history’s most successful potato farmers began life as a slave and worked until he was named the "Potato King of the World"!

Junius G. Groves came from humble beginnings in the Bluegrass State. Born in Kentucky into slavery, freedom came when he was still a young man and he intended to make a name for himself. Along with thousands of other African Americans who migrated from the South, Junius walked west and stopped in Kansas. Working for a pittance on a small potato farm was no reason to feel sorry for himself, especially when he’s made foreman. But Junius did dream of owning his own farm, so he did the next best thing. He rented the land and worked hard! As he built his empire, he also built a family, and he built them both on tons and tons and tons of potatoes. He never quit working hard, even as the naysayers doubted him, and soon he was declared Potato King of the World and had five hundred acres and a castle to call his own.

From award winning author Tonya Bolden and talented illustrator Don Tate comes a tale of perseverance that reminds us no matter where you begin, as long as you work hard, your creation can never be called small potatoes.


Click for more detail about Odd One Out by Nic Stone Odd One Out

by Nic Stone
Crown Books for Young Readers (Oct 09, 2018)
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin comes this illuminating exploration of old friendships, new crushes, and the path to self-discovery. Told in three voices, Nic Stone’s new book is sure to please fans of Becky Albertalli, Nicola Yoon, and Jason Reynolds.

Courtney "Coop" Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn’t mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl.

Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed "new girl" would be synonymous with "pariah," but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I’m right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .

One story.
Three sides.
No easy answers.


Click for more detail about For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics by Donna L. Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, and Veronica Chambers For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics

by Donna L. Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, and Veronica Chambers
Crown (Oct 02, 2018)
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The four most powerful African American women in politics share the story of their friendship and how it has changed politics in America.The lives of black women in American politics are remarkably absent from the shelves of bookstores and libraries. For Colored Girls Who Have Consider Politics is a sweeping view of American history from the vantage points of four women who have lived and worked behind the scenes in politics for over thirty years?Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, and Minyon Moore?a group of women who call themselves The Colored Girls. Like many people who have spent their careers in public service, they view their lives in four-year waves where presidential campaigns and elections have been common threads. For most of the Colored Girls, their story starts with Jesse Jackson’s first campaign for president. From there, they went on to work on the presidential campaigns of Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Over the years, they’ve filled many roles: in the corporate world, on campaigns, in unions, in churches, in their own businesses and in the White House. Through all of this, they’ve worked with those who have shaped our country’s history?US Presidents such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, well-known political figures such as Terry McAuliffe and Howard Dean, and legendary activists and historical figures such as Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, and Betty Shabazz. For Colored Girls Who Consider Politics is filled with personal stories that bring to life heroic figures we all know and introduce us to some of those who’ve worked behind the scenes but are still hidden. Whatever their perch, the Colored Girls are always focused on the larger goal of “hurrying history” so that every American ? regardless of race, gender or religious background ? can have a seat at the table. This is their story.


Click for more detail about Take Your Octopus to School Day by Audrey Vernick Take Your Octopus to School Day

by Audrey Vernick
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Sep 25, 2018)
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A hilarious classroom story about an octopus and his boy, from the author of Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?

When it comes to show-and-tell, Sam is in it to win it. But no matter how hard he tries, one of his classmates is always showing him up with a slightly better costume or a slightly cooler object to share. His teacher says it’s not a competition, but just once Sam would like to be the best—which is why he’s so excited when Take Your Octopus to School Day is announced. Sam is pretty sure he’s the only kid with a real live pet octopus to bring, and Thurgood, his eight-tentacled best friend, is excited too. Together, they prepare Thurgood’s travel tank and get ready for a school day like no other. . . . What could possibly go wrong?
     Sprinkled with sly humor and scientific facts about the class Cephalopoda, readers who loved Flora and the Flamingo or Sparky! will want to get their tentacles on Take Your Octopus to School Day.


Click for more detail about On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope by DeRay Mckesson On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope

by DeRay Mckesson
Viking (Sep 04, 2018)
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"On the Other Side of Freedom reveals the mind and motivations of a young man who has risen to the fore of millennial activism through study, discipline, and conviction. His belief in a world that can be made better, one act at a time, powers his narratives and opens up a view on the costs, consequences, and rewards of leading a movement."—Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

From the internationally recognized civil rights activist/organizer and host of the podcast Pod Save the People, a meditation on resistance, justice, and freedom, and an intimate portrait of a movement from the front lines.

In August of 2014, twenty-nine-year-old activist DeRay Mckesson stood with hundreds of others on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to push a message of justice and accountability. These protests, and others like them in cities across the country, resulted in the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, in his first book, Mckesson lays out the intellectual, pragmatic political framework for a new liberation movement. Continuing a conversation about activism, resistance, and justice that embraces our nation’s complex history, he dissects how deliberate oppression persists, how racial injustice strips our lives of promise, and how technology has added a new dimension to mass action and social change. He argues that our best efforts to combat injustice have been stunted by the belief that racism’s wounds are history, and suggests that intellectual purity has curtailed optimistic realism. The book offers a new framework and language for understanding the nature of oppression. With it, we can begin charting a course to dismantle the obvious and subtle structures that limit freedom.

Honest, courageous, and imaginative, On the Other Side of Freedom is a work brimming with hope. Drawing from his own experiences as an activist, organizer, educator, and public official, Mckesson exhorts all Americans to work to dismantle the legacy of racism and to imagine the best of what is possible. Honoring the voices of a new generation of activists, On the Other Side of Freedom is a visionary’s call to take responsibility for imagining, and then building, the world we want to live in.


Click for more detail about The Dream of America by Jacqueline Woodson The Dream of America

by Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books (Aug 28, 2018)
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Jacqueline Woodson’s first middle-grade novel since National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming celebrates the healing that can occur when a disparate group of students are forced to open up with one another.

When six middle school classmates are gathered together for a weekly chat, they fear this new unfamiliar and wonder what their teacher thinks they are supposed to get out of the experience. After all, they don’t imagine they have much in common. But recently one of their fathers has disappeared and this has cast a pall over the class. Their teacher knows that there is something special about this tiny group—and is determined to help them see it by doing what any thoughtful adult would do—taking herself out of the narrative. In an abandoned art room with no adults, the six get to know one another and realize that in this room, which they soon dub "A Room To Talk," it’s safe to discuss the things that are bothering them—all that they feel is unfair in the world, the trouble with adults and so much more. And so they do. From racial profiling to deportation to a deep longing for family history and a long ago homeland, when the six of them are together, they find they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.


Click for more detail about The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson The Day You Begin

by Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books (Aug 28, 2018)
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Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.

There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

(This book is also available in Spanish, as El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres!)


Click for more detail about Fresh Ink: An Anthology by Lamar Giles Fresh Ink: An Anthology

by Lamar Giles
Crown Books for Young Readers (Aug 14, 2018)
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In partnership with We Need Diverse Books, thirteen of the most recognizable, diverse authors come together in this remarkable YA anthology featuring ten short stories, a graphic short story, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print.

Careful—you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written—whose next chapters are up to you.

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play. This collection will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink.


Click for more detail about How to Love a Jamaican: Stories by Alexia Arthurs How to Love a Jamaican: Stories

by Alexia Arthurs
Ballantine Books (Jul 24, 2018)
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“In these kaleidoscopic stories of Jamaica and its diaspora we hear many voices at once: some cultivated, some simple, some wickedly funny, some deeply melancholic. All of them shine.”—Zadie Smith

Tenderness and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal, ambition and regret—Alexia Arthurs navigates these tensions to extraordinary effect in her debut collection about Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Sweeping from close-knit island communities to the streets of New York City and midwestern university towns, these eleven stories form a portrait of a nation, a people, and a way of life.

In “Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands,” an NYU student befriends a fellow Jamaican whose privileged West Coast upbringing has blinded her to the hard realities of race. In “Mash Up Love,” a twin’s chance sighting of his estranged brother—the prodigal son of the family—stirs up unresolved feelings of resentment. In “Bad Behavior,” a couple leave their wild teenage daughter with her grandmother in Jamaica, hoping the old ways will straighten her out. In “Mermaid River,” a Jamaican teenage boy is reunited with his mother in New York after eight years apart. In “The Ghost of Jia Yi,” a recently murdered student haunts a despairing Jamaican athlete recruited to an Iowa college. And in “Shirley from a Small Place,” a world-famous pop star retreats to her mother’s big new house in Jamaica, which still holds the power to restore something vital.

Alexia Arthurs emerges in this vibrant, lyrical, intimate collection as one of fiction’s most dynamic and essential young authors.

Advance praise for How to Love a Jamaican

“I am utterly taken with these gorgeous, tender, heartbreaking stories. Alexia Arthurs is a witty, perceptive, and generous writer, and this is a book that will last.”—Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties

“Alexia Arthurs is a voice so many of us have been waiting for—funny, achingly specific, and wonderfully universal. She explores what it means to belong, what it means to recognize yourself in the most unexpected places, and what humans do with the pain of longing.”—Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman

“What a thrill to recognize myself and the women I love in Alexia Arthurs’s stunning debut story collection. This fantastic young writer conjures the fierce wit of Jamaica Kincaid and the deft storytelling of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.”—Naomi Jackson, author of The Star Side of Bird Hill


Click for more detail about Minecraft: The Crash: An Official Minecraft Novel by Tracey Baptiste Minecraft: The Crash: An Official Minecraft Novel

by Tracey Baptiste
Del Ray (Jul 10, 2018)
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The brand-new official Minecraft novel is an action-packed thriller! When a new virtual-reality version of the game brings her dreams—and doubts—to life, one player must face her fears.

Bianca has never been good at following the plan. She’s more of an act-now, deal-with-the-consequences-later kind of person. But consequences can’t be put off forever, as Bianca learns when she and her best friend, Lonnie, are in a terrible car crash.

Waking up in the hospital, almost paralyzed by her injuries, Bianca is faced with questions she’s not equipped to answer. She chooses instead to try a new virtual-reality version of Minecraft that responds to her every wish, giving her control over a world at the very moment she thought she’d lost it. As she explores this new realm, she encounters a mute, glitching avatar she believes to be Lonnie. Bianca teams up with Esme and Anton, two kids who are also playing on the hospital server, to save her friend.

But the road to recovery isn’t without its own dangers. The kids are swarmed by mobs seemingly generated by their fears and insecurities, and now Bianca must deal with the uncertainties that have been plaguing her: Is Lonnie really in the game? And can Bianca help him return to reality?

Collect all of the official Minecraft books:
Minecraft: The Island
Minecraft: The Crash
Minecraft: The Survivors’ Book of Secrets
Minecraft: Exploded Builds: Medieval Fortress
Minecraft: Guide to Exploration
Minecraft: Guide to Creative
Minecraft: Guide to the Nether & the End
Minecraft: Guide to Redstone
Minecraft: Mobestiary
Minecraft: Guide to Enchantments & Potions
Minecraft: Guide to PVP Minigames


Click for more detail about American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin Poets) by Terrance Hayes American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin Poets)

by Terrance Hayes
Penguin Books (Jun 19, 2018)
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A powerful, timely, dazzling collection of sonnets from one of America’s most acclaimed poets, Terrance Hayes, the National Book Award winning author of Lighthead

In seventy poems bearing the same title, Terrance Hayes explores the meanings of American, of assassin, and of love in the sonnet form. Written during the first two hundred days of the Trump presidency, these poems are haunted by the country’s past and future eras and errors, its dreams and nightmares. Inventive, compassionate, hilarious, melancholy, and bewildered—the wonders of this new collection are irreducible and stunning.


Click for more detail about Sisters and Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Howard Bryant Sisters and Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams

by Howard Bryant
Philomel Books (May 29, 2018)
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An inspiring picture book sports biography about two of the greatest female tennis players of all-time, outsiders who just happen to be sisters.

Everyone knows the names Venus & Serena Williams. They’ve become synonymous with championships, hard work, and with shaking up the tennis world. This picture book, by an award-winning sports journalist, details the sisters’ journey from a barely-there tennis court in Compton, CA, to becoming the #1 ranked women in the sport of tennis.


Click for more detail about Brown: Poems by Kevin Young Brown: Poems

by Kevin Young
Knopf (Apr 17, 2018)
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James Brown. John Brown’s raid. Brown v. the Topeka Board of Ed. The prize-winning author of Blue Laws meditates on all things "brown" in this powerful new collection.

Divided into "Home Recordings" and "Field Recordings," Brown speaks to the way personal experience is shaped by culture, while culture is forever affected by the personal, recalling a black Kansas boyhood to comment on our times. From "History"—a song of Kansas high-school fixture Mr. W., who gave his students "the Sixties / minus Malcolm X, or Watts, / barely a march on Washington"—to "Money Road," a sobering pilgrimage to the site of Emmett Till’s lynching, the poems engage place and the past and their intertwined power. These thirty-two taut poems and poetic sequences, including an oratorio based on Mississippi "barkeep, activist, waiter" Booker Wright that was performed at Carnegie Hall and the vibrant sonnet cycle "De La Soul Is Dead," about the days when hip-hop was growing up ("we were black then, not yet / African American"), remind us that blackness and brownness tell an ongoing story. A testament to Young’s own—and our collective—experience, Brown offers beautiful, sustained harmonies from a poet whose wisdom deepens with time.


Click for more detail about Bad Men and Wicked Women by Eric Jerome Dickey Bad Men and Wicked Women

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Dutton (Apr 17, 2018)
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Affairs of the heart can be lethal in New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey’s latest sensual, thrilling novel.

As a low-level enforcer in Los Angeles, Ken Swift knows danger, but nowhere does he feel it more than in his tangled romances. Divorced from one woman, in love with another, and wrestling with a strong desire to get to know a third, his life is far from perfect, and it becomes all the more complicated when his troubled daughter resurfaces on the same day as a major job. Margaux is pregnant, bitter, and desperate: she needs $50,000 immediately, and she isn’t above blackmailing Ken to get it. Yet even as the tension-filled father/daughter reunion escalates into a clashing of wills and desires that spread far beyond their family, Ken’s latest contract spirals quickly out of control, and he finds it is not only his daughter looking to seek revenge.

With the strong characters, heart-pounding action, and intense passion he is known for, New York Times bestseller Eric Jerome Dickey lays bare a tale of lust and angst that will leave readers breathless.


Click for more detail about Islandborn by Junot Diaz Islandborn

by Junot Diaz
Dial Books for Young Readers (Mar 13, 2018)
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From AALBC.com bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz comes a debut picture book about the magic of memory and the infinite power of the imagination.

Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else.
Hers was a school of faraway places.

An illustration from Islandborn by Leo Espinosa written by Junot Diaz

So when Lola's teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can't remember The Island—she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories—joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening—Lola's imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island. As she draws closer to the heart of her family's story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela's words: “Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you.”

Gloriously illustrated and lyrically written, Islandborn is a celebration of creativity, diversity, and our imagination's boundless ability to connect us—to our families, to our past and to ourselves.


Click for more detail about If You Come Softly: Twentieth Anniversary Edition by Jacqueline Woodson If You Come Softly: Twentieth Anniversary Edition

by Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books (Mar 06, 2018)
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A lyrical story of star-crossed love perfect for readers of The Hate U Give, by National Ambassador for Children’s Literature Jacqueline Woodson—now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, and including a new preface by the author

Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he’s in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he’s going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don’t exactly fit in there. So it’s a surprise when he meets Ellie the first week of school. In one frozen moment their eyes lock, and after that they know they fit together—even though she’s Jewish and he’s black. Their worlds are so different, but to them that’s not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world has to get in their way.
 
Jacqueline Woodson’s work has been called “moving and resonant” (Wall Street Journal) and “gorgeous” (Vanity Fair). If You Come Softly is a powerful story of interracial love that leaves readers wondering "why" and "if only . . ."


Click for more detail about The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk The Beauty That Remains

by Ashley Woodfolk
Delacorte Press (Mar 06, 2018)
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Told from three diverse points of view, this story of life and love after loss is one Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, calls a "stunning, heart-wrenching look at grief that will stay with you long after you put it down."

We’ve lost everything…and found ourselves.

Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death might pull them apart.

Autumn always knew exactly who she was: a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan has always turned to writing love songs when his real love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan is a guy who can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger who’s struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Despite the odds, one band’s music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.

Praise for The Beauty That Remains:

A Junior Library Guild Selection

"The self- and life-defining nature of grief and loss captured so well by authors such as John Green is explored here with humor, intelligence, and grace." —SLJ, starred review

"An ambitious debut from a writer to watch."—Kirkus

"[The] protagonists are fully realized, empathetic individuals…and the resolutions of their emotional crises are lucid and deeply satisfying, as, ultimately, is this fine first novel."—Booklist

"This books hurts so good. With three distinct narrators and lyrical prose, Ashley Woodfolk stakes her claim as a fresh new voice to follow in the world of young adult literature."—Julie Murphy, author of Ramona Blue and Dumplin’

"Woodfolk’s debut cuts deeply and then wipes your tears away. Wrenching, heartfelt, and vividly human."—Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

"Haunting, heart-wrenching, and powerful…a tearjerker must-read for teens!"—Dhonielle Clayton, author of the Belles series and coauthor of the Tiny Pretty Things series

"Burns warm and bright with the fires of loss, love, and longing and hums with poetry and song. This is the sort of book that pieces a broken heart back together, stronger than before."—Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King


Click for more detail about Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes Between the Lines

by Nikki Grimes
Nancy Paulsen Books (Feb 13, 2018)
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This thought-provoking companion to Nikki Grimes’ Coretta Scott King Award-winning Bronx Masquerade shows the capacity poetry has to express ideas and feelings, and connect us with ourselves and others.
 
Darrian dreams of writing for the New York Times. To hone his skills and learn more about the power of words, he enrolls in Mr. Ward’s class, known for its open-mic poetry readings and boys vs. girls poetry slam. Everyone in class has something important to say, and in sharing their poetry, they learn that they all face challenges and have a story to tell—whether it’s about health problems, aging out of foster care, being bullied for religious beliefs, or having to take on too much responsibility because of an addicted parent. As Darrian and his classmates get to know one another through poetry, they bond over the shared experiences and truth that emerge from their writing, despite their private struggles and outward differences.


Click for more detail about Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith Feel Free: Essays

by Zadie Smith
Penguin Press (Feb 06, 2018)
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From Zadie Smith, one of the most beloved authors of her generation, a new collection of essays

Since she burst spectacularly into view with her debut novel almost two decades ago, Zadie Smith has established herself not just as one of the world’s preeminent fiction writers, but also a brilliant and singular essayist. She contributes regularly to The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books on a range of subjects, and each piece of hers is a literary event in its own right.

Arranged into five sections—In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free—this new collection poses questions we immediately recognize. What is The Social Network—and Facebook itself—really about? "It’s a cruel portrait of us: 500 million sentient people entrapped in the recent careless thoughts of a Harvard sophomore." Why do we love libraries? "Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay." What will we tell our granddaughters about our collective failure to address global warming? "So I might say to her, look: the thing you have to appreciate is that we’d just been through a century of relativism and deconstruction, in which we were informed that most of our fondest-held principles were either uncertain or simple wishful thinking, and in many areas of our lives we had already been asked to accept that nothing is essential and everything changes—and this had taken the fight out of us somewhat."

Gathering in one place for the first time previously unpublished work, as well as already classic essays, such as, "Joy," and, "Find Your Beach," Feel Free offers a survey of important recent events in culture and politics, as well as Smith’s own life. Equally at home in the world of good books and bad politics, Brooklyn-born rappers and the work of Swiss novelists, she is by turns wry, heartfelt, indignant, and incisive—and never any less than perfect company. This is literary journalism at its zenith.


Click for more detail about Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay Amiable with Big Teeth

by Claude McKay
Penguin Classics (Feb 06, 2018)
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A monumental literary event: the newly discovered final novel by seminal Harlem Renaissance writer Claude McKay, a rich and multilayered portrayal of life in 1930s Harlem and a historical protest for black freedom
 
The unexpected discovery in 2009 of a completed manuscript of Claude McKay’s final novel was celebrated as one of the most significant literary events in recent years. Building on the already extraordinary legacy of McKay’s life and work, this colorful, dramatic novel centers on the efforts by Harlem intelligentsia to organize support for the liberation of fascist-controlled Ethiopia, a crucial but largely forgotten event in American history. At once a penetrating satire of political machinations in Depression-era Harlem and a far-reaching story of global intrigue and romance, Amiable with Big Teeth plunges into the concerns, anxieties, hopes, and dreams of African-Americans at a moment of crisis for the soul of Harlem—and America.
 
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


Click for more detail about Grandma’s Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton Grandma’s Purse

by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Jan 09, 2018)
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Spend the day with Mimi and her granddaughter in this charming picture book about the magic found in Mimi’s favorite accessory, perfect for readers who love How to Babysit a Grandma!

When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, she always brings warm hugs, sweet treats…and her purse. You never know what she’ll have in there—fancy jewelry, tokens from around the world, or something special just for her granddaughter. It might look like a normal bag from the outside, but Mimi and her granddaughter know that it’s pure magic!

In this adorable, energetic ode to visits from grandma, beloved picture book creator Vanessa Brantley Newton shows how an ordinary day can become extraordinary.

"Brantley-Newton creates a whimsical interplay of patterns, rich color, and her trademark lively expressions—a beautiful visual mélange. The magic of grandparents is undeniable, and this book is an excellent treat for grandkids to share with their own grandmas and grandpas, or the other way around."—Kirkus


Click for more detail about Love by Matt De La Peña Love

by Matt De La Peña
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Jan 09, 2018)
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"[A] poetic reckoning of the importance of love in a child’s life . . . eloquent and moving."—People

"Everything that can be called love — from shared joy to comfort in the darkness — is gathered in the pages of this reassuring, refreshingly honest picture book."—The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice / Staff Picks From the Book Review

“Lyrical and sensitive, ‘Love’ is the sort of book likely to leave readers of all ages a little tremulous, and brimming with feeling.”—The Wall Street Journal

From Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long comes a story about the strongest bond there is and the diverse and powerful ways it connects us all.

"In the beginning there is light
and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed
and the sound of their voices is love.

A cab driver plays love softly on his radio
while you bounce in back with the bumps of the city
and everything smells new, and it smells like life."

In this heartfelt celebration of love, Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.


Click for more detail about The Middle Passage: White Ships / Black Cargo by Tom Feelings The Middle Passage: White Ships / Black Cargo

by Tom Feelings
Dial Books for Young Readers (Jan 02, 2018)
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Alex Haley’s Roots awakened many Americans to the cruelty of slavery. The Middle Passage focuses attention on the torturous journey which brought slaves from Africa to the Americas, allowing readers to bear witness to the sufferings of an entire people.


Click for more detail about Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Basketball by Howard Bryant Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Basketball

by Howard Bryant
Puffin Books (Dec 26, 2017)
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From Magic Johnson to Michael Jordan to LeBron James to Steph Curry, ESPN’s Howard Bryant presents the best from the hardwood—a collection of NBA champions and superstars for young sports fans! 

Fast-paced, adrenaline-filled, and brimming with out-of-this-world athleticism, basketball has won the hearts of fans all across America—yet it is particularly popular among kids and teens. Giants of the game like Steph Curry, LeBron, and Michael Jordan have transcended the sport to become cultural icons and role models to young fans. From the cornfields of Indiana and the hills of North Carolina, to the urban sprawl of New York City, Chicago and L.A., love of the game stretches from coast to coast.

Featuring Top Ten Lists to chew on and debate, and a Top 40-style Timeline of Key Moments in Basektball History, this comprehensive collection includes the greatest dynasties, from the Bill Russell-era Celtics, to the Magic Jonson-led Lakers, to the Jordan-led Bulls, right up to the Tim Duncan-led Spurs. All the greats take flight toward the hoop in this perfect book for young fans who dream about stepping on an NBA court.

"A trove of awesome athletic feats, game-changing stars of the past and present, and rich fodder for heated arguments."—Booklist

"Hoops fans will find a goldmine of information guaranteed to deepen their basketball knowledge and their understanding of the game."—VOYA 

"An easy hook for serious sports fans."—School Library Journal


Click for more detail about Higher Is Waiting by Tyler Perry Higher Is Waiting

by Tyler Perry
Spiegel & Grau (Nov 14, 2017)
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An intimate book of inspiration by one of the great cultural icons of our time
 
Higher Is Waiting is a spiritual guidebook, a collection of teachings culled from the experiences of a lifetime, meant to inspire readers to climb higher in their own lives and pull themselves up to a better, more fulfilling place. In this intimate book, Tyler Perry writes of how his faith has sustained him in hard times, centered him in good times, and enriched his life.
 
Beginning with his earliest memories of growing up a shy boy in New Orleans, Perry recalls the moments of grace and beauty in a childhood marked by brutality, deprivation, and fear. With tenderness he sketches portraits of the people who sustained him and taught him indelible lessons about integrity, trust in God, and the power of forgiveness: his aunt Mae, who cared for her grandfather, who was born a slave, and sewed quilts that told a story of generations; Mr. Butler, a blind man of remarkable dignity and elegance, who sold penny candies on a street corner; and his beloved mother, Maxine, who endured abuse, financial hardship, and the daily injustices of growing up in the Jim Crow South yet whose fierce love for her son burned bright and never dimmed. Perry writes of how he nurtured his dreams and discovered solace in nature, and of his resolute determination to reach ever higher.
 
Perry vividly and movingly describes his growing awareness of God’s presence in his life, how he learned to tune in to His voice, to persevere through hard times, and to choose faith over fear. Here he is: the devoted son, the loving father, the steadfast friend, the naturalist, the philanthropist, the creative spirit—a man whose life lessons and insights into scripture are a gift offered with generosity, humility, and love.


Click for more detail about 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro

by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Pantheon Books (Oct 24, 2017)
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The first edition of Joel Augustus Rogers’s now legendary 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro with Complete Proof, published in 1957, was billed as “A Negro ‘Believe It or Not.’” Rogers’s little book was priceless because he was delivering enlightenment and pride, steeped in historical research, to a people too long starved on the lie that they were worth nothing. For African Americans of the Jim Crow era, Rogers’s was their first black history teacher. But Rogers was not always shy about embellishing the “facts” and minimizing ambiguity; neither was he above shock journalism now and then.
 
With élan and erudition—and with winning enthusiasm—Henry Louis Gates, Jr. gives us a corrective yet loving homage to Roger’s work. Relying on the latest scholarship, Gates leads us on a romp through African, diasporic, and African-American history in question-and-answer format. Among the one hundred questions: Who were Africa’s first ambassadors to Europe? Who was the first black president in North America? Did Lincoln really free the slaves? Who was history’s wealthiest person? What percentage of white Americans have recent African ancestry? Why did free black people living in the South before the end of the Civil War stay there? Who was the first black head of state in modern Western history? Where was the first Underground Railroad? Who was the first black American woman to be a self-made millionaire? Which black man made many of our favorite household products better?
 
Here is a surprising, inspiring, sometimes boldly mischievous—all the while highly instructive and entertaining—compendium of historical curiosities intended to illuminate the sheer complexity and diversity of being “Negro” in the world.

(With full-color illustrations throughout.)


Click for more detail about Dear Martin by Nic Stone Dear Martin

by Nic Stone
Crown Books for Young Readers (Oct 17, 2017)
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"Raw and gripping." —Jason Reynolds, New York Times bestselling coauthor of All American Boys

A must-read!” —Angie Thomas, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give

Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.


Click for more detail about Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together by Van Jones Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together

by Van Jones
Ballantine Books (Oct 10, 2017)
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A passionate manifesto that exposes hypocrisy on both sides of the political divide and points a way out of the tribalism that is tearing America apart—by the CNN political contributor and host hailed as “a star of the 2016 campaign” (The New York Times) who coined the term “whitelash”

Van Jones burst into the American consciousness during the 2016 presidential campaign with an unscripted, truth-telling style and an already established history of bridge-building across party lines. His election night commentary became a viral sensation. A longtime progressive activist with deep roots in the conservative South, Jones has made it his mission to challenge voters and viewers to stand in one another’s shoes and disagree constructively.

Now, in Beyond the Messy Truth, Jones offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change. Tough on Donald Trump but showing respect and empathy for his supporters, Jones takes aim at the failures of both parties before and after Trump’s victory. He urges both sides to abandon the politics of accusation and focus on real solutions. Calling us to a deeper patriotism, he shows us how to get down to the vital business of solving, together, some of our toughest problems.

“The entire national conversation today can be reduced to a simple statement—‘I’m right, and you’re wrong,’” Jones has said. But the truth is messier; both sides have flaws. Both parties have strayed from their highest principles and let down their core constituencies. Rejecting today’s political tribalism, Jones issues a stirring call for a new “bipartisanship from below.” Recognizing that tough challenges require the best wisdom from both liberals and conservatives, he points us toward practical answers to problems that affect us all regardless of region or ideology: rural and inner-city poverty, unemployment, addiction, unfair incarceration, and the devastating effects of the pollution-based economy on both coal country and our urban centers. 

In explaining how he arrived at his views, Jones shares behind-the-scenes memories from his decades spent marching and protesting on behalf of working people, inspiring stories of ordinary citizens who became champions of their communities, and little-known examples of cooperation that have risen from the fog of partisan conflict. In his quest for positive solutions, Van Jones encourages us to set fire to our old ways of thinking about politics and come together where the pain is greatest.

Advance praise for Beyond the Messy Truth

“Part manifesto, part manual for activism, [Beyond the Messy Truth] is enlivened by case histories and personal anecdotes that serve as support for the author’s assertions. . . . The author proposes common projects that may bring opposing sides together . . . [and] offers concrete suggestions to revive democracy, heal culture wars, and prevent a Trump victory in 2020.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Van Jones is a light in the darkness when we need it most. Beyond the Messy Truth breaks with the tribalism of today’s politics and offers us a way forward. In the tradition of the great bridge builders of our past, Van’s love for this country and all its people shines through.”—Cory Booker, U.S. senator, New Jersey

Includes an invaluable resource of contacts, books, media, and organizations for bipartisan bridge-building and problem solving.


Click for more detail about Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor Akata Warrior

by Nnedi Okorafor
Viking Books for Young Readers (Oct 03, 2017)
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The long-awaited sequel to the genre-breaking Akata Witch by multiple award-winner Nnedi Okorafor!

“The most imaginative, gripping, enchanting fantasy novels I have ever read!” —Laurie Halse Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of Speak

A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book.

Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.

Much-honored Nnedi Okorafor, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, merges today’s Nigeria with a unique world she creates. Akata Warrior blends mythology, fantasy, history and magic into a compelling tale that will keep readers spellbound.


Click for more detail about We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

by Ta-Nehisi Coates
One World (Oct 03, 2017)
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A sweeping collection of new and selected essays on the Obama era by the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me

Huit ans au pouvoir by Ta-Nehisi Coates Coates chose to publish the French edition of We Were Eight Years in Power with the the oldest independent Black owned publisher in the world, Présence Africaine Editions.
We were eight years in power was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. Now Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective—the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.


Click for more detail about Five-Carat Soul by James McBride Five-Carat Soul

by James McBride
Knopf (Sep 26, 2017)
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Humorous, “feel good” new fiction from James McBride, the first since The Good Lord Bird, one of the bestselling, most critically acclaimed books on AALBC.com.

The previously unpublished stories in Five-Carat Soul spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. They’re funny and poignant, insightful and unpredictable, imaginative and authentic—all told with McBride’s unrivaled storytelling skill and meticulous eye for character and detail. McBride explores the ways we learn from the world and the people around us. An antiques dealer discovers that a legendary toy commissioned by Civil War General Robert E. Lee now sits in the home of a black minister in Queens. Five strangers find themselves thrown together and face unexpected judgment. An American president draws inspiration from a conversation he overhears in a stable. And members of The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band recount stories from their own messy and hilarious lives.

As McBride did in his National Book award-winning The Good Lord Bird and his bestselling The Color of Water, he writes with humor and insight about how we struggle to understand who we are in a world we don’t fully comprehend. The result is a surprising, perceptive, and evocative collection of stories that is also a moving exploration of our human condition.


Click for more detail about The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore The Stars Beneath Our Feet

by David Barclay Moore
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Sep 19, 2017)
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A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death in this outstanding debut novel that’s been described as a “fast and furious read in which we meet some amazing people, people that stay with us” by Newbery Honor and National Book Award–winning author Jacqueline Woodson.

It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.
 
His path isn’t clear—and the pressure to join a “crew,” as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape—and an unexpected bridge back to the world. 
 
David Barclay Moore paints a powerful portrait of a boy teetering on the edge—of adolescence, of grief, of violence—and shows how Lolly’s inventive spirit helps him build a life with firm foundations and open doors.
 
Advance praise:
“The Stars Beneath Our Feet is the book I’ve been waiting for. Rarely do you see this side of New York rendered so authentically and generously. So much heart here. And so much talent.” —Matt de la Peña, Newbery Award–winning author of Last Stop on Market Street
 
“The Stars Beneath Our Feet is a fast and furious read in which we meet some amazing people, people that stay with us. David Barclay Moore is an exciting new voice. We definitely haven’t heard the last of his brilliance.” —Jacqueline Woodson, Newbery Honor and National Book Award–winning of Brown Girl Dreaming

“The Stars Beneath Our Feet is about the weight of the world on the back of a child, and the creative tools necessary to alleviate that pressure. I found myself rooting for Lolly, and you will too.” —Jason Reynolds, Coretta Scott King Honor Winner for As Brave As You


Click for more detail about Class ACT #2 by Kelly Starling Lyons Class ACT #2

by Kelly Starling Lyons
Penguin Workshop (Sep 19, 2017)
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Fans of Princess Posey and Ivy and Bean will enjoy rooting for Jada Jones as she runs for student council in this easy-to-read chapter book. As a candidate for class representative, Jada is ready to give the campaign her all. But when rumors start to fly about her secret fear of public speaking, she isn’t sure who she can trust. And the pressure to make promises she can’t keep only adds to her growing list of problems. Is winning even worth it when friendships are on the line? This easy-to-read story--with plenty of pictures and a charming, relatable cast of characters--is a sure winner. The early chapter book bridges between leveled readers and chapter books for fluent readers adjusting to the chapter book format. At about 5,000 words, with short chapters and two-color art on almost every page, it will appeal to this unique reader. The two-color art throughout will help readers transition from the familiar four-color art of leveled readers and ease them into black-and-white chapter books.


Click for more detail about Stay with Me: A novel by Ayobami Adebayo Stay with Me: A novel

by Ayobami Adebayo
Knopf (Aug 22, 2017)
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"A stunning debut novel." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

This celebrated, unforgettable first novel (“A bright, big-hearted demonstration of female spirit.” –The Guardian), shortlisted for the prestigious Bailey’s Prize and set in Nigeria, gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriageand the forces that threaten to tear it apart. 

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriageafter consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely curesYejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has timeuntil her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she doesbut at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.


Click for more detail about Who Are Venus and Serena Williams? by James Buckley Jr. Who Are Venus and Serena Williams?

by James Buckley Jr.
Grosset & Dunlap (Aug 08, 2017)
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The dynamic story of the Williams sisters, both top-ranked professional tennis players.

Venus and Serena Williams are two of the most successful professional American tennis players of all time. Coached at an early age by their parents, the sisters have both gone on to become Grand Slam title winners.  They have both achieved the World Number One ranking in both singles and doubles! Although completely professional and fiercely competitive, the sisters remain close. Who Are Venus and Serena Williams? follows the pair from their early days of training up through the ranks and to the Summer Olympic Games, where they have each won four gold medals—more than any other tennis players.

This title in the New York Times best-selling series has eighty illustrations that help bring the exciting story of tennis champs Venus and Serena Williams to life.


Click for more detail about New People by Danzy Senna New People

by Danzy Senna
Riverhead Books (Aug 01, 2017)
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Named a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW AND TIME MAGAZINE

Named A 2017 BEST SUMMER READ BY

Vogue • Elle • Harper’s Bazaar • Glamour • Buzzfeed • In Style • Men’s Journal • Bustle • Ms. Magazine • Pop Sugar • Newsday • The Millions • Time Out • Bitch • CNN’s The Lead • The Fader

"[A] cutting take on race and class…part dark comedy, part surreal morality tale. Disturbing and delicious." -People

"You’ll gulp Senna’s novel in a single sitting—but then mull over it for days.” –Entertainment Weekly

"Everyone should read it." –Vogue

From the bestselling author of Caucasia, a subversive and engrossing novel of race, class and manners in contemporary America.

As the twentieth century draws to a close, Maria is at the start of a life she never thought possible. She and Khalil, her college sweetheart, are planning their wedding. They are the perfect couple, "King and Queen of the Racially Nebulous Prom." Their skin is the same shade of beige. They live together in a black bohemian enclave in Brooklyn, where Khalil is riding the wave of the first dot-com boom and Maria is plugging away at her dissertation, on the Jonestown massacre. They’ve even landed a starring role in a documentary about "new people" like them, who are blurring the old boundaries as a brave new era dawns. Everything Maria knows she should want lies before her—yet she can’t stop daydreaming about another man, a poet she barely knows. As fantasy escalates to fixation, it dredges up secrets from the past and threatens to unravel not only Maria’s perfect new life but her very persona.

Heartbreaking and darkly comic, New People is a bold and unfettered page-turner that challenges our every assumption about how we define one another, and ourselves.


Click for more detail about What We Lose: A Novel by Zinzi Clemmons What We Lose: A Novel

by Zinzi Clemmons
Viking (Jul 11, 2017)
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A National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree

“The debut novel of the year.” —Vogue

“A richly volatile study of grief, wonderment and love.” —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“A startling, poignant debut.” —The Atlantic

“Raw and ravishing, this novel pulses with vulnerability and shimmering anger.” —Nicole Dennis-Benn, O, the Oprah Magazine

“Stunning. . . . Powerfully moving and beautifully wrought, What We Lose reflects on family, love, loss, race, womanhood, and the places we feel home.” —Buzzfeed

“Remember this name: Zinzi Clemmons. Long may she thrill us with exquisite works like What We Lose. . . . The book is a remarkable journey.” —Essence

From an author of rare, haunting power, a stunning novel about a young African-American woman coming of age—a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, family, and country

Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love.

In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi’s life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman’s understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction.

One of the New York Times, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Redbook, Marie Claire, Essence, Houston Chronicle, LA Daily News, Nylon, and Elle’s Books to Read This Summer


Click for more detail about The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso The Woman Next Door

by Yewande Omotoso
Vintage Books (Jun 27, 2017)
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Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbours. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed. And both are sworn enemies, sharing hedge and hostility which they prune with a zeal that belies the fact that they are both over eighty. But one day an unforeseen event forces the women together. And gradually the bickering and sniping softens into lively debate, and from there into memories shared. But could these sparks of connection ever transform into friendship? Or is it too late to expect these two to change?


Click for more detail about Blind Spot by Teju Cole Blind Spot

by Teju Cole
Random House (Jun 13, 2017)
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“To look is to see only a fraction of what one is looking at. Even in the most vigilant eye, there is a blind spot. What is missing?”

When it comes to Teju Cole, the unexpected is not unfamiliar: He’s an acclaimed novelist, an influential essayist, and an internationally exhibited photographer. In Blind Spot, readers follow Cole’s inimitable artistic vision into the visual realm as he continues to refine the voice, eye, and intellectual obsessions that earned him such acclaim for Open City.

Here, journey through more than 150 of Cole’s full-color, original photos, each accompanied by his lyrical and evocative prose, forming a multimedia diary of years of near-constant travel: from a park in Berlin to a mountain range in Switzerland, a church exterior in Lagos to a parking lot in Brooklyn; landscapes, beautiful or quotidian, that inspire Cole’s memories, fantasies, and introspections. Ships in Capri remind him of the work of writers from Homer to Edna O’Brien; a hotel room in Wannsee brings back a disturbing dream about a friend’s death; a home in Tivoli evokes a transformative period of semi-blindness, after which "the photography changed… The looking changed." As exquisitely wrought as the work of Anne Carson or Chris Marker, Blind Spot is a testament to the art of seeing by one of the most powerful and original voices in contemporary literature.

Praise for Blind Spot

“[Teju] Cole’s fiction and essays are incredible, unexpected, and beautiful; he’s also a spectacular photographer. His first collection of photographs, each image accompanied by his stunning prose, promises to show us the world through his eyes, which always seem to see things in a brilliant new light.”—Lisa Lucas, National Book Foundation

“Once you get a taste of [Cole’s] writing, you can quickly (and hungrily) burn through what’s available. Thankfully, Blind Spot will indulge the senses by combining both of Cole’s loves in this . . . full-color collection of Cole’s photos, accompanied by his prose.”—The Week

“Many artists have felt the lure of juxtaposing photographs and text, but few have succeeded as well as Teju Cole. He approaches this problem with an understanding of the limitations and glories of each medium.”—Stephen Shore, author of Uncommon Places

Praise for Teju Cole

“The places [Teju Cole] can go, you feel, are just about limitless.”—The New York Times

“[Cole is] one of the most vibrant voices in contemporary writing.”—LA Times

“There’s almost no subject Cole can’t come at from a startling angle. . . . His [is a] prickly, eclectic, roaming mind.”—The Boston Globe

“To read, see, and travel with him is to be changed by the questions that challenge him.”—Publishers Weekly

“In following [Cole’s] wanderings, I have often a sense of beholding something more delicate . . . but also more ordinary and more heartbreaking than the eye can typically bear. [His] photographs . . . insist on intimacy, transparency, confrontation.”—Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go


Click for more detail about The Changeling: A Novel by Victor Lavalle The Changeling: A Novel

by Victor Lavalle
Spiegel & Grau (Jun 13, 2017)
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“If the literary gods mixed together Haruki Murakami and Ralph Ellison, the result would be Victor LaValle.”—Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See

“A dark fairy tale of New York, full of magic and loss, myth and mystery, love and madness. The Changeling is a mesmerizing, monumental work.”—Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

One of Time’s Top 10 Novels of the Year

When Apollo Kagwa’s father disappeared, all he left his son were strange recurring dreams and a box of books stamped with the word IMPROBABILIA. Now Apollo is a father himself—and as he and his wife, Emma, are settling into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Apollo’s old dreams return and Emma begins acting odd. Irritable and disconnected from their new baby boy, at first Emma seems to be exhibiting signs of postpartum depression, but it quickly becomes clear that her troubles go even deeper. Before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act—beyond any parent’s comprehension—and vanishes, seemingly into thin air.

Thus begins Apollo’s odyssey through a world he only thought he understood, to find a wife and child who are nothing like he’d imagined. His quest, which begins when he meets a mysterious stranger who claims to have information about Emma’s whereabouts, takes him to a forgotten island, a graveyard full of secrets, a forest where immigrant legends still live, and finally back to a place he thought he had lost forever.

This captivating retelling of a classic fairy tale imaginatively explores parental obsession, spousal love, and the secrets that make strangers out of the people we love the most. It’s a thrilling and emotionally devastating journey through the gruesome legacies that threaten to devour us and the homely, messy magic that saves us, if we’re lucky.

“LaValle’s haunting tale weaves a mesmerizing web around fatherhood, racism, horrific anxieties and even To Kill a Mockingbird.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Like a woke Brothers Grimm, his clever new spin on the ages-old changeling myth is a modern fairy tale for the Trump era.”—USA Today (four out of four stars)

“Victor LaValle’s fabulist ode to fatherhood and fairy tales offers a new take on themes as old as time.”—O: The Oprah Magazine


Click for more detail about Augustown: A Novel by Kei Miller Augustown: A Novel

by Kei Miller
Pantheon Books (May 23, 2017)
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11 April 1982: a smell is coming down John Golding Road right alongside the boy-child, something attached to him, like a spirit but not quite. Ma Taffy is growing worried. She knows that something is going to happen. Something terrible is going to pour out into the world. But if she can hold it off for just a little bit longer, she will. So she asks a question that surprises herself even as she asks it, "Kaia, I ever tell you bout the flying preacherman?"

Set in the backlands of Jamaica, Augustown is a magical and haunting novel of one woman’s struggle to rise above the brutal vicissitudes of history, race, class, collective memory, violence, and myth.


Click for more detail about Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell by W. Kamau Bell Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell

by W. Kamau Bell
Dutton (May 02, 2017)
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“I am excited to announce my first book, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian, is going to be released on May 2nd!”

“The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell of W. Kamau Bell’ is my humorous take on the world today. In the book, I tackle a wide range of issues, such as race relations; fatherhood; the state of law enforcement today; comedians and superheroes; right-wing politics; failure; my interracial marriage; my upbringing by very strong-willed, race-conscious, yet ideologically opposite parents; my early days struggling to find my comedic voice, then my later days struggling to find my comedic voice; why I never seemed to fit in with the Black comedy scene…or the white comedy scene; how I was a Black nerd way before that became a thing; how it took my wife and an East Bay lesbian to teach me that racism and sexism often walk hand in hand; and much, much more.”


Click for more detail about Finding Gideon (Gideon Series) by Eric Jerome Dickey Finding Gideon (Gideon Series)

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Dutton (Apr 18, 2017)
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A professional job turns personal for jet-setting contract killer Gideon in this sexy, thrilling page-turner by New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey. 

As a hit man from the time he was very young, money, women, and danger have always ruled Gideon’s life; but for the first time, the job is taking its toll. Neither Gideon nor the city of Buenos Aires has recovered from the mayhem caused during Gideon’s last job. But before the dust has settled and the bodies have been buried, Gideon calls in backup—including the lovely Hawks, with whom Gideon has heated memories—to launch his biggest act of revenge yet…one he believes will destroy his adversary, Midnight, once and for all.

Yet Midnight and his second-in-command, the beautiful and ruthless Señorita Raven, are launching their own revenge, assembling a team of mercenaries the likes of which the world has never seen… and Gideon isn’t their only target. Gideon will need all of his skills if he is to save not only his team, but his family as well.

Dickey’s new novel stirs up a whirlwind of sex and violence that spans the globe…and leaves no moral boundary uncrossed.


Click for more detail about Devil on the Cross by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o Devil on the Cross

by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Penguin Classics (Apr 11, 2017)
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The great Kenyan writer and Nobel Prize nominee Ng?g? wa Thiong’o’s powerful fictional critique of capitalism

One of the cornerstones of Ng?g? wa Thiong’o’s fame, Devil on the Cross was written in secret, on toilet paper, while Ng?g? was in prison. It tells the tragic story of Wariinga, a young woman who moves from a rural Kenyan town to the capital, Nairobi, only to be exploited by her boss and later by a corrupt businessman. As she struggles to survive, Wariinga begins to realize that her problems are only symptoms of a larger societal malaise and that much of the misfortune stems from the Western, capitalist influences on her country. An impassioned cry for a Kenya free of dictatorship and for African writers to work in their own local dialects, Devil on the Cross has had a profound influence on Africa and on post-colonial African literature.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


Click for more detail about What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories

by Lesley Nneka Arimah
Riverhead Books (Apr 04, 2017)
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A NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION "5 UNDER 35" HONOREE

FINALIST FOR THE 2017 KIRKUS PRIZE

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BROOKLYN PUBLC LIBRARY LITERARY PRIZE

Named one of the most anticipated books of 2017 by Buzzfeed, Time Magazine, Elle, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, the Millions, Nylon, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Electric Literature

A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home. 

In “Who Will Greet You at Home,” a National Magazine Award finalist for The New Yorker, A woman desperate for a child weaves one out of hair, with unsettling results. In “Wild,” a disastrous night out shifts a teenager and her Nigerian cousin onto uneasy common ground. In "The Future Looks Good," three generations of women are haunted by the ghosts of war, while in "Light," a father struggles to protect and empower the daughter he loves. And in the title story, in a world ravaged by flood and riven by class, experts have discovered how to "fix the equation of a person" - with rippling, unforeseen repercussions. 

Evocative, playful, subversive, and incredibly human, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky heralds the arrival of a prodigious talent with a remarkable career ahead of her.


Click for more detail about Rich: A Dyamonde Daniel Book by Nikki Grimes Rich: A Dyamonde Daniel Book

by Nikki Grimes
Puffin Books (Apr 04, 2017)
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The second book in the Dyamonde Daniels series, by bestselling author Nikki Grimes, is great for fans of the Keena Ford, Judy Moody, and Magnificent Mya Tibbs series and includes illustrations by Coretta Scott King honor winner R. Gregory Christie.

     Dyamonde Daniel is excited about the local library’s poetry contest, and so is her friend Free. The prize is one hundred dollars, and just think what they could buy with that much money! But when they find out that Damaris, one of their classmates, has been living in a homeless shelter, their ideas about what it means to be rich or poor start to change.


Click for more detail about Almost Zero: A Dyamonde Daniel Book by Nikki Grimes Almost Zero: A Dyamonde Daniel Book

by Nikki Grimes
Puffin Books (Apr 04, 2017)
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The third book in the Dyamonde Daniels series, by bestselling author Nikki Grimes, is perfect for fans of the Keena Ford, Judy Moody, and Magnificent Mya Tibbs series and includes illustrations by Coretta Scott King honor winner R. Gregory Christie. 

Dyamonde really wants red high-top sneakers. Too bad they’re so expensive! A classmate tells her it’s her mom’s job to give her what she needs, but when Dyamonde tries that argument, her mom teaches her a lesson by literally only giving her what she needs. Now Dyamonde is down to almost zero outfits! But then she finds out one of her friends has it much worse, and she’s determined to do what she can to help.


Click for more detail about The Ring Bearer by Floyd Cooper The Ring Bearer

by Floyd Cooper
Philomel Books (Apr 04, 2017)
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Mama’s getting married, and Jackson has an important job to do! A story about love, weddings, and the special joy that is a blended family.

Jackson’s mama is getting married, and he gets to be the ring bearer. But Jackson is worried . . . What if he trips? Or walks too slowly? Or drops the rings? And what about his new stepsister, Sophie? She’s supposed to be the flower girl, but Jackson’s not sure she’s taking her job as seriously as she should.
 
In a celebration of blended families, this heartwarming story, stunningly illustrated by the award-winning Floyd Cooper, is a perfect gift for any child who’s nervous to walk down the aisle at a wedding, and shows kids that they can handle life’s big changes.


Click for more detail about Jake the Fake Keeps it Real by Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach Jake the Fake Keeps it Real

by Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach
Crown Books for Young Readers (Mar 28, 2017)
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For fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate comes a new side-splitting series from comedian and film star Craig Robinson, #1 New York Times bestselling author Adam Mansbach, and NAACP History Maker recipient and cartoonist Keith Knight.
 
Jake can barely play an instrument, not even a kazoo. And his art? It’s better suited for Pictionary than Picasso. Which is a real problem because Jake just faked his way into the Music and Art Academy for the gifted and talented (and Jake is pretty sure he is neither). More jokester than composer, Jake will have to think of something quick before the last laugh is on him.
 
Featuring more than 160 illustrations, Jake the Fake is sure to bring the laughs with his hilarious high jinks!


Click for more detail about Map to the Stars by Adrian Matejka Map to the Stars

by Adrian Matejka
Penguin Books (Mar 28, 2017)
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A resonant new collection of poetry from Adrian Matejka, author of The Big Smoke, a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award 

Map to the Stars, the fourth poetry collection from National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist Adrian Matejka, navigates the tensions between race, geography, and poverty in America during the Reagan Era. In the time of space shuttles and the Strategic Defense Initiative, outer space is the only place equality seems possible, even as the stars serve to both guide and obscure the earthly complexities of masculinity and migration. In Matejka’s poems, hope is the link between the convoluted realities of being poor and the inspiring possibilities of transcendence and escape whether it comes from Star Trek, the dream of being one of the first black astronauts, or Sun Ra’s cosmic jazz.


Click for more detail about Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Knopf (Mar 07, 2017)
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From the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists comes a powerful new statement about feminism today—written as a letter to a friend.

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 is Adichie’s letter of response.
     Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions—compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive—for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can "allow" women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.


Click for more detail about Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay Amiable with Big Teeth

by Claude McKay
Penguin Classics (Feb 07, 2017)
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A monumental literary event: the newly discovered final novel by seminal Harlem Renaissance writer Claude McKay, a rich and multilayered portrayal of life in 1930s Harlem and a historical protest for black freedom
 
The unexpected discovery in 2009 of a completed manuscript of Claude McKay’s final novel was celebrated as one of the most significant literary events in recent years. Building on the already extraordinary legacy of McKay’s life and work, this colorful, dramatic novel centers on the efforts by Harlem intelligentsia to organize support for the liberation of fascist-controlled Ethiopia, a crucial but largely forgotten event in American history. At once a penetrating satire of political machinations in Depression-era Harlem and a far-reaching story of global intrigue and romance, Amiable with Big Teeth plunges into the concerns, anxieties, hopes, and dreams of African-Americans at a moment of crisis for the soul of Harlemand America.
 
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


Click for more detail about I Am Not Your Negro: A Companion Edition to the Documentary Film by James Baldwin and Raoul Peck I Am Not Your Negro: A Companion Edition to the Documentary Film

by James Baldwin and Raoul Peck
Vintage International Series (Feb 07, 2017)
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Learn about the Oscar-Nominated documentary film I Am Not Your Negro on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript entitled Remember This House.


To compose his stunning documentary film I Am Not Your Negro, acclaimed filmmaker Raoul Peck mined James Baldwin’s published and unpublished oeuvre, selecting passages from his books, essays, letters, notes, and interviews that are every bit as incisive and pertinent now as they have ever been. Weaving these texts together, Peck brilliantly imagines the book that Baldwin never wrote. In his final years, Baldwin had envisioned a book about his three assassinated friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. His deeply personal notes for the project have never been published before. Peck’s film uses them to jump through time, juxtaposing Baldwin’s private words with his public statements, in a blazing examination of the tragic history of race in America.
 
This edition contains more than 40 black-and-white images from the film.

James Baldwin with Medgar Evers

I watched two men, coming from unimaginably different backgrounds, whose positions, originally, were poles apart, driven closer and closer together.

By the time each died, their positions had become virtually the same position. It can be said, indeed, that Martin picked up Malcolm’s burden, articulated the vision which Malcolm had begun to see, and for which he paid with his life. And that Malcolm was one of the people Martin saw on the mountaintop.

Medgar was too young to have seen this happen, though he hoped for it, and would not have been surprised; but Medgar was murdered first. I was older than Medgar, Malcolm, and Martin. I was raised to believe that the eldest was supposed to be a model for the younger, and was, of course, expected to die first.

Not one of these three lived to be forty.

Excerpted from I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin and Raoul Peck. Copyright © 2017 by The James Baldwin Estate. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Click for more detail about Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin

by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin
Spiegel & Grau (Jan 31, 2017)
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Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement.

On a February evening in 2012, in a small town in central Florida, seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking home with candy and a can of juice in hand and talking on the phone with a friend when a fatal encounter with a gun-wielding neighborhood watchman ended his young life. The watchman was briefly detained by the police and released. Trayvon’s father—a truck driver named Tracy—tried to get answers from the police but was shut down and ignored. Trayvon’s mother, a civil servant for the city of Miami, was paralyzed by the news of her son’s death and lost in mourning, unable to leave her room for days. But in a matter of weeks, their son’s name would be spoken by President Obama, honored by professional athletes, and passionately discussed all over traditional and social media. And at the head of a growing nationwide campaign for justice were Trayvon’s parents, who—driven by their intense love for their lost son—discovered their voices, gathered allies, and launched a movement that would change the country.

Five years after his tragic death, Travyon Martin’s name is still evoked every day. He has become a symbol of social justice activism, as has his hauntingly familiar image: the photo of a child still in the process of becoming a young man, wearing a hoodie and gazing silently at the camera. But who was Trayvon Martin, before he became, in death, an icon? And how did one black child’s death on a dark, rainy street in a small Florida town become the match that lit a civil rights crusade?

Rest in Power, told through the compelling alternating narratives of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, answers, for the first time, those questions from the most intimate of sources. It’s the story of the beautiful and complex child they lost, the cruel unresponsiveness of the police and the hostility of the legal system, and the inspiring journey they took from grief and pain to power, and from tragedy and senselessness to meaning.

Advance praise for Rest in Power

“Not since Emmitt Till has a parent’s love for a murdered child moved the nation to search its soul about racial injustice and inequality. Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin’s extraordinary witness, indomitable spirit and unwavering demand for change have altered the dynamics of racial justice discourse in this country.  This powerful book illuminates the witness, the grief, and the commitment to reform that Trayvon Martin’s death has mobilized; it is a story fueled by a demand for justice but rooted in love.”—Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy

“As the fifth anniversary of this tragic crime nears, Fulton and Martin share a remarkably candid and deeply affecting in-the-moment chronicle of the explosive aftermath of the murder. Writing in alternate chapters, they share every detail of their shock, grief, and grueling quest for justice. . . . Given the unconscionable shooting deaths of young black men, many by police, that followed Trayvon’s, this galvanizing testimony from parents who channeled their sorrow into action offers a deeply humanizing perspective on the crisis propelling a national movement.”—Booklist (starred review)


Click for more detail about Version Control by Dexter Palmer Version Control

by Dexter Palmer
Vintage (Jan 10, 2017)
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Although Rebecca Wright has pieced her life back together after a major tragedy, she can’t shake a sense that the world around her feels off-kilter. Meanwhile, her husband’s dedication to his invention, “the causality violation device” (which he would greatly prefer you not call a time machine) has effectively stalled his career—but he may be closer to success than either of them can possibly imagine. Emotionally powerful and wickedly intelligent, Version Control is a stunningly prescient novel about the effects of science and technology on our lives, our friendships, and our sense of self that will alter the way you see the future—and the present.


Click for more detail about Flying Lessons & Other Stories by Ellen Oh Flying Lessons & Other Stories

by Ellen Oh
Crown Books for Young Readers (Jan 03, 2017)
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Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.
 
In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers. From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories.

“There’s plenty of magic in this collection to go around.” —Booklist, Starred

“A natural for middle school classrooms and libraries.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred

“Inclusive, authentic, and eminently readable.” —School Library Journal, Starred

“Thought provoking and wide-ranging . . . should not be missed.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred

“Read more books by these authors.” —The Bulletin, Starred


Click for more detail about The Spy: A novel by Paulo Coelho The Spy: A novel

by Paulo Coelho
Knopf (Nov 22, 2016)
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In his new novel, Paulo Coelho, bestselling author of The Alchemist and Adultery, brings to life one of history’s most enigmatic women: Mata Hari. 

HER ONLY CRIME WAS TO BE AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN
 
When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless.  Within months she was the most celebrated woman in the city.
 
As a dancer, she shocked and delighted audiences; as a courtesan, she bewitched the era’s richest and most powerful men.
 
But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari’s lifestyle brought her under suspicion. In 1917, she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees, and accused of espionage.
 
Told in Mata Hari’s voice through her final letter, The Spy is the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to defy convention and who paid the ultimate price.


Click for more detail about Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

by Trevor Noah
Spiegel & Grau (Nov 15, 2016)
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times • Newsday • Esquire • NPR • Booklist

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Praise for Born a Crime

 “[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“[An] unforgettable memoir.”—Parade

 “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today

“[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar.”—People

“[Noah’s] electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class.”—Booklist (starred review)

“A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations.”—Kirkus Reviews


Click for more detail about Swing Time by Zadie Smith Swing Time

by Zadie Smith
Penguin Press (Nov 15, 2016)
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An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from North West London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty

Two brown girls dream of being dancers—but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Tracey makes it to the chorus line but struggles with adult life, while her friend leaves the old neighborhood behind, traveling the world as an assistant to a famous singer, Aimee, observing close up how the one percent live.

But when Aimee develops grand philanthropic ambitions, the story moves from London to West Africa, where diaspora tourists travel back in time to find their roots, young men risk their lives to escape into a different future, the women dance just like Tracey—the same twists, the same shakes—and the origins of a profound inequality are not a matter of distant history, but a present dance to the music of time.


Click for more detail about The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon The Sun Is Also a Star

by Nicola Yoon
Delacorte Press (Nov 01, 2016)
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Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? 


Click for more detail about A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day

by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Viking Books for Young Readers (Nov 01, 2016)
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A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keat and the Creation of The Snowy Day


A celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day.

The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. The family were struggling Polish immigrants, and despite Keats’s obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra’s dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. By high school he was winning prizes and scholarships. Later, jobs followed with the WPA and Marvel comics. But it was many years before Keats’s greatest dream was realized and he had the opportunity to write and illustrate his own book.
 
For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’s hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow; the book became The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child. It was also the first of many books featuring Peter and the children of his — and Keats’s — neighborhood.
 
Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lyrical narrative tells the inspiring story of a boy who pursued a dream, and who, in turn, inspired generations of other dreamers.


Click for more detail about The Mothers: A Novel by Brit Bennett The Mothers: A Novel

by Brit Bennett
Riverhead Books (Oct 11, 2016)
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“Fantastic… a book that feels alive on the page.” —The Washington Post

A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community—and the things that ultimately haunt us most.

Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.

"All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season."

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a "what if" can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.


Click for more detail about Preaching to the Chickens by Jabari Asim Preaching to the Chickens

by Jabari Asim
Nancy Paulsen Books (Oct 11, 2016)
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Critically acclaimed author Jabari Asim and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis give readers a fascinating glimpse into the boyhood of Civil Rights leader John Lewis.

John wants to be a preacher when he grows up a leader whose words stir hearts to change, minds to think, and bodies to take action. But why wait? When John is put in charge of the family farm’s flock of chickens, he discovers that they make a wonderful congregation! So he preaches to his flock, and they listen, content under his watchful care, riveted by the rhythm of his voice.

Celebrating ingenuity and dreaming big, this inspirational story, featuring Jabari Asim’s stirring prose and E. B. Lewis’s stunning, light-filled impressionistic watercolor paintings, includes an author’s note about John Lewis, who grew up to be a member of the Freedom Riders, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and demonstrator on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. John Lewis is now a Georgia congressman, who is still an activist today, recently holding a sit-in on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol to try to force a vote on gun violence.


Click for more detail about Behold the Dreamers: A Novel by Imbolo Mbue Behold the Dreamers: A Novel

by Imbolo Mbue
Knopf (Aug 23, 2016)
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Imbolo Mbue’s The Longings of Jende Jonga one of two books to earn $1 Million+ advances at the Frankfurt Book Fair read more; “Frankfurt Book Fair 2014: Two Debuts Draw Seven Figures”

For fans of Americanah and The Lowland comes a debut novel about an immigrant couple striving to get ahead as the Great Recession hits home. With profound empathy, keen insight, and sly wit, Imbolo Mbue has written a compulsively readable story about marriage, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream.

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at their summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ facades.

Then the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Desperate to keep Jende’s job, which grows more tenuous by the day, the Jongas try to protect the Edwardses from certain truths, even as their own marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

Advance praise for Behold the Dreamers

“A beautiful novel about one African couple starting a new life in a new land, Behold the Dreamers will teach you as much about the promise and pitfalls of life in the United States as about the immigrants who come here in search of the so-called American dream.”—Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Enrique’s Journey


Click for more detail about 88 Instruments by Chris Barton 88 Instruments

by Chris Barton
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Aug 16, 2016)
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"The rhythmic, onomatopoeic text dances across exuberant watercolors with lots of movement. This celebration of a child’s agency in choosing a means of artistic expression strikes just the right note." —Kirkus 


"A delightful offering for reading aloud, especially during music-themed storytimes."
—School Library Journal

From New York Times bestselling author Chris Barton and new illustrator Louis Thomas comes a fun, rhythmic picture book about finding the music that is perfect for you!
 
A boy who loves to make noise gets to pick only one instrument (at his parents urging) in a music store, but there is too much to choose from! There’s triangles and sousaphones! There’s guitars and harpsichords! Bagpipes and cellos and trombones! How can he find the one that is just right for him out of all those options?


Click for more detail about Known and Strange Things: Essays by Teju Cole Known and Strange Things: Essays

by Teju Cole
Random House Trade Paperbacks (Aug 09, 2016)
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A blazingly intelligent first book of essays from the award-winning author of Open City and Every Day Is for the Thief

With this collection of more than fifty pieces on politics, photography, travel, history, and literature, Teju Cole solidifies his place as one of today’s most powerful and original voices. On page after page, deploying prose dense with beauty and ideas, he finds fresh and potent ways to interpret art, people, and historical moments, taking in subjects from Virginia Woolf, Shakespeare, and W. G. Sebald to Instagram, Barack Obama, and Boko Haram. Cole brings us new considerations of James Baldwin in the age of Black Lives Matter; the African American photographer Roy DeCarava, who, forced to shoot with film calibrated exclusively for white skin tones, found his way to a startling and true depiction of black subjects; and (in an essay that inspired both praise and pushback when it first appeared) the White Savior Industrial Complex, the system by which African nations are sentimentally aided by an America “developed on pillage.”

Persuasive and provocative, erudite yet accessible, Known and Strange Things is an opportunity to live within Teju Cole’s wide-ranging enthusiasms, curiosities, and passions, and a chance to see the world in surprising and affecting new frames.


Click for more detail about The Underground Railroad: A Novel by Colson Whitehead The Underground Railroad: A Novel

by Colson Whitehead
Doubleday (Aug 02, 2016)
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“Every now and then a book comes along that reaches the marrow of your bones, settles in, and stays forever. This is one. It’s a tour de force, and I don’t say that lightly.” —Oprah Winfrey says, Oprah’s Book Club 2016 Selection

From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Like the protagonist of A Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.


Click for more detail about Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery by Walter Mosley Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

by Walter Mosley
Doubleday (Jun 14, 2016)
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Walter Mosley’s indelible detective Easy Rawlins is back, with a new detective agency and a new mystery to solve.

Picking up where his last adventures in Rose Gold left off in L.A. in the late 1960s, Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins finds his life in transition. He’s ready—finally—to propose to his girlfriend, Bonnie Shay, and start a life together. And he’s taken the money he got from the Rose Gold case and, together with two partners, Saul Lynx and Tinsford “Whisper” Natly, has started a new detective agency. But, inevitably, a case gets in the way: Easy’s friend Mouse introduces him to Rufus Tyler, a very old man everyone calls Charcoal Joe. Joe’s friend’s son, Seymour (young, bright, top of his class in physics at Stanford), has been arrested and charged with the murder of a white man from Redondo Beach. Joe tells Easy he will pay and pay well to see this young man exonerated, but seeing as how Seymour literally was found standing over the man’s dead body at his cabin home, and considering the racially charged motives seemingly behind the murder, that might prove to be a tall order.

Between his new company, a heart that should be broken but is not, a whole raft of new bad guys on his tail, and a bad odor that surrounds Charcoal Joe, Easy has his hands full, his horizons askew, and his life in shambles around his feet.


Click for more detail about Homegoing: A Novel by Yaa Gyasi Homegoing: A Novel

by Yaa Gyasi
Random House (Jun 07, 2016)
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Yaa Gyasi’s London Book Fair 2015: In Pre-Fair Deals, Debut Sells to Knopf for Rumored 7 Figures

A riveting, kaleidoscopic debut novel and the beginning of a major career: a novel about race, history, ancestry, love, and time that traces the descendants of two sisters torn apart in eighteenth-century Africa across three hundred years in Ghana and America.

Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into different tribal villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and will live in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising half-caste children who will be sent abroad to be educated before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the empire. Esi, imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle's women's dungeon and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, will be sold into slavery. Stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and the Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the American South to the Great Migration to twentieth-century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi’s novel moves through histories and geographies and captures—with outstanding economy and force—the troubled spirit of our own nation. She has written a modern masterpiece.


Click for more detail about I Almost Forgot about You by Terry McMillan I Almost Forgot about You

by Terry McMillan
Crown Publishing Group (Jun 07, 2016)
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#1 AALBC.com bestselling author, Terry McMillan is back with an inspiring story of a woman who shakes things up in her life to find greater meaning.

In I Almost Forgot About You, Dr. Georgia Young’s wonderful life—great friends, family, and successful career—aren’t enough to keep her from feeling stuck and restless. When she decides to make some major changes in her life, quitting her job as an optometrist, and moving house, she finds herself on a wild journey that may or may not include a second chance at love. Like Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, I Almost Forgot About You will show legions of readers what can happen when you face your fears, take a chance, and open yourself up to life, love, and the possibility of a new direction.

“The warmth and wisdom we have come to expect from Terry McMillan are on full display and you won’t be able to walk away from Georgia and her exuberant life. This is that thrilling kind of novel that reminds us how sometimes, fairy tales happen when we least expect them, if only we open ourselves to possibility.” —Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist and An Untamed State


Click for more detail about My Voice: A Memoir by Angie Martinez My Voice: A Memoir

by Angie Martinez
Celebra (May 17, 2016)
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Angie Martinez is the “Voice of New York.” Now, for the first time, she candidly recounts the story of her rise to become an internationally celebrated hip hop radio icon.

In her current reign at Power 105.1 and for nearly two decades at New York’ s Hot 97, Angie Martinez has had one of the highest rated radio shows in the country. After working her way up as an intern, she burst on the scene as a young female jock whose on-air “Battle of the Beats” segment broke records and became a platform for emerging artists like a young Jay Z. Angie quickly became known for intimate, high-profile interviews, mediating feuds between artists, and taking on the most controversial issues in hip hop. At age twenty-five, at the height of the East Coast/West Coast rap war, Angie was summoned by Tupac Shakur for what would be his last no-holds-barred interview—which has never aired in its entirety and which she’s never discussed in detail—until now.

Angie shares stories from behind-the-scenes of her most controversial conversations, from onetime presidential hopeful Barack Obama to superstars like Mary J. Blige and Chris Brown, and describes her emotional, bittersweet final days at Hot 97 and the highly publicized move to Power 105.1. She also opens up about her personal life—from her roots in Washington Heights and her formative years being raised by a single mom in Brooklyn to exploring the lessons that shaped her into the woman she is today.

From the Puerto Rican Day Parade to the White House—Angie is universally recognized as a powerful voice in the Latino and hip hop communities. My Voice gives an inside look at New York City’s one-of-a-kind urban radio culture, the changing faces of hip hop music, and Angie’s rise to become the Voice of New York.


Click for more detail about We Came to America by Faith Ringgold We Came to America

by Faith Ringgold
Alfred A. Knopf (May 10, 2016)
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A timely and beautiful look at America s rich history of diversity, from Faith Ringgold, the Coretta Scott King and Caldecot Honor winning creator of Tar Beach

From the Native Americans who first called this land their home, to the millions of people who have flocked to its shores ever since, America is a country rich in diversity. Some of our ancestors were driven by dreams and hope. Others came in chains, or were escaping poverty or persecution. No matter what brought them here, each person embodied a unique gift their art and music, their determination and grit, their stories and their culture. And together they forever shaped the country we all call home.

Vividly expressed in Faith Ringgold s sumptuous colors and patterns, We Came to America is an ode to every American who came before us, and a tribute to each child who will carry its proud message of diversity into our nation’s future.


Click for more detail about The Risen: A Novel of Spartacus by David Anthony Durham The Risen: A Novel of Spartacus

by David Anthony Durham
Doubleday (May 03, 2016)
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From the author of the widely praised Pride of Carthage, the superb fictional rendering of Hannibal’s epic military campaigns against Carthage’s archenemy Rome, comes the perfect follow-up: an equally superb novel of the legendary gladiator Spartacus and the vast slave revolt he led that came ever so close to bringing Rome, with its supposedly invincible legions, to its knees. 

In this thrilling and panoramic historical novel we see one of the most storied uprisings of classical times from multiple points of view: Spartacus, the visionary captive and gladiator whose toughness and charisma turn a prison break into a multi-cultural revolt that threatens an empire; his consort, the oracular Astera, whose connection to the spirit world and its omens guides the uprising’s progress; Nonus, a Roman soldier working both sides of the conflict in a half-adroit, half-desperate attempt to save his life; Laelia and Hustus, two shepherd children drawn into the ranks of the slave rebellion; Kaleb, the slave secretary to Crassus, the Roman senator and commander saddled with the unenviable task of quashing an insurrection of mere slaves; and other players in a vast spectacle of bloodshed, heroism, and treachery.
     In the pages of The Risen—the term the slaves in revolt have adopted for themselves—an entire, teeming world comes into view with great clarity and titanic drama, with nothing less than the future of the ancient world at stake. No one brings more verve, intelligence, and freshness to the novel of the classical age than David Anthony Durham.


Click for more detail about Ladivine: A novel by Marie NDiaye Ladivine: A novel

by Marie NDiaye
Knopf (Apr 26, 2016)
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From the hugely acclaimed author of Three Strong Women—“a masterpiece of narrative ingenuity and emotional extremes” (The New York Times)—here is a harrowing and subtly crafted novel of a woman captive to a secret shame.

On the first Tuesday of every month, Clarisse Rivière leaves her husband and young daughter and secretly takes the train to Bordeaux to visit her mother, Ladivine. Just as Clarisse’s husband and daughter know nothing of Ladivine, Clarisse herself has hidden nearly every aspect of her adult life from this woman, whom she dreads and despises but also pities. Long ago abandoned by Clarisse’s father, Ladivine works as a housecleaner and has no one but her daughter, whom she knows as Malinka.

After more than twenty-five years of this deception, the idyllic middle-class existence Clarisse has built from scratch can no longer survive inside the walls she’s put up to protect it. Her untold anguish leaves her cold and guarded, her loved ones forever trapped outside, looking in. When her husband, Richard, finally leaves her, Clarisse finds comfort in the embrace of a volatile local man, Freddy Moliger. With Freddy, she finally feels reconciled to, or at least at ease with, her true self. But this peace comes at a terrible price. Clarisse will be brutally murdered, and it will be left to her now-grown daughter, who also bears the name Ladivine without knowing why, to work out who her mother was and what happened to her.

A mesmerizing and heart-stopping psychological tale of a trauma that ensnares three generations of women, Ladivine proves Marie NDiaye to be one of Europe’s great storytellers.

Translated from the French by Jordan Stump


Click for more detail about The Blackbirds by Eric Jerome Dickey The Blackbirds

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Knopf (Apr 19, 2016)
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New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey delivers his next delectable, erotic romance

They call themselves the Blackbirds. Kwanzaa Browne, Indigo Abdulrahaman, Destiny Jones, and Ericka Stockwell are four best friends who are closer than sisters, and will go to the ends of the earth for one another. Yet even their deep bond can’t heal all wounds from their individual pasts, as the collegiate and post-collegiate women struggle with their own demons, drama, and desires.

Trying to forget her cheating ex-fiancé, Kwanzaa becomes entangled with a wicked one-night stand—a man who turns out to be one in five million. Indigo is in an endless on-again, off-again relationship with her footballer boyfriend, and in her time between dysfunctional relationships she purses other naughty desires. Destiny, readjusting to normal life, struggles to control her own anger after avenging a deep wrong landed her in juvi, while at the same time trying to have her first real relationship—one she has initiated using an alias to hide her past from her lover. Divorced Ericka is in remission from cancer and trying to deal with two decades of animosity with her radical mother, while keeping the desperate crush she has always had on Destiny’s father a secret… a passion with an older man that just may be reciprocated.

As the women try to overcome— or give into— their impulses, they find not only themselves tested, but the one thing they always considered unbreakable: their friendship.


Click for more detail about I Won a What? by Audrey Vernick I Won a What?

by Audrey Vernick
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Apr 12, 2016)
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The hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy who tries to win a goldfish and winds up with FAR more than he bargained for . . .

A young boy wins a humongous new pet at the carnival, and before long, they become fast friends. But his parents are skeptical. After all, Nuncio doesn’t even fit in the house! Will the gargantuan goldfish have to go? Or will the family find a way to give him the home he deserves?

Fans of Sparky will flip for this whale of a tale from Audrey Vernick, author of Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? and featuring illustrations from Wow! City! illustrator Robert Neubecker.


Click for more detail about Kill ’Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul by James McBride Kill ’Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul

by James McBride
Spiegel & Grau (Apr 05, 2016)
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National Book Award winner James McBride goes in search of the “real” James Brown after receiving a tip that promises to uncover the man behind the myth. His surprising journey illuminates not only our understanding of this immensely troubled, misunderstood, and complicated soul genius but the ways in which our cultural heritage has been shaped by Brown’s legacy.

Kill ’Em and Leave is more than a book about James Brown. Brown’s rough-and-tumble life, through McBride’s lens, is an unsettling metaphor for American life: the tension between North and South, black and white, rich and poor. McBride’s travels take him to forgotten corners of Brown’s never-before-revealed history: the country town where Brown’s family and thousands of others were displaced by America’s largest nuclear power bomb-making facility; a South Carolina field where a long-forgotten cousin recounts, in the dead of night, a fuller history of Brown’s sharecropping childhood, which until now has been a mystery. McBride seeks out the American expatriate in England who co-created the James Brown sound, visits the trusted right-hand manager who worked with Brown for forty-one years, and interviews Brown’s most influential nonmusical creation, his “adopted son,” the Reverend Al Sharpton. He describes the stirring visit of Michael Jackson to the Augusta, Georgia, funeral home where the King of Pop sat up all night with the body of his musical godfather, spends hours talking with Brown’s first wife, and lays bare the Dickensian legal contest over James Brown’s estate, a fight that has consumed careers; prevented any money from reaching the poor schoolchildren in Georgia and South Carolina, as instructed in his will; cost Brown’s estate millions in legal fees; and left James Brown’s body to lie for more than eight years in a gilded coffin in his daughter’s yard in South Carolina.

James McBride is one of the most distinctive and electric literary voices in America today, and part of the pleasure of his narrative is being in his presence, coming to understand Brown through McBride’s own insights as a black musician with Southern roots. em>Kill ’Em and Leave is a song unearthing and celebrating James Brown’s great legacy: the cultural landscape of America today.

Review

Here are some further examples of Brown’s isolation, as McBride describes them: Late in life James Brown directed his children (the ones he acknowledged) to make appointments when they ­wanted to see him. When he was finished with a gig, he would routinely have his hair done for two or three hours, before seeing anyone backstage, and then he would often leave, rather than undertake the glad-handing typically associated with the entertainment profession. He left Zaire, after performing on the occasion of the Ali-­Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” prizefight, rather than receive a bag of diamonds offered by the despot in charge of that nation. And so on. This book’s title itself refers to Brown’s avowed philosophy in regard to interacting with fans.

It is McBride’s heavy burden to know this about Brown — his evasiveness, his secrecy — and to fashion a credible story that leads us from Page 1 to Page 232 according to what they call, in writing workshops, a “narrative arc.” The narrative arc is not a thing wanting in McBride’s best-known works. “The Good Lord Bird,” for example, has not only John Brown the abolitionist to drive it along, but a surprising case of gender imposture at its heart as well. And where “The Color of Water” deals with isolation in many of the ways that “Kill ’Em and Leave” does, it is essentially a bildungsroman, a tale of the derivation of its narrator. This is an especially effective idea of “narrative arc.”

—Rick Moody, The New York Times Book Review


Click for more detail about We the People: The Modern-Day Figures Who Have Reshaped and Affirmed the Founding Fathers’ Vision of America by Juan Williams We the People: The Modern-Day Figures Who Have Reshaped and Affirmed the Founding Fathers’ Vision of America

by Juan Williams
Crown (Apr 05, 2016)
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What would the Founding Fathers think about America today? Over 200 years ago the Founders broke away from the tyranny of the British Empire to build a nation based on the principles of freedom, equal rights, and opportunity for all men. But life in the United States today is vastly different from anything the original Founders could have imagined in the late 1700s. The notion of an African-American president of the United States, or a woman such as Condoleezza Rice or Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, would have been unimaginable to the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, or who ratified the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

 

In a fascinating work of history told through a series of in depth profiles, prize-winning journalist, bestselling author, and Fox political analyst Juan Williams takes readers into the life and work of a new generation of American Founders, who honor the original Founders vision, even as they have quietly led revolutions in American politics, immigration, economics, sexual behavior, and reshaped the landscape of the nation.

Among the modern-day pioneers Williams writes about in this compelling new book are the passionate conservative President Reagan; the determined fighters for equal rights, Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King, Jr.; the profound imprint of Rev. Billy Graham’s evangelism on national politics; the focus on global human rights advocated by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; the leaders of the gay community who refused to back down during the Stonewall Riots and brought gay life into America’s public square; the re-imagined role of women in contemporary life as shaped by Betty Friedan.

 

Williams reveals how each of these modern-day founders has extended the Founding Fathers original vision and changed fundamental aspects of our country, from immigration, to the role of American labor in the economy, from modern police strategies, to the importance of religion in our political discourse.

America in the 21st Century remains rooted in the Great American experiment in democracy that began in 1776. For all the changes our economy and our cultural and demographic make-up, there remains a straight line from the first Founders original vision, to the principles and ideals of today’s courageous modern day pioneers.


Click for more detail about What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

by Helen Oyeyemi
Riverhead Books (Mar 08, 2016)
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From the award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird and Mr. Fox comes an enchanting collection of intertwined stories.
 
Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret—Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. In “Books and Roses” one special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers’ fates. In “Is Your Blood as Red as This?” an unlikely key opens the heart of a student at a puppeteering school. “‘Sorry’ Doesn’t Sweeten Her Tea” involves a “house of locks,” where doors can be closed only with a key—with surprising, unobservable developments. And in “If a Book Is Locked There’s Probably a Good Reason for That Don’t You Think,” a key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason).
 
Oyeyemi’s tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation? What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours captivates as it explores the many possible answers.


Click for more detail about The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan The Bitter Side of Sweet

by Tara Sullivan
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Feb 23, 2016)
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For fans of Linda Sue Park and A Long Way Gone, two young boys must escape a life of slavery in modern-day Ivory Coast

Fifteen-year-old Amadou counts the things that matter. For two years what has mattered are the number of cacao pods he and his younger brother, Seydou, can chop down in a day. This number is very important. The higher the number the safer they are because the bosses won’t beat them. The higher the number the closer they are to paying off their debt and returning home to Moke and Auntie. Maybe. The problem is Amadou doesn’t know how much he and Seydou owe, and the bosses won’t tell him. The boys only wanted to make some money during the dry season to help their impoverished family. Instead they were tricked into forced labor on a plantation in the Ivory Coast; they spend day after day living on little food and harvesting beans in the hot sun—dangerous, backbreaking work. With no hope of escape, all they can do is try their best to stay alive—until Khadija comes into their lives.

She’s the first girl who’s ever come to camp, and she’s a wild thing. She fights bravely every day, attempting escape again and again, reminding Amadou what it means to be free. But finally, the bosses break her, and what happens next to the brother he has always tried to protect almost breaks Amadou. The old impulse to run is suddenly awakened. The three band together as family and try just once more to escape.

Tara Sullivan, the award-winning author of the astounding Golden Boy, delivers another powerful, riveting, and moving tale of children fighting to make a difference and be counted. Inspired by true-to-life events happening right now, The Bitter Side of Sweet is an exquisitely written tour de force not to be missed.


Click for more detail about Blue Laws: Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1995-2015 by Kevin Young Blue Laws: Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1995-2015

by Kevin Young
Knopf (Feb 02, 2016)
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A rich and lively gathering of highlights from the first twenty years of an extraordinary career, interspersed with “B sides” and “bonus tracks” from this prolific and widely acclaimed poet.

Blue Laws gathers poems written over the past two decades, drawing from all nine of Kevin Young’s previously published books of poetry and including a number of uncollected, often unpublished, poems. From his stunning lyric debut (Most Way Home, 1995) and the amazing “double album” life of Jean-Michel Basquiat (2001, “remixed” for Knopf in 2005), through his brokenhearted Jelly Roll: A Blues (2003) and his recent forays into adult grief and the joys of birth in Dear Darkness (2008) and Book of Hours (2014), this collection provides a grand tour of a poet whose personal poems and political poems are equally riveting. Together with wonderful outtakes and previously unseen blues, the profoundly felt poems here of family, Southern food, and loss are of a piece with the depth of personal sensibility and humanity found in his Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels or bold sequences such as “The Ballad of Jim Crow” and a new “Homage to Phillis Wheatley.”


Click for more detail about The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice by Patricia Bell-Scott The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice

by Patricia Bell-Scott
Alfred A. Knopf (Feb 02, 2016)
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A groundbreaking book—two decades in the works—that tells the story of how a brilliant writer-turned-activist, granddaughter of a mulatto slave, and the first lady of the United States, whose ancestry gave her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, forged an enduring friendship that changed each of their lives and helped to alter the course of race and racism in America.

Pauli Murray first saw Eleanor Roosevelt in 1933, at the height of the Depression, at a government-sponsored, two-hundred-acre camp for unemployed women where Murray was living, something the first lady had pushed her husband to set up in her effort to do what she could for working women and the poor. The first lady appeared one day unannounced, behind the wheel of her car, her secretary and a Secret Service agent her passengers. To Murray, then aged twenty-three, Roosevelt’s self-assurance was a symbol of women’s independence, a symbol that endured throughout Murray’s life.

Five years later, Pauli Murray, a twenty-eight-year-old aspiring writer, wrote a letter to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt protesting racial segregation in the South. The president’s staff forwarded Murray’s letter to the federal Office of Education. The first lady wrote back.

Murray’s letter was prompted by a speech the president had given at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, praising the school for its commitment to social progress. Pauli Murray had been denied admission to the Chapel Hill graduate school because of her race.

She wrote in her letter of 1938:

“Does it mean that Negro students in the South will be allowed to sit down with white students and study a problem which is fundamental and mutual to both groups? Does it mean that the University of North Carolina is ready to open its doors to Negro students . . . ? Or does it mean, that everything you said has no meaning for us as Negroes, that again we are to be set aside and passed over . . . ?”

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to Murray: “I have read the copy of the letter you sent me and I understand perfectly, but great changes come slowly . . . The South is changing, but don’t push too fast.”

So began a friendship between Pauli Murray (poet, intellectual rebel, principal strategist in the fight to preserve Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, cofounder of the National Organization for Women, and the first African American female Episcopal priest) and Eleanor Roosevelt (first lady of the United States, later first chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women) that would last for a quarter of a century.

Drawing on letters, journals, diaries, published and unpublished manuscripts, and interviews, Patricia Bell-Scott gives us the first close-up portrait of this evolving friendship and how it was sustained over time, what each gave to the other, and how their friendship changed the cause of American social justice.


Click for more detail about The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage by Daymond John The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage

by Daymond John
Crown Business (Jan 19, 2016)
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The instant New York Times bestseller from Shark Tank star and Fubu Founder Daymond John on why starting a business on a limited budget can be an entrepreneur’s greatest competitive advantage, showing how brands, companies, and start-ups can leverage the power of broke to achieve success, fame, and profit.

Daymond John has been practicing the power of broke ever since he started selling his home-sewn t-shirts on the streets of Queens. With no funding and a $40 budget, Daymond had to come up with out-of-the box ways to promote his products. Luckily, desperation breeds innovation, and so he hatched an idea for a creative campaign that eventually launched the FUBU brand into a $6 billion dollar global phenomenon.  But it might not have happened if he hadn’t started out broke - with nothing but a heart full of hope and a ferocious drive to succeed by any means possible.

Here, the FUBU founder and star of ABC’s Shark Tank shows that, far from being a liability, broke can actually be your greatest competitive advantage as an entrepreneur. Why?  Because starting a business from broke forces you to think more creatively.  It forces you to use your resources more efficiently. It forces you to connect with your customers more authentically, and market your ideas more imaginatively. It forces you to be true to yourself, stay laser focused on your goals, and come up with those innovative solutions required to make a meaningful mark. 

Drawing his own experiences as an entrepreneur and branding consultant, peeks behind-the scenes from the set of Shark Tank, and stories of dozens of other entrepreneurs who have hustled their way to wealth, John shows how we can all leverage the power of broke to phenomenal success. You’ll meet:

· Steve Aoki, the electronic dance music (EDM) deejay who managed to parlay a series of $100 gigs into becoming a global superstar who has redefined the music industry
· Gigi Butler, a cleaning lady from Nashville who built cupcake empire on the back of a family  recipe, her maxed out credit cards, and a heaping dose of faith
· 11-year old Shark Tank guest Mo Bridges who stitched together a winning clothing line with just his grandma’s sewing machine, a stash of loose fabric, and his unique sartorial flair

When your back is up against the wall, your bank account is empty, and creativity and passion are the only resources you can afford, success is your only option.  Here you’ll learn how to tap into that Power of Broke to scrape, hustle, and dream your way to the top. 

New York Times Bestseller
International Book Awards - Best Business Book of 2016


Click for more detail about A Tiny Piece of Sky by Shawn K. Stout A Tiny Piece of Sky

by Shawn K. Stout
Philomel Books (Jan 19, 2016)
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THE SUMMER STORY OF THREE SISTERS, ONE RESTUARANT, AND A (POSSIBLE) GERMAN SPY

World War II is coming in Europe. At least that’s what Frankie Baum heard on the radio. But from her small town in Maryland, in the wilting summer heat of 1939, the war is a world away.
 
Besides, there are too many other things to think about: first that Frankie’s father up and bought a restaurant without telling anyone and now she has to help in the kitchen, peeling potatoes and washing dishes, when she’d rather be racing to Wexler’s Five and Dime on her skates. Plus her favorite sister, Joanie Baloney, is away for the summer and hasn’t been answering any of Frankie’s letters.
 
But when some people in town start accusing her father of being a German spy, all of a sudden the war arrives at Frankie’s feet and she can think of nothing else.
 
Could the rumors be true? Frankie has to do some spying of her own to try to figure out her father’s secrets and clear his good name. What she discovers about him surprises everyone, but is nothing compared to what she discovers about the world.
 
In a heartfelt, charming, and insightful novel that is based on true events, Shawn K. Stout weaves a story about family secrets, intolerance, and coming of age that will keep readers guessing until the end.
 
Advance praise for A Tiny Piece of Sky:
 
“Shawn Stout’s Frankie Baum is that rare creation: a character so real, so true, we don’t just feel we know her—we are her. Irrepressible Frankie meets issues like prejudice and loyalty head on, in a story both highly entertaining and deeply thought-provoking. She may be #3 in her family, but she’ll be #1 in the hearts of all who read this book.”—Tricia Springstubb, author of What Happened on Fox Street

“At turns hilarious, at turns heartbreaking, Shawn Stout’s story shows us the damage that a whisper campaign can do to a family and a community, and at the same time shows us, each of us, a way to find our hearts. Frankie Baum is a hero from a distant time and yet a hero for all times, the kind of hero who never gets old. I loved this book from the very beginning to the very end.”—Kathi Appelt, author of the National Book Award finalist and Newbery Honor book The Underneath
 
"Stout uses an archly chummy direct address at several points, successfully and humorously breaking up tension in this cleareyed look at bad behavior by society….Successfully warmhearted and child-centered."—Kirkus Reviews


Click for more detail about American Ace by Marilyn Nelson American Ace

by Marilyn Nelson
Dial Books for Young Readers (Jan 12, 2016)
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This riveting novel in verse, perfect for fans of Jacqueline Woodson and Toni Morrison, explores American history and race through the eyes of a teenage boy embracing his newfound identity
 
Connor’s grandmother leaves his dad a letter when she dies, and the letter’s confession shakes their tight-knit Italian-American family: The man who raised Dad is not his birth father.
 
But the only clues to this birth father’s identity are a class ring and a pair of pilot’s wings. And so Connor takes it upon himself to investigate—a pursuit that becomes even more pressing when Dad is hospitalized after a stroke. What Connor discovers will lead him and his father to a new, richer understanding of race, identity, and each other.


Click for more detail about Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul

by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
Crown (Jan 12, 2016)
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A powerful polemic on the state of black America that savages the idea of a post-racial society
 
America’s great promise of equality has always rung hollow in the ears of African Americans. But today the situation has grown even more dire. From the murders of black youth by the police, to the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, to the disaster visited upon poor and middle-class black families by the Great Recession, it is clear that black America faces an emergency—at the very moment the election of the first black president has prompted many to believe we’ve solved America’s race problem.
 
Democracy in Black is Eddie S. Glaude Jr.’s impassioned response. Part manifesto, part history, part memoir, it argues that we live in a country founded on a “value gap”—with white lives valued more than others—that still distorts our politics today. Whether discussing why all Americans have racial habits that reinforce inequality, why black politics based on the civil-rights era have reached a dead end, or why only remaking democracy from the ground up can bring real change, Glaude crystallizes the untenable position of black America—and offers thoughts on a better way forward. Forceful in ideas and unsettling in its candor, Democracy In Black is a landmark book on race in America, one that promises to spark wide discussion as we move toward the end of our first black presidency.


Click for more detail about I am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer I am Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Brad Meltzer
Dial Books for Young Readers (Jan 05, 2016)
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We can all be heroes. That’s the inspiring message of this New York Times Bestselling picture book biography series from historian and author Brad Meltzer.
 
Even as a child, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shocked by the terrible and unfair way African-American people were treated. When he grew up, he decided to do something about it—peacefully, with powerful words. He helped gather people together for nonviolent protests and marches, and he always spoke up about loving other human beings and doing what’s right. He spoke about the dream of a kinder future, and bravely led the way toward racial equality in America.

This lively, New York Times Bestselling biography series inspires kids to dream big, one great role model at a time. You’ll want to collect each book.


Click for more detail about Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

by Mildred D. Taylor
Dial Books for Young Readers (Jan 05, 2016)
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A stunning repackage of Mildred D. Taylor’s Newbery Award-winning masterpiece with cover art by two-time Caldecott Honor Award winner Kadir Nelson and an introduction by Jacqueline Woodson, just in time for its 40th Anniversary! 

Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this is the story of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. And it is also Cassie’s story—Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, even as she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry also won the following awards and honors:

  • Newbery Medal winner
  • A National Book Award Nominee
  • American Book Award Honor Book
  • An ALA Notable Book
  • A NCSS-CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
  • A Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book


Click for more detail about Who Was George Washington Carver? by Jim Gigliotti Who Was George Washington Carver?

by Jim Gigliotti
Grosset & Dunlap (Dec 29, 2015)
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Born in 1860s Missouri, nobody expected George Washingtoni Carver to succeed. Slaves were not allowed to be educated. After the Civil War, Carver enrolled in classes and proved to be a star student. He became the first black student at Iowa State Agricultural College and later its first black professor. He went on to the Tuskegee Institute where he specialized in botany (the study of plants) and developed techniques to grow crops better. His work with vegetables, especially peanuts, made him famous and changed agriculture forever. He went on to develop nearly 100 household products and over 100 recipes using peanuts.


Click for more detail about Heroes of Black History by Bonnie Bader Heroes of Black History

by Bonnie Bader
Grosset & Dunlap (Dec 29, 2015)
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 A true hero not only rises to the occasion, but helps others rise with them. Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Robinson, and Rosa Parks are five extraordinary people who overcame adversity to claim their places in modern history. In this box set, discover the life and times of five icons of black history and celebrate the difference they made in the world. Over 560 pages and 400 illustrations.


Click for more detail about Who Was Sojourner Truth? by Yona Zeldis McDonough Who Was Sojourner Truth?

by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Grosset & Dunlap (Dec 29, 2015)
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Almost 100 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat, Sojourner Truth was mistreated by a streetcar conductor. She took him to court—and won! Before she was Sojourner Truth, she was known simply as Belle. Born a slave in New York sometime around 1797, she was later sold and separated from her family. Even after she escaped from slavery, she knew her work was not yet done. She changed her name and traveled, inspiring everyone she met and sharing her story until her death in 1883 at age eighty-six. In this easy-to-read biography, Yona Zeldis McDonough continues to share that remarkable story.


Click for more detail about A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties by Ben Carson A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties

by Ben Carson
Sentinel (Oct 06, 2015)
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Dear Reader,

Many people have wondered why I’ve been speaking out on controversial issues for the last few years. They say I’ve never held political office. I’m not a constitutional scholar. I’m not even a lawyer. All I can say to that is “Guilty as charged.”

It’s true that I’ve never voted for a budget America could not afford. I’ve never raised anyone’s taxes. And I’ve never promised a lobbyist anything in exchange for a donation.

Luckily, none of that really matters. Our founding fathers didn’t want a permanent governing class of professional politicians. They wanted a republic, in Lincoln’s words, "of the people, by the people, and for the people." A country where any farmer, small-business owner, manual laborer, or doctor could speak up and make a difference.

I believe that making a difference starts with understanding our amazing founding document, the U.S. Constitution. And as someone who has performed brain surgery thousands of times, I can assure you that the Constitution isn’t brain surgery.

The founders wrote it for ordinary men and women, in clear, precise, simple language. They intentionally made it short enough to read in a single sitting and to carry in your pocket.

I wrote this book to encourage every citizen to read and think about the Constitution, and to help defend it from those who misinterpret and undermine it. In our age of political correctness it’s especially important to defend the Bill of Rights, which guarantees our freedom to speak, bear arms, practice our religion, and much more.

The Constitution isn’t history—it’s about your life in America today. And defending it is about what kind of country our children and grandchildren will inherit.

I hope you’ll enjoy learning about the fascinating ways that the founders established the greatest democracy in history—and the ways that recent presidents, congresses, and courts have threatened that democracy.

As the Preamble says, the purpose of the Constitution is to create a more perfect union. My goal is to empower you to help protect that union and secure the blessings of liberty.

Sincerely,
Ben Carson


Click for more detail about The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can by Tererai Trent The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can

by Tererai Trent
Viking Books for Young Readers (Oct 06, 2015)
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An inspirational picture book autobiography from Oprah Winfrey’s "All-Time Favorite Guest” 

This is the story of a little girl with big dreams.

All the girl ever wanted was an education. But in Rhodesia, education for girls was nearly impossible.

So she taught herself to read and write with her brother’s schoolbooks and to count while watching cattle graze.

When the girl became a young wife and mother, she wrote her goals on a scrap of paper and buried them in a can—an ancient ritual that reminded her that she couldn’t give up on her dreams.

She dreamed of going to America and earning one degree; then a second, even higher; and a third, the highest. And she hoped to bring education to all the girls and boys of her village.

Would her dreams ever come true?

Illustrated with Jan Spivey Gilchrist’s graceful watercolors, Dr. Tererai Trent’s true story of perseverance is sure to inspire readers of all ages.


Click for more detail about Naughtier Than Nice by Eric Jerome Dickey Naughtier Than Nice

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Knopf (Oct 01, 2015)
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Click for more detail about Voyage of the Sable Venus: and Other Poems by Robin Coste Lewis Voyage of the Sable Venus: and Other Poems

by Robin Coste Lewis
Knopf (Sep 29, 2015)
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A stunning poetry debut: this meditation on the black female figure throughout time introduces us to a brave and penetrating new voice.
 
Robin Coste Lewis’s electrifying collection is a triptych that begins and ends with lyric poems considering the roles desire and race play in the construction of the self. The central panel is the title poem, “Voyage of the Sable Venus,” a riveting narrative made up entirely of titles of artworks from ancient times to the present—titles that feature or in some way comment on the black female figure in Western art. Bracketed by Lewis’s autobiographical poems, “Voyage” is a tender and shocking study of the fragmentary mysteries of stereotype, as it juxtaposes our names for things with what we actually see and know. Offering a new understanding of biography and the self, this collection questions just where, historically, do ideas about the black female figure truly begin—five hundred years ago, five thousand, or even longer? And what role has art played in this ancient, often heinous story? From the “Young Black Female Carrying / a Perfume Vase” to a “Little Brown Girl / Girl Standing in a Tree / First Day of Voluntary / School Integration,” this poet adores her culture and the beauty to be found within it. Yet she is also a cultural critic alert to the nuances of race and desire and how they define us all, including herself, as she explores her own sometimes painful history. Lewis’s book is a thrilling aesthetic anthem to the complexity of race—a full embrace of its pleasure and horror, in equal parts.


Click for more detail about Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America by Wil Haygood Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America

by Wil Haygood
Knopf (Sep 15, 2015)
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Thurgood Marshall brought down the separate-but-equal doctrine, integrated schools, and not only fought for human rights and human dignity but also made them impossible to deny in the courts and in the streets. In this stunning new biography, award- winning author Wil Haygood surpasses the emotional impact of his inspiring best seller The Butler to detail the life and career of one of the most transformative legal minds of the past one hundred years.

Using the framework of the dramatic, contentious five-day Senate hearing to confirm Marshall as the first African-American Supreme Court justice, Haygood creates a provocative and moving look at Marshall’s life as well as the politicians, lawyers, activists, and others who shaped—or desperately tried to stop—the civil rights movement of the twentieth century: President Lyndon Johnson; Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., whose scandals almost cost Marshall the Supreme Court judgeship; Harry and Harriette Moore, the Florida NAACP workers killed by the KKK; Justice J. Waties Waring, a racist lawyer from South Carolina, who, after being appointed to the federal court, became such a champion of civil rights that he was forced to flee the South; John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy; Senator Strom Thurmond, the renowned racist from South Carolina, who had a secret black mistress and child; North Carolina senator Sam Ervin, who tried to use his Constitutional expertise to block Marshall’s appointment; Senator James Eastland of Mississippi, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who stated that segregation was “the law of nature, the law of God”; Arkansas senator John McClellan, who, as a boy, after Teddy Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dinner at the White House, wrote a prize-winning school essay proclaiming that Roosevelt had destroyed the integrity of the presidency; and so many others.

This galvanizing book makes clear that it is impossible to overestimate Thurgood Marshall’s lasting influence on the racial politics of our nation.

Pulitzer Prize-winning, Harvard professor Annette Gordon-Reed reviews Wil Haygood’s new book.


Click for more detail about The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, A Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken by Wendell Pierce and Rod Dreher The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, A Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken

by Wendell Pierce and Rod Dreher
Riverhead Books (Sep 08, 2015)
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2016 Christopher Award Winner From acclaimed actor and producer Wendell Pierce, an insightful and poignant portrait of family, New Orleans and the transforming power of art.

On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina barreled into New Orleans, devastating many of the city’s neighborhoods, including Pontchartrain Park, the home of Wendell Pierce’s family and the first African American middle-class subdivision in New Orleans. The hurricane breached many of the city’s levees, and the resulting flooding submerged Pontchartrain Park under as much as 20 feet of water. Katrina left New Orleans later that day, but for the next three days the water kept relentlessly gushing into the city, plunging eighty percent of New Orleans under water. Nearly 1,500 people were killed. Half the houses in the city had four feet of water in them—or more. There was no electricity or clean water in the city; looting and the breakdown of civil order soon followed. Tens of thousands of New Orleanians were stranded in the city, with no way out; many more evacuees were displaced, with no way back in.

Pierce and his family were some of the lucky ones: They survived and were able to ride out the storm at a relative’s house 70 miles away. When they were finally allowed to return, they found their family home in tatters, their neighborhood decimated. Heartbroken but resilient, Pierce vowed to help rebuild, and not just his family’s home, but all of Pontchartrain Park.

In this powerful and redemptive narrative, Pierce brings together the stories of his family, his city, and his history, why they are all worth saving and the critical importance art played in reuniting and revitalizing this unique American city.


Click for more detail about Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton Full Cicada Moon

by Marilyn Hilton
Dial Books for Young Readers (Sep 08, 2015)
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Inside Out and Back Again meets One Crazy Summer and Brown Girl Dreaming in this novel-in-verse about fitting in and standing up for what’s right

It’s 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Suddenly, Mimi’s appearance is all anyone notices. She struggles to fit in with her classmates, even as she fights for her right to stand out by entering science competitions and joining Shop Class instead of Home Ec. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade—no matter how many times she’s told no.

This historical middle-grade novel is told in poems from Mimi’s perspective over the course of one year in her new town, and shows readers that positive change can start with just one person speaking up.


Click for more detail about Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson Negroland: A Memoir

by Margo Jefferson
Pantheon Books (Sep 08, 2015)
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New York Times Bestseller

At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac—here is a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, and American culture through the prism of the author’s rarefied upbringing and education among a black elite concerned with distancing itself from whites and the black generality while tirelessly measuring itself against both.
 
Born in upper-crust black Chicago—her father was for years head of pediatrics at Provident, at the time the nation’s oldest black hospital; her mother was a socialite—Margo Jefferson has spent most of her life among (call them what you will) the colored aristocracy, the colored elite, the blue-vein society. Since the nineteenth century they have stood apart, these inhabitants of Negroland, “a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty.”

Reckoning with the strictures and demands of Negroland at crucial historical moments—the civil rights movement, the dawn of feminism, the fallacy of postracial America—Jefferson brilliantly charts the twists and turns of a life informed by psychological and moral contradictions. Aware as it is of heart-wrenching despair and depression, this book is a triumphant paean to the grace of perseverance.

(With 8 pages of black-and-white photographs.)


Click for more detail about Tales of Two Cities: The Best and Worst of Times in Today’s New York by Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, Teju Cole, John Freeman, and others… Tales of Two Cities: The Best and Worst of Times in Today’s New York

by Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, Teju Cole, John Freeman, and others…
Penguin Books (Sep 08, 2015)
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Thirty major contemporary writers examine life in a deeply divided New York
 
In a city where the top one percent earns more than a half-million dollars per year while twenty-five thousand children are homeless, public discourse about our entrenched and worsening wealth gap has never been more sorely needed. This remarkable anthology is the literary world’s response, with leading lights including Zadie Smith, Junot Díaz, and Lydia Davis bearing witness to the experience of ordinary New Yorkers in extraordinarily unequal circumstances. Through fiction and reportage, these writers convey the indignities and heartbreak, the callousness and solidarities, of living side by side with people of starkly different means. They shed light on the subterranean lives of homeless people who must find a bed in the city’s tunnels; the stresses that gentrification can bring to neighbors in a Brooklyn apartment block; the shenanigans of seriously alienated night-shift paralegals; the trials of a housing defendant standing up for tenants’ rights; and the humanity that survives in the midst of a deeply divided city. Tales of Two Cities is a brilliant, moving, and ultimately galvanizing clarion call for a city—and a nation—in crisis.


Click for more detail about Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Football: Classic Super Bowls! Amazing Playmakers! Historic Dynasties! And Much, Much More! by Howard Bryant Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Football: Classic Super Bowls! Amazing Playmakers! Historic Dynasties! And Much, Much More!

by Howard Bryant
Philomel Books (Sep 08, 2015)
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From Lombardi’s Packers through Brady and the Patriots, here is the ultimate look at the greatest sporting event in America — the Super Bowl — through its greatest quarterbacks, coaches, and highlight-reel plays.

In the second book of the LEGENDS series, ESPN’s Howard Bryant delivers THE gridiron guide to most exciting event in sports: the Super Bowl!

In this day and age, the gridiron reigns supreme. Football is America’s most popular sport and the NFL’s star players are instant celebrities with die-hard fans who live and die with each win or loss. And our collective obsession with the game begins when we’re just kids and culminates each year on what has become the equivalent of a national holiday—Super Bowl Sunday.

Recounting momentous stories of football’s past and present, and accompanied by iconic photos, Top Ten Lists to chew on and debate, and a Top 40-style Timeline of Key Moments, this comprehensive collection details twenty of the greatest Super Bowls in NFL history—and expands on their relevance within the larger scope of dynasties, giants of the coaching world, and marquee players making history. From the upsets to the blowouts to the nail-biting finishes, this is the perfect book for young fans eager to kick off their football schooling.“With the LEGENDS series, Howard Bryant brings to life the best that sports has to offer—the heroes, the bitter rivalries, the moments that every sports-loving kid should know.”—Mike Lupica, #1 bestselling author of Travel Team, Heat, and Fantasy League


Click for more detail about Pieces of Why by K. L. Going Pieces of Why

by K. L. Going
Kathy Dawson Books (Sep 08, 2015)
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From the award winning author of Fat Kid Rules the World and The Liberation of Gabriel King comes a lyrical, middle grade gem that asks all the hard questions and hits all the right notes—perfect for fans of Cynthia Rylant and Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Tia lives with her mom in a high-risk neighborhood in New Orleans and loves singing gospel in the Rainbow Choir with Keisha, her boisterous and assertive best friend. Tia’s dream is to change the world with her voice; and by all accounts, she might be talented enough. But when a shooting happens in her neighborhood and she learns the truth about the crime that sent her father to prison years ago, Tia finds she can’t sing anymore. The loss prompts her to start asking the people in her community hard questions—questions everyone has always been too afraid to ask.

Full of humanity, Pieces of Why is a timely story that addresses grief, healing, and forgiveness, told through the eyes of a gifted girl who hears rhythm and song everywhere in her life.


Click for more detail about Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation

by Edwidge Danticat
Dial Books for Young Readers (Sep 01, 2015)
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A touching tale of parent-child separation and immigration, from a National Book Award finalist

After Saya’s mother is sent to an immigration detention center, Saya finds comfort in listening to her mother’s warm greeting on their answering machine. To ease the distance between them while she’s in jail, Mama begins sending Saya bedtime stories inspired by Haitian folklore on cassette tape. Moved by her mother’s tales and her father’s attempts to reunite their family, Saya writes a story of her own—one that just might bring her mother home for good.

With stirring illustrations, this tender tale shows the human side of immigration and imprisonment—and shows how every child has the power to make a difference.


Click for more detail about Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon Everything, Everything

by Nicola Yoon
Delacorte Press (Sep 01, 2015)
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Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. She is content enough—until a boy with eyes the color of the Atlantic Ocean moves in next door. Their complicated romance begins over IM and grows through a wunderkammer of vignettes, illustrations, charts, and more.

Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.

PRAISE FOR EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING


Click for more detail about Don’t Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche Don’t Fail Me Now

by Una LaMarche
Razorbill (Sep 01, 2015)
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From the author of Like No Other, the novel Entertainment Weekly calls "One of the most poignant and star-crossed love stories since The Fault in Our Stars": What if the last hope to save your family is the person who broke it up to begin with?

"Fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Sharon Flake will find much to love in [Don’t Fail Me Now]." 
—School Library Journal
 
Michelle and her little siblings Cass and Denny are African-American and living on the poverty line in urban Baltimore, struggling to keep it together with their mom in jail and only Michelle’s part-time job at the Taco Bell to sustain them.
 
Leah and her stepbrother Tim are white and middle class from suburban Maryland, with few worries beyond winning lacrosse games and getting college applications in on time.
 
Michelle and Leah only have one thing in common: Buck Devereaux, the biological father who abandoned them when they were little.
 
After news trickles back to them that Buck is dying, they make the uneasy decision to drive across country to his hospice in California. Leah hopes for closure; Michelle just wants to give him a piece of her mind.
 
Five people in a failing, old station wagon, living off free samples at food courts across America, and the most pressing question on Michelle’s mind is: Who will break down first—herself or the car? All the signs tell her they won’t make it. But Michelle has heard that her whole life, and it’s never stopped her before….
 
Una LaMarche triumphs once again with this rare and compassionate look at how racial and social privilege affects one family in crisis in both subtle and astonishing ways.


Click for more detail about The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami The Moor’s Account

by Laila Lalami
Vintage Books (Aug 18, 2015)
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**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.


Click for more detail about Who Asked You? by Terry McMillan Who Asked You?

by Terry McMillan
Penguin Group USA (Aug 04, 2015)
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When Who Asked You? begins, Trinetta leaves her two young sons with her mother, Betty Jean, and promptly disappears. BJ already has her hands full dealing with her other adult children, two opinionated sisters, an ill husband, and her own postponed dreams—all the while holding down a job delivering room service at a hotel.

Her son Dexter is about to be paroled from prison; Quentin, the family success, can’t be bothered to lend a hand; and taking care of two lively grandsons is the last thing BJ thinks she needs. But who asked her?


Click for more detail about Pointe by Brandy Colbert Pointe

by Brandy Colbert
Speak (Aug 04, 2015)
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Speak meets Black Swan in this stunningly dramatic debut novel

All that drama, plus pointe shoes? Yes, please: this is one book that’s bound to make a splash

Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.


Click for more detail about Like No Other by Una LaMarche Like No Other

by Una LaMarche
Razorbill (Jul 14, 2015)
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Fitting seamlessly alongside current bestsellers like Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, and John Green’s Paper Towns, LIKE NO OTHER provides a thoroughly modern take on romance that will inspire laughter, tears, and the belief that love can happen when you least expect it. 

"Electrifying…surprisingly seductive. LaMarche expertly conjures up what high-stakes infatuation feels like." —The New York Times Book Review
 
"[A] refreshing tale of forbidden love."—People Magazine

“One of the most poignant and star-crossed love stories since The Fault in Our Stars.” —Entertainment Weekly

Fate brought them together. Will life tear them apart? Devorah is a consummate good girl who has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing. Jaxon is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters). They’ve spent their entire lives in Brooklyn, on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed…until one day, they did. 

When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair becomes stranded in an elevator together, where fate leaves them no choice but to make an otherwise risky connection. Though their relationship is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jaxon arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. But how far can they go? Just how much are they willing to give up?


Click for more detail about Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates Between The World And Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Spiegel & Grau (Jul 01, 2015)
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Debuted #1 New York Times Best Seller • Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” (The New York Observer
“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”
 
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
 
Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson The Star Side of Bird Hill

by Naomi Jackson
Penguin Press (Jun 30, 2015)
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Two sisters are suddenly sent from their home in Brooklyn to Barbados to live with their grandmother, in this stunning debut novel.

This lyrical novel of community, betrayal, and love centers on an unforgettable matriarchal family in Barbados. Two sisters, ages ten and sixteen, are exiled from Brooklyn to Bird Hill in Barbados after their mother can no longer care for them. The young Phaedra and her older sister, Dionne, live for the summer of 1989 with their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and practitioner of the local spiritual practice of obeah.

Dionne spends the summer in search of love, testing her grandmother’s limits, and wanting to go home. Phaedra explores Bird Hill, where her family has lived for generations, accompanies her grandmother in her role as a midwife, and investigates their mother’s mysterious life.

This tautly paced coming-of-age story builds to a crisis when the father they barely know comes to Bird Hill to reclaim his daughters, and both Phaedra and Dionne must choose between the Brooklyn they once knew and loved or the Barbados of their family.

Jackson’s Barbados and her characters are singular, especially the wise Hyacinth and the heartbreaking young Phaedra, who is coming into her own as a young woman amid the tumult of her family.


Click for more detail about Make It Messy: My Perfectly Imperfect Life by Marcus Samuelsson Make It Messy: My Perfectly Imperfect Life

by Marcus Samuelsson
Delacorte Press (Jun 09, 2015)
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In this inspirational autobiography, world-famous chef Marcus Samuelsson tells his extraordinary story and encourages young people to embrace their mistakes and follow their dreams. Based on his highly praised adult memoir, Yes, Chef, this young adult edition includes an 8-page black-and-white family photo insert.

Marcus Samuelsson’s life and his journey to the top of the food world have been anything but typical. Orphaned in Ethiopia, he was adopted by a loving couple in Sweden, where his new grandmother taught him to cook and inspired in him a lifelong passion for food. In time, that passion would lead him to train and cook in some of the finest, most demanding kitchens in Europe.

Samuelsson’s talent and ambition eventually led him to fulfill his dream of opening his own restaurant in New York City: Red Rooster Harlem, a highly acclaimed, multicultural dining room, where presidents rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, and bus drivers. A place where anyone can feel at home.

"’Step up to the challenge; don’t avoid it. Win or lose, take the shot.’ Samuelsson neatly serves up inspiration and food for thought."—Kirkus Reviews

"The perfect book for teen foodies and a great choice for others, thanks to its . . .  compelling story . . .  and sound advice."—VOYA

"A delightful read. . . .Samuelsson effectively connects his love of food to his personal journey."—School Library Journal


Click for more detail about Loving Day: A Novel by Mat Johnson Loving Day: A Novel

by Mat Johnson
Spiegel & Grau (May 26, 2015)
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Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle • NPR • Men’s Journal • The Denver Post • Slate • Time Out New York

From the author of the critically beloved Pym (“Imagine Kurt Vonnegut having a beer with Ralph Ellison and Jules Verne.”—Vanity Fair) comes a ruthlessly comic and moving tale of a man discovering a lost daughter, confronting an elusive ghost, and stumbling onto the possibility of utopia.

“In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father’s house.”

Warren Duffy has returned to America for all the worst reasons: His marriage to a beautiful Welsh woman has come apart; his comics shop in Cardiff has failed; and his Irish American father has died, bequeathing to Warren his last possession, a roofless, half-renovated mansion in the heart of black Philadelphia. On his first night in his new home, Warren spies two figures outside in the grass. When he screws up the nerve to confront them, they disappear. The next day he encounters ghosts of a different kind: In the face of a teenage girl he meets at a comics convention he sees the mingled features of his white father and his black mother, both now dead. The girl, Tal, is his daughter, and she’s been raised to think she’s white.

Spinning from these revelations, Warren sets off to remake his life with a reluctant daughter he’s never known, in a haunted house with a history he knows too well. In their search for a new life, he and Tal struggle with ghosts, fall in with a utopian mixed-race cult, and ignite a riot on Loving Day, the unsung holiday for interracial lovers.

A frequently hilarious, surprisingly moving story about blacks and whites, fathers and daughters, the living and the dead, Loving Day celebrates the wonders of opposites bound in love.

Praise for Loving Day

“Incisive . . . razor-sharp . . . that rare mélange: cerebral comedy with pathos. The vitality of our narrator deserves much of the credit for that. He has the neurotic bawdiness of Philip Roth’s Alexander Portnoy; the keen, caustic eye of Bob Jones in Chester Himes’s If He Hollers Let Him Go; the existential insight of Ellison’s Invisible Man.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Exceptional . . . To say that Loving Day is a book about race is like saying Moby-Dick is a book about whales. . . . [Mat Johnson’s] unrelenting examination of blackness, whiteness and everything in between is handled with ruthless candor and riotous humor. . . . Even when the novel’s family strife and racial politics are at peak intensity, Johnson’s comic timing is impeccable.”—Los Angeles Times

“Loving Day is about being blackish in America, a subject about which Johnson has emerged as satirist, historian, spy, social media trickster (follow him on Twitter) and demon-fingered blues guitarist. . . . Johnson, at his best, is a powerful comic observer [and] a gifted writer, always worth reading on the topics of race and privilege.’”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times


Click for more detail about And Sometimes I Wonder About You: A Leonid Mcgill Mystery (Leonid Mcgill Mysteries) by Walter Mosley And Sometimes I Wonder About You: A Leonid Mcgill Mystery (Leonid Mcgill Mysteries)

by Walter Mosley
Knopf (May 01, 2015)
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Click for more detail about Child, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself by Ylonda Gault Caviness Child, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself

by Ylonda Gault Caviness
TarcherPerigee (May 01, 2015)
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Book Review

Click for more detail about God Help the Child: A Novel by Toni Morrison God Help the Child: A Novel

by Toni Morrison
Knopf (Apr 21, 2015)
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Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the center: a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life; but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish . . . Booker, the man Bride loves and loses, whose core of anger was born in the wake of the childhood murder of his beloved brother . . . Rain, the mysterious white child, who finds in Bride the only person she can talk to about the abuse she's suffered at the hands of her prostitute mother . . . and Sweetness, Bride's mother, who takes a lifetime to understand that "what you do to children matters. And they might never forget."


Click for more detail about One Night by Eric Jerome Dickey One Night

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Knopf (Apr 21, 2015)
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The New York Times bestselling author checks in to the hotel of readers’ dreams for an ardent romantic adventure that lasts just One Night.

For one night, a couple checks in to an upscale hotel. The pair seem unlikely companions, from opposing strata of society, but their attraction is palpable to all who observe them—or overhear their cries of passion. In the course of twelve hours, con games, erotic interludes, jealousy, violence, and murder swirl around them. Will they part ways in bliss, in sorrow, or in death?

Filled with all the hallmarks of an Eric Jerome Dickey bestseller—erotic situations, edge-of-your-seat twists and turns, and fun, believable relationships—One Night will delight Dickey’s existing fans and lure countless new ones.


Click for more detail about Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin Michelle Obama: A Life

by Peter Slevin
Knopf (Apr 07, 2015)
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An inspiring story of a modern American icon, here is the first comprehensive account of the life and times of Michelle Obama. With disciplined reporting and a storyteller’s eye for revealing detail, Peter Slevin follows Michelle to the White House from her working-class childhood on Chicago’s largely segregated South Side. He illuminates her tribulations at Princeton University and Harvard Law School during the racially charged 1980s and the dilemmas she faced in Chicago while building a high-powered career, raising a family and helping a young community organizer named Barack Obama become president of the United States. From the lessons she learned in Chicago to the messages she shares as one of the most recognizable women in the world, the story of this First Lady is the story of America. Michelle Obama: A Life is a fresh and compelling view of a woman of unique achievement and purpose.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Pleasantville (Jay Porter Series) by Attica Locke Pleasantville (Jay Porter Series)

by Attica Locke
Knopf (Apr 01, 2015)
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From Attica Locke, a writer and producer of FOX’s Empire, this sophisticated thriller sees lawyer Jay Porter—hero of her bestseller Black Water Rising—return to fight one last case, only to become embroiled in a dangerous game of shadowy politics and a witness to how far those in power are willing to go to win.

Fifteen years after his career-defining case against Cole Oil, Jay Porter is broke and tired. That victory might have won the environmental lawyer fame, but thanks to a string of appeals, he hasn't seen a dime. His latest case—representing Pleasantville in the wake of a chemical fire—is dragging on, shaking his confidence and raising doubts about him within this upwardly mobile black community on Houston's north side. Though Jay still believes in doing what's right, he is done fighting other people's battles. Once he has his piece of the settlement, the single father is going to devote himself to what matters most—his children.

His plans are abruptly derailed when a female campaign volunteer vanishes on the night of Houston's mayoral election, throwing an already contentious campaign into chaos. The accused is none other than the nephew and campaign manager of one of the leading candidates—a scion of a prominent Houston family headed by the formidable Sam Hathorne. Despite all the signs suggesting that his client is guilty—and his own misgivings—Jay can't refuse when a man as wealthy and connected as Sam asks him to head up the defense. Not if he wants that new life with his kids. But he has to win.

Plunging into a shadowy world of ambitious enemies and treacherous allies armed with money, lies, and secrets, Jay reluctantly takes on his first murder trial—a case that will put him and his client, and an entire political process, on trial.


Click for more detail about Ordinary Light: A Memoir by Tracy K. Smith Ordinary Light: A Memoir

by Tracy K. Smith
Knopf (Mar 31, 2015)
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National Book Award Finalist

From the dazzlingly original Pulitzer Prize-winning poet hailed for her “extraordinary range and ambition” (The New York Times Book Review): a quietly potent memoir that explores coming-of-age and the meaning of home against a complex backdrop of race, faith, and the unbreakable bond between a mother and daughter.

The youngest of five children, Tracy K. Smith was raised with limitless affection and a firm belief in God by a stay-at-home mother and an engineer father. But just as Tracy is about to leave home for college, her mother is diagnosed with cancer, a condition she accepts as part of God’s plan. Ordinary Light is the story of a young woman struggling to fashion her own understanding of belief, loss, history, and what it means to be black in America.

In lucid, clear prose, Smith interrogates her childhood in suburban California, her first collision with independence at Harvard, and her Alabama-born parents’ recollections of their own youth in the Civil Rights era. These dizzying juxtapositions—of her family’s past, her own comfortable present, and the promise of her future—will in due course compel Tracy to act on her passions for love and “ecstatic possibility,” and her desire to become a writer.

Shot through with exquisite lyricism, wry humor, and an acute awareness of the beauty of everyday life, Ordinary Light is a gorgeous kaleidoscope of self and family, one that skillfully combines a child’s and teenager’s perceptions with adult retrospection. Here is a universal story of being and becoming, a classic portrait of the ways we find and lose ourselves amid the places we call home.


Click for more detail about The Complete Poetry by Maya Angelou The Complete Poetry

by Maya Angelou
Random House (Mar 31, 2015)
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Throughout her illustrious career in letters, Maya Angelou gifted, healed, and inspired the world with her words. Now the beauty and spirit of those words live on in this new and complete collection of poetry that reflects and honors the writer’s remarkable life.
 
Every poetic phrase, every poignant verse can be found within the pages of this sure-to-be-treasured volume—from her reflections on African American life and hardship in the compilation Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ’fore I Diiie (“Though there’s one thing that I cry for / I believe enough to die for / That is every man’s responsibility to man”) to her revolutionary celebrations of womanhood in the poem “Still I Rise” (“Out of the huts of history’s shame / I rise / Up from a past that’s rooted in pain / I rise”) to her “On the Pulse of Morning” tribute at President William Jefferson Clinton’s inauguration (“Lift up your eyes upon / The day breaking for you. / Give birth again / To the dream.”).
 
Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry also features her final long-form poems, including “A Brave and Startling Truth,” “Amazing Peace,” “His Day Is Done,” and the honest and endearing Mother:
 
“I feared if I let you go
You would leave me eternally.
You smiled at my fears, saying
I could not stay in your lap forever”
 
This collection also includes the never-before-published poem “Amazement Awaits,” commissioned for the 2008 Olympic Games:
 
“We are here at the portal of the world we had wished for
At the lintel of the world we most need.
We are here roaring and singing.
We prove that we can not only make peace, we can bring it with us.”
 
Timeless and prescient, this definitive compendium will warm the hearts of Maya Angelou’s most ardent admirers as it introduces new readers to the legendary poet, activist, and teacher—a phenomenal woman for the ages.


Click for more detail about Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee Under a Painted Sky

by Stacey Lee
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Mar 17, 2015)
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Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a
professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder
still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of
fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life.
With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town
for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for
two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys
headed for the California gold rush.

Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to
their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when
they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn
out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new
setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not
many places to hide on the open trail.

An unforgettable story of friendship and sacrifice—perfect for fans of
Code Name Verity.


Click for more detail about Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Baseball: World Series Heroics! Greatest Homerun Hitters! Classic Rivalries! And Much, Much More! by Howard Bryant Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Baseball: World Series Heroics! Greatest Homerun Hitters! Classic Rivalries! And Much, Much More!

by Howard Bryant
Philomel Books (Mar 03, 2015)
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“With the LEGENDS series, Howard Bryant brings to life the best that sports has to offer—the heroes, the bitter rivalries, the moments that every sports-loving kid should know.”—Mike Lupica, #1 bestselling author of Travel Team, Heat, and Fantasy League

Experience baseball’s most exciting moments, World Series heroics, greatest players, and more!

Baseball, America’s pastime, is a sport of moments that stand the test of time. It is equally a sport of a new generation of heroes, whose exploits inspire today’s young fans. This combination makes for a winning debut in Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Baseball.

This is no traditional almanac of mundane statistics, but rather a storyteller’s journey through baseball’s storied game. Told in fun, accessible chapters and accompanied by iconic photos, a slew of Top Ten lists for kids to chew on and debate, and a Timeline of the 40 Most Important Moments in Baseball History, this collection covers some of the greatest players from Babe Ruth to Hank Aaron; the greatest teams to take the field and swing the bats; the greatest social triggers, such as Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier; the greatest playoff rivalries, including the 2004 showdown between the Red Sox and Yankees that turned into an instant classic; and, of course, the edge-of-your-seat World Series moments that left some cheering while others wept. This is the perfect book for young fans eager to learn more about the sport that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Praise for LEGENDS:

An Amazon Best Book of the Month!

* "A terrific gathering of heroic hacks and legendary near misses."—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

* "Each story is engaging and offers readers a glimpse into baseball’s past and American history. [A] terrific addition to engage reluctant readers."—School Library Connection, STARRED REVIEW"[T]his is clearly a book for sports lovers. A strong choice for rounding out sports collections, this work knocks it out of the park."—School Library Journal

"Any fan of baseball will enjoy this compilation . . . Fans of all ages will find this a useful guide; teachers might find this an interesting mentor text for a student reporting on a particular topic since the approach is unique."—VOYA

"[T]his book will attract all manner of analysis and discussion among lovers of America’s favorite pastime. Fans of other sports will cheer: this is only the first in a series devoted to sports."—Booklist


Click for more detail about Welcome to Braggsville: A Novel by T. Geronimo Johnson Welcome to Braggsville: A Novel

by T. Geronimo Johnson
Penguin Books (Feb 17, 2015)
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From the PEN/Faulkner finalist and critically acclaimed author of Hold It ’Til It Hurts comes a dark and socially provocative Southern-fried comedy about four UC Berkeley students who stage a dramatic protest during a Civil War reenactment—a fierce, funny, tragic work from a bold new writer.Welcome to Braggsville. The City that Love Built in the Heart of Georgia. Population 712Born and raised in the heart of old Dixie, D’aron Davenport finds himself in unfamiliar territory his freshman year at UC Berkeley. Two thousand miles and a world away from his childhood, he is a small-town fish floundering in the depths of a large, hyper-liberal pond. Caught between the prosaic values of his rural hometown and the intellectualized multicultural cosmopolitanism of Berzerkeley, the nineteen-year-old white kid is uncertain about his place until one disastrous party brings him three idiosyncratic best friends: Louis, a “kung-fu comedian" from California; Candice, an earnest do-gooder claiming Native roots from Iowa; and Charlie, an introspective inner-city black teen from Chicago. They dub themselves the “4 Little Indians.”But everything changes in the group’s alternative history class, when D’aron lets slip that his hometown hosts an annual Civil War reenactment, recently rebranded “Patriot Days.” His announcement is met with righteous indignation, and inspires Candice to suggest a “performative intervention” to protest the reenactment. Armed with youthful self-importance, makeshift slave costumes, righteous zeal, and their own misguided ideas about the South, the 4 Little Indians descend on Braggsville. Their journey through backwoods churches, backroom politics, Waffle Houses, and drunken family barbecues is uproarious to start, but will have devastating consequences.With the keen wit of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and the deft argot of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, T. Geronimo Johnson has written an astonishing, razor-sharp satire. Using a panoply of styles and tones, from tragicomic to Southern Gothic, he skewers issues of class, race, intellectual and political chauvinism, Obamaism, social media, and much more.A literary coming-of-age novel for a new generation, written with tremendous social insight and a unique, generous heart, Welcome to Braggsville reminds us of the promise and perils of youthful exuberance, while painting an indelible portrait of contemporary America.


Click for more detail about Ruby by Cynthia Bond Ruby

by Cynthia Bond
Knopf (Feb 10, 2015)
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The newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection

The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her, this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby Bell, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city—the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village—all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom’s Juke, to Celia Jennings’s kitchen, where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.

Shortlisted for the 2015 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction


Click for more detail about We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie We Should All Be Feminists

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Anchor (Feb 03, 2015)
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In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.


Click for more detail about The Love Playbook: Rules for Love, Sex, and Happiness by La La Anthony and Karen Hunter The Love Playbook: Rules for Love, Sex, and Happiness

by La La Anthony and Karen Hunter
Celebra (Feb 03, 2015)
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#1 New York Times Bestseller

La La Anthony shares her one-of-a-kind rules on matters of the heart.

Star of VH1’s La La’s Full Court Life, actress, entrepreneur, and wife of New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, La La Anthony found love and success on her own terms. But before La La was a strong woman balancing a growing career, a high-profile marriage, and motherhood, she suffered through bad dates, tumultuous relationships, and backstabbing friends. She learned the hard way how to rise above it all to live the life she loves.

Now La La channels those lessons into a personal playbook, providing empowering go-to advice for healthy relationships and a happy life. Candidly, she draws on her personal experiences, revealing intimate details about her marriage and past relationships to illustrate what she’s learned the hard way: from teaching your man the right way to treat a woman to dealing with a fickle friend and, of course, how to snag a baller. Through her non-nonsense advice on dating, love, marriage, and more, you will learn how to take control of your relationships, rise above adversity, and live your life by your rules.

The Love Playbook is the everywoman guide to dating, finding love, building healthy relationships, and staying true to yourself along the way.

“The first rule of love is that the ball is in the woman’s court.”


Click for more detail about Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

by Jill Leovy
Spiegel & Grau (Jan 27, 2015)
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE,

USA TODAY,

AND CHICAGO TRIBUNE

A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder, a relentless detective, and the great plague of homicide in America NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

NAMED

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review The Washington Post The Boston Globe

The Economist The Globe and Mail

BookPage

Kirkus Reviews On a warm spring evening in South Los Angeles, a young man is shot and killed on a sidewalk minutes away from his home, one of the thousands of black Americans murdered that year. His assailant runs down the street, jumps into an SUV, and vanishes, hoping to join the scores of killers in American cities who are never arrested for their crimes. But as soon as the case is assigned to Detective John Skaggs, the odds shift. Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential, but mostly ignored, American murder—a ghettoside killing, one young black man slaying another—and a brilliant and driven cadre of detectives whose creed is to pursue justice for forgotten victims at all costs. Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of why murder happens in our cities—and how the epidemic of killings might yet be stopped. Praise for Ghettoside A serious and kaleidoscopic achievement… [Jill

Leovy is] a crisp writer with a crisp mind and the ability to boil entire skies of information into hard journalistic rain.—Dwight Garner,

The New York Times Masterful… gritty reporting that matches the police work behind it.—Los Angeles Times Moving and engrossing.—San Francisco Chronicle Penetrating and heartbreaking…

Ghettoside

points out how relatively little America has cared even as recently as the last decade about the value of young black men’s lives.—USA Today Functions both as a snappy police procedural and—more significantly—as a searing indictment of legal neglect… Leovy’s powerful testimony demands respectful attention.—The Boston Globe Gritty, heart-wrenching… Everyone needs to read this book.—Michael Connelly Ghettoside is remarkable: a deep anatomy of lawlessness.—Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal [Leovy writes] with grace and artistry, and controlled—but bone-deep—outrage in her new book.…

The most important book about urban violence in a generation.—The Washington Post Riveting… This timely book could not be more important.—Associated Press Leovy’s relentless reporting has produced a book packed with valuable, hard-won insights—and it serves as a crucial, 366-page reminder that ‘black lives matter.’ —The New York Times Book Review A compelling analysis of the factors behind the epidemic of black-on-black homicide… an important book, which deserves a wide audience.—Hari Kunzru, The Guardian


Click for more detail about The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond

by Brenda Woods
Puffin Books (Jan 22, 2015)
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Coretta Scott King Honor winner Brenda Woods’ moving, uplifting story of a girl finally meeting the African American side of her family explores racism and how it feels to be biracial, and celebrates families of all kinds.Violet is biracial, but she lives with her white mother and sister, attends a mostly white school in a white town, and sometimes feels like a brown leaf on a pile of snow. Now that she’s eleven, she feels it’s time to learn about her African American heritage, so she seeks out her paternal grandmother. When Violet is invited to spend two weeks with her new Bibi (Swahili for "grandmother") and learns about her lost heritage, her confidence in herself grows and she discovers she’s not a shrinking Violet after all. From a Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author, this is a powerful story about a young girl finding her place in the world.


Click for more detail about The Work: My Search For A Life That Matters by Wes Moore The Work: My Search For A Life That Matters

by Wes Moore
Spiegel & Grau (Jan 13, 2015)
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The acclaimed author of The Other Wes Moore continues his inspirational quest for a meaningful life and shares the powerful lessons—about self-discovery, service, and risk-taking—that led him to a new definition of success for our times.
 
The Work is the story of how one young man traced a path through the world to find his life’s purpose. Wes Moore graduated from a difficult childhood in the Bronx and Baltimore to an adult life that would find him at some of the most critical moments in our recent history: as a combat officer in Afghanistan; a White House fellow in a time of wars abroad and disasters at home; and a Wall Street banker during the financial crisis. In this insightful book, Moore shares the lessons he learned from people he met along the way—from the brave Afghan translator who taught him to find his fight, to the resilient young students in Katrina-ravaged Mississippi who showed him the true meaning of grit, to his late grandfather, who taught him to find grace in service.
 
Moore also tells the stories of other twenty-first-century change-makers who’ve inspired him in his search, from Daniel Lubetzky, the founder of KIND, to Esther Benjamin, a Sri Lankan immigrant who rose to help lead the Peace Corps. What their lives—and his own misadventures and moments of illumination—reveal is that our truest work happens when we serve others, at the intersection between our gifts and our broken world. That’s where we find the work that lasts.
 
An intimate narrative about finding meaning in a volatile age, The Work will inspire readers to see how we can each find our own path to purpose and help create a better world.
 
Praise for The Work
 
“Powerful and moving . . . Wes Moore’s story and the stories of those who have inspired him, from family members to entrepreneurs, provide a model for how we can each weave together valuable lessons from all different types of people to forge an individual path to triumph. I’ve known and deeply admired Wes for a long time. Reading The Work, I better understand why.”—Chelsea Clinton

“Wes Moore proves once again that he is one of the most effective storytellers and leaders of his generation. His gripping personal story, set against the dramatic events of the past decade, goes straight to the heart of an ancient question that is as relevant as ever: not just how to live a good life, but how to make that life matter. Above all, this book teaches us how to make our journey about more than mere surviving or even succeeding; it teaches us how to truly come alive.”—Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive

“How we define success for ourselves is one of life’s essential questions. Wes Moore shows us the way—by sharing his incredible journey and the inspiring stories of others who make the world a better place through the choices they’ve made about how they want to live. We come away from this important book with a new understanding of what it truly means to succeed in life.”—Suze Orman
 
“An intriguing follow-up to his bestselling The Other Wes Moore . . . Moore makes a convincing case that work has the most value if it’s built on a foundation of service, selflessness, courage, and risk-taking.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“A beautifully philosophical look at the expectation that work should bring meaning to our lives.”—Booklist
 
“The Work will resonate with people seeking their own purpose.”—BookPage


Click for more detail about Turning 15 On The Road To Freedom: My Story Of The Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery Turning 15 On The Road To Freedom: My Story Of The Selma Voting Rights March

by Lynda Blackmon Lowery
Dial Books for Young Readers (Jan 08, 2015)
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A memoir of the Civil Rights Movement from one of its youngest heroes

As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Albama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults can be heroes. Jailed eleven times before her fifteenth birthday, Lowery fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. for the rights of African-Americans. In this memoir, she shows today’s young readers what it means to fight nonviolently (even when the police are using violence, as in the Bloody Sunday protest) and how it felt to be part of changing American history.

Straightforward and inspiring, this beautifully illustrated memoir brings readers into the middle of the Civil Rights Movement, complementing Common Core classroom learning and bringing history alive for young readers.

Book Review

Click for more detail about I Am Jackie Robinson by Brad Meltzer I Am Jackie Robinson

by Brad Meltzer
Dial Books for Young Readers (Jan 08, 2015)
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This New York Times Bestselling picture book biography series by Brad Meltzer has an inspiring message: “We can all be heroes.”

Jackie Robinson always loved sports, especially baseball. But he lived at a time before the Civil Rights Movement, when the rules weren't fair to African Americans. Even though Jackie was a great athlete, he wasn't allowed on the best teams just because of the color of his skin. Jackie knew that sports were best when everyone, of every color, played together. He became the first black player in Major League Baseball, and his bravery changed African-American history and led the way to equality in all sports in America.

This engaging series is the perfect way to bring American history to life for young children, providing them with the right role models, supplementing Common Core learning in the classroom, and best of all, inspiring them to strive and dream.


Click for more detail about Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Peña Last Stop on Market Street

by Matt De La Peña
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Jan 08, 2015)
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A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2015
A Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2015

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.


Click for more detail about Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century by Carole Boston Weatherford Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century

by Carole Boston Weatherford
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Dec 23, 2014)
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A stunning picture-book biography of iconic African American opera star Leontyne Price.
 
Born in a small town in Mississippi in 1927, the daughter of a midwife and a sawmill worker, Leontyne Price might have grown up singing the blues. But Leontyne had big dreams—and plenty to be thankful for—as she surrounded herself with church hymns and hallelujahs, soaked up opera arias on the radio, and watched the great Marian Anderson grace the stage. 
           
While racism made it unlikely that a poor black girl from the South would pursue an opera career, Leontyne’s wondrous voice and unconquerable spirit prevailed. Bursting through the door Marian had cracked open, Leontyne was soon recognized and celebrated for her leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera and around the world—most notably as the majestic Ethiopian princess in Aida, the part she felt she was born to sing.

From award-winners Carole Boston Weatherford and Raul Colón comes the story of a little girl from Mississippi who became a beloved star—one whose song soared on the breath of her ancestors and paved the way for those who followed.


Click for more detail about The Light Of Truth: Writings Of An Anti-Lynching Crusader by Ida B. Wells The Light Of Truth: Writings Of An Anti-Lynching Crusader

by Ida B. Wells
Penguin Classics (Nov 25, 2014)
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The broadest and most comprehensive collection of writings available by an early civil and women’s rights pioneer

Seventy-one years before Rosa Parks’s courageous act of resistance, police dragged a young black journalist named Ida B. Wells off a train for refusing to give up her seat. The experience shaped Wells’s career, and—when hate crimes touched her life personally—she mounted what was to become her life’s work: an anti-lynching crusade that captured international attention.

This volume covers the entire scope of Wells’s remarkable career, collecting her early writings, articles exposing the horrors of lynching, essays from her travels abroad, and her later journalism. The Light of Truth is both an invaluable resource for study and a testament to Wells’s long career as a civil rights activist.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Book Review

Click for more detail about True Love by Jennifer Lopez True Love

by Jennifer Lopez
Celebra (Nov 04, 2014)
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In Jennifer Lopez’s first ever book, True Love, she explores one of her life’s most defining periods—the transformative two-year journey of how, as an artist and a mother, she confronted her greatest challenges, identified her biggest fears, and ultimately emerged a stronger person than she’s ever been. Guided by both intimate and electrifying photographs, True Love an honest and revealing personal diary with hard-won lessons and heartfelt recollections and an empowering story of self-reflection, rediscovery, and resilience.

Completely full-color, with photos throughout and lavishly designed, True Love is a stunning and timeless book that features more than 200 never-before-seen images from Lopez’s personal archives, showing candid moments with her family and friends and providing a rare behind-the-scenes look at the life of a pop music icon travelling, rehearsing, and performing around the world.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Hiding in Plain Sight: A Novel by Marita Kinney Hiding in Plain Sight: A Novel

by Marita Kinney
Riverhead Books (Oct 30, 2014)
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From an acclaimed African writer, a novel about family, freedom, and loyalty.
 
When Bella learns of the murder of her beloved half brother by political extremists in Mogadiscio, she’s in Rome. The two had different fathers but shared a Somali mother, from whom Bella’s inherited her freewheeling ways. An internationally known fashion photographer, dazzling but aloof, she comes and goes as she pleases, juggling three lovers. But with her teenage niece and nephew effectively orphaned – their mother abandoned them years ago—she feels an unfamiliar surge of protective feeling. Putting her life on hold, she journeys to Nairobi, where the two are in boarding school, uncertain whether she can—or must—come to their rescue. When their mother resurfaces, reasserting her maternal rights and bringing with her a gale of chaos and confusion that mirror the deepening political instability in the region, Bella has to decide how far she will go to obey the call of sisterly responsibility.
 
A new departure in theme and setting for “the most important African novelist to emerge in the past twenty-five years” (The New York Review of Books) Hiding in Plain Sight, is a profound exploration of the tensions between freedom and obligation, the ways gender and sexual preference define us, and the unexpected paths by which the political disrupts the personal.


Click for more detail about Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou by Maya Angelou Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou

by Maya Angelou
Knopf (Oct 28, 2014)
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“Words mean more than what is set down on paper,” Maya Angelou wrote in her groundbreaking memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Indeed, Angelou’s words have traveled the world and transformed lives—inspiring, strengthening, healing. Through a long and prolific career in letters, she became one of the most celebrated voices of our time. Now, in this collection of sage advice, humorous quips, and pointed observations culled from the author’s great works, including The Heart of a Woman, On the Pulse of Morning, Gather Together in My Name, and Letter to My Daughter, Maya Angelou’s spirit endures. Rainbow in the Cloud offers resonant and rewarding quotes on such topics as creativity and culture, family and community, equality and race, values and spirituality, parenting and relationships. Perhaps most special, Maya Angelou’s only son, Guy Johnson, has contributed some of his mother’s most powerful sayings, shared directly with him and the members of their family. A treasured keepsake as well as a beautiful tribute to a woman who touched so many, Rainbow in the Cloud reminds us that “If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”


Click for more detail about Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

by Bryan Stevenson
Knopf (Oct 21, 2014)
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A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice.


Click for more detail about Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Dancer (Step Into Reading, Step 4) by Michaela and Elaine Deprince Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Dancer (Step Into Reading, Step 4)

by Michaela and Elaine Deprince
Random House Books for Young Readers (Oct 14, 2014)
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Perfect for newly independent readers—the amazing true story of Michaela DePrince, one of America’s top ballerinas.

At the age of three, Michaela DePrince found a photo of a ballerina that changed her life. She was living in an orphanage in Sierra Leone at the time, but was soon adopted by a family and brought to America. Michaela never forgot the photo of the dancer she once saw, and quickly decided to make her dream of becoming a ballerina come true. She has been dancing ever since and is now a principal dancer in New York City and has been featured in the ballet documentary First Position, as well as Dancing with the Stars, Good Morning America, and Oprah magazine.

Young readers will love learning about this inspiring ballerina in this uplifting and informative leveled reader. This Step 4 Step into Reading book is for newly independent readers who read simple sentences with confidence.


Click for more detail about Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities Are Stealing the Spotlight from Fashion Designers by Teri Agins Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities Are Stealing the Spotlight from Fashion Designers

by Teri Agins
Avery (Oct 09, 2014)
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A fascinating chronicle of how celebrity has inundated the world of fashion, realigning the forces that drive both the styles we covet and the bottom lines of the biggest names in luxury apparel.
 
From Coco Chanel’s iconic tweed suits to the miniskirt’s surprising comeback in the late 1980s, fashion houses reigned for decades as the arbiters of style and dictators of trends. Hollywood stars have always furthered fashion’s cause of seducing the masses into buying designers’ clothes, acting as living billboards. Now, forced by the explosion of social media and the accelerating worship of fame, red carpet celebrities are no longer content to just advertise and are putting their names on labels that reflect the image they—or their stylists—created.
 
Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sean Combs, and a host of pop, sports, and reality-show stars of the moment are leveraging the power of their celebrity to become the face of their own fashion brands, embracing lucrative contracts that keep their images on our screens and their hands on the wheel of a multi-billion dollar industry. And a few celebrities—like the Olsen Twins and Victoria Beckham—have gone all the way and reinvented themselves as bonafide designers. Not all celebrities succeed, but in an ever more crowded and clamorous marketplace, it’s increasingly unlikely that any fashion brand will succeed without celebrity involvement—even if designers, like Michael Kors, have to become celebrities themselves.
 
Agins charts this strange new terrain with wit and insight and an insider’s access to the fascinating struggles of the bold-type names and their jealousies, insecurities, and triumphs. Everyone from industry insiders to fans of Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model will want to read Agins’s take on the glitter and stardust transforming the fashion industry, and where it is likely to take us next.


Click for more detail about Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America by Bob Herbert Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America

by Bob Herbert
Doubleday (Oct 07, 2014)
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From longtime New York Times columnist Bob Herbert comes a wrenching portrayal of ordinary Americans struggling for survival in a nation that has lost its way

In his eighteen years as an opinion columnist for The New York Times, Herbert championed the working poor and the middle class. After filing his last column in 2011, he set off on a journey across the country to report on Americans who were being left behind in an economy that has never fully recovered from the Great Recession. The portraits of those he encountered fuel his new book, Losing Our Way. Herbert’s combination of heartrending reporting and keen political analysis is the purest expression since the Occupy movement of the plight of the 99 percent.
     The individuals and families who are paying the price of America’s bad choices in recent decades form the book’s emotional center: an exhausted high school student in Brooklyn who works the overnight shift in a factory at minimum wage to help pay her family’s rent; a twenty-four-year-old soldier from Peachtree City, Georgia, who loses both legs in a misguided, mismanaged, seemingly endless war; a young woman, only recently engaged, who suffers devastating injuries in a tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis; and a group of parents in Pittsburgh who courageously fight back against the politicians who decimated funding for their children’s schools.
     Herbert reminds us of a time in America when unemployment was low, wages and profits were high, and the nation’s wealth, by current standards, was distributed much more equitably. Today, the gap between the wealthy and everyone else has widened dramatically, the nation’s physical plant is crumbling, and the inability to find decent work is a plague on a generation. Herbert traces where we went wrong and spotlights the drastic and dangerous shift of political power from ordinary Americans to the corporate and financial elite. Hope for America, he argues, lies in a concerted push to redress that political imbalance. Searing and unforgettable, Losing Our Way ultimately inspires with its faith in ordinary citizens to take back their true political power and reclaim the American dream.


Click for more detail about Cairo: Memoir of a City Transformed by Ahdaf Soueif Cairo: Memoir of a City Transformed

by Ahdaf Soueif
Anchor (Oct 07, 2014)
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When throngs of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square to demand the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, Ahdaf Soueif—author, journalist, lifelong progressive—was among them. Now, in this deeply personal work, Soueif summons her storytelling talents to trace her city’s—and nation’s—ongoing transformation.
         She writes of the youth who led the revolts, and of the jubilation in the streets at Mubarak’s departure. We then watch as Egyptians fight for democracy, as the interim military government throws up obstacles at every step, and as an Islamist is voted into power. Against this stormy backdrop, Soueif casts memories of her own Cairo—the open-air cinema; her family’s land, in sight of the pyramids—and affirms the beauty of this ancient city. Soueif’s postscript considers Egypt’s more recent turns in its difficult but deeply inspiring path toward its great human aims.


Click for more detail about Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor Dust

by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Vintage (Oct 07, 2014)
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A Washington Post Notable Book

When a young man is gunned down in the streets of Nairobi, his grief-stricken father and sister bring his body back to their crumbling home in the Kenyan drylands. But the murder has stirred up memories long since buried, precipitating a series of events no one could have foreseen. As the truth unfolds, we come to learn the secrets held by this parched landscape, hidden deep within the shared past of a family and their conflicted nation. Spanning Kenya’s turbulent 1950s and 1960s, Dust is spellbinding debut from a breathtaking new voice in literature.


Click for more detail about A Brief History Of Seven Killings: A Novel by Marlon James A Brief History Of Seven Killings: A Novel

by Marlon James
Knopf (Oct 02, 2014)
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Winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize

A recipient of the 2015 American Book Award

Named a best book of the year by:
The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Time, Newsweek, The Huffington Post, The Seattle Times, The Houston Chronicle, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Popsugar, BookPage, BuzzFeed Books, Salon, Kansas City Star, L Magazine.  

rom the acclaimed author of The Book of Night Women comes a “musical, electric, fantastically profane” (The New York Times) epic that explores the tumultuous world of Jamaica over the past three decades.

In A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James combines brilliant storytelling with his unrivaled skills of characterization and meticulous eye for detail to forge an enthralling novel of dazzling ambition and scope.

On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions in Kingston, seven gunmen stormed the singer’s house, machine guns blazing. The attack wounded Marley, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Little was officially released about the gunmen, but much has been whispered, gossiped and sung about in the streets of West Kingston. Rumors abound regarding the assassins’ fates, and there are suspicions  that the attack was politically motivated.

A Brief History of Seven Killings delves deep into that dangerous and unstable time in Jamaica’s history and beyond. James deftly chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters – gunmen, drug dealers, one-night stands, CIA agents,  even ghosts – over the course of thirty years as they roam the streets of 1970s Kingston, dominate the crack houses of 1980s New York, and ultimately reemerge into the radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s. Along the way, they learn that evil does indeed cast long shadows, that justice and retribution are inextricably linked, and that no one can truly escape his fate.

Gripping and inventive, shocking and irresistible, A Brief History of Seven Killings is a mesmerizing modern classic of power, mystery, and insight.


Click for more detail about Rose Gold by Walter Mosley Rose Gold

by Walter Mosley
Knopf (Sep 23, 2014)
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In this new mystery set in the Patty Hearst era of radical black nationalism and political abductions, a black ex-boxer self-named Uhuru Nolica, the leader of a revolutionary cell called Scorched Earth, has kidnapped Rosemary Goldsmith, the daughter of a weapons manufacturer, from her dorm at UC Santa Barbara. If they don't receive the money, weapons, and apology they demand, "Rose Gold" will die—horribly and publicly. So the FBI, the State Department, and the LAPD turn to Easy Rawlins, the one man who can cross the necessary borders to resolve this dangerous standoff. With twelve previous adventures since 1990, Easy Rawlins is one of the small handful of private eyes in contemporary crime fiction who can be called immortal. Rose Gold continues his ongoing and unique achievement in combining the mystery/PI genre form with a rich social history of postwar Los Angeles—and not just the black parts of that sprawling city.


Click for more detail about Firebird by Misty Copeland Firebird

by Misty Copeland
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Sep 04, 2014)
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Winner of the 2015 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award
In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl--an every girl--whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl's faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.

Lyrical and affecting text paired with bold, striking illustrations that are some of Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers's best work, makes Firebird perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere.


Click for more detail about Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson Brown Girl Dreaming

by Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books (Aug 28, 2014)
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“Ms. Woodson writes with a sure understanding of the thoughts of young people, offering a poetic, eloquent narrative that is not simply a story… but a mature exploration of grown-up issues and self-discovery.”—The New York Times Book Review

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.


Click for more detail about Adultery: A Novel by Paulo Coelho Adultery: A Novel

by Paulo Coelho
Knopf (Aug 19, 2014)
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I want to change. I need to change. I’m gradually losing touch with myself.

Adultery, the provocative new novel by Paulo Coelho, best-selling author of The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes, explores the question of what it means to live life fully and happily, finding the balance between life’s routine and the desire for something new.


Click for more detail about Back Channel: A novel by Stephen L. Carter Back Channel: A novel

by Stephen L. Carter
Knopf (Jul 29, 2014)
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October 1962. The Soviet Union has smuggled missiles into Cuba. Kennedy and Khrushchev are in the midst of a military face-off that could lead to nuclear conflagration. Warships and submarines are on the move. Planes are in the air. Troops are at the ready. Both leaders are surrounded by advisers clamoring for war. The only way for the two leaders to negotiate safely is to open a “back channel”—a surreptitious path of communication hidden from their own people. They need a clandestine emissary nobody would ever suspect. If the secret gets out, her life will be at risk . . . but they’re careful not to tell her that.

Stephen L. Carter’s gripping new novel, Back Channel, is a brilliant amalgam of fact and fiction—a suspenseful retelling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the fate of the world rests unexpectedly on the shoulders of a young college student.

On the island of Curaçao, a visiting Soviet chess champion whispers state secrets to an American acquaintance.

In the Atlantic Ocean, a freighter struggles through a squall while trying to avoid surveillance.

And in Ithaca, New York, Margo Jensen, one of the few black women at Cornell, is asked to go to Eastern Europe to babysit a madman.

As the clock ticks toward World War III, Margo undertakes her harrowing journey. Pursued by the hawks on both sides, protected by nothing but her own ingenuity and courage, Margo is drawn ever more deeply into the crossfire—and into her own family’s hidden past.


Click for more detail about Land Of Love And Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique Land Of Love And Drowning

by Tiphanie Yanique
Knopf (Jul 10, 2014)
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Recipient of the 2014 American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Foundation Award

A major debut from an award-winning writer—an epic family saga set against the magic and the rhythms of the Virgin Islands.

In the early 1900s, the Virgin Islands are transferred from Danish to American rule, and an important ship sinks into the Caribbean Sea. Orphaned by the shipwreck are two sisters and their half brother, now faced with an uncertain identity and future. Each of them is unusually beautiful, and each is in possession of a particular magic that will either sink or save them.

Chronicling three generations of an island family from 1916 to the 1970s, Land of Love and Drowning is a novel of love and magic, set against the emergence of Saint Thomas into the modern world. Uniquely imagined, with echoes of Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, and the author’s own Caribbean family history, the story is told in a language and rhythm that evoke an entire world and way of life and love. Following the Bradshaw family through sixty years of fathers and daughters, mothers
and sons, love affairs, curses, magical gifts, loyalties, births, deaths, and triumphs, Land of Love and Drowning is a gorgeous, vibrant debut by an exciting, prizewinning young writer.


Click for more detail about Nine Years Under by Sheri Booker Nine Years Under

by Sheri Booker
Knopf (Jul 01, 2014)
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Sheri Booker was only fifteen when she started working at Wylie Funeral Home in West Baltimore.

She had no idea her summer job would become nine years of immersion into a hidden world. Reeling from the death of her beloved great aunt, Sheri found comfort in the funeral home and soon had the run of the place. With AIDS and gang violence threatening to wipe out a generation of black men, Wylie was never short on business. As families came together to bury one of their own, Booker was privy to their most intimate moments of grief and despair. But along with the sadness, Booker encountered moments of dark humor: brawls between mistresses and widows, and car crashes at McDonald’s with dead bodies in tow. While she never got over her terror of the embalming room, Booker learned to expect the unexpected and to never, ever cry. Nine Years Under offers readers an unbelievable glimpse into an industry in the backdrop of all our lives.


Click for more detail about I am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer I am Rosa Parks

by Brad Meltzer
Dial Books for Young Readers (Jun 17, 2014)
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"We can all be heroes" is the message entertainingly told in this picture-book biography series from #1 New York Times Bestselling author Brad Meltzer.

“Kids always search for heroes, so we might as well have a say in it,” Brad Meltzer realized, and so he envisioned this friendly, fun approach to biography – for his own kids, and for yours. Each book tells the story of one of America’s icons in a vivacious, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers, those who aren’t quite ready for the Who Was biography series. Each book focuses on a particular character trait that made that role model heroic. For example, Rosa Parks dared to stand up for herself and other African Americans by staying seated, and as a result she helped end public bus segregation and launch the country’s Civil Rights Movement.
 
This engaging series is the perfect way to bring American history to life for young children, providing them with the right role models, supplementing Common Core learning in the classroom, and best of all, inspiring them to strive and dream.


Click for more detail about One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future by Ben Carson One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future

by Ben Carson
Knopf (May 20, 2014)
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Dear Reader,

In February 2013 I gave a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. Standing a few feet from President Obama, I warned my fellow citizens of the dangers facing our country and called for a return to the principles that made America great.

Many Americans heard and responded, but our nation’s decline has continued. Today the danger is greater than ever before, and I have never shared a more urgent message than I do now.

Our growing debt and deteriorating morals have driven us far from the founders’ intent. We’ve made very little progress in basic education. Obamacare threatens our health, liberty, and financial future. Media elitism and political correctness are out of control.

Worst of all, we seem to have lost our ability to discuss important issues calmly and respectfully regardless of party affiliation or other differences. As a doctor rather than a politician, I care about what works, not whether someone has an (R) or a (D) after his or her name. We have to come together to solve our problems.

Knowing that the future of my grandchildren is in jeopardy because of reckless spending, godless government, and mean-spirited attempts to silence critics left me no choice but to write this book. I have endeavored to propose a road out of our decline, appealing to every American’s decency and common sense.

If each of us sits back and expects someone else to take action, it will soon be too late. But with your help, I firmly believe that America may once again be “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Sincerely,

Ben Carson


Click for more detail about Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore by Walter Mosley Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore

by Walter Mosley
Knopf (May 13, 2014)
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In this scorching, mournful, often explicit, and never less than moving literary novel by the famed creator of the Easy Rawlins series, Debbie Dare, a black porn queen, has to come to terms with her sordid life in the adult entertainment industry after her tomcatting husband dies in a hot tub. Electrocuted. With another woman in there with him. Debbie decides she just isn't going to "do it anymore." But executing her exit strategy from the porn world is a wrenching and far from simple process.

Millions of men (and no doubt many women) have watched famed black porn queen Debbie Dare—she of the blond wig and blue contacts-"do it" on television and computer screens every which way with every combination of partners the mind of man can imagine. But one day an unexpected and thunderous on-set orgasm catches Debbie unawares, and when she returns to the mansion she shares with her husband, insatiable former porn star and "film producer" Theon Pinkney, she discovers that he's died in a case of hot tub electrocution, "auditioning" an aspiring "starlet." Burdened with massive debts that her husband incurred, and which various L.A. heavies want to collect on, Debbie must reckon with a life spent in the peculiar subculture of the pornography industry and her estrangement from her family and the child she had to give up. She's done with porn, but her options for what might come next include the possibility of suicide. Debbie . . . is a portrait of a ransacked but resilient soul in search of salvation and a cure for grief.


Click for more detail about The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, And Death by Colson Whitehead The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, And Death

by Colson Whitehead
Knopf (May 06, 2014)
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The Noble Hustle is Pulitzer finalist Colson Whitehead’s hilarious memoir of his search for meaning at high stakes poker tables, which the author describes as “Eat, Pray, Love for depressed shut-ins.”
 
 
On one level, The Noble Hustle is a familiar species of participatory journalism—a longtime neighborhood poker player, Whitehead was given a $10,000 stake and an assignment from the online online magazine Grantland to see how far he could get in the World Series of Poker.  But since it stems from the astonishing mind of Colson Whitehead (MacArthur Award-endorsed!), the book is a brilliant, hilarious, weirdly profound, and ultimately moving portrayal of—yes, it sounds overblown and ridiculous, but really!—the human condition.
    
 
After weeks of preparation that included repeated bus trips to glamorous Atlantic City, and hiring a personal trainer to toughen him up for sitting at twelve hours a stretch, the author journeyed to the gaudy wonderland that is Las Vegas – the world’s greatest “Leisure Industrial Complex” — to try his luck in the multi-million dollar tournament.   Hobbled by his mediocre playing skills and a lifelong condition known as “anhedonia” (the inability to experience pleasure) Whitehead did not – spoiler alert!  - win tens of millions of dollars.  But he did chronicle his progress, both literal and existential, in this unbelievably funny, uncannily accurate social satire whose main target is the author himself. 
 
Whether you’ve been playing cards your whole life, or have never picked up a hand, you’re sure to agree that this book contains some of the best writing about beef jerky ever put to paper.


Click for more detail about A Wanted Woman by Eric Jerome Dickey A Wanted Woman

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Knopf (Apr 15, 2014)
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The twenty-first novel from New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey, a steamy thriller set in tropical Barbados

She is a woman of a thousand faces, an assassin who could be anyone, anywhere.

The Trinidad contract was supposed to be simple: to make a living man become a dead man. When the job goes bad under the watchful eye of a bank security camera, there is nowhere for agent MX-401, known as Reaper, to hide from the fearsome local warlords, the Laventille Killers.

Her employers, the Barbarians, send her to Barbados, the next island over, barely two hundred miles away, with the LK’s in hot pursuit of the woman who took many of their own. With the scant protection of a dank safe house, no passport, and no access to funds, an island paradise becomes her prison.

While she trawls for low-profile assignments to keep her skills sharp and a few dollars in her pocket, Reaper discovers that family ties run deep, on both sides of the fight. Will the woman everyone wants, who has lived countless lives in the service of others, finally discover who she really is?

In A Wanted Woman, New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey delivers an adrenaline-pumping rush of a read.


Click for more detail about Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remix by Bryant Terry Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remix

by Bryant Terry
Knopf (Apr 08, 2014)
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African, Caribbean, and southern food are all known and loved as vibrant and flavor-packed cuisines. In Afro-Vegan, renowned chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry reworks and remixes the favorite staples, ingredients, and classic dishes of the African Diaspora to present wholly new, creative culinary combinations that will amaze vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.

Blending these colorful cuisines results in delicious recipes like Smashed Potatoes, Peas, and Corn with Chile-Garlic Oil, a recipe inspired by the Kenyan dish irio, and Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad with dried apricots, carrots, and almonds, which is based on a Moroccan tagine. Creamy Coconut-Cashew Soup with Okra, Corn, and Tomatoes pays homage to a popular Brazilian dish while incorporating classic Southern ingredients, and Crispy Teff and Grit Cakes with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Peanuts combines the Ethiopian grain teff with stone-ground corn grits from the Deep South and North African zalook dip. There’s perfect potluck fare, such as the simple, warming, and intensely flavored Collard Greens and Cabbage with Lots of Garlic, and the Caribbean-inspired Cocoa Spice Cake with Crystallized Ginger and Coconut-Chocolate Ganache, plus a refreshing Roselle-Rooibos Drink that will satisfy any sweet tooth.

With more than 100 modern and delicious dishes that draw on Terry’s personal memories as well as the history of food that has traveled from the African continent, Afro-Vegan takes you on an international food journey. Accompanying the recipes are Terry’s insights about building community around food, along with suggested music tracks from around the world and book recommendations. For anyone interested in improving their well-being, Afro-Vegan’s groundbreaking recipes offer innovative, plant-based global cuisine that is fresh, healthy, and forges a new direction in vegan cooking.


Click for more detail about The Jewels of Aptor by Samuel R. Delany The Jewels of Aptor

by Samuel R. Delany
Ace Books (Apr 01, 2014)
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It is a post-atomic future and civilization has regressed to a Middle Age like world. Geo a young student and poet, takes a job on a boat with a strange passenger, a priestess of the goddess Argo. They are heading toward a land of mutants and high radiation, Aptor, to recapture her daughter who has been kidnapped by the forces of the dark god Hama.


Click for more detail about Every Day Is For The Thief: Fiction by Teju Cole Every Day Is For The Thief: Fiction

by Teju Cole
Knopf (Mar 25, 2014)
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NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY DWIGHT GARNER, THE NEW YORK TIMES • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY San Francisco Chronicle | NPR | The Root | The Telegraph | The Globe and Mail

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • FINALIST, PHILLIS WHEATLEY BOOK AWARD • TEJU COLE WAS NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL AFRICANS OF THE YEAR BY NEW AFRICAN MAGAZINE

For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Michael Ondaatje, Every Day Is for the Thief is a wholly original work of fiction by Teju Cole, whose critically acclaimed debut, Open City, was the winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was named one of the best books of the year by more than twenty publications.
 
Fifteen years is a long time to be away from home. It feels longer still because I left under a cloud.
 
A young Nigerian living in New York City goes home to Lagos for a short visit, finding a city both familiar and strange. In a city dense with story, the unnamed narrator moves through a mosaic of life, hoping to find inspiration for his own. He witnesses the “yahoo yahoo” diligently perpetrating email frauds from an Internet café, longs after a mysterious woman reading on a public bus who disembarks and disappears into a bookless crowd, and recalls the tragic fate of an eleven-year-old boy accused of stealing at a local market.
 
Along the way, the man reconnects with old friends, a former girlfriend, and extended family, taps into the energies of Lagos life—creative, malevolent, ambiguous—and slowly begins to reconcile the profound changes that have taken place in his country and the truth about himself.
 
In spare, precise prose that sees humanity everywhere, interwoven with original photos by the author, Every Day Is for the Thief—originally published in Nigeria in 2007—is a wholly original work of fiction. This revised and updated edition is the first version of this unique book to be made available outside Africa. You’ve never read a book like Every Day Is for the Thief because no one writes like Teju Cole.
 
Praise for Every Day Is for the Thief

“A luminous rumination on storytelling and place, exile and return . . . extraordinary.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Cole is following in a long tradition of writerly walkers who, in the tradition of Baudelaire, make their way through urban spaces on foot and take their time doing so. Like Alfred Kazin, Joseph Mitchell, J. M. Coetzee, and W. G. Sebald (with whom he is often compared), Cole adds to the literature in his own zeitgeisty fashion.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Crisp, affecting . . . Cole constructs a narrative of fragments, a series of episodes that he allows to resonate.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Hugely rewarding . . . both a celebration of one of the world’s most vibrant cities and a lament over what can be one of the most frustrating and difficult places to live. It is also a story of family breakup and an uneasy homecoming—the narrator has been away for fifteen years and must relearn how to navigate a place that was once home.”—NPR

“[Every Day Is for the Thief has] a restraint that allows [Cole] to slip in these exquisitely rendered observations on life, love, art that leave you feeling richer and more attuned to your own reality once you’ve finished reading.”—Dinaw Mengestu, The Atlantic


Click for more detail about The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (Poets, Penguin) by Willie Perdomo The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (Poets, Penguin)

by Willie Perdomo
Penguin Group USA (Mar 25, 2014)
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A National Book Critics Circle 2014 Finalist for Poetry

Through dream song and elegy, alternate takes and tempos, prizewinning poet Willie Perdomo’s third collection crackles with vitality and dynamism as it imagines the life of a percussionist, rebuilding the landscape of his apprenticeship, love, diaspora, and death. At the beginning of his infernal journey, Shorty Bon Bon recalls his live studio recording with a classic 1970s descarga band, sharing his recollection with an unidentified poet. This opening section is followed by a call-and-response with his greatest love, a singer named Rose, and a visit to Puerto Rico that inhabits a surreal nationalistic dreamscape, before a final jam session where Shorty recognizes his end and a trio of voices seek to converge on his elegy.


Click for more detail about Paradise  by Toni Morrison Paradise

by Toni Morrison
Vintage Books (Mar 11, 2014)
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“They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time.” So begins Toni Morrison’s Paradise, which opens with a horrifying scene of mass violence and chronicles its genesis in an all-black small town in rural Oklahoma. Founded by the descendants of freed slaves and survivors in exodus from a hostile world, the patriarchal community of Ruby is built on righteousness, rigidly enforced moral law, and fear. But seventeen miles away, another group of exiles has gathered in a promised land of their own. And it is upon these women in flight from death and despair that nine male citizens of Ruby will lay their pain, their terror, and their murderous rage.
 In prose that soars with the rhythms, grandeur, and tragic arc of an epic poem, Toni Morrison challenges our most fiercely held beliefs as she weaves folklore and history, memory and myth into an unforgettable meditation on race, religion, gender, and a far-off past that is ever present.


Click for more detail about Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel by Helen Oyeyemi Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel

by Helen Oyeyemi
Knopf (Mar 06, 2014)
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As seen on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, where it was described as “gloriously unsettling… evoking Toni Morrison, Haruki Murakami, Angela Carter, Edgar Allan Poe, Gabriel García Márquez, Chris Abani and even Emily Dickinson,” and already one of the year’s most widely acclaimed novels:

“Helen Oyeyemi has fully transformed from a literary prodigy into a powerful, distinctive storyteller…Transfixing and surprising.”—Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A)

“I don’t care what the magic mirror says; Oyeyemi is the cleverest in the land…daring and unnerving… Under Oyeyemi’s spell, the fairy-tale conceit makes a brilliant setting in which to explore the alchemy of racism, the weird ways in which identity can be transmuted in an instant — from beauty to beast or vice versa.” – Ron Charles, The Washington Post

From the prizewinning author of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, coming February 2016, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity.

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.


Click for more detail about Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple by Russell Simmons Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple

by Russell Simmons
Knopf (Mar 04, 2014)
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In Success Through Stillness, Simmons shows the connection between inner peace and outward success through interviews with other successful leaders in various industries, and how learning to be still has been instrumental in his own career. Simmons attributes his meditation practice with changing his life for the better and says that there is no “bad” way to meditate, only different forms for different people.

In this highly anticipated new book, Russell Simmons guides readers into finding greater clarity and focus, and explains how to be healthier in both mind and body. Simmons breaks down what he's learned from masters of meditation into a guide that is accessible to those unfamiliar with the practice.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Book Of Hours: Poems by Kevin Young Book Of Hours: Poems

by Kevin Young
Knopf (Mar 04, 2014)
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A decade after the sudden and tragic loss of his father, we witness the unfolding of grief. “In the night I brush / my teeth with a razor,” he tells us, in one of the collection’s piercing two-line poems. Capturing the strange silence of bereavement (“Not the storm / but the calm / that slays me”), Kevin Young acknowledges, even celebrates, life’s passages, his loss transformed and tempered in a sequence about the birth of his son: in “Crowning,” he delivers what is surely one of the most powerful birth poems written by a man, describing “her face / full of fire, then groaning your face / out like a flower, blood-bloom,/ crocused into air.” Ending this book of both birth and grief, the gorgeous title sequence brings acceptance, asking “What good/are wishes if they aren’t / used up?” while understanding “How to listen / to what’s gone.” Young’s frank music speaks directly to the reader in these elemental poems, reminding us that the right words can both comfort us and enlarge our understanding of life’s mysteries.

Winner BCALA Poetry Book Award

A decade after the sudden and tragic loss of his father, we witness the unfolding of grief.

In the night I brush
my teeth with a razor

He tells us, in one of the collection’s piercing two-line poems. Capturing the strange silence of bereavement

Not the storm
but the calm
that slays me

Kevin Young acknowledges, even celebrates, life’s passages, his loss transformed and tempered in a sequence about the birth of his son: in “Crowning,” he delivers what is surely one of the most powerful birth poems written by a man, describing

her face
full of fire, then groaning your face
out like a flower, blood-bloom,
crocused into air.

Ending this book of both birth and grief, the gorgeous title sequence brings acceptance, asking

What good
are wishes if they aren’t
used up?

while understanding

How to listen
to what’s gone.

Young’s frank music speaks directly to the reader in these elemental poems, reminding us that the right words can both comfort us and enlarge our understanding of life’s mysteries.


Click for more detail about All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu All Our Names

by Dinaw Mengestu
Knopf (Mar 04, 2014)
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From acclaimed author Dinaw Mengestu, a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 award, The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 award, and a 2012 MacArthur Foundation genius grant, comes an unforgettable love story about a searing affair between an American woman and an African man in 1970s America and an unflinching novel about the fragmentation of lives that straddle countries and histories. 

All Our Names is the story of two young men who come of age during an African revolution, drawn from the safe confines of the university campus into the intensifying clamor of the streets outside. But as the line between idealism and violence becomes increasingly blurred, the friends are driven apart—one into the deepest peril, as the movement gathers inexorable force, and the other into the safety of exile in the American Midwest. There, pretending to be an exchange student, he falls in love with a social worker and settles into small-town life. Yet this idyll is inescapably darkened by the secrets of his past: the acts he committed and the work he left unfinished. Most of all, he is haunted by the beloved friend he left behind, the charismatic leader who first guided him to revolution and then sacrificed everything to ensure his freedom.
 
Elegiac, blazing with insights about the physical and emotional geographies that circumscribe our lives, All Our Names is a marvel of vision and tonal command. Writing within the grand tradition of Naipul, Greene, and Achebe, Mengestu gives us a political novel that is also a transfixing portrait of love and grace, of self-determination and the names we are given and the names we earn.


Click for more detail about Handbook For An Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata And My Crazy Mother, And Still Came Out Smiling (With Great Hair) by Rosie Perez Handbook For An Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata And My Crazy Mother, And Still Came Out Smiling (With Great Hair)

by Rosie Perez
Knopf (Feb 25, 2014)
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Oscar-nominated actress Rosie Perez’s never-before-told story of surviving a harrowing childhood and of how she found success—both in and out of the Hollywood limelight.
 
Rosie Perez first caught our attention with her fierce dance in the title sequence of Do the Right Thing and has since defined herself as a funny and talented actress who broke boundaries for Latinas in the film industry. What most people would be surprised to learn is that the woman with the big, effervescent personality has a secret straight out of a Dickens novel. At the age of three, Rosie’s life was turned upside down when her mentally ill mother tore her away from the only family she knew and placed her in a Catholic children’s home in New York’s Westchester County. Thus began her crazily discombobulated childhood of being shuttled between “the Home,” where she and other kids suffered all manners of cruelty from nuns, and various relatives’ apartments in Brooklyn.
 
Many in her circumstances would have been defined by these harrowing experiences, but with the intense determination that became her trademark, Rosie overcame the odds and made an incredible life for herself. She brings her journey vividly to life on each page of this memoir—from the vibrant streets of Brooklyn to her turbulent years in the Catholic home, and finally to film and TV sets and the LA and New York City hip-hop scenes of the 1980s and ‘90s. 
 
More than a page-turning read, Handbook for an Unpredictable Life is a story of survival. By turns heartbreaking and funny, it is ultimately the inspirational story of a woman who has found a hard-won place of strength and peace.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Web Development And Design Foundations With Html5 (7Th Edition) by Terry Felke-Morris Web Development And Design Foundations With Html5 (7Th Edition)

by Terry Felke-Morris
Pearson (Feb 24, 2014)
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Web Development and Design Foundations with HTML5 is intended for use in a beginning web development course. It is also suitable for all readers interested in developing web sites.   Using Hands-On Practice exercises and Web Site Case Studies to motivate readers, Web Development and Design Foundations with HTML5 includes all the necessary lessons to guide students in developing highly effective Web sites. A well-rounded balance of hard skills (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript) and soft skills (Web Design, e-commerce, Web site promotion strategies) presents everything beginning Web developers need to know to build and promote successful Web sites.   Teaching and Learning Experience This program will provide a better teaching and learning experience–for you and your students. It will help: Build a Strong Foundation of Web Development Skills: A well-rounded foundation of hard and soft skills will help students design web pages for today and tomorrow. Motivate Students with Hands-on Practice: This text emphasizes hands-on practice through practice exercises within the chapters, end-of-chapter exercises, and the development of websites through ongoing real-world case studies. Reinforce Concepts with In-text Features: Throughout the book, emphasis is placed on web design, accessibility, and ethics. The appendixes in the Web Developer’s Handbook offer comprehensive, easy-to-use reference materials Enhance Learning with Instructor and Student Supplements: Resources are available to expand on the topics presented in the text.


Click for more detail about The Book of Heaven: A Novel by Patricia Storace The Book of Heaven: A Novel

by Patricia Storace
Pantheon Books (Feb 18, 2014)
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From the author of the classic travel memoir Dinner with Persephone, an accomplished poet, and frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, here is an eagerly anticipated, stunningly original novel of heartrending lyricism about four women, a fierce mythopoeia that invites us to enter into a new and powerful imagination of the sublime: What if “a woman’s point of view” were God’s?
 
As The Book of Heaven commences, Eve speaks about what is alleged to have happened in the Garden of Eden, a story she hardly recognizes. She tells her version of events, revealing that the constellations we are accustomed to seeing above conceal heavens with which we have yet to contend. In the four parts of the novelThe Book of Souraya, The Book of Savour, The Book of Rain, The Book of Shebaand their accompanying proverbs, Eve accounts for four new zodiacs and teaches us how to view each and comprehend its centrality to women: a knife, a cauldron for cooking, a paradisiacal garden, lovers embracing. Each book keenly evokes the life of a woman newly freed from the old tales in which she was trapped: a metamorphosis of Sarah, Abraham’s wife; a polytheistic cook; Job’s wife; and the Queen of Sheba.
 
In The Book of Heaven, Patricia Storace has brilliantly and radically reimagined the worlds of these women, putting them in the foreground of their stories and of the so-called Old Testament itself.


Click for more detail about Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile Queen Sugar

by Natalie Baszile
Knopf (Feb 06, 2014)
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A mother-daughter story of reinvention—about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana

Why exactly Charley Bordelon’s late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her eleven-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles.

They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that’s mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.

Penguin has a rich tradition of publishing strong Southern debut fiction—from Sue Monk Kidd to Kathryn Stockett to Beth Hoffman. In Queen Sugar, we now have a debut from the African American point of view. Stirring in its storytelling of one woman against the odds and intimate in its exploration of the complexities of contemporary southern life, Queen Sugar is an unforgettable tale of endurance and hope.


Click for more detail about The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson The Secret of Magic

by Deborah Johnson
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (Jan 21, 2014)
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In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South.
 Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country.
 As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest.

Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past. The Secret of Magic brilliantly explores the power of stories and those who tell them.


Click for more detail about Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life by Joe Brewster, Michele Stephenson, and Hilary Beard
Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life

by Joe Brewster, Michele Stephenson, and Hilary Beard
Spiegel & Grau (Jan 14, 2014)
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As seen on PBS’s POV An unprecedented guide to helping black boys achieve success at every stage of their lives at home, at school, and in the world

Regardless of how wealthy or poor their parents are, all black boys must confront and surmount the €œachievement gap€: a divide that shows up not only in our sons€™ test scores, but in their social and emotional development, their physical well-being, and their outlook on life. As children, they score as high on cognitive tests as their peers, but at some point, the gap emerges. Why?

This is the question Joe Brewster, M.D., and Michae Stephenson asked when their own son, Idris, began struggling in a new school. As they filmed his experiences for their award-winning documentary American Promise, they met an array of researchers who had not only identified the reasons for the gap, but had come up with practical, innovative solutions to close it. In Promises Kept, they explain

– how to influence your son’s brain before he’s even born – how to tell the difference between authoritarian and authoritative discipline and why it matters – how to create an educational program for your son that matches his needs – how to prepare him for explicit and implicit racism in school and in the wider world – how to help your child develop resilience, self-discipline, emotional intelligence, and a positive outlook that will last a lifetime

Filled with innovative research, practical strategies, and the voices of parents and children who are grappling with these issues firsthand, Promises Kept will challenge your assumptions and inspire you to make sure your child isn’t lost in the gap. Praise for Promises Kept

€œThe authors offer a plethora of information and advice geared toward the specific developmental needs of black boys. . . . Thorough and detailed, this guidebook is also a call to action. As Brewster sees it, when people of color remain complacent, they not only break a tacit promise to future generations to achieve social equity, they also imperil the futures of both the nation and the planet. A practical and impassioned parenting guide.€ Kirkus Reviews

€œA penetrating look at the standard practices, at school and at home, that contribute to the achievement gap between the races and the sexes that seems to put black boys at a disadvantage. [Brewster and Stephenson] debunk myths and offer ten parenting and education strategies to improve the prospects for black boys to help them overcome racial stereotypes and low expectations. . . . This is a practical and insightful look at the particular challenges of raising black males.€ Booklist


Click for more detail about How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson How I Discovered Poetry

by Marilyn Nelson
Dial Books for Young Readers (Jan 14, 2014)
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A powerful and thought-provoking Civil Rights era memoir from one of America’s most celebrated poets.

Looking back on her childhood in the 1950s, Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson tells the story of her development as an artist and young woman through fifty eye-opening poems. Readers are given an intimate portrait of her growing self-awareness and artistic inspiration along with a larger view of the world around her: racial tensions, the Cold War era, and the first stirrings of the feminist movement.

A first-person account of African-American history, this is a book to study, discuss, and treasure.


Click for more detail about The Sittin’ Up by Shelia P. Moses The Sittin’ Up

by Shelia P. Moses
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Jan 09, 2014)
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When Mr. Bro. Wiley, Bean’s adopted grandfather and the last slave man around, dies in the summer of 1940, Bean and his very best friend Pole are some kind of hurt. Everyone in the Low Meadows is. Despite their grief, they are proud and excited to be included in their very first Sittin’ Upa wake for the dead. Bean and Pole know this special week will be one to remember, especially if the coming storm has its way and riles up Ole River enough to flood the Low Meadows right in the middle of Mr. Bro. Wiley’s Sittin’ Up.

Shelia P. Moses tells her most charming story yet. Laced with humor and a lot of heart, this is an affecting, fun tale from a storytelling master.


Click for more detail about The Secret History of Las Vegas: A Novel by Chris Abani The Secret History of Las Vegas: A Novel

by Chris Abani
Penguin Group USA (Jan 07, 2014)
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A gritty, riveting, and wholly original murder mystery from PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author and 2015 Edgar Awards winner Chris Abani

Before he can retire, Las Vegas detective Salazar is determined to solve a recent spate of murders. When he encounters a pair of conjoined twins with a container of blood near their car, he’s sure he has apprehended the killers, and enlists the help of Dr. Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in the study of psychopaths. As Sunil tries to crack the twins, the implications of his research grow darker. Haunted by his betrayal of loved ones back home during apartheid, he seeks solace in the love of Asia, a prostitute with hopes of escaping that life. But Sunil’s own troubled past is fast on his heels in the form of a would-be assassin.

Suspenseful through the last page, The Secret History of Las Vegas is Chris Abani’s most accomplished work to date, with his trademark visionary prose and a striking compassion for the inner lives of outsiders.


Click for more detail about A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream by Kristy Dempsey A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream

by Kristy Dempsey
Philomel Books (Jan 02, 2014)
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A story of little ballerinas with big dreams.

Little ballerinas have big dreams. Dreams of pirouettes and grande jetes, dreams of attending the best ballet schools and of dancing starring roles on stage. But in Harlem in the 1950s, dreams don’t always come true—they take a lot of work and a lot of hope. And sometimes hope is hard to come by.
 
But the first African-American prima ballerina, Janet Collins, did make her dreams come true. And those dreams inspired ballerinas everywhere, showing them that the color of their skin couldn’t stop them from becoming a star.
 
In a lyrical tale as beautiful as a dance en pointe, Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper tell the story of one little ballerina who was inspired by Janet Collins to make her own dreams come true.


Click for more detail about Odyssey by Walter Mosley Odyssey

by Walter Mosley
Vintage (Dec 17, 2013)
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In this gripping and provocative eBook original novel celebrated bestselling author Walter Mosley explores the mind of an African-American man who is forced to re-examine his most closely held beliefs about race and about himself.

Sovereign James wakes up one morning to discover that he’s gone blind.

Sovereign’s doctors can’t find anything wrong with him, nor does he remember any physical or psychological trauma. Unless his sight returns, Sovereign has reached the end of his 25-year career in human resources. A couple of weeks later he is violently mugged on the street. His sight briefly, miraculously returns during the attack: for a few seconds, he can see as well as hear a young female bystander’s cries of distress. Now he must grapple with two questions: What caused him to lose his vision—and, perhaps more troubling, why does violence restore it? As Sovereign searches for the woman he glimpsed, he will come to question everything he valued about his former life.


Click for more detail about Undisputed Truth by Mike Tyson and Larry Sloman Undisputed Truth

by Mike Tyson and Larry Sloman
Knopf (Nov 12, 2013)
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Bullied as a boy in the toughest, poorest neighborhood in Brooklyn, Tyson grew up to become one of the most thrilling and ferocious boxers of all time—and the youngest heavyweight champion ever. But his brilliance in the ring was often compromised by reckless behavior. Years of hard partying, violent fights, and criminal proceedings took their toll: by 2003, Tyson had hit rock bottom, a convicted felon, completely broke, the punch line to a thousand bad late-night jokes. Yet he fought his way back; the man who once admitted being addicted “to everything” regained his success, his dignity, and the love of his family. With a triumphant one-man stage show, his unforgettable performances in the Hangover films, and his newfound happiness and stability as a father and husband, Tyson’s story is an inspiring American original. Brutally honest, raw, and often hilarious, Tyson chronicles his tumultuous highs and lows in the same sincere, straightforward manner we have come to expect from this legendary athlete. A singular journey from Brooklyn’s ghettos to worldwide fame to notoriety, and, finally, to a tranquil wisdom, Undisputed Truth is not only a great sports memoir but an autobiography for the ages.


Click for more detail about Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones by Hill Harper Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones

by Hill Harper
Knopf (Nov 05, 2013)
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Click for more detail about Mastery by Robert Greene Mastery

by Robert Greene
Penguin Books (Oct 29, 2013)
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The #1 New York Times-bestseller from the author of The 48 Laws of Power

Each one of us has within us the potential to be a Master. Learn the secrets of the field you have chosen, submit to a rigorous apprenticeship, absorb the hidden knowledge possessed by those with years of experience, surge past competitors to surpass them in brilliance, and explode established patterns from within. Study the behaviors of Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci and the nine contemporary Masters interviewed for this book.

The bestseller author of The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, and The 33 Strategies of War, Robert Greene has spent a liftime studying the laws of power. Now, he shares the secret path to greatness. With this seminal text as a guide, readers will learn how to unlock the passion within and become masters.


Click for more detail about Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson Pecan Pie Baby

by Jacqueline Woodson
Puffin Books (Oct 17, 2013)
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A sweet addition to the family is coming! Written by National Book Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by Caldecott Award-winning illustrator Sophie Blackall.

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

All anyone wants to talk about with Mama is the new “ding-dang baby” that’s on the way, and Gia is getting sick of it! If her new sibling is already such a big deal, what’s going to happen to Gia’s nice, cozy life with Mama once the baby is born?
 
“[An] honest story about jealousy, anger, displacement, and love [that] will touch kids dealing with sibling rivalry and spark their talk about change.”—Booklist
 
“Fresh and wise.”—Kirkus Reviews


Click for more detail about Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington by Terry Teachout Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington

by Terry Teachout
Avery (Oct 17, 2013)
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A major new biography of Duke Ellington from the acclaimed author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong

  Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the twentieth century and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. The grandson of a slave, he dropped out of high school to become one of the world’s most famous musicians, a showman of incomparable suavity who was as comfortable in Carnegie Hall as in the nightclubs where he honed his style. He wrote some fifteen hundred compositions, many of which, like “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady,” remain beloved standards, and he sought inspiration in an endless string of transient lovers, concealing his inner self behind a smiling mask of flowery language and ironic charm.

  As the biographer of Louis Armstrong, Terry Teachout is uniquely qualified to tell the story of the public and private lives of Duke Ellington. Duke peels away countless layers of Ellington’s evasion and public deception to tell the unvarnished truth about the creative genius who inspired Miles Davis to say, “All the musicians should get together one certain day and get down on their knees and thank Duke.”


Click for more detail about The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

by Ayana Mathis
Knopf (Oct 08, 2013)
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The arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.

A debut of extraordinary distinction: Ayana Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration through the trials of one unforgettable family.

Oprah and Ayana“My newest Book Club pick, “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by first-time novelist Ayana Mathis gives me that same feeling of connection. It spoke so deeply to me about what is unique and personal to the many generations of our Tribe. New voices, like Ayana’s, are painting a rich and multilayered tapestry to bring the emotional center of the Great Migration to life. The Great Migration is a pivotal time in American history that affected our grandparents, our parents, our aunts and uncles, and now ultimately continues to impact all of us on the other side of it. You’ll find the characters in The Twelve Tribes of Hattie are so familiar, it’s like going to a family reunion. For any book club, you hope to engage and connect with a story so that you feel expanded, inspired, enriched—like you’ve been somewhere special, that you otherwise wouldn’t have gone. This is that kind of novel for every reader. For those of us who share the African American experience, and for all of us who share the human experience, I think it is a journey not to be missed.

I am honored to introduce you to Ayana Mathis and The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. I believe you will love it as much as I do.” —Oprah Winfrey

About the Book

In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation.

Beautiful and devastating, Ayana Mathis’s The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is wondrous from first to last—glorious, harrowing, unexpectedly uplifting, and blazing with life. An emotionally transfixing page-turner, a searing portrait of striving in the face of insurmountable adversity, an indelible encounter with the resilience of the human spirit and the driving force of the American dream.


Click for more detail about The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life by Robin Quivers The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life

by Robin Quivers
Avery (Oct 01, 2013)
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Howard Stern’s celebrated sidekick, Robin Quivers presents her vegan cookbook and manifesto with more than 90 healthy recipes for the home cook.

 Known for her levelheaded, deadpan comebacks to Howard Stern’s often outrageous banter, Robin Quivers is a force of nature. Yet few people know about her struggles with food especially the high-fat, high-sugar, high-cholesterol, highly addictive foods that doomed many of her relatives to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, she knew it was time to stop her slow slide into bad health. Quivers took a stand in her personal nutrition battle and emerged victorious thanks to a plant-based diet.On her sometimes rocky, though endearingly hysterical, path to newfound health, Quivers discovered the power of the produce aisle in changing her body and her mindset.

 By filling up on soul-quenching, cell-loving vegetables instead of damaging animal products and processed foods, Quivers left behind the injuries, aches, and pains that had plagued her for twenty years. Charting her inspiring road to wellness, The Vegucation of Robin describes her transformation inside and out, and, including ninety of her favorite vegan recipes, she encourages readers to join her in putting their health first.With her signature humor and wit, Quivers builds an undeniable case that the key to living the life you

€™ve always wanted lies not with your doctor but in your refrigerator. Putting a new face on the pro-veggie movement, Quivers will dazzle readers who want to look good, feel good, and have fun doing it.


Click for more detail about The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry by Rita Dove The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry

by Rita Dove
Penguin Books (Sep 24, 2013)
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In time for the holiday season, a beautiful paperback edition of Penguin’s landmark poetry anthologyRita Dove, Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate of the United States, introduces readers to the most significant and compelling poems of the past hundred years in The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Now available in paperback, this indispensable volume represents the full spectrum of aesthetic sensibilities—with varying styles, voices, themes, and cultures—while balancing important poems with vital periods of each poet. Featuring earlier works by Robert Frost, James Weldon Johnson, and Wallace Stevens along with examples from the new generation of critically acclaimed poets, including A. E. Stallings, Terrance Hayes, and Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, Dove’s selections paint a dynamic and cohesive portrait of modern American poetry.


Click for more detail about Who Asked You? by Terry McMillan Who Asked You?

by Terry McMillan
Knopf (Sep 17, 2013)
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Family ties are tested and transformed in the new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back

With her wise, wry, and poignant novels of families and friendships—Waiting to Exhale, Getting to Happy, and A Day Late and a Dollar Short among them—Terry McMillan has touched millions of readers. Now, in her eighth novel, McMillan gives exuberant voice to characters who reveal how we live now—at least as lived in a racially diverse Los Angeles neighborhood.

Kaleidoscopic, fast-paced, and filled with McMillan’s inimitable humor, Who Asked You? opens as Trinetta leaves her two young sons with her mother, Betty Jean, and promptly disappears. BJ, a trademark McMillan heroine, already has her hands full dealing with her other adult children, two opinionated sisters, an ill husband, and her own postponed dreams—all while holding down a job delivering room service at a hotel. Her son Dexter is about to be paroled from prison; Quentin, the family success, can’t be bothered to lend a hand; and taking care of two lively grandsons is the last thing BJ thinks she needs. The drama unfolds through the perspectives of a rotating cast of characters, pitch-perfect, each playing a part, and full of surprises.

Who Asked You? casts an intimate look at the burdens and blessings of family and speaks to trusting your own judgment even when others don’t agree. McMillan’s signature voice and unforgettable characters bring universal issues to brilliant, vivid life.


Click for more detail about Giovanni's Room  by James Baldwin Giovanni’s Room

by James Baldwin
Vintage Books (Sep 12, 2013)
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Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin’s now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.


Click for more detail about Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin Go Tell It on the Mountain

by James Baldwin
Vintage Books (Sep 12, 2013)
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“Mountain,” Baldwin said, “is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else.” Go Tell It on the Mountain, originally published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery one Saturday in March of 1935 of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a Pentecostal storefront church in Harlem. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle toward self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 by Juan Williams Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965

by Juan Williams
Penguin Books (Sep 03, 2013)
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The 25th-anniversary edition of Juan Williams’s celebrated account of the tumultuous early years of the civil rights movement

From the Montgomery bus boycott to the Little Rock Nine to the Selma–Montgomery march, thousands of ordinary people who participated in the American civil rights movement; their stories are told in Eyes on the Prize. From leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., to lesser-known figures such as Barbara Rose John and Jim Zwerg, each man and woman made the decision that somethinghad to be done to stop discrimination. These moving accounts and pictures of the first decade of the civil rights movement are a tribute to the people, black and white, who took part in the fight for justice and the struggle they endured.


Click for more detail about This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration

by Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books (Aug 29, 2013)
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The story of one family’s journey north during the Great Migration starts with a little girl in South Carolina who finds a rope under a tree one summer. She has no idea the rope will become part of her family’s history. But for three generations, that rope is passed down, used for everything from jump rope games to tying suitcases onto a car for the big move north to New York City, and even for a family reunion where that first little girl is now a grandmother.

Newbery Honor–winning author Jacqueline Woodson and Coretta Scott King Award–winning illustrator James Ransome use the rope to frame a thoughtful and moving story as readers follow the little girl’s journey. During the time of the Great Migration, millions of African American families relocated from the South, seeking better opportunities. With grace and poignancy, Woodson’s lilting storytelling and Ransome’s masterful oil paintings of country and city life tell a rich story of a family adapting to change as they hold on to the past and embrace the future.


Click for more detail about Claire Of The Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat Claire Of The Sea Light

by Edwidge Danticat
Knopf (Aug 27, 2013)
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From the best-selling author of Brother, I’m Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing.

Claire Limyè Lanmè—Claire of the Sea Light—is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in Ville Rose, Haiti. Claire’s mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother’s grave. Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper, who lost a child of her own, so that Claire can have a better life.

But on the night of Claire’s seventh birthday, when at last he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears. As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself. Told with piercing lyricism and the economy of a fable, Claire of the Sea Light is a tightly woven, breathtaking tapestry that explores what it means to be a parent, child, neighbor, lover, and friend, while revealing the mysterious bonds we share with the natural world and with one another. Embracing the magic and heartbreak of ordinary life, it is Edwidge Danticat’s most spellbinding, astonishing book yet.


Click for more detail about The Good Lord Bird by James McBride The Good Lord Bird

by James McBride
Knopf (Aug 20, 2013)
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A 2013 National Book Award Winner!

Fleeing his violent master at the side of abolitionist John Brown at the height of the slavery debate in mid-nineteenth-century Kansas Territory, Henry pretends to be a girl to hide his identity throughout the raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.

From the bestselling author of The Color of Water and Song Yet Sung comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown's antislavery crusade—and who must pass as a girl to survive.

Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti and pro slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry's master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town—with Brown, who believes he’s a girl.

Over the ensuing months, Henry—whom Brown nicknames Little Onion—conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859--one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride’s meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.


Click for more detail about Buck: A Memoir by MK Asante Buck: A Memoir

by MK Asante
Spiegel & Grau (Aug 20, 2013)
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A rebellious boy’s journey through the wilds of urban America and the shrapnel of a self-destructing family—this is the riveting story of a generation told through one dazzlingly poetic new voice.
 
MK Asante was born in Zimbabwe to American parents: a mother who led the new nation’s dance company and a father who would soon become a revered pioneer in black studies. But things fell apart, and a decade later MK was in America, a teenager lost in a fog of drugs, sex, and violence on the streets of North Philadelphia. Now he was alone—his mother in a mental hospital, his father gone, his older brother locked up in a prison on the other side of the country—and forced to find his own way to survive physically, mentally, and spiritually, by any means necessary.
 
Buck is a powerful memoir of how a precocious kid educated himself through the most unconventional teachers—outlaws and eccentrics, rappers and mystic strangers, ghetto philosophers and strippers, and, eventually, an alternative school that transformed his life with a single blank sheet of paper. It’s a one-of-a-kind story about finding your purpose in life, and an inspiring tribute to the power of education, art, and love to heal and redeem us.

Praise for Buck
 
“A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.”—Maya Angelou 
 
“In America, we have a tradition of black writers whose autobiographies and memoirs come to define an era. . . . Buck may be this generation’s story.”—NPR

“The voice of a new generation. . . . You will love nearly everything about Buck.”—Essence

“A virtuoso performance . . . [an] extraordinary page-turner of a memoir . . . written in a breathless, driving hip-hop prose style that gives it a tough, contemporary edge.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Frequently brilliant and always engaging . . . It takes great skill to render the wide variety of characters, male and female, young and old, that populate a memoir like Buck. Asante [is] at his best when he sets out into the city of Philadelphia itself. In fact, that city is the true star of this book. Philly’s skateboarders, its street-corner philosophers and its tattoo artists are all brought vividly to life here. . . . Asante’s memoir will find an eager readership, especially among young people searching in books for the kind of understanding and meaning that eludes them in their real-life relationships. . . . A powerful and captivating book.”—Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times

“Remarkable . . . Asante’s prose is a fluid blend of vernacular swagger and tender poeticism. . . . [He] soaks up James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston and Walt Whitman like thirsty ground in a heavy rain. Buck grew from that, and it’s a bumper crop.”—Salon
 
“Buck is so honest it floats—even while it’s so down-to-earth that the reader feels like an ant peering up from the concrete. It’s a powerful book. . . . Asante is a hip-hop raconteur, a storyteller in the Homeric tradition, an American, a rhymer, a big-thinker singing a song of himself. You’ll want to listen.”—The Buffalo News


Click for more detail about The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

by Christopher Paul Curtis
Yearling (Aug 06, 2013)
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A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his middle-class black family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny’s 13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble, they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up. And they happen to be in Birmingham when Grandma’s church is blown up.


Click for more detail about Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them by Liz Curtis Higgs Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them

by Liz Curtis Higgs
Knopf (Jul 16, 2013)
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“When she was perfect, beautiful, and innocent, I found no toehold where I could connect with Eve. When she was tempted by her flesh, humbled by her sin, and redeemed by her God, I could sing out, ‘Oh, sister Eve! Can we talk?’ - from Bad Girls of the Bible

Ten of the Bible’s best-known femmes fatales parade across the pages of Bad Girls of the Bible with situations that sound oh-so-familiar.

Eve had food issues. Potiphar’s Wife and Delilah had man trouble. Lot’s Wife and Michal couldn’t let go of the past, Sapphira couldn’t let go of money, and Jezebel couldn’t let go of anything. Yet the Woman at the Well had her thirst quenched at last, while Rahab and the Sinful Woman left their sordid histories behind. Let these Bad Girls show you why studying the Bible has never been more fun!


Click for more detail about Zealot: The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth by Reza Aslan Zealot: The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth

by Reza Aslan
Knopf (Jul 16, 2013)
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Good Housekeeping • Booklist • Publishers Weekly • Bookish

From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth.
 
Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across the Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the “Kingdom of God.” The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal.
 
Within decades after his shameful death, his followers would call him God.
 
Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry—a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy.
 
Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious “King of the Jews” whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime. Aslan explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity.
 
Zealot yields a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told even as it affirms the radical and transformative nature of Jesus of Nazareth’s life and mission. The result is a thought-provoking, elegantly written biography with the pulse of a fast-paced novel: a singularly brilliant portrait of a man, a time, and the birth of a religion.

Praise for Zealot
 
“Riveting . . . Aslan synthesizes Scripture and scholarship to create an original account.”—The New Yorker

“A lucid, intelligent page-turner.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Fascinatingly and convincingly drawn . . . Aslan may come as close as one can to respecting those who revere Jesus as the peace-loving, turn-the-other-cheek, true son of God depicted in modern Christianity, even as he knocks down that image.”—The Seattle Times
 
“[Aslan’s] literary talent is as essential to the effect of Zealot as are his scholarly and journalistic chops. . . . A vivid, persuasive portrait.”—Salon
 
“This tough-minded, deeply political book does full justice to the real Jesus, and honors him in the process.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Book Review

Click for more detail about Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan Golden Boy

by Tara Sullivan
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Jun 27, 2013)
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Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different—light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists. Habo is strange and alone. His father, unable to accept Habo, abandons the family; his mother can scarcely look at him. His brothers are cruel and the other children never invite him to play. Only his sister Asu loves him well. But even Asu can’t take the sting away when the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, and Habo knows he is to blame. 

Seeking refuge in Mwanza, Habo and his family journey across the Serengeti. His aunt is glad to open her home until she sees Habo for the first time, and then she is only afraid. Suddenly, Habo has a new word for himself: Albino. But they hunt Albinos in Mwanza because Albino body parts are thought to bring good luck. And soon Habo is being hunted by a fearsome man with a machete. To survive, Habo must not only run, but find a way to love and accept himself.


Click for more detail about Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper Max and the Tag-Along Moon

by Floyd Cooper
Philomel Books (Jun 13, 2013)
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Has the moon ever followed you home at night?

Max loves his grandpa. When they must say good-bye after a visit, Grandpa reminds Max that the moon above them at Grandpa’s house is the same moon that will follow him all the way home. And on that swervy-curvy car ride back home Max smiles as the moon tags along, thinking of Grandpa. But when the sky darkens and the moon disappears behind clouds, Max worries that it did not follow him home after all. Yet when the clouds part and light streams through his window, he realizes that Grandpa was right—the moon was with him all along.Floyd Cooper received the Coretta Scott King Award for The Blacker the Berry, two Coretta Scott King Honors for Honey in Broomwheat Tea and I Have Heard of a Land, and an NAACP image award. His books have also been named to numerous best books list and been given many Parents Choice Awards. In Max and the Tag-Along Moon, his lush paintings perfectly capture the wonder of the moon, the love between grandfather and grandson, and that feeling of magic every child experiences when the moon follows him home.


Click for more detail about The Big Smoke (Poets, Penguin) by Adrian Matejka The Big Smoke (Poets, Penguin)

by Adrian Matejka
Penguin Books (May 28, 2013)
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Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and the National Book Award in Poetry—a collection that examines the myth and history of the prizefighter Jack Johnson
    The legendary Jack Johnson (1878-1946) was a true American creation. The child of emancipated slaves, he overcame the violent segregationism of Jim Crow, challenging white boxers—and white America—to become the first African-American heavyweight world champion. The Big Smoke, Adrian Matejka’s third work of poetry, follows the fighter’s journey from poverty to the most coveted title in sports through the multi-layered voices of Johnson and the white women he brazenly loved. Matejka’s book is part historic reclamation and part interrogation of Johnson’s complicated legacy, one that often misremembers the magnetic man behind the myth.


Click for more detail about Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson Yes, Chef: A Memoir

by Marcus Samuelsson
Random House Trade Paperbacks (May 21, 2013)
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JAMES BEARD AWARD NOMINEE • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY VOGUE • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“One of the great culinary stories of our time.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
 
It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations. Yes, Chef chronicles Samuelsson’s journey, from his grandmother’s kitchen to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. But Samuelsson’s career of chasing flavors had only just begun—in the intervening years, there have been White House state dinners, career crises, reality show triumphs, and, most important, the opening of Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fulfilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room—a place where presidents rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, and bus drivers. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home.

Praise for Yes, Chef
 
“Such an interesting life, told with touching modesty and remarkable candor.”—Ruth Reichl
 
“Marcus Samuelsson has an incomparable story, a quiet bravery, and a lyrical and discreetly glittering style—in the kitchen and on the page. I liked this book so very, very much.”—Gabrielle Hamilton
 
“Plenty of celebrity chefs have a compelling story to tell, but none of them can top [this] one.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Elegantly written . . . Samuelsson has the flavors of many countries in his blood.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Red Rooster’s arrival in Harlem brought with it a chef who has reinvigorated and reimagined what it means to be American. In his famed dishes, and now in this memoir, Marcus Samuelsson tells a story that reaches past racial and national divides to the foundations of family, hope, and downright good food.”—President Bill Clinton


Click for more detail about Three Strong Women: A novel by Marie NDiaye Three Strong Women: A novel

by Marie NDiaye
Vintage (May 21, 2013)
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A New York Times Notable BookA San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2012A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012Longlisted for The 2014 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary AwardFrom Marie NDiaye, the first black woman to win the Prix Goncourt, a harrowing and beautiful novel of the travails of West African immigrants in France. The story of three women who say no: Norah, a French-born lawyer who finds herself in Senegal, summoned by her estranged father to save another victim of his paternity; Fanta, who leaves a contented life as a teacher in Dakar to follow her boyfriend back to France, where his depression and dislocation poison everything; and Khady, a penniless widow put out by her husband’s family with nothing but the name of a distant cousin in France. As these three lives intertwine, each woman manages an astonishing feat of self-preservation against those who have made themselves the fastest-growing and most-reviled people in Europe. In Marie NDiaye’s stunning narration we see the progress by which ordinary women discover unimagined reserves of strength.


Click for more detail about Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Americanah

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Knopf (May 14, 2013)
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From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home.

As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives. Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most powerful and astonishing novel yet.


Click for more detail about Little Green by Walter Mosley Little Green

by Walter Mosley
Knopf (May 14, 2013)
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When Walter Mosley burst onto the literary scene in 1990 with his first Easy Rawlins mystery, Devil in a Blue Dress—a combustible mixture of Raymond Chandler and Richard Wright—he captured the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers (including future president Bill Clinton). Eleven books later, Easy Rawlins is one of the few private eyes in contemporary crime fiction who can be called iconic and immortal. In the incendiary and fast-paced Little Green, he returns from the brink of death to investigate the dark side of L.A.’s 1960s hippie haven, the Sunset Strip. We last saw Easy in 2007’s Blonde Faith, fighting for his life after his car plunges over a cliff. True to form, the tough WWII veteran survives, and soon his murderous sidekick Mouse has him back cruising the mean streets of L.A., in all their psychedelic 1967 glory, to look for a young black man, Evander “Little Green” Noon, who disappeared during an acid trip. Fueled by an elixir called Gator’s Blood, brewed by the conjure woman Mama Jo, Easy experiences a physical, spiritual, and emotional resurrection, but peace and love soon give way to murder and mayhem. Written with Mosley’s signature grit and panache, this engrossing and atmospheric mystery is not only a trip back in time, it is also a tough-minded exploration of good and evil, and of the power of guilt and redemption. Once again, Easy asserts his reign over the City of (Fallen) Angels.


Click for more detail about The Lost Daughter: A Memoir by Mary Williams The Lost Daughter: A Memoir

by Mary Williams
Blue Rider Press (Apr 09, 2013)
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A daughter of the Black Panther movement tells her remarkable life story of being raised amid violence and near-poverty, adopted as a teenager by Jane Fonda, and finding her way back home.
 
As she grew up in 1970s Oakland, California, role models for Mary Williams were few and far between: her father was often in prison, her older sister was a teenage prostitute, and her hot-tempered mother struggled to raise six children alone. When Mary was thirteen, a silver lining appeared in her life: she was invited to spend a summer at Laurel Springs Children’s Camp, run by Jane Fonda and her then husband, Tom Hayden. Mary flourished at camp, and over the course of several summers, she began confiding in Fonda about her difficulties at home. During one school year, Mary suffered a nightmare assault crime, which she kept secret until she told a camp counselor and Fonda. After providing care and therapy for Mary, Fonda invited her to come live with her family.
 Practically overnight, Mary left the streets of Oakland for the star-studded climes of Santa Monica. Jane Fonda was the parent Mary had never had—outside the limelight and Hollywood parties, Fonda was a wonderful mom who helped with homework, listened to adolescent fears, celebrated achievements, and offered inspiration and encouragement at every turn.
 Mary’s life since has been one of adventure and opportunity—from hiking the Appalachian Trail solo, working with the Lost Boys of Sudan, and living in the frozen reaches of Antarctica. Her most courageous trip, though, involved returning to Oakland and reconnecting with her biological mother and family, many of whom she hadn’t seen since the day she left home. The Lost Daughter is a chronicle of her journey back in time, an exploration of fractured family bonds, and a moving epic of self-discovery.


Click for more detail about Mountains Beyond Mountains (Adapted for Young People): The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer,  A Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder and Michael French Mountains Beyond Mountains (Adapted for Young People): The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World

by Tracy Kidder and Michael French
Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Apr 09, 2013)
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Tracy Kidder’s critically acclaimed adult nonfiction work, Mountains Beyond Mountains has been adapted for young people by Michael French. In this young adult edition, readers are introduced to Dr. Paul Farmer, a Harvard-educated doctor with a self-proclaimed mission to transform healthcare on a global scale. Farmer focuses his attention on some of the world’s most impoverished people and uses unconventional ways in which to provide healthcare, to achieve real results and save lives.


Click for more detail about Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou Mom & Me & Mom

by Maya Angelou
Knopf (Apr 02, 2013)
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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. Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding, and fraught relationships, Mom & Me & Mom explores the healing and love that evolved between the two women over the course of their lives, the love that fostered Maya Angelou’s rise from immeasurable depths to reach impossible heights.


Click for more detail about You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Holly wood, Love, Loss (and Each Other) by Vanessa L. Williams You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Holly wood, Love, Loss (and Each Other)

by Vanessa L. Williams
Avery (Apr 02, 2013)
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A candid and inspirational mother-daughter memoir of family, fame, trials, and triumphs by superstar Vanessa Williams her mother Helen Williams.

Since she was a little girl, Vanessa Williams wanted to be on Broadway. As a musical theater major in college she was on her way, but life took a turn when she became the first black Miss America. Forced to resign due to a nude photo scandal, it looked like her dreams were over. But through determination, and with a mom who was always there for her, she went on to conquer the entertainment world.

Like most teenagers, Vanessa Williams was often at odds with her mom. Despite their early conflicts, Helen has always ardently protected her daughter, staying in contact with the FBI about death threats Vanessa received and being there for her through the birth of her four children and dissolution of her two marriages. Vanessa and Helen tell of how they’ve made it through the many ups and down in their lives; and Vanessa dishes on her career and parts of her life that even her mother had no idea about—until now.

You Have No Idea is a celebration of the love between a mother and daughter as well as the lives thus far of two women who have consistently defied the odds to achieve success – no matter how uncertain their paths might have been.


Click for more detail about Supplying Salt and Light by Lorna Goodison Supplying Salt and Light

by Lorna Goodison
McClelland & Stewart (Mar 26, 2013)
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This stunning new book of poems from internationally renowned poet Lorna Goodison opens in Spain and Portugal, conjuring up a new history of the Caribbean and a new way of setting up its heritage.

     The title sets the tone for poems about backgrounds and outlines and shadows and sources of light. This extraordinary book "a wide lotus on the dark waters of song" is filled with surprises at every turn, as a Moorish mosque becomes a cathedral in Seville, a country girl dresses in Sunday clothes to visit a Jamaican bookmobile, and a bear appears suddenly, only to slip away silently into the trees on a road in British Columbia. The heartache of Billy Holliday singing the blues, the burden of Charlie Chaplin tramping the banana walks of Jamaica’s Golden Cloud, and the paintings of El Greco, the quintessential stranger, come together on the poet’s pilgrimage to Heartease, guided by a limping angel and inspired by the passage-making of Dante; the book ends with a superb version of the first of his cantos, translated into the poet’s Jamaican language and landscape with the gift of love.


Click for more detail about The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat  by Edward Kelsey Moore The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat

by Edward Kelsey Moore
Knopf (Mar 12, 2013)
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Meet Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean in the New York Times best-selling novel . . . Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat is home away from home for this inseparable Plainview, Indiana, trio. Dubbed “the Supremes” by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they weather life’s storms together for the next four decades. Now, during their most challenging year yet, dutiful, proud, and talented Clarice must struggle to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband’s humiliating infidelities. Beautiful, fragile Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair. And fearless Odette engages in the most terrifying battle of her life while contending with the idea that she has inherited more than her broad frame from her notorious pot-smoking mother, Dora.

Through marriage, children, happiness, and the blues, these strong, funny women gather each Sundayat the same table at Earl’s diner for delicious food, juicy gossip, occasional tears, and uproarious banter.

With wit and love, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together four intertwined love stories, three devoted allies, and two sprightly earthbound spirits in a big-hearted debut novel that embraces the lives of people you will never forget.


Click for more detail about Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi Ghana Must Go

by Taiye Selasi
Penguin Press (Mar 05, 2013)
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Kweku Sai is dead. A renowned surgeon and failed husband, he succumbs suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of Kweku’s death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Ghana Must Go is their story. Electric, exhilarating, beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go is a testament to the transformative power of unconditional love, from a debut novelist of extraordinary talent.

  Moving with great elegance through time and place, Ghana Must Go charts the Sai’s circuitous journey to one another. In the wake of Kweku’s death, his children gather in Ghana at their enigmatic mother’s new home. The eldest son and his wife; the mysterious, beautiful twins; the baby sister, now a young woman: each carries secrets of his own. What is revealed in their coming together is the story of how they came apart: the hearts broken, the lies told, the crimes committed in the name of love. Splintered, alone, each navigates his pain, believing that what has been lost can never be recovered until, in Ghana, a new way forward, a new family, begins to emerge.

  Ghana Must Go is at once a portrait of a modern family, and an exploration of the importance of where we come from to who we are. In a sweeping narrative that takes us from Accra to Lagos to London to New York, Ghana Must Go teaches that the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.

 


Click for more detail about Living and Dying in Brick City: An E.R. Doctor Returns Home  by Sampson Davi and Lisa Frazier Page Living and Dying in Brick City: An E.R. Doctor Returns Home

by Sampson Davi and Lisa Frazier Page
Knopf (Feb 12, 2013)
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Sampson Davis is best known as one of three friends from inner-city Newark who made a pact in high school to become doctors. Their book The Pact and their work through the Three Doctors Foundation have inspired countless young men and women to strive for goals they otherwise would not have dreamed they could attain. In this book, Dr. Davis looks at the healthcare crisis in the inner city from a rare perspective: as a doctor who works on the front line of emergency medical care in the community where he grew up, and as a member of that community who has faced the same challenges as the people he treats every day. He also offers invaluable practical advice for those living in such communities, where conditions like asthma, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and AIDS are disproportionately endemic. Dr. Davis’s sister, a drug addict, died of AIDS; his brother is now paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair as a result of a bar fight; and he himself did time in juvenile detention—a wake-up call that changed his life. He recounts recognizing a young man who is brought to the E.R. with critical gunshot wounds as someone who was arrested with him when he was a teenager during a robbery gone bad; describes a patient whose case of sickle-cell anemia rouses an ethical dilemma; and explains the difficulty he has convincing his landlord and friend, an older woman, to go to the hospital for much-needed treatment. With empathy and hard-earned wisdom, Living and Dying in Brick City presents an urgent picture of medical care in our cities. It is an important resource guide for anyone at risk, anyone close to those at risk, and anyone who cares about the fate of our cities.


Click for more detail about Decadence by Eric Jerome Dickey Decadence

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Knopf (Feb 01, 2013)
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What Nia Simon Bijou desires, she works hard to achieve. Her accomplishments as a respected writer have not only brought her to Hollywood, but she’s now poised for worldwide success, and pursued and desired by Prada, a man of international power and wealth. With everything Nia has, she remains restless and on a journey to quell her inner storm. Then someone introduces her to a place called Decadence…

In this intimately private club, Nia submits to an abundance of sensual experiences she previously could only have imagined. As secret desires become reality, Nia’s ability to distinguish truth from fantasy becomes increasingly blurred. Seduced into the extremes of Decadence, Nia soon discovers that abandoning all caution in pursuit of your hedonistic fantasies can carry a devastating price…


Click for more detail about Sugar in the Blood: A Family's Story of Slavery and Empire by Andrea Stuart Sugar in the Blood: A Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire

by Andrea Stuart
Knopf (Jan 22, 2013)
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In the late 1630s, lured by the promise of the New World, Andrea Stuart’s earliest known maternal ancestor, George Ashby, set sail from England to settle in Barbados. He fell into the life of a sugar plantation owner by mere chance, but by the time he harvested his first crop, a revolution was fully under way: the farming of sugar cane, and the swiftly increasing demands for sugar worldwide, would not only lift George Ashby from abject poverty and shape the lives of his descendants, but it would also bind together ambitious white entrepreneurs and enslaved black workers in a strangling embrace. Stuart uses her own family story—from the seventeenth century through the present—as the pivot for this epic tale of migration, settlement, survival, slavery and the making of the Americas.

As it grew, the sugar trade enriched Europe as never before, financing the Industrial Revolution and fuelling the Enlightenment. And, as well, it became the basis of many economies in South America, played an important part in the evolution of the United States as a world power and transformed the Caribbean into an archipelago of riches. But this sweet and hugely profitable trade—“white gold,” as it was known—had profoundly less palatable consequences in its precipitation of the enslavement of Africans to work the fields on the islands and, ultimately, throughout the American continents. Interspersing the tectonic shifts of colonial history with her family’s experience, Stuart explores the interconnected themes of settlement, sugar and slavery with extraordinary subtlety and sensitivity. In examining how these forces shaped her own family—its genealogy, intimate relationships, circumstances of birth, varying hues of skin—she illuminates how her family, among millions of others like it, in turn transformed the society in which they lived, and how that interchange continues to this day. Shifting between personal and global history, Stuart gives us a deepened understanding of the connections between continents, between black and white, between men and women, between the free and the enslaved. It is a story brought to life with riveting and unparalleled immediacy, a story of fundamental importance to the making of our world.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Home by Toni Morrison Home

by Toni Morrison
Knopf (Jan 01, 2013)
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America’s most celebrated novelist, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison extends her profound take on our history with this twentieth-century tale of redemption: a taut and tortured story about one man’s desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war. Frank Money is an angry, self-loathing veteran of the Korean War who, after traumatic experiences on the front lines, finds himself back in racist America with more than just physical scars. His home may seem alien to him, but he is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from and that he’s hated all his life. As Frank revisits his memories from childhood and the war that have left him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he had thought he could never possess again. A deeply moving novel about an apparently defeated man finding his manhood—and his home.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Hope’s Gift by Kelly Starling Lyons Hope’s Gift

by Kelly Starling Lyons
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Dec 27, 2012)
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A poignant story celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation ProclamationIt’s 1862 and the Civil War has turned out to be a long, deadly conflict. Hope’s father can’t stand the waiting a minute longer and decides to join the Union army to fight for freedom. He slips away one tearful night, leaving Hope, who knows she may never see her father again, with only a conch shell for comfort. Its sound, Papa says, echoes the promised song of freedom. It’s a long wait for freedom and on the nights when the cannons roar, Papa seems farther away than ever. But then Lincoln finally does it: on January 1, 1863, he issues the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves, and a joyful Hope finally spies the outline of a familiar man standing on the horizon.Affectingly written and gorgeously illustrated, Hope’s Gift captures a significant moment in American history with deep emotion and a lot of charm.


Click for more detail about Formula 50: A 6-Week Workout and Nutrition Plan That Will Transform Your Life by 50 Cent Formula 50: A 6-Week Workout and Nutrition Plan That Will Transform Your Life

by 50 Cent
Avery (Dec 27, 2012)
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Get fit like 50 Cent: The phenomenally fit superstar rapper reveals his strategic six-week workout plan for achieving a ripped body and developing the mental toughness to stay in shape for a lifetime.

Survival is a recurring theme of 50 Cent’s lyrics, and his life. That’s why, with obesity rates soaring and fitness levels declining, he wants to give everyone an all-access pass to his premium plan for lifelong fitness. In Formula 50, the mega-successful entertainer and entrepreneur unleashes the power of metabolic resistance training (MRT), the key ingredient that has helped him achieve the famously buff physique that makes his music videos sizzle.

Through MRT, 50 Cent’s fitness plan breaks down the barriers between traditional weight training and cardio workouts, accelerating fat loss while building muscle and improving overall fitness. Designed for a six-week rollout for total mind-body transformation, the Formula 50 regimen builds willpower while it builds physical power. In addition to motivation, nutrition is another key element; readers will discover the unique dietary combinations that fuel 50 Cent’s workouts. Coauthored with Jeff O

Connell, health journalist and editor-in-chief at Bodybuilding.com (the world’s largest fitness website), the book delivers a payoff that goes beyond six-pack abs and flab-free pecs: This is a fitness plan that boosts energy, endurance, flexibility, and mobility. The result is a body you

ve always dreamed of and the mindset to attain the rest of your dreams.


Click for more detail about Parishioner by Walter Mosley Parishioner

by Walter Mosley
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (Dec 18, 2012)
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An eBook original crime novel from bestselling author Walter Mosley, Parishioner is a portrait of a hardened criminal who regrets his past, but whose only hope for redemption is to sin again.

In a small town situated between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, a simple church of white stone sits atop a hill on the coast. This nameless house of worship is a sanctuary for the worst kinds of sinners: the congregation and even the clergy have broken all ten Commandments and more. Now they have gathered to seek forgiveness. Xavier Rule—Ecks to his friends—didn’t come to California in search of salvation but, thanks to the grace of this church, he has begun to learn to forgive himself and others for past misdeeds. One day a woman arrives to seek absolution for the guilt she has carried for years over her role in a scheme to kidnap three children and sell them on the black market. As part of atoning for his past life on the wrong side of the law, Ecks is assigned to find out what happened to the abducted children. As he follows the thin trail of the twenty-three-year-old crime, he must struggle against his old, lethal instincts—and learn when to give in to them.


Click for more detail about Tea Cakes For Tosh by Kelly Starling Lyons Tea Cakes For Tosh

by Kelly Starling Lyons
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Dec 06, 2012)
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A young boy helps his beloved grandmother remember an important family story

Tosh loves listening to Grandma Honey tell family stories. His favorite is about the special tea cakes that smell like vanilla and sunshine. They were great-great-great-great-grandma Ida’s specialty when she was a cook in the big house of a plantation. Unlike Tosh, the slave children weren’t allowed to have any of the treats, though Grandma Ida always found a way to put the sugary sweetness into their hands anyway. It was a promise and taste of freedom to come.

Tosh knows this is an important story and he takes care to remember every word. And when grandma Honey begins to forget, he can return the gift of tea cakes and stories. A touching family tale, Tea Cakes for Tosh celebrates the important bond between grandchild and grandparent and the stories that make a family strong.


Click for more detail about Puss in Boots by Jerry Pinkney Puss in Boots

by Jerry Pinkney
Dial Books for Young Readers (Nov 13, 2012)
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A beautifully illustrated retelling of the beloved fairy tale from Caldecott Medal-winning author Jerry Pinkney
 
For generations, children have been enchanted by the tale of the clever cat in fancy boots who outsmarts a king and a sorcerer to win a castle and a bride for his penniless master. The humor, the magic, and a lush Renaissance setting are all on glorious display, and a well-placed gatefold adds to the drama. This elegant new edition of Charles Perrault’s folktale is essential for every child’s library. Read it in tandem with other Pinkney classic picture books like The Little Red Hen and The Lion and the Mouse.

"This book is larger than life."-Library Media Connection


Click for more detail about Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself—And the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future by Harriet A. Washington Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself—And the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future

by Harriet A. Washington
Anchor (Nov 13, 2012)
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From the award-winning author of Medical Apartheid, an exposé of the rush to own and exploit the raw materials of life—including yours.
 
Think your body is your own to control and dispose of as you wish? Think again. The United States Patent Office has granted at least 40,000 patents on genes controlling the most basic processes of human life, and more are pending. If you undergo surgery in many hospitals you must sign away ownership rights to your excised tissues, even if they turn out to have medical and fiscal value. Life itself is rapidly becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the medical-industrial complex.
 
Deadly Monopolies is a powerful, disturbing, and deeply researched book that illuminates this “life patent” gold rush and its harmful, and even lethal, consequences for public health. Like the bestselling The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, it reveals in shocking detail just how far the profit motive has encroached in colonizing human life and compromising medical ethics.


Click for more detail about In The House Of The Interpreter: A Memoir by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o In The House Of The Interpreter: A Memoir

by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Pantheon Books (Nov 06, 2012)
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With black-and-white illustrations throughout

World-renowned Kenyan novelist, poet, playwright, and literary critic Ng˜ug˜ý wa Thiong’o gives us the second volume of his memoirs in the wake of his critically acclaimed Dreams in a Time of War.
 
In the House of the Interpreter richly and poignantly evokes the author’s life and times at boarding school—the first secondary educational institution in British-ruled Kenya—in the 1950s, against the backdrop of the tumultuous Mau Mau Uprising for independence and Kenyan sovereignty. While Ng˜ug˜ý has been enjoying scouting trips, chess tournaments, and reading about the fictional RAF pilot adventurer Biggles at the prestigious Alliance High School near Nairobi, things have been changing rapidly at home. Poised as he is between two worlds, Ng˜ug˜ý returns home for his first visit since starting school to find his house razed and the entire village moved up the road, closer to a guard checkpoint. Later, his brother Good Wallace, a member of the insurgency, is captured by the British and taken to a concentration camp. As for Ng˜ug˜ý himself, he falls victim to the forces of colonialism in the person of a police officer encountered on a bus journey, and he is thrown into jail for six days. In his second year at Alliance High School, the boarding school that was his haven in a heartless world is shattered by investigations, charges of disloyalty, and the politics of civil unrest.
 
In the House of the Interpreter hauntingly describes the formative experiences of a young man who would become a world-class writer and, as a political dissident, a moral compass to us all. It is a winning celebration of the implacable determination of youth and the power of hope.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Harlem’s Little Blackbird by Renée Watson Harlem’s Little Blackbird

by Renée Watson
Random House Books for Young Readers (Oct 23, 2012)
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Zora and Langston. Billie and Bessie. Eubie and Duke. If the Harlem Renaissance had a court, they were its kings and queens. But there were other, lesser known individuals whose contributions were just as impactful, such as Florence Mills. Born to parents who were former-slaves Florence knew early on that she loved to sing. And that people really responded to her sweet, bird-like voice. Her dancing and singing catapulted her all the way to the stages of 1920s Broadway where she inspired songs and even entire plays! Yet with all this success, she knew firsthand how bigotry shaped her world. And when she was offered the role of a lifetime from Ziegfeld himself, she chose to support all-black musicals instead.

Fans of When Marian Sang and Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa will jump at the chance to discover another talented performer whose voice transcended and transformed the circumstances society placed on her.


Click for more detail about There Was A Country: A Personal History Of Biafra by Chinua Achebe There Was A Country: A Personal History Of Biafra

by Chinua Achebe
Penguin Press (Oct 11, 2012)
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From the legendary author of Things Fall Apart comes a longawaited memoir about coming of age with a fragile new nation, then watching it torn asunder in a tragic civil war

The defining experience of Chinua Achebe’s life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe’s people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war’s full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa’s most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature.

Achebe masterfully relates his experience, bothas he lived it and how he has come to understand it. He begins his story with Nigeria’s birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that we might come to understand the country’s promise, which turned to horror when the hot winds of hatred began to stir. To read There Was a Country is to be powerfully reminded that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. All writers, Achebe argues, should be committed writers—they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people.

Marrying history and memoir, poetry and prose, There Was a Country is a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Wise, humane, and authoritative, it will stand as definitive and reinforce Achebe’s place as one of the most vital literary and moral voices of our age.


Click for more detail about It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have to Be): A Modern Guide to Finding and Keeping Love by Paul Carrick Brunson It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have to Be): A Modern Guide to Finding and Keeping Love

by Paul Carrick Brunson
Avery (Oct 11, 2012)
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The “Modern Day Matchmaker” presents a refreshingly optimistic and plainspoken dating guide to finding romance both on- and off-line. Finding and keeping a mate has never been harder. New rules are needed to navigate the complicated and changing modern-love landscape. If someone wants to find “the one,” what are the guidelines he or she needs to know, now that online dating and Google-searching a prospective love interest are the norm? Happily married for ten years, Paul Carrick Brunson is a husband, a father, and a rising star in the matchmaking world. In It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have to Be), Brunson tackles relevant questions such as: Is marriage right for my personality type? Do the rules of chivalry still apply? How can I date more than one person without hurt feelings? What is the best mode of communication (text messages, phone, e-mail, etc.) for asking someone out? With an appealing mix of humor, candor, and real-world examples, It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have to Be)

  is a breath of fresh air in the dating guide category, offering a message of eternal optimism from a man who believes in true love and practices what he preaches.


Click for more detail about I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Dream

by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Random House Children’s Books (Oct 09, 2012)
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From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s daughter, Dr. Bernice A. King: “My father’s dream continues to live on from generation to generation, and this beautiful and powerful illustrated edition of his world-changing "I Have a Dream" speech brings his inspiring message of freedom, equality, and peace to the youngest among us—those who will one day carry his dream forward for everyone.”

On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Martin Luther King gave one of the most powerful and memorable speeches in our nation's history. His words, paired with Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson's magnificent paintings, make for a picture book certain to be treasured by children and adults alike. The themes of equality and freedom for all are not only relevant today, 50 years later, but also provide young readers with an important introduction to our nation's past. Included with the book is an audio CD of the speech.


Click for more detail about Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson Each Kindness

by Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books (Oct 02, 2012)
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Each kindness makes the world a little better

This unforgettable book is written and illustrated by the award-winning team that created The Other Side and the Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon. With its powerful anti-bullying message and striking art, it will resonate with readers long after they've put it down.

Chloe and her friends won't play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she'd shown a little kindness toward Maya.


Click for more detail about Mugged: Racial Demagoguery From The Seventies To Obama by Ann Coulter Mugged: Racial Demagoguery From The Seventies To Obama

by Ann Coulter
Sentinel (Sep 25, 2012)
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“This isn’t a story about black people—it’s a story about the Left’s agenda to patronize blacks and lie to everyone else.” 

For decades, the Left has been putting on a play with themselves as heroes in an ongoing civil rights move­ment—which they were mostly absent from at the time. Long after pervasive racial discrimination ended, they kept pretending America was being run by the Klan and that liberals were black America’s only protectors. It took the O. J. Simpson verdict—the race-based acquittal of a spectacularly guilty black celebrity as blacks across America erupted in cheers—to shut down the white guilt bank. But now, fewer than two decades later, our “pos­tracial” president has returned us to the pre-OJ era of nonstop racial posturing. A half-black, half-white Democrat, not descended from American slaves, has brought racial unrest back with a whoop. The Obama candidacy allowed liberals to engage in self-righteousness about race and get a hard-core Leftie in the White House at the same time. In 2008, we were told the only way for the nation to move past race was to elect him as president. And 53 percent of voters fell for it. Now, Ann Coulter fearlessly explains the real his­tory of race relations in this country, including how white liberals twist that history to spring the guilty, accuse the innocent, and engender racial hatreds, all in order to win politically. You’ll learn, for instance, how A U.S. congressman and a New York mayor con­spired to protect cop killers who ambushed four police officers in the Rev. Louis Farrakhan’s mosque. The entire Democratic elite, up to the Carter White House, coddled a black cult in San Francisco as hun­dreds of the cult members marched to their deaths in Guyana. New York City became a maelstrom of racial hatred, with black neighborhoods abandoned to crimi­nals who were ferociously defended by a press that assessed guilt on the basis of race. Preposterous hoax hate crimes were always believed, never questioned. And when they turned out to be frauds the stories would simply disappear from the news. Liberals quickly switched the focus of civil rights laws from the heirs of slavery and Jim Crow to white feminists, illegal immigrants, and gays. Subway vigilante Bernhard Goetz was surprisingly popular in black neighborhoods, despite hysterical denunciations of him by the New York Times. Liberals slander Republicans by endlessly repeating a bizarro-world history in which Democrats defended black America and Republicans appealed to segregationists. The truth has always been exactly the opposite.Going where few authors would dare, Coulter explores the racial demagoguery that has mugged America since the early seventies. She shines the light of truth on cases ranging from Tawana Brawley, Lemrick Nelson, and Howard Beach, NY, to the LA riots and the Duke lacrosse scandal. And she shows how the 2012 Obama campaign is going to inspire the greatest racial guilt mongering of all time.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Ardency: A Chronicle Of The Amistad Rebels by Kevin Young Ardency: A Chronicle Of The Amistad Rebels

by Kevin Young
Knopf (Sep 18, 2012)
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Now in paperback, a haunting chorus of voices that tells the story of the captivity, education, language, hopes, dreams, and fight for freedom, of the African Americans abducted in the Amistad rebellion.

Based on the 1840 mutiny on board the slave ship Amistad, Ardency begins with "Buzzard," a sequence of poems told in the voice of the interpreter for the captive rebels, who were jailed in New Haven. In "Correspondence," we encounter the remarkable letters to John Quincy Adams and others that the captives wrote from jail. The book culminates in "Witness," a libretto chanted by Cinque, the rebel leader, who yearns for his family and freedom while eloquently evoking the Amistads’ conversion and life in America. As Young conjures this array of characters, interweaving the liberation cry of Negro spirituals and the indoctrinating wordplay of American primers, he delivers his signature songlike immediacy at the service of an epic built on the ironies, violence, and virtues of American history.


Click for more detail about The Oath: The Obama White House and The Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin The Oath: The Obama White House and The Supreme Court

by Jeffrey Toobin
Doubleday (Sep 18, 2012)
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From the prizewinning author of The Nine, a gripping insider’s account of the momentous ideological war between the John Roberts Supreme Court and the Obama administration. From the moment John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States, blundered through the Oath of Office at Barack Obama’s inauguration, the relationship between the Supreme Court and the White House has been confrontational. Both men are young, brilliant, charismatic, charming, determined to change the course of the nation and completely at odds on almost every major constitutional issue. One is radical; one essentially conservative. The surprise is that Obama is the conservative a believer in incremental change, compromise, and pragmatism over ideology. Roberts and his allies on the Court seek to overturn decades of precedent: in short, to undo the ultimate victory FDR achieved in the New Deal.  

 This ideological war will crescendo during the 2011-2012 term, in which several landmark cases are on the Court’s docket most crucially, a challenge to Obama’s controversial health-care legislation. With four new justices joining the Court in just five years, including Obama’s appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, this is a dramatically and historically different Supreme Court, playing for the highest of stakes.  

 No one is better positioned to chronicle this dramatic tale than Jeffrey Toobin, whose prize-winning bestseller The Nine laid bare the inner workings and conflicts of the Court in meticulous and entertaining detail. As the nation prepares to vote for President in 2012, the future of the Supreme Court will also be on the ballot.


Click for more detail about The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, And The Real Count Of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, And The Real Count Of Monte Cristo

by Tom Reiss
Crown (Sep 18, 2012)
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Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo – a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature.

Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave — who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time. 

Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East – until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.

Book Review

Click for more detail about This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz This Is How You Lose Her

by Junot Diaz
Knopf (Sep 11, 2012)
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Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Díaz’s first book, Drown, established him as a major new writer with “the dispassionate eye of a journalist and the tongue of a poet” (Newsweek). His first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, was named #1 Fiction Book of the Year” by Time magazine and spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, establishing itself – with more than a million copies in print – as a modern classic. In addition to the Pulitzer, Díaz has won a host of major awards and prizes, including the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, the PEN/O. Henry Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Anisfield-Wolf Award.Now Díaz turns his remarkable talent to the haunting, impossible power of love – obsessive love, illicit love, fading love, maternal love. On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness—and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of his life, whose heartbreak ultimately becomes his own. In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in the New York Times-Bestselling This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.”


Click for more detail about NW: A Novel by Zadie Smith NW: A Novel

by Zadie Smith
Penguin Press (Sep 04, 2012)
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Selected as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2012 by the New York Times

“A boldly Joycean appropriation, fortunately not so difficult of entry as its great model… Like Zadie Smith’s much-acclaimed predecessor White Teeth (2000), NW is an urban epic.” —Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

This is the story of a city.

The northwest corner of a city. Here you’ll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all.  And many people in between.

Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds.

And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system. Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell’s door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation…

Zadie Smith’s brilliant tragi-comic new novel follows four Londoners - Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan – as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end.

Depicting the modern urban zone – familiar to town-dwellers everywhere – Zadie Smith’s NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.


Click for more detail about Interventions: A Life in War and Peace by Kofi Annan Interventions: A Life in War and Peace

by Kofi Annan
Penguin Press (Sep 04, 2012)
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""[A] resolute, detailed, and unflinching review of [Annan’s] most difficult hours

€¦No one ever came closer to being the voice of “we the peoples” and no one paid a higher price for it. The world still needs such a voice, but the next person who tries to fill that role will want to reflect long and hard on the lessons of this candid, courageous, and unsparing memoir."" --Michael Ignatieff, The New York Review of Books

Receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2001, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke to a world still reeling from the terrorist attacks of September 11. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” proclaimed Annan, “we have entered the third millennium through a gate of fire. If today, after the horror of 11 September, we see better, and we see further we will realize that humanity is indivisible. New threats make no distinction between races, nations, or regions.” Yet within only a few years the world was more divided than ever polarized by the American invasion of Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the escalating civil wars in Africa, and the rising influence of China.

Interventions: A Life in War and Peace is the story of Annan’s remarkable time at the center of the world stage. After forty years of service at the United Nations, Annan shares here his unique experiences during the terrorist attacks of September 11; the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan; the war between Israel, Hizbollah, and Lebanon; the brutal conflicts of Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia; and the geopolitical transformations following the end of the Cold War. With eloquence and unprecedented candor, Interventions finally reveals Annan’s unique role and unparalleled perspective on decades of global politics.

The first sub-Saharan African to hold the position of Secretary-General, Annan has led an extraordinary life in his own right. His idealism and personal politics were forged in the Ghanaian independence movement of his adolescence, when all of Africa seemed to be rising as one to demand self-determination. Schooled in Africa, Europe, and the United States, Annan ultimately joined the United Nations in Geneva at the lowest professional level in the still young organization. Annan rose rapidly through the ranks and was by the end of the Cold War prominently placed in the dramatically changing department of peacekeeping operations. His stories of Presidents Clinton and Bush, dictators like Saddam Hussein and Robert Mugabe, and public figures of all stripes contrast powerfully with Annan’s descriptions of the courage and decency of ordinary people everywhere struggling for a new and better world. Showing the successes of the United Nations, Annan also reveals the organization’s missed opportunities and ongoing challenges inaction in the Rwanda genocide, continuing violence between Israelis and Palestinians, and the endurance of endemic poverty. Yet Annan’s great strength in this book is his ability to embed these tragedies within the context of global politics, demonstrating how, time and again, the nations of the world have retreated from the UN’s founding purpose. From the pinnacle of global politics, Annan made it his purpose to put the individual at the center of every mission for peace and prosperity.

A personal biography of global statecraft, Annan’s Interventions is as much a memoir as a guide to world order past, present, and future.


Click for more detail about The Devil In Silver: A Novel by Victor Lavalle The Devil In Silver: A Novel

by Victor Lavalle
Spiegel & Grau (Aug 21, 2012)
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New Hyde Hospital’s psychiatric ward has a new resident. It also has a very, very old one.
 
Pepper is a rambunctious big man, minor-league troublemaker, working-class hero (in his own mind), and, suddenly, the surprised inmate of a budget-strapped mental institution in Queens, New York. He’s not mentally ill, but that doesn’t seem to matter. He is accused of a crime he can’t quite square with his memory. In the darkness of his room on his first night, he’s visited by a terrifying creature with the body of an old man and the head of a bison who nearly kills him before being hustled away by the hospital staff. It’s no delusion: The other patients confirm that a hungry devil roams the hallways when the sun goes down. Pepper rallies three other inmates in a plot to fight back: Dorry, an octogenarian schizophrenic who’s been on the ward for decades and knows all its secrets; Coffee, an African immigrant with severe OCD, who tries desperately to send alarms to the outside world; and Loochie, a bipolar teenage girl who acts as the group’s enforcer. Battling the pill-pushing staff, one another, and their own minds, they try to kill the monster that’s stalking them. But can the Devil die?
 
The Devil in Silver brilliantly brings together the compelling themes that spark all of Victor LaValle’s radiant fiction: faith, race, class, madness, and our relationship with the unseen and the uncanny. More than that, it’s a thrillingly suspenseful work of literary horror about friendship, love, and the courage to slay our own demons.


Click for more detail about What Language Is: And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be by John McWhorter What Language Is: And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be

by John McWhorter
Avery (Aug 07, 2012)
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A love letter to languages, celebrating their curiosities and smashing assumptions about correct grammar

An eye-opening tour for all language lovers, What Language Is offers a fascinating new perspective on the way humans communicate. from vanishing languages spoken by a few hundred people to major tongues like Chinese, and with copious revelations about the hodgepodge nature of English, John McWhorter shows readers how to see and hear languages as a linguist does.Packed with big ideas about language alongside wonderful trivia, What Language Is explains how languages across the globe (the Queen’s English and Suriname creoles alike) originate, evolve, multiply, and divide. Raising provocative questions about what qualifies as a language (so-called slang does have structured grammar), McWhorter takes readers on a marvelous journey through time and place from Persia to the languages of Sri Lanka to deliver a feast of facts about the wonders of human linguistic expression.


Click for more detail about I Want You To Shut The F#Ck Up: How The Audacity Of Dopes Is Ruining America by D.L. Hughley and Michael Malice I Want You To Shut The F#Ck Up: How The Audacity Of Dopes Is Ruining America

by D.L. Hughley and Michael Malice
Knopf (Jul 31, 2012)
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“Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth to see it like it is, and tell it like it is.” —Richard Nixon
 
“I believe America is the solution to the world’s problems.” —Rush Limbaugh
 
“SHUT THE F#CK UP.” —D. L. Hughley

The American dream is in dire need of a wake-up call. A f*cked up society is like an addict: if you are in denial, then things are going to keep getting worse until you hit bottom. According to D. L. Hughley, that’s the direction in which America is headed.

In I Want You to Shut the F*ck Up, D.L. explains how we’ve become a nation of fat sissies playing Chicken Little, but in reverse: The sky is falling, but we’re supposed to act like everything’s fine. D.L. just points out the sobering facts: there is no standard of living by which we are the best. In terms of life expectancy, we’re 36th—tied with Cuba; in terms of literacy, we’re 20th—behind Kazakhstan. We sit here laughing at Borat, but the Kazakhs are sitting in their country reading.

Things are bad now and they’re only going to get worse. Unless, of course, you sit down, shut the f*ck up, and listen to what D. L. Hughley has to say. I Want You to Shut the F*ck Up is a slap to the political senses, a much needed ass-kicking of the American sense of entitlement.  In these pages, D. L. Hughley calls it like he sees it, offering his hilarious yet insightful thoughts on:

- Our supposedly post-racial society
- The similarities between America the superpower and the drunk idiot at the bar
- Why Bill Clinton is more a product of a black upbringing than Barack Obama
- That apologizing is not the answer to controversy, especially when you meant what you said 
- Why civil rights leaders are largely to blame for black people not being represented on television
- Why getting your ghetto pass revoked should be seen as a good thing, not something to be ashamed of 
- And how hard it is to be married to a black woman

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Impeachment Of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter The Impeachment Of Abraham Lincoln

by Stephen L. Carter
Knopf (Jul 10, 2012)
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From the best-selling author of The Emperor of Ocean Park and New England White, a daring reimagining of one of the most tumultuous moments in our nation’s past
 
Stephen L. Carter’s thrilling new novel takes as its starting point an alternate history: President Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Two years later he is charged with overstepping his constitutional authority, both during and after the Civil War, and faces an impeachment trial . . .

Twenty-one-year-old Abigail Canner is a young black woman with a degree from Oberlin, a letter of employment from the law firm that has undertaken Lincoln’s defense, and the iron-strong conviction, learned from her late mother, that “whatever limitations society might place on ordinary negroes, they would never apply to her.” And so Abigail embarks on a life that defies the norms of every stratum of Washington society: working side by side with a white clerk, meeting the great and powerful of the nation, including the president himself.  But when Lincoln’s lead counsel is found brutally murdered on the eve of the trial, Abigail is plunged into a treacherous web of intrigue and conspiracy reaching the highest levels of the divided government.

Here is a vividly imagined work of historical fiction that captures the emotional tenor of post–Civil War America, a brilliantly realized courtroom drama that explores the always contentious question of the nature of presidential authority, and a galvanizing story of political suspense.


Click for more detail about Halfway To Perfect: A Dyamonde Daniel Book by Nikki Grimes Halfway To Perfect: A Dyamonde Daniel Book

by Nikki Grimes
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Jul 05, 2012)
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Dyamonde knows it’s what’s on the inside that counts!

Dyamonde loves eating her mom’s pancakes. Free loves eating . . . period. But lately Damaris just pushes her food around her plate, and Dyamonde suspects it has something to do with the mean things classmates have been saying about people’s weight. Damaris wonders if they might be talking about her too. Dyamonde knows that Damaris doesn’t have a weight problem and is perfect just the way she is—so now it’s time for her to make sure Damaris knows that, too.

In this fourth installment of the award-winning series, Coretta Scott King Award winner Nikki Grimes’s lovable Dyamonde Daniel is back, with a timely message about self-acceptance and healthy eating habits—delivered with her trademark spunk.


Click for more detail about Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson and Veronica Chambers Yes, Chef

by Marcus Samuelsson and Veronica Chambers
Knopf (Jun 26, 2012)
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It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations. Marcus Samuelsson was only three years old when he, his mother, and his sister—all battling tuberculosis—walked seventy-five miles to a hospital in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Adaba. Tragically, his mother succumbed to the disease shortly after she arrived, but Marcus and his sister recovered, and one year later they were welcomed into a loving middle-class white family in Göteborg, Sweden. It was there that Marcus’s new grandmother, Helga, sparked in him a lifelong passion for food and cooking with her pan-fried herring, her freshly baked bread, and her signature roast chicken. From a very early age, there was little question what Marcus was going to be when he grew up. Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to some of the most demanding and cutthroat restaurants in Switzerland and France, from his grueling stints on cruise ships to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a coveted New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. But Samuelsson’s career of “chasing flavors,” as he calls it, had only just begun—in the intervening years, there have been White House state dinners, career crises, reality show triumphs and, most important, the opening of the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fufilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room—a place where presidents and prime ministers rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, bus drivers, and nurses. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home. With disarming honesty and intimacy, Samuelsson also opens up about his failures—the price of ambition, in human terms—and recounts his emotional journey, as a grown man, to meet the father he never knew. Yes, Chef is a tale of personal discovery, unshakable determination, and the passionate, playful pursuit of flavors—one man’s struggle to find a place for himself in the kitchen, and in the world.


Click for more detail about Aleph (Vintage International) by Paulo Coelho Aleph (Vintage International)

by Paulo Coelho
Vintage Books (Jun 26, 2012)
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Transform your life. Rewrite your destiny.

In his most personal novel to date, internationally bestselling author Paulo Coelho returns with a remarkable journey of self-discovery. Like the main character in his much-beloved The Alchemist, Paulo is facing a grave crisis of faith. As he seeks a path of spiritual renewal and growth, his only real option is to begin again—to travel, to experiment, to reconnect with people and the landscapes around him.

Setting off to Africa, and then to Europe and Asia via the Trans-Siberian railroad, he initiates a journey to revitalize his energy and passion. Even so, he never expects to meet Hilal. A gifted young violinist, she is the woman Paulo loved five hundred years before—and the woman he betrayed in an act of cowardice so far-reaching that it prevents him from finding real happiness in this life. Together they will initiate a mystical voyage through time and space, traveling a path that teaches love, forgiveness, and the courage to overcome life’s inevitable challenges. Beautiful and inspiring, Aleph invites us to consider the meaning of our own personal journeys.


Click for more detail about Fifty Shades Trilogy (Fifty Shades of Grey / Fifty Shades Darker / Fifty Shades Freed) by E L James Fifty Shades Trilogy (Fifty Shades of Grey / Fifty Shades Darker / Fifty Shades Freed)

by E L James
Vintage (Jun 12, 2012)
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FIFTY SHADES OF GREY IS NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
Now available as a three-volume paperback boxed set, E L James’s New York Times #1 bestselling trilogy has been hailed by Entertainment Weekly as being “in a class by itself.” Beginning with the GoodReads Choice Award Romance Finalist Fifty Shades of Grey, the Fifty Shades Trilogy will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.
 
This boxed set includes the following novels:
 
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: When college student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating.  The unworldly Ana realizes she wants this man, and Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian’s secrets and explores her own desires.
 
FIFTY SHADES DARKER: Daunted by Christian’s dark secrets and singular tastes, Ana has broken off their relationship to start a new career. But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and while Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Ana is forced to make the most important decision of her life.
 
FIFTY SHADES FREED: Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to turn Ana’s deepest fears into reality.

This book is intended for mature audiences.


Click for more detail about The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities by Will Allen The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities

by Will Allen
Gotham (May 10, 2012)
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A pioneering urban farmer and MacArthur “Genius Award” winner points the way to building a new food system that can feed and heal broken communities. The son of a sharecropper, Will Allen had no intention of ever becoming a farmer himself. But after years in professional basketball and as an executive for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Procter & Gamble, Allen cashed in his retirement fund for a two-acre plot a half mile away from Milwaukee’s largest public housing project. The area was a food desert with only convenience stores and fast-food restaurants to serve the needs of local residents. In the face of financial challenges and daunting odds, Allen built the country’s preeminent urban farm a food and educational center that now produces enough vegetables and fish year-round to feed thousands of people. Employing young people from the neighboring housing project and community, Growing Power has sought to prove that local food systems can help troubled youths, dismantle racism, create jobs, bring urban and rural communities closer together, and improve public health. Today, Allen’s organization helps develop community food systems across the country. An eco-classic in the making, The Good Food Revolution is the story of Will’s personal journey, the lives he has touched, and a grassroots movement that is changing the way our nation eats.


Click for more detail about Home by Toni Morrison Home

by Toni Morrison
Knopf (May 08, 2012)
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America’s most celebrated novelist, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison extends her profound take on our history with this twentieth-century tale of redemption: a taut and tortured story about one man’s desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war.
Frank Money is an angry, self-loathing veteran of the Korean War who, after traumatic experiences on the front lines, finds himself back in racist America with more than just physical scars. His home may seem alien to him, but he is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from and that he’s hated all his life. As Frank revisits his memories from childhood and the war that have left him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he had thought he could never possess again.
A deeply moving novel about an apparently defeated man finding his manhood—and his home.


Click for more detail about An Accidental Affair by Eric Jerome Dickey An Accidental Affair

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Knopf (Apr 17, 2012)
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James Thicke is a man whose mysterious past runs as deep as his violent streak. He's channeled the intensity of his soul into twin passions-success as a screenwriter, and marriage to movie actress Regina Baptiste. In the midst of filming his latest script, starring Regina and leading man Johnny Bergs, James receives a video of his wife caught in the most compromising of situations.

Hours later, the clip of the on-set infidelity has hit the Internet and gone viral in the blogosphere and across all channels of social media. James responds to the affront by savagely attacking Johnny Bergs, and the spectacle has both the paparazzi and the police amassing at the married couple's estate. James goes on the run, but only as far as the city of Downey, California. As James tries to protect Regina from Hollywood's underbelly, lust, blackmail, and revenge become his constant companions. Does an accidental affair spell permanent danger?

An Accidental Affair has the eroticism of Pleasure, the intrigue of Thieves' Paradise, the relentless pacing of Drive Me Crazy, and a female lead as complex as Genevieve.


Click for more detail about The Persistence Of The Color Line: Racial Politics And The Obama Presidency by Randall Kennedy The Persistence Of The Color Line: Racial Politics And The Obama Presidency

by Randall Kennedy
Vintage Books (Apr 17, 2012)
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Renowned for his insightful, common-sense critiques of racial politics, Randall Kennedy gives us a shrewd and penetrating analysis of the complex relationship between the first black president and his African-American constituency.

Kennedy tackles such hot-button issues as the nature of racial opposition to Obama; whether Obama has a singular responsibility to African Americans; the differences in Obama’s presentation of himself to blacks and to whites; the challenges posed by the dream of a post-racial society; the increasing irrelevance of a certain kind of racial politics and its consequences; the complex symbolism of Obama’s achievement and his own obfuscations and evasions regarding racial justice.

Eschewing the critical excesses of both the left and the right, Kennedy offers an incisive view of Obama’s triumphs and travails, his strengths and weaknesses, as they pertain to the troubled history of race in America.


Click for more detail about Fifty Shades Darker by E L James Fifty Shades Darker

by E L James
Vintage (Apr 17, 2012)
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MORE THAN 100 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY IS NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house. 
 
But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.
 
While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

This book is intended for mature audiences.


Click for more detail about Fifty Shades of Gray by E L James Fifty Shades of Gray

by E L James
Knopf (Apr 03, 2012)
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When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.


Click for more detail about The One: The Life and Music of James Brown by RJ Smith The One: The Life and Music of James Brown

by RJ Smith
Gotham (Mar 15, 2012)
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The definitive biography of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, with fascinating findings on his life as a Civil Rights activist, an entrepreneur, and the most innovative musician of our time Playing 350 shows a year at his peak, with more than forty Billboard hits, James Brown was a dazzling showman who transformed American music. His life offstage was just as vibrant, and until now no biographer has delivered a complete profile. The One draws on interviews with more than 100 people who knew Brown personally or played with him professionally. Using these sources, award-winning writer RJ Smith draws a portrait of a man whose twisted and amazing life helps us to understand the music he made.The One delves deeply into the story of a man who was raised in abject-almost medieval-poverty in the segregated South but grew up to earn (and lose) several fortunes. Covering everything from Brown’s unconventional childhood (his aunt ran a bordello), to his role in the Black Power movement, which used ""Say It Loud (I’m Black and Proud)"" as its anthem, to his high-profile friendships, to his complicated family life, Smith’s meticulous research and sparkling prose blend biography with a cultural history of a pivotal era.At the heart of The One is Brown’s musical genius. He had crucial influence as an artist during at least three decades; he inspires pity, awe, and revulsion. As Smith traces the legend’s reinvention of funk, soul, R&B, and pop, he gives this history a melody all its own.


Click for more detail about Wild by Ben Okri Wild

by Ben Okri
Rider Books (Mar 01, 2012)
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Ben Okri is a prolific Booker-Prize winning novelist and essayist, but has published only two collections of poetry. The first was "An African Elegy" and the second was "Mental Fight". Both were highly regarded. Thus a third collection is a literary event, especially since 13 years have elapsed since his last. As acclaimed for his poetic vision as for the beauty of his language, in these poems Okri captures both the tenderness and the fragility, as well as the depths and the often hidden directions of our lives. To him, the ’wild’ is an alternative to the familiar; an essential place in the journey where energy meets freedom, where art meets the elemental, where chaos can be honed. The wild is our link to the stars…Ranging across a wide variety of subjects, from the autobiographical to the philosophical, from war to love, from nature to the difficulty of truly seeing, these poems reconfigure the human condition in unusual light through their mastery of tone and condensed brilliance.


Click for more detail about Killing The Messenger: A Story Of Radical Faith, Racism’s Backlash, And The Assassination Of A Journalist by Thomas Peele Killing The Messenger: A Story Of Radical Faith, Racism’s Backlash, And The Assassination Of A Journalist

by Thomas Peele
Crown (Feb 07, 2012)
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When a nineteen-year-old member of a Black Muslim cult assassinated Oakland newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey in 2007—the most shocking killing of a journalist in the United States in thirty years—the question was, Why? “I just wanted to be a good soldier, a strong soldier,” the killer told police.   A strong soldier for whom?

Killing the Messenger is a searing work of narrative nonfiction that explores one of the most blatant attacks on the First Amendment and free speech in American history and the small Black Muslim cult that carried it out. Award-winning investigative reporter Thomas Peele examines the Black Muslim movement from its founding in the early twentieth century by a con man who claimed to be God, to the height of power of the movement’s leading figure, Elijah Muhammad, to how the great-grandson of Texas slaves reinvented himself as a Muslim leader in Oakland and built the violent cult that the young gunman eventually joined. Peele delves into how charlatans exploited poor African Americans with tales from a religion they falsely claimed was Islam and the years of bloodshed that followed, from a human sacrifice in Detroit to police shootings of unarmed Muslims to the horrible backlash of racism known as the “zebra murders,” and finally to the brazen killing of Chauncey Bailey to stop him from publishing a newspaper story. 
 
Peele establishes direct lines between the violent Black Muslim organization run by Yusuf Bey in Oakland and the evangelicalism of the early prophets and messengers of the Nation of Islam.  Exposing the roots of the faith, Peele examines its forerunner, the Moorish Science Temple of America, which in the 1920s and ’30s preached to migrants from the South living in Chicago and Detroit ghettos that blacks were the world’s master race, tricked into slavery by white devils. In spite of the fantastical claims and hatred at its core, the Nation of Islam was able to build a following by appealing to the lack of identity common in slave descendants. 

In Oakland, Yusuf Bey built a cult through a business called Your Black Muslim Bakery, beating and raping dozens of women he claimed were his wives and fathering more than forty children.  Yet, Bey remained a prominent fixture in the community, and police looked the other way as his violent soldiers ruled the streets.
 
An enthralling narrative that combines a rich historical account with gritty urban reporting, Killing the Messenger is a mesmerizing story of how swindlers and con men abused the tragedy of racism and created a radical religion of bloodshed and fear that culminated in a journalist’s murder.

THOMAS PEELE is a digital investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group and the Chauncey Bailey Project. He is also a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism.  His many honors include the Investigative Reporters and Editors Tom Renner Award for his reporting on organized crime, and the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage. He lives in Northern California.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson Beneath a Meth Moon

by Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books (Feb 02, 2012)
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Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Laurel Daneau has moved on to a new life, in a new town, but inside she’s still reeling from the loss of her beloved mother and grandmother after Hurricane Katrina washed away their home. Laurel’s new life is going well, with a new best friend, a place on the cheerleading squad and T-Boom, co-captain of the basketball team, for a boyfriend. Yet Laurel is haunted by voices and memories from her past.

When T-Boom introduces Laurel to meth, she immediately falls under its spell, loving the way it erases, even if only briefly, her past. But as she becomes alienated from her friends and family, she becomes a shell of her former self, and longs to be whole again. With help from an artist named Moses and her friend Kaylee, she’s able to begin to rewrite her story and start to move on from her addiction.

Incorporating Laurel’s bittersweet memories of life before and during the hurricane, this is a stunning novel by one of our finest writers. Jacqueline Woodson’s haunting - but ultimately hopeful - story is beautifully told and one readers will not want to miss.


Click for more detail about EllRay Jakes Is a Rock Star by Sally Warner EllRay Jakes Is a Rock Star

by Sally Warner
Puffin Books (Feb 02, 2012)
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All the boys in EllRay’s third-grade class have something they can brag about. Corey’s on the swim team, Kevin is super tall, Jared’s dad has an ATV. But EllRay’s dad is a geologist - not much to brag about. After all, rocks are boring. Then EllRay sees the crystals in his dad’s office, and they are really cool looking. If EllRay just "borrows" them to show his classmates, he knows they’d be impressed. And his dad will never have to know. It’s a perfect plan . . . until things go awry.


Click for more detail about All I Did Was Shoot My Man (Leonid Mcgill Mystery) by Walter Mosley All I Did Was Shoot My Man (Leonid Mcgill Mystery)

by Walter Mosley
Riverhead Hardcover (Jan 24, 2012)
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In the latest and most surprising novel in the bestselling Leonid McGill series, Leonid finds himself caught between his sins of the past and an all-too-vivid present.Seven years ago, Zella Grisham came home to find her man, Harry Tangelo, in bed with her friend. The weekend before, $6.8 million had been stolen from Rutgers Assurance Corp., whose offices are across the street from where Zella worked. Zella didn’t remember shooting Harry, but she didn’t deny it either. The district attorney was inclined to call it temporary insanity-until the police found $80,000 from the Rutgers heist hidden in her storage space.For reasons of his own, Leonid McGill is convinced of Zella’s innocence. But as he begins his investigation, his life begins to unravel. His wife is drinking more than she should. His oldest son has dropped out of college and moved in with an exprostitute. His youngest son is working for him and trying to stay within the law. And his father, whom he thought was long dead, has turned up under an alias.A gripping story of murder, greed, and retribution, All I Did Was Shoot My Man is also the poignant tale of one man’s attempt to stay connected to his family.


Click for more detail about The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition

by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
Dial Books for Young Readers (Jan 19, 2012)
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When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba’s Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone’s crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library . . . and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind.

Lyrically told and gloriously illustrated, this story will inspire many as it shows how - even in the worst of times - a great idea and a lot of hard work can still rock the world.


Click for more detail about Open City by Teju Cole Open City

by Teju Cole
Knopf (Jan 17, 2012)
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“The past, if there is such a thing, is mostly empty space, great expanses of nothing, in which significant persons and events float. Nigeria was like that for me: mostly forgotten, except for those few things that I remembered with outsize intensity.”
 
Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor doing his residency wanders aimlessly. The walks meet a need for Julius: they are a release from the tightly regulated mental environment of work, and they give him the opportunity to process his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past. Though he is navigating the busy parts of town, the impression of countless faces does nothing to assuage his feelings of isolation.

But it is not only a physical landscape he covers; Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey—which takes him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth, and into the most unrecognizable facets of his own soul.

A haunting novel about national identity, race, liberty, loss, dislocation, and surrender, Teju Cole’s Open City seethes with intelligence. Written in a clear, rhythmic voice that lingers, this book is a mature, profound work by an important new author who has much to say about our country and our world.


Click for more detail about The Fault in Our Stars by John Green The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green
Penguin Young Readers Group (Jan 10, 2012)
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Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.


Click for more detail about Ellen’s Broom by Kelly Starling Lyons Ellen’s Broom

by Kelly Starling Lyons
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Jan 05, 2012)
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A young girl learns a new meaning for freedom during the time of Reconstruction

Ellen always knew the broom resting above the hearth was special. Before it was legal for her mother and father to officially be married, the broom was what made them a family anyway. But now all former slaves who had already been married in their hearts could register as lawful husband and wife.

When Ellen and her family make the long trip to the courthouse dressed in their best, she brings the broom her parents had jumped so many years before. Even though freedom has come, Ellen knows the old traditions are important too. After Mama and Papa's names are recorded in the register, Ellen nearly bursts with pride as her parents jump the broom once again.

Ellen is a wonderfully endearing character whose love for her family is brought to life in Daniel Minter's rich and eye-catching block print illustrations.


Click for more detail about Fraternity: In 1968, a visionary priest recruited 20 black men to the College of the Holy Cross and changed their lives and the course of history. by Diane Brady Fraternity: In 1968, a visionary priest recruited 20 black men to the College of the Holy Cross and changed their lives and the course of history.

by Diane Brady
Spiegel & Grau (Jan 03, 2012)
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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY San Francisco Chronicle

€¢ The Plain Dealer The inspiring true story of a group of young men whose lives were changed by a visionary mentor

  On April 4, 1968, the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., shocked the nation. Later that month, the Reverend John Brooks, a professor of theology at the College of the Holy Cross who shared Dr. King’s dream of an integrated society, drove up and down the East Coast searching for African American high school students to recruit to the school, young men he felt had the potential to succeed if given an opportunity. Among the twenty students he had a hand in recruiting that year were Clarence Thomas, the future Supreme Court justice; Edward P. Jones, who would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize for literature; and Theodore Wells, who would become one of the nation’s most successful defense attorneys. Many of the others went on to become stars in their fields as well.

  In Fraternity, Diane Brady follows five of the men through their college years. Not only did the future president of Holy Cross convince the young men to attend the school, he also obtained full scholarships to support them, and then mentored, defended, coached, and befriended them through an often challenging four years of college, pushing them to reach for goals that would sustain them as adults.

  Would these young men have become the leaders they are today without Father Brooks’s involvement? Fraternity is a triumphant testament to the power of education and mentorship, and a compelling argument for the difference one person can make in the lives of others.


Click for more detail about Money Never Sleeps: A Millionaire Wives Club Novel (Millionaire Wives Club Novels) by Tu-Shonda L. Whitaker Money Never Sleeps: A Millionaire Wives Club Novel (Millionaire Wives Club Novels)

by Tu-Shonda L. Whitaker
One World/Ballantine (Dec 06, 2011)
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The bling is brighter, the drama is amped up, and the delicious beauties from Tu-Shonda L. Whitaker’s Millionaire Wives Club are back for a second season of backstabbing, divorce parties, and family sagas. Lights, camera, action!
 
Milan, Jaise, and Chaunci are the gorgeous, high-rolling divas starring in the hit reality show Millionaire Wives Club. As they struggle with love, lies, lust, and the pressures of sudden fame, their friendships turn into catfights that keep the cameras following all their malicious moves.

Milan is finally engaged to Kendu, the man of her dreams, and though things look perfect on the outside, distrust and jealousy are crumbling their romance. Jaise has found the love she so desperately craves, but her son, Jabril, remains the No. 1 man in her life—for better or for worse. And Chaunci, the independent, single mom who doesn’t feel she needs a man, is contemplating taking the plunge into a deep love affair—but will the man she chooses have room in his life for her? Add to this crafty cast Vera, a venomous new vixen who plays the game better than any of them, and you’ve got a season even more scintillating than the last.


Click for more detail about Life Upon These Shores: Looking At African American History, 1513-2008 by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Life Upon These Shores: Looking At African American History, 1513-2008

by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Knopf (Nov 22, 2011)
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Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a sumptuously illustrated landmark book tracing African American history from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama.

Informed by the latest, sometimes provocative scholarship and including more than seven hundred images—ancient maps, fine art, documents, photographs, cartoons, posters—Life Upon These Shores focuses on defining events, debates, and controversies, as well as the signal achievements of people famous and obscure. Gates takes us from the sixteenth century through the ordeal of slavery, from the Civil War and Reconstruction through the Jim Crow era and the Great Migration; from the civil rights and black nationalist movements through the age of hip-hop to the Joshua generation. By documenting and illuminating the sheer diversity of African American involvement in American history, society, politics, and culture, Gates bracingly disabuses us of the presumption of a single “black experience.”

Life Upon These Shores is a book of major importance, a breathtaking tour de force of the historical imagination.


Click for more detail about The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen: Passing, Quicksand, and The Stories by Nella Larsen The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen: Passing, Quicksand, and The Stories

by Nella Larsen
Anchor (Nov 01, 2011)
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In The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen, whose career flamed brightly but briefly in the 1920s, we rediscover one of the most gifted writers of the Harlem Renaissance.

Nella Larsen’s subject is the struggle of sensitive, spirited heroines to find a place for themselves in a hostile world. Passing (originally published in 1929,) Passing tells the troublesome relationship between two African-American woman who are light enough to pass for white. Irene Redfield marries an African-American doctor and moves to Harlem. Clare Kendy, on the other hand, marries a bigoted white man — never telling him of her true heritage. When the two women meet, after decades of separation, they impact each other lives in ways that neither would have imagined.

Quicksand, Larsen’s first novel (1928) tells the story of a restless young mulatto tries desperately to find a comfortable place in a world in which she sees herself as a perpetual outsider. Race and marriage offer few securities here or in the other stories in a collection that is compellingly readable, rich in psychological complexity, and imbued with a sense of place that brings Harlem vibrantly to life.


Click for more detail about No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington by Condoleezza Rice No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington

by Condoleezza Rice
Crown (Nov 01, 2011)
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From one of the world’s most admired women, this is former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s compelling story of eight years serving at the highest levels of government.

  In her position as America’s chief diplomat, Rice traveled almost continuously around the globe, seeking common ground among sometimes bitter enemies, forging agreement on divisive issues, and compiling a remarkable record of achievement.

  A native of Birmingham, Alabama who overcame the racism of the Civil Rights era to become a brilliant academic and expert on foreign affairs, Rice distinguished herself as an advisor to George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign.

  Once Bush was elected, she served as his chief adviser on national-security issues

€“ a job whose duties included harmonizing the relationship between the Secretaries of State and Defense.

  It was a role that deepened her bond with the President and ultimately made her one of his closest confidantes.

  With the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Rice found herself at the center of the Administration’s intense efforts to keep America safe.

  Here, Rice describes the events of that harrowing day

€“ and the tumultuous days after.

  No day was ever the same.

  Additionally, Rice also reveals new details of the debates that led to the war in Afghanistan and then Iraq.

  The eyes of the nation were once again focused on Rice in 2004 when she appeared before the 9-11 Commission to answer tough questions regarding the country’s preparedness for, and immediate response to, the 9-11 attacks.

  Her responses, it was generally conceded, would shape the nation’s perception of the Administration’s competence during the crisis.

  Rice conveys just how pressure-filled that appearance was and her surprised gratitude when, in succeeding days, she was broadly saluted for her grace and forthrightness. From that point forward, Rice was aggressively sought after by the media and regarded by some as the Administration’s most effective champion.

  In 2005 Rice was entrusted with even more responsibility when she was charged with helping to shape and carry forward the President’s foreign policy as Secretary of State.

  As such, she proved herself a deft crafter of tactics and negotiation aimed to contain or reduce the threat posed by America’s enemies.

  Here, she reveals the behind-the-scenes maneuvers that kept the world’s relationships with Iran, North Korea and Libya from collapsing into chaos.

  She also talks about her role as a crisis manager, showing that at any hour -- and at a moment’s notice -- she was willing to bring all parties to the bargaining table anywhere in the world.

  No Higher Honor takes the reader into secret negotiating rooms where the fates of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Lebanon often hung in the balance, and it draws back the curtain on how frighteningly close all-out war loomed in clashes involving Pakistan-India and Russia-Georgia, and in East Africa.

 

  Surprisingly candid in her appraisals of various Administration colleagues and the hundreds of foreign leaders with whom she dealt, Rice also offers here keen insight into how history actually proceeds.

  In No Higher Honor, she delivers a master class in statecraft

  -- but always in a way that reveals her essential warmth and humility, and her deep reverence for the ideals on which America was founded.


Click for more detail about Zone One: A Novel by Colson Whitehead Zone One: A Novel

by Colson Whitehead
Knopf (Oct 18, 2011)
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In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead.

Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuild­ing civilization under orders from the provisional govern­ment based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street—aka Zone One—but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety—the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives.

Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams work­ing in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world.

And then things start to go wrong.

Both spine chilling and playfully cerebral, Zone One bril­liantly subverts the genre’s conventions and deconstructs the zombie myth for the twenty-first century.

Book Review

Click for more detail about My Song: A Memoir by Harry Belafonte and Michael Shnayerson My Song: A Memoir

by Harry Belafonte and Michael Shnayerson
Knopf (Oct 11, 2011)
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Harry Belafonte is not just one of the greatest entertainers of our time; he has led one of the great American lives of the last century. Now, this extraordinary icon tells us the story of that life, giving us its full breadth, letting us share in the struggles, the tragedies, and, most of all, the inspiring triumphs.
 
Belafonte grew up, poverty-ridden, in Harlem and Jamaica. His mother was a complex woman—caring but withdrawn, eternally angry and rarely satisfied. His father was distant and physically abusive. It was not an easy life, but it instilled in young Harry the hard-nosed toughness of the city and the resilient spirit of the Caribbean lifestyle. It also gave him the drive to make good and channel his anger into actions that were positive and life-affirming. His journey led to the U.S. Navy during World War II, where he encountered an onslaught of racism but also fell in love with the woman he eventually married. After the war he moved back to Harlem, where he drifted between odd jobs until he saw his first stage play—and found the life he wanted to lead. Theater opened up a whole new world, one that was artistic and political and made him realize that not only did he have a need to express himself, he had a lot to express.
 
He began as an actor—and has always thought of himself as such—but was quickly spotted in a musical, began a tentative nightclub career, and soon was on a meteoric rise to become one of the world’s most popular singers. Belafonte was never content to simply be an entertainer, however. Even at enormous personal cost, he could not shy away from activism. At first it was a question of personal dignity: breaking down racial barriers that had never been broken before, achieving an enduring popularity with both white and black audiences. Then his activism broadened to a lifelong, passionate involvement at the heart of the civil rights movement and countless other political and social causes. The sections on the rise of the civil rights movement are perhaps the most moving in the book: his close friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr.; his role as a conduit between Dr. King and the Kennedys; his up-close involvement with the demonstrations and awareness of the hatred and potential violence around him; his devastation at Dr. King’s death and his continuing fight for what he believes is right.
 
But My Song is far more than the history of a movement. It is a very personal look at the people in that movement and the world in which Belafonte has long moved. He has befriended many beloved and important figures in both entertainment and politics—Paul Robeson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sidney Poitier, John F. Kennedy, Marlon Brando, Robert Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro, Tony Bennett, Bill Clinton—and writes about them with the same exceptional candor with which he reveals himself on every page. This is a book that pulls no punches, and turns both a loving and critical eye on our country’s cultural past.
 
As both an artist and an activist, Belafonte has touched countless lives. With My Song, he has found yet another way to entertain and inspire us. It is an electrifying memoir from a remarkable man.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration  by Isabel Wilkerson The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

by Isabel Wilkerson
Knopf (Oct 04, 2011)
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From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves. With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.

Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Sacred Band: Book Three of the Acacia Trilogy by David Anthony Durham The Sacred Band: Book Three of the Acacia Trilogy

by David Anthony Durham
Doubleday (Oct 04, 2011)
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With the first two books in the Acacia Trilogy, Acacia and The Other Lands, David Anthony Durham has created a vast and engrossing canvas of a world in turmoil, where the surviving children of a royal dynasty are on a quest to realize their fates—and perhaps right ancient wrongs once and for all. As The Sacred Band begins, one of them, Queen Corinn, bestrides the world as a result of her mastery of spells found in the ancient Book of Elenet. Her younger brother, Dariel, has been sent on a perilous mis­sion to the Other Lands, while her sister, Mena, travels to the far north to confront an invasion of the feared race of the Auldek. Their separate trajectories will converge in a series of world-shaping, earth-shattering battles, all ren­dered with vividly imagined detail and in heroic scale.

David Anthony Durham concludes his tale of kingdoms in collision in an exciting fashion. His fictional world is at once realistic and fantastic, informed with an eloquent and dis­tinctively Shakespearean sensibility.


Click for more detail about Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi Mr. Fox

by Helen Oyeyemi
Knopf (Sep 29, 2011)
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Winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction
One of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists

From the prizewinning young writer of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, coming February 2016, a brilliant and inventive story of love, lies, and inspiration.

Fairy-tale romances end with a wedding, and the fairy tales don’t get complicated. In this book, the celebrated writer Mr. Fox can’t stop himself from killing off the heroines of his novels, and neither can his wife, Daphne. It’s not until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from author into subject that his story begins to unfold differently.Mary challenges Mr. Fox to join her in stories of their own devising; and in different times and places, the two of them seek each other, find each other, thwart each other, and try to stay together, even when the roles they inhabit seem to forbid it. Their adventures twist the fairy tale into nine variations, exploding and teasing conventions of genre and romance, and each iteration explores the fears that come with accepting a lifelong bond. Meanwhile, Daphne becomes convinced that her husband is having an affair, and finds her way into Mary and Mr. Fox’s game. And so Mr. Fox is offered a choice: Will it be a life with the girl of his dreams, or a life with an all-too-real woman who delights him more than he cares to admit?The extraordinarily gifted Helen Oyeyemi has written a love story like no other. Mr. Fox is a magical book, endlessly inventive, as witty and charming as it is profound in its truths about how we learn to be with one another.


Click for more detail about A Woman’s Work: Street Chronicles by Nikki Turner A Woman’s Work: Street Chronicles

by Nikki Turner
One World/Ballantine (Sep 20, 2011)
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The heralded Queen of Hip-Hop Lit presents an addictive collection of celebrated urban authors with their fingers on the pulse of the streets.
 
Street lit’s finest female voices—Keisha Starr, Tysha, LaKesa Cox, and Monique S. Hall—deliver searing stories about women who make hard sacrifices to stay on top of their hustle and seize the power, money, and fame they can’t live without. Enterprising and fearless, these players are more than equipped to handle whatever the street throws at them. That’s because they are hellbent on survival—by any means necessary. 

Once again, Nikki Turner shares ultra-realistic page-turners that will keep fans coming back for more.


Click for more detail about Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve—Even If It Means Picking a Fight by Steve Perry Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve—Even If It Means Picking a Fight

by Steve Perry
Crown (Sep 13, 2011)
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“Have you been to a school lately?  Have you sat through the six hours and forty-five minutes of excruciating tedium we send our kids to every day?  When we ask our kids, “What’d you do in school today?” and they mumble, “Nothin’,” they’re telling the truth.”
 
Steve Perry is like no other educator you’ve ever met.  He “gets it.”  He understands why some parents are downright panicked about what’s going on in their kids’ classrooms, and how other parents, whose kids supposedly attend the “good” schools, still fear that their children are falling behind.  As Principal of one of the best performing schools in America — one that sends 100% of its mostly minority students to four-year colleges — Perry delights in poking the system.  Present him with a “truth” about how education is supposed to work and – count on it – he’ll show it to be false.
 
Dictatorial teacher’s unions despise Steve Perry.  So do lazy teachers.  So do entrenched, unimaginative school boards.  So do reactionary “curriculum guardians” who – as a lure to get kids reading – cling to the same old stodgy texts.
 
“That’s okay,” say Perry.  That means he’s making a difference.  In this book, his priority is to help kids who don’t have the advantage of going to his school, Capital Prep.  He wants to save your kid, and the kid next door, and the kid down the street from getting a typical third-rate American education.
 
If you’re a parent who has worried recently about how depressed your child seems when he dresses for school in the morning…or how little of what happens during the school day seems to sink into her brain… or how much of your child’s homework is busywork, you need this book. 
 
If you’re a teacher who is putting your heart and soul into the job but are surrounded by colleagues who are “phoning it in,” you need this book.
 
If you’re a committed, forward-thinking principal who wants to get rid of the faculty bad apples, but are continually stymied by Mafia-style teachers-unions, you need this book.
 
*If you’re a citizen who worries about the $1 trillion-plus GDP loss that America suffers every year because our system of education doesn’t measure up, you need this book.
 
In this solution-oriented manifesto, Steve Perry covers the full range of issues holding back today’s students.  He shows parents how to find great teachers (and get rid of the bad ones)…how to make readers out of kids who hate to read…how to make the school curriculum thrilling rather than sleep-inducing…how to conduct an all-important education “home audit”… how to “e-organize” if school boards and administrators aren’t getting the message…how to build a “school of the future,” and much more.
 
The era of third-rate education is over.  Steve Perry isn’t going to let the fools and scoundrels get away with it any longer.  Push has come to shove!

Book Review

Click for more detail about Crossbones by Nuruddin Farah Crossbones

by Nuruddin Farah
Knopf (Sep 01, 2011)
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A gripping new novel from today’s "most important African novelist". (The New York Times Review of Books) A dozen years after his last visit, Jeebleh returns to his beloved Mogadiscio to see old friends. He is accompanied by his son-in-law, Malik, a journalist intent on covering the region’s ongoing turmoil. What greets them at first is not the chaos Jeebleh remembers, however, but an eerie calm enforced by ubiquitous white-robed figures bearing whips.Meanwhile, Malik’s brother, Ahl, has arrived in Puntland, the region notorious as a pirates’ base. Ahl is searching for his stepson, Taxliil, who has vanished from Minneapolis, apparently recruited by an imam allied to Somalia’s rising religious insurgency. The brothers’ efforts draw them closer to Taxliil and deeper into the fabric of the country, even as Somalis brace themselves for an Ethiopian invasion. Jeebleh leaves Mogadiscio only a few hours before the borders are breached and raids descend from land and sea. As the uneasy quiet shatters and the city turns into a battle zone, the brothers experience firsthand the derailments of war.Completing the trilogy that began with Links and Knots, Crossbones is a fascinating look at individuals caught in the maw of zealotry, profiteering, and political conflict, by one of our most highly acclaimed international writers.


Click for more detail about Is Marriage For White People?: How The African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone by Ralph Richard Banks Is Marriage For White People?: How The African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone

by Ralph Richard Banks
Dutton (Sep 01, 2011)
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During the past half century, African Americans have become the most unmarried people in our nation. More than two out of every three black women are unmarried, and they are more than twice as likely as white women never to marry. The racial gap in marriage extends beyond the poor. Affluent and college educated African Americans are also less likely to marry or stay married than their white counterparts. That harms black children and adults, and imperils the growth and stability of the black middle class.

One reason that marriage has declined is that as black women have advanced economically and educationally, black men have fallen behind. Nearly twice as many black women as black men graduate from college each year.Thus, not only are many college-educated black women unmarried, they are more likely than any other group of women to marry less educated and lower earning men. Half of college-educated black wives are more educated than their husbands.

Yet black women rarely marry men of other races. They are less than half as likely as black men, and only a third as likely as Latinos or Asian Americans, to wed across group lines. Is Marriage for White People? traces the far-reaching consequences of the African American marriage decline. It also explains why black women marry down rather than out. Its provocative conclusion is that black women would benefit both themselves and the black race if they crossed class lines less and race lines more.

As particular as this inquiry may seem, it is also universal. Americans of all races are more unmarried now than ever. And as women surpass men educationally, wives increasingly earn more than their husbands. In illuminating the lives of African Americans, Is Marriage for White People? thus probes cultural and economic trends that implicate everyone, highlighting the extent to which the experience of black women may become that of all women.

This book both informs and entertains. The culmination of a decade of research by a distinguished Stanford law professor, it melds scholarly theory and data with the poignant stories shared by black women throughout the nation. This unforgettable book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the shifting terrain of intimacy in American society.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas The Three Musketeers

by Alexandre Dumas
Puffin Books (Aug 24, 2011)
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“I do not say there is no character as well-drawn in Shakespeare [as D’Artagnan]. I do say there is none that I love so wholly.” —Robert Louis Stevenson

In this swashbuckling epic, d’Artagnan, not yet twenty, sets off for Paris in hopes of joining the Musketeers, that legion of heroes highly favored by King Louis XIII and feared by evil Cardinal Richelieu. By fighting alongside Athos, Porthos, and Aramis as they battle their enemies, d’Artagnan proves he has the heart of a Musketeer and earns himself a place in their ranks. Soon d’Artagnan and the gallant trio must use all their wits and sword skills to preserve the queen’s honor and thwart the wicked schemes of Cardinal Richelieu. With this classic tale, Dumas embroiders upon history a colorful world of swordplay, intrigue, and romance, earning The Three Musketeers its reputation as one of the most thrilling adventure novels ever written.


Click for more detail about The Wealth Cure: Putting Money In Its Place by Hill Harper The Wealth Cure: Putting Money In Its Place

by Hill Harper
Knopf (Aug 23, 2011)
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The perennial New York Times bestselling author helps readers discover how to put money in its place and use wealth-building as a tool for joy and fulfillment. Hill Harper is uniquely poised to guide readers through tough times and offers bestselling advice for reaping the rewards of a truly happy life. With The Wealth Cure, he does more than that: He presents a revolutionary new definition of wealth, motivating readers to not only build financial security but to also achieve wealth in every aspect of their lives.Using his own journey as a parable, Harper inspires the reader to evaluate their values while explaining the importance of laying a sound financial foundation and how to recognize the worth of your relationships and increase the value of your interactions with the people in your life. Drawing on his personal recollections and true stories from family and friends, Harper helps readers begin to see money not as a goal but as a tool that provides freedom for following their passions. The keys include investing in yourself, tapping the resources you need, and taking responsibility for how those resources are used. Far from a get-rich-quick primer, The Wealth Cure brims with inspired wisdom for building a lasting bounty from the experiences, loved ones, and achievements that really matter.


Click for more detail about Chike And The River by Chinua Achebe Chike And The River

by Chinua Achebe
Anchor (Aug 09, 2011)
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The more Chike saw the ferry-boats the more he wanted to make the trip to Asaba. But where would he get the money? He did not know. Still, he hoped.

Eleven-year-old Chike longs to cross the Niger River to the city of Asaba, but he doesn’t have the sixpence he needs to pay for the ferry ride. With the help of his friend S.M.O.G., he embarks on a series of adventures to help him get there. Along the way, he is exposed to a range of new experiences that are both thrilling and terrifying, from eating his first skewer of suya under the shade of a mango tree, to visiting the village magician who promises to double the money in his pocket. Once he finally makes it across the river, Chike realizes that life on the other side is far different from his expectations, and he must find the courage within him to make it home.

Chike and the River is a magical tale of boundaries, bravery, and growth, by Chinua Achebe, one of the world’s most beloved and admired storytellers.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Muzzled: The Assault On Honest Debate by Juan Williams Muzzled: The Assault On Honest Debate

by Juan Williams
Crown (Jul 26, 2011)
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“You can’t say that. You’re fired.”
 
Prize-winning Washington journalist Juan Williams was unceremoniously dismissed by NPR for speaking his mind and saying what many Americans feel—that he gets nervous when boarding airplanes with passengers dressed in Muslim garb. NPR banished the veteran journalist in an act of political correctness that ultimately sparked nationwide outrage and led to calls for Congress to end its public funding of the media organization.
 
In Muzzled, Williams uses his very public firing as a launching pad to discuss the countless ways in which honest debate in America—from the halls of Congress and the health care town halls to the talk shows and print media—is stifled. In today’s partisan world, where media provocateurs rule the airwaves and political correctness dictates what can and cannot be said with impunity, Williams shows how the honest exchange of ideas and the search for solutions and reasonable compromise is deliberately muzzled. Only those toeing the party’s line—the screaming voices of the extremist—get airtime and dominate the discussion in politics and the media. Each side, liberal and conservative, preaches to a choir that revels in expressions of anger, ideology, conspiracies, and demonized opponents. The result is an absence of truth-telling and honest debate about the facts. Among the issues denied a full-throated discussion are racial profiling; the increased reliance on religious beliefs in debating American values and legislation; the nuances of an immigration policym gone awry; why abortion is promoted as a hot button wedge issue to incite the pary faithful and drive donations; the uneasy balance between individual freedom and our desire for security of against terrorism; and much more.
 
A fierce, fresh look at the critical importance of an open airing of controversial issues, Muzzled is a hard hitting critique of the topics and concerns we can’t talk about without suffering retaliation at the hands of the politically correct police. Only by bringing such hot button issues into the light of day can we hope to grapple with them, and exercise our cherished, hard-won right of free speech.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Children of the Street by Kwei Quartey Children of the Street

by Kwei Quartey
Random House (Jul 12, 2011)
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In the slums of Accra, Ghana’s fast-moving, cosmopolitan capital, teenagers are turning up dead. Inspector Darko Dawson has seen many crimes, but this latest string of murders—in which all the young victims bear a chilling signature—is the most unsettling of his career. Are these heinous acts a form of ritual killing or the work of a lone, cold-blooded monster? With time running out, Dawson embarks on a harrowing journey through the city’s underbelly and confronts the brutal world of the urban poor, where street children are forced to fight for their very survival—and a cunning killer seems just out of reach.


Click for more detail about The Kid by Sapphire The Kid

by Sapphire
Penguin Press (Jul 05, 2011)
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Fifteen years after the publication of Push, one year after the Academy Award-winning film adaptation, Sapphire gives voice to Precious’s son, Abdul. In The Kid bestselling author Sapphire tells the electrifying story of Abdul Jones, the son of Push’s unforgettable heroine, Precious.A story of body and spirit, rooted in the hungers of flesh and of the soul, The Kid brings us deep into the interior life of Abdul Jones. We meet him at age nine, on the day of his mother’s funeral. Left alone to navigate a world in which love and hate sometimes hideously masquerade, forced to confront unspeakable violence, his history, and the dark corners of his own heart, Abdul claws his way toward adulthood and toward an identity he can stand behind.In a generational story that moves with the speed of thought from a Mississippi dirt farm to Harlem in its heyday; from a troubled Catholic orphanage to downtown artist’s lofts, The Kid tells of a twenty- first-century young man’s fight to find a way toward the future. A testament to the ferocity of the human spirit and the deep nourishing power of love and of art, The Kid chronicles a young man about to take flight. In the intimate, terrifying, and deeply alive story of Abdul’s journey, we are witness to an artist’s birth by fire.


Click for more detail about Tempted by Trouble by Eric Jerome Dickey Tempted by Trouble

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Dutton (Jun 07, 2011)
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It’s love and bullets, Dickey style. The blistering new novel from the New York Times bestselling author.

For Dmytryk and Cora, there’s only one way to fight the recession that’s crippled their comfortable lifestyle: accept a crime boss’s offer to rob a few banks. It’s quick. A nice big payoff. No one gets hurt.

Good luck believing that.


Click for more detail about The Central Park Five: A Chronicle Of A City Wilding by Sarah Burns The Central Park Five: A Chronicle Of A City Wilding

by Sarah Burns
Knopf (May 17, 2011)
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A riveting, in-depth account of one of New York City’s most notorious crimes.

On April 20, 1989, the body of a woman is discovered in Central Park, her skull so badly smashed that nearly 80 percent of her blood has spilled onto the ground. Within days, five black and Latino teenagers confess to her rape and beating. In a city where urban crime is at a high and violence is frequent, the ensuing media frenzy and hysterical public reaction is extraordinary. The young men are tried as adults and convicted of rape, despite the fact that the teens quickly recant their inconsistent and inaccurate confessions and that no DNA tests or eyewitness accounts tie any of them to the victim. They serve their complete sentences before another man, serial rapist Matias Reyes, confesses to the crime and is connected to it by DNA testing.

Intertwining the stories of these five young men, the police officers, the district attorneys, the victim, and Matias Reyes, Sarah Burns unravels the forces that made both the crime and its prosecution possible. Most dramatically, she gives us a portrait of a city already beset by violence and deepening rifts between races and classes, whose law enforcement, government, social institutions, and media were undermining the very rights of the individuals they were designed to safeguard and protect.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Just Wanna Testify: A Novel by Pearl Cleage Just Wanna Testify: A Novel

by Pearl Cleage
One World/Ballantine (May 10, 2011)
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Familiar faces and places meet fresh twists and turns in this enthralling novel from acclaimed author Pearl Cleage.
 
Atlanta’s West End district has always been a haven and home to a coterie of unique characters—artists and thinkers, dreamers and doers. Folks here know one another’s names, keep their doors unlocked, and look out for their neighbors. Anyone planning to sell drugs, vandalize, or rob a little old lady should think twice before hitting this part of town. And Blue Hamilton, West End’s unofficial mayor and longtime protector, will see to it that you do. Blue wears many hats here, including adored husband to Regina, dear nephew to Abbey, and doting father to Sweetie and another little one on the way.

Blue is also the man you pay your respects to if you’re looking to set up shop in this urban enclave—just ask Serena Mayflower, whom Blue sees striding down Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard wearing skin-tight black leather pants, thigh-high boots, and bright red lipstick. This tall, slender, ethereally beautiful woman and her four equally striking sisters make up the Too Fine Five, a quintet of international supermodels who have arrived in town for an Essence magazine photo shoot.
        
But Blue’s gut tells him that there’s more to these Mayflower mademoiselles than their affection for full moons and Bloody Marys. With the help of his beloved Regina and their close friends and relations in West End, Blue vows to uncover the women’s secret intentions—and prove once and for all that there is no greater force on earth than the power of love.

A mesmerizing slice of not-so-everyday life, brimming with wicked wit and spiced with a few supernatural surprises, Just Wanna Testify showcases Pearl Cleage’s masterly storytelling at its soulful and satisfying finest.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Till You Hear from Me: A Novel by Pearl Cleage Till You Hear from Me: A Novel

by Pearl Cleage
One World (May 10, 2011)
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From the acclaimed Pearl Cleage, author of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day . . . and Seen It All and Done the Rest, comes an Obama-era romance featuring a cast of unforgettable characters.

Just when it appears that all her hard work on Barack Obama's presidential campaign is about to pay off with a White House job, thirty-five-year-old Ida B. Wells Dunbar finds herself on Washington, D.C.'s post-election sidelines even as her twentysomething counterparts overrun the West Wing. Adding to her woes, her father, the Reverend Horace A. Dunbar, Atlanta civil rights icon and self-described 'foot soldier for freedom,' is notoriously featured on an endlessly replayed YouTube clip in which his pronouncements don't exactly jibe with the new era in American politics.

The Rev's stinging words and myopic views don't sound anything like the man who raised Ida to make her mark in the world. When friends call to express their concern, Ida realizes it's time to head home and see for herself what's going on. Besides, with her job prospects growing dimmer, getting out of D.C. for a while might be the smartest move she could make.

Back in her old West End neighborhood, Ida runs into childhood friend and smooth political operator Wes Harper, also in town to pay a visit to the Reverend Dunbar, his mentor. Ida doesn't trust Wes or his mysterious connections for one second, but she can't deny her growing attraction to him.

While Ida and the Rev try to find the balance between personal loyalties and political realities, they must do some serious soul searching in order to get things back on track before Wes permanently derails their best laid plans.


Click for more detail about A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother by Janny Scott A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother

by Janny Scott
Riverhead Books (May 03, 2011)
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A major publishing event: an unprecedented look into the life of the woman who most singularly shaped Barack Obama--his mother. Barack Obama has written extensively about his father, but little is known about Stanley Ann Dunham, the fiercely independent woman who raised him, the person he credits for, as he says, ""what is best in me."" Here is the missing piece of the story. Award-winning reporter Janny Scott interviewed nearly two hundred of Dunham’s friends, colleagues, and relatives (including both her children), and combed through boxes of personal and professional papers, letters to friends, and photo albums, to uncover the full breadth of this woman’s inspiring and untraditional life, and to show the remarkable extent to which she shaped the man Obama is today. Dunham’s story moves from Kansas and Washington state to Hawaii and Indonesia. It begins in a time when interracial marriage was still a felony in much of the United States, and culminates in the present, with her son as our president- something she never got to see. It is a poignant look at how character is passed from parent to child, and offers insight into how Obama’s destiny was created early, by his mother’s extraordinary faith in his gifts, and by her unconventional mothering. Finally, it is a heartbreaking story of a woman who died at age fifty-two, before her son would go on to his greatest accomplishments and reflections of what she taught him.


Click for more detail about You Are Free: Stories by Danzy Senna You Are Free: Stories

by Danzy Senna
Riverhead Books (May 03, 2011)
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From the bestselling author of Caucasia, riveting, unexpected stories about identity under the influence of appearances, attachments, and longing.

Look out for Danzy Senna’s latest book, New People, on sale in August!

Each of these eight remarkable stories by Danzy Senna tightrope-walks tantalizingly, sometimes frighteningly, between defined states: life with and without mates and children, the familiar if constraining reference points provided by race, class, and gender. Tensions arise between a biracial couple when their son is admitted to the private school where they’d applied on a lark. A new mother hosts an old friend, still single, and discovers how each of them pities-and envies- the other. A young woman responds to an adoptee in search of her birth mother, knowing it is not she.


Click for more detail about All Shot Up (Penguin Modern Classics) by Chester Himes All Shot Up (Penguin Modern Classics)

by Chester Himes
Penguin Books (May 01, 2011)
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A golden Cadillac big enough to cross the ocean has been seen sailing along the streets of Harlem. A hit-and-run victim’s been hit so hard she got embedded in the wall of a convent. A shootout with three heistmen dressed as cops has left an important politician in a coma - and a lot of money missing. And Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are the ones who have to piece it all together.All Shot Up is chaotic, bloody - and completely unforgettable. Chester Himes wrote detective fiction darker, dirtier and more extreme than anyone else dared.


Click for more detail about The White Woman on the Green Bicycle: A Novel by Monique Roffey The White Woman on the Green Bicycle: A Novel

by Monique Roffey
Penguin Books (Apr 26, 2011)
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A beautifully written, unforgettable novel of a troubled marriage, set against the lush landscape and political turmoil of Trinidad

Monique Roffey’s Orange Prize-shortlisted novel is a gripping portrait of postcolonialism that stands among great works by Caribbean writers like Jamaica Kincaid and Andrea Levy.

When George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England, George is immediately seduced by the beguiling island, while Sabine feels isolated, heat-fatigued, and ill-at-ease. As they adapt to new circumstances, their marriage endures for better or worse, despite growing political unrest and racial tensions that affect their daily lives. But when George finds a cache of letters that Sabine has hidden from him, the discovery sets off a devastating series of consequences as other secrets begin to emerge.


Click for more detail about Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor Akata Witch

by Nnedi Okorafor
Viking Books for Young Readers (Apr 14, 2011)
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Read Nnedi Okorafor’s blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits. And then she discovers something amazing-she is a "free agent," with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?


Click for more detail about Can I See Your I.D.?: True Stories of False Identities by Chris Barton Can I See Your I.D.?: True Stories of False Identities

by Chris Barton
Dial (Apr 14, 2011)
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True crime, desperation, fraud, and adventure: From the impoverished young woman who enchanted nineteenth-century British society as a faux Asian princess, to the sixteen-year-old boy who "stole" a subway train in 1993, to the lonely but clever Frank Abagnale of Catch Me if You Can fame, these ten vignettes offer riveting insight into mind-blowing masquerades. Graphic panels draw you into the exploits of these pretenders, and meticulously researched details keep you on the edge of your seat. Each scene is presented in the second person, a unique point of view that literally places you inside the faker’s mind. With motivations that include survival, delusion, and plain, old-fashioned greed, the psychology of deception has never been so fascinating or so close at hand.


Click for more detail about A Reason To Believe: Lessons From An Improbable Life by Deval Patrick A Reason To Believe: Lessons From An Improbable Life

by Deval Patrick
Knopf (Apr 12, 2011)
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“I’ve simply seen too much goodness in this country—and have come so far in my own journey—not to believe in those ideals, and my faith in the future is sometimes restored under the darkest clouds.” —Governor Deval Patrick
 
In January 2007, Deval Patrick became the first black governor of the state of Massachusetts, one of only two black governors elected in American history. But that was just one triumphant step in a long, improbable journey that began in a poor tenement on the South Side of Chicago. From a chaotic childhood to an elite boarding school in New England, from a sojourn doing relief work in Africa to the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies, and then to a career in politics, Patrick has led an extraordinary life. In this heartfelt and inspirational book, he pays tribute to the family, friends, and strangers who, through words and deeds, have instilled in him transcendent lessons of faith, perseverance, and friendship. In doing so, he reminds us of the power of community and the imperative of idealism. With humility, humor, and grace, he offers a road map for attaining happiness, empowerment, and success while also making an appeal for readers to cultivate those achievements in others, to feel a greater stake in this world, and to shape a life worth living.
 
Warm, nostalgic, and inspirational, A Reason to Believe is destined to become a timeless tribute to a uniquely American odyssey and a testament to what is possible in our lives and our communities if we are hopeful, generous, and resilient.

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK is donating a portion of the proceeds from A REASON TO BELIEVE to A Better Chance, a national organization dedicated to opening the doors to greater educational opportunities for young people of color. To learn more, visit www.abetterchance.org.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Heartbreak Of A Hustler’s Wife: A Novel by Nikki Turner Heartbreak Of A Hustler’s Wife: A Novel

by Nikki Turner
One World/Ballantine (Apr 05, 2011)
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Long live the Queen of Hip Hop Lit! 
 
Nikki Turner is back with another explosive, page-turning sequel to her #1 bestselling novels A Hustler’s Wife and Forever a Hustler’s Wife.
 
Yarni Taylor is a successful corporate attorney who wants nothing more than for her husband, Des, to renounce his hustlin’ ways and commit to his life as a pastor—especially after someone tries to kill him. But Des isn’t ready to abandon his old habits just yet. He has to find out who is behind the murder attempt, and he wonders if the brazen robbery that took place during one of his church services is related in any way. But before he or Yarni can regain their footing, a young woman shows up on their doorstep—Desember Day, the eighteen-year-old daughter Des never knew he had. And, unfortunately, she takes after her father, so trouble isn’t far behind. 

With their lives on the line, Yarni must sacrifice everything and take it out of the office and back to the streets to save her husband and her family from their checkered but intricately connected pasts.


Click for more detail about The Strawberry Letter: Real Talk, Real Advice, Because Bitterness Isn’t Sexy by Shirley Strawberry The Strawberry Letter: Real Talk, Real Advice, Because Bitterness Isn’t Sexy

by Shirley Strawberry
One World/Ballantine (Apr 05, 2011)
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Listen up, ladies! Shirley Strawberry, co-host of the nationally syndicated Steve Harvey Morning Show, delivers more of the no-nonsense woman-to-woman straight talk her listeners have come to love. Shirley tells it like it is—from the heart. Whether the topic is cheating boyfriends, crazy mothers-in-law, job troubles, or money problems, Shirley’s girlfriend-next-door honesty has made the Strawberry Letters segment of the show a huge hit. Now, in this uplifting motivational guide, she brings her vivacious, inspirational, and down-to-earth message to women everywhere: Get up, get out, and be the best you can be!

As a single parent and a woman willing to let Mr. Right find her, Shirley’s been there and done that—and she’s got hard-won lessons to share. In this call to action to help women look at their lives with a candid eye, she tackles the issues her fans want to hear about:
 
• Love and Relationships: the highs and lows of dating, marriage, and breakups
• Family: the challenges of being a great mom
• Sisterhood: ways to get (and give) the support you need to stay sane
• Self: tips for overcoming low self-esteem and depression, and finding balance, faith, and acceptance

Full of motivating “Strawberry Tips,” personal stories that provide welcome advice on the run, and helpful suggestions for drama-stuck girlfriends, this book offers a simple message of strength: a challenge to love yourself and your life!

Book Review

Click for more detail about Malcolm X: A Life Of Reinvention by Manning Marable Malcolm X: A Life Of Reinvention

by Manning Marable
Knopf (Apr 04, 2011)
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Years in the making—the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins’ bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties. Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Time for New Dreams by Ben Okri Time for New Dreams

by Ben Okri
Rider Books (Apr 01, 2011)
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Booker Prize-winning novelist and one of Britain’s foremost poets, Ben Okri is a passionate advocate of the written word. In A Time for New Dreams he breaks new ground in an unusual collection of linked essays, which address such diverse themes as childhood, self-censorship, the role of beauty, the importance of education and the real significance of the recent economic meltdown. Proving that ’true literature tears up the script’ of how we see ourselves, A Time for New Dreams is provocative and thought-provoking. In an intriguing marriage of style and content, the concise but perfectly formed essays in this collection push the parameters of writing whilst asking profound questions about who we are and the future that awaits us.


Click for more detail about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

by Rebecca Skloot
Knopf (Mar 08, 2011)
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Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells, taken without her knowledge in 1951, became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.


Click for more detail about When The Thrill Is Gone (Leonid Mcgill) by Walter Mosley When The Thrill Is Gone (Leonid Mcgill)

by Walter Mosley
Riverhead Hardcover (Mar 08, 2011)
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Leonid McGill is back, in the third-and most enthralling and ambitious-installment in Walter Mosley’s latest New York Times- bestselling series.

The economy has hit the private-investigator business hard, even for the detective designated as "a more than worthy successor to Philip Marlowe" (The Boston Globe) and "the perfect heir to Easy Rawlins" (Toronto Globe and Mail). Lately, Leonid McGill is getting job offers only from the criminals he’s worked so hard to leave behind. Meanwhile, his life grows ever more complicated: his favorite stepson, Twill, drops out of school for mysteriously lucrative pursuits; his best friend, Gordo, is diagnosed with cancer and is living on Leonid’s couch; his wife takes a new lover, infuriating the old one and endangering the McGill family; and Leonid’s girlfriend, Aura, is back but intent on some serious conversations…

So how can he say no to the beautiful young woman who walks into his office with a stack of cash? She’s an artist, she tells him, who’s escaped from poverty via marriage to a rich collector who keeps her on a stipend. But she says she fears for her life, and needs Leonid’s help. Though Leonid knows better than to believe every word, this isn’t a job he can afford to turn away, even as he senses that-if his family’s misadventures don’t kill him first-sorting out the woman’s crooked tale will bring him straight to death’s door.


Click for more detail about Pym: A Novel by Mat Johnson Pym: A Novel

by Mat Johnson
Spiegel & Grau (Mar 01, 2011)
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In PYM, recently canned professor of American literature Chris Jaynes is obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe's strange and only novel,The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. When Jaynes discovers an old manuscript of a memoir that seems to confirm the reality of Poe's fiction, he conspires to get to Antarctica, the setting for Poe's book, in hopes of discovering Tsalal, the remote and mythic land of pure and utter blackness that Poe describes with horror. Jaynes imagines it to be the last untouched bastion of the African Diaspora and the key to his personal salvation.

For his expedition, Jaynes convenes an all-black crew ' some members are going to the South Pole in search of adventure, some for natural resources to exploit, and, for Jaynes at least, the mythical world of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. But soon, he and his fellow adventurers find themselves unable to make contact with the rest of the world and enslaved by the giant white ice creatures that also appear in Poe's Narrative. With little but the firsthand account from which Poe derived his seafaring tale, a bag of bones, and a stash of Little Debbie snack cakes, Jaynes embarks on an expedition under the permafrost of Antarctica, beneath the surface of American history, and behind one of literature's great mysteries.

A riveting adventure novel and a cutting, insightful meditation on race, literature, and obsession, PYM is sure to be one of the most inventive and engaging novels of 2011.

"You can trust the veracity of this account: Pym is a spectacularly sly and nimble-footed send-up of this world, the next world, and all points in between. A satire with heart, as courageous as it is cunning." --Colson Whitehead, author of Sag Harbor

"Johnson's new novel is nothing short of fantastic, in every sense. I fell in love with the voice, the tone and the world of Pym. This is an adventure novel, a work of historical and social commentary, a rumination on identity. The only problem I could find with this novel is that I didn't write it. It's a beautiful piece of work." --Percival Everett, author of I Am Not Sidney Poitier

"Johnson has come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and he's all out of bubble gum. Pym is an adventure, a satire, and a bracing political debate all rolled into one brilliant novel. Edgar Allen Poe has inspired many authors but Mat Johnson has the inspired audacity to both honor and discredit the man, often in the same sentence. I imagine Poe choking on half the things Johnson writes in this novel, and tipping his tiny hat in admiration to the rest." --Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine

"Johnson writes with all the probing intelligence of James Baldwin, the scalding satire of Dany Laferriere and the technique of a master craftsman, all of which make him one of the most exciting, important and gifted writers of his generation. Pym is a moving and accomplished novel." --Chris Abani, author of GraceLand and the Virgin of Flames


Click for more detail about I Beat The Odds: From Homelessness, To The Blind Side, And Beyond by Michael Oher I Beat The Odds: From Homelessness, To The Blind Side, And Beyond

by Michael Oher
Knopf (Feb 08, 2011)
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The football star made famous in the hit film The Blind Side reflects on how far he has come from the circumstances of his youth.

Michael Oher is the young man at the center of the true story depicted in The Blind Side movie (and book) that swept up awards and accolades. Though the odds were heavily stacked against him, Michael had a burning desire deep within his soul to break out of the Memphis inner-city ghetto and into a world of opportunity. While many people are now familiar with Oher’s amazing journey, this is the first time he shares his account of his story in his own words, revealing his thoughts and feelings with details that only he knows, and offering his point of view on how anyone can achieve a better life.

Looking back on how he went from being a homeless child in Memphis to playing in the NFL, Michael talks about the goals he had for himself in order to break out of the cycle of poverty, addiction, and hopelessness that trapped his family for so long. He recounts poignant stories growing up in the projects and running from child services and foster care over and over again in search of some familiarity. Eventually he grasped onto football as his ticket out of the madness and worked hard to make his dream into a reality.

But Oher also knew he would not be successful alone. With his adoptive family, the Touhys, and other influential people in mind, he describes the absolute necessity of seeking out positive role models and good friends who share the same values to achieve one’s dreams.

Sharing untold stories of heartache, determination, courage, and love, I Beat the Odds is an incredibly rousing tale of one young man’s quest to achieve the American dream.

Book Review

Click for more detail about You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

by Jaron Lanier
Vintage (Feb 08, 2011)
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A programmer, musician, and father of virtual reality technology, Jaron Lanier was a pioneer in digital media, and among the first to predict the revolutionary changes it would bring to our commerce and culture. Now, with the Web influencing virtually every aspect of our lives, he offers this provocative critique of how digital design is shaping society, for better and for worse.

Informed by Lanier’s experience and expertise as a computer scientist, You Are Not a Gadget discusses the technical and cultural problems that have unwittingly risen from programming choices—such as the nature of user identity—that were “locked-in” at the birth of digital media and considers what a future based on current design philosophies will bring. With the proliferation of social networks, cloud-based data storage systems, and Web 2.0 designs that elevate the “wisdom” of mobs and computer algorithms over the intelligence and wisdom of individuals, his message has never been more urgent.


Click for more detail about Glitz by Philana Marie Boles Glitz

by Philana Marie Boles
Viking Books for Young Readers (Feb 03, 2011)
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Ann Michelle is tired of her boring, sheltered life. She longs for something real. Then she meets Raquel Marissa Diaz-Raq for short. Sassy, streetwise, and totally fearless, Raq is everything Ann Michelle isn’t. She has a voice to die for and the attitude to go with it, and she’ll stop at nothing to be a star. All Ann Michelle wants is to go along for the ride. Even if that means leaving home to go on the road with Piper, both girls’ favorite hip-hop artist. And shedding her identity along the way to become Glitz, a bolder- but not necessarily better-version of herself.

Crackling with authenticity, energy, and heart, Philana Marie Boles’s first young adult novel is about the true meaning of friendship and the pitfalls of fame.

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Click for more detail about The Education of a British-protected Child by Chinua Achebe The Education of a British-protected Child

by Chinua Achebe
Penguin Books (Feb 01, 2011)
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The pieces here span reflections on personal and collective identity, on home and family, on literature, language and politics, and on Achebe’s lifelong attempt to reclaim the definition of ’Africa’ for its own authorship. For the first thirty years of his life, before Nigeria’s independence in 1960, Achebe was officially defined as a ’British Protected Person’. In "The Education of a British-Protected Child" he gives us a vivid, ironic and delicately nuanced portrait of growing up in colonial Nigeria and inhabiting its ’middle ground’, interrogating both his happy memories of reading English adventure stories in secondary school and also the harsher truths of colonial rule.


Click for more detail about Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis Mare’s War

by Tanita S. Davis
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Jan 25, 2011)
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Meet Mare, a World War II veteran and a grandmother like no other. She was once a willful teenager who escaped her less than perfect life in the deep South and lied about her age to join the African American Battalion of the Women’s Army Corps. Now she is driving her granddaughters—two willful teenagers in their own rite—on a cross-country road trip. The girls are initially skeptical of Mare’s flippy wigs and stilletos, but they soon find themselves entranced by the story she has to tell, and readers will be too.

Told in alternating chapters, half of which follow Mare through her experiences as a WAC and half of which follow Mare and her granddaughters on the road in the present day, this novel introduces readers to a larger-than-life character and a fascinating chapter in African American history.


Click for more detail about A Palace in the Old Village: A Novel by Tahar Ben Jelloun A Palace in the Old Village: A Novel

by Tahar Ben Jelloun
Penguin Books (Jan 25, 2011)
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The latest novel from "Morocco’s greatest living author" (The Guardian)

Award-winning, internationally bestselling author Tahar Ben Jelloun’s new novel is the story of an immigrant named Mohammed who has spent forty years in France and is about to retire. Taking stock of his life- his devotion to Islam and to his assimilated children-he decides to return to Morocco, where he spends his life’s savings building the biggest house in the village and waits for his children and grandchildren to come be with him. A heartbreaking novel about parents and children, A Palace in the Old Village captures the sometimes stark contrasts between old- and new-world values, and an immigrant’s abiding pursuit of home.


Click for more detail about A Nation’s Hope: the Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis by Matt De La Peña A Nation’s Hope: the Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis

by Matt De La Peña
Dial Books for Young Readers (Jan 20, 2011)
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On the eve of World War II, African American boxer Joe Louis fought German Max Schmeling in a bout that had more at stake than just the world heavyweight title; for much of America their fight came to represent America’s war with Germany. This elegant and powerful picture book biography centers around the historic fight in which Black and White America were able to put aside prejudice and come together to celebrate our nation’s ideals.


Click for more detail about The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

by Wes Moore
Knopf (Jan 11, 2011)
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Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence? Wes Moore, the author of this fascinating book, sets out to answer this profound question. In alternating narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.


Click for more detail about The Word: Black Writers Talk About The Transformative Power Of Reading And Writing by Marita Golden The Word: Black Writers Talk About The Transformative Power Of Reading And Writing

by Marita Golden
Knopf (Jan 11, 2011)
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Critically acclaimed Black writers reveal how books have shaped their personal lives—in often unexpected ways.
 
In these thirteen strikingly candid interviews, bestselling authors, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and writers picked by Oprah’s Book Club discuss how the acts of reading and writing have deeply affected their lives by expanding the conceptual borders of their communities and broadening their sense of self.

Edwidge Danticat movingly recounts the first time she encountered a Black character in a book and how this changed her worldview forever; Edward P. Jones speaks openly about being raised by an illiterate mother; J. California Cooper discusses the spiritual sources of her literary inspiration; Nathan McCall explains how reading saved his life while in prison; Pearl Cleage muses eloquently about how other people’s stories help one make one’s own way in the world; and world-renowned historian John Hope Franklin—in one of the last interviews he gave before his death—touchingly recalls his childhood in the segregated South and how reading opened his mind to life’s greater possibilities.

The stories that emerge from these in-depth interviews not only provide an important record of the creative life of leading Black writers but also explore the vast cultural and spiritual benefits of reading and writing, and they support the growing initiative to encourage people to read as both a passion and a pastime.


Click for more detail about Super Rich: A Guide To Having It All by Russell Simmons and Chris Morrow Super Rich: A Guide To Having It All

by Russell Simmons and Chris Morrow
Knopf (Jan 04, 2011)
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The visionary entrepreneur and author of the New York Times bestseller Do You! delivers a powerful guide to true abundance.

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy."

In straight-talking inspiring chapters, Simmons provides unforgettable true stories from his own road to riches, delving into the principles and practices that have kept him energized and focused. Whether we’re in the boardroom or on a yoga mat, Simmons says, we have to be able to listen to our inner voices. Finding our unique potential, we can make the right moves, ruled not by money but by the joy of conscientious living and giving. With these philosophies and more, Simmons brings us a stimulus package of consciousness that will never run dry, backed by the power of the higher self.

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Click for more detail about Teenie by Christopher Grant Teenie

by Christopher Grant
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Dec 28, 2010)
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High school freshman Martine (Teenie for short) is a good student, with a bright future ahead of her. She’s desperate to be accepted into a prestigious study abroad program in Spain so that she can see what life is like beyond the streets of Brooklyn. She wouldn’t mind escaping from her strict (though lovable) parents for awhile either. But when the captain of the basketball team starts to pay attention to her after she’s pined away for him for months and Cherise, her best friend, meets a guy online, Teenie’s mind is on anything but her schoolwork. Teenie’s longtime crush isn’t what he seemed to be, nor is her best friend’s online love. Can Teenie get her act together in time to save her friendship with Cherise, save her grade point average so that she can study in Spain, and save herself from a potentially dangerous relationship?

Christopher Grant makes a stunning literary debut with this warmly told story about friends, family, and finding oneself.


Click for more detail about Decoded by Jay-Z Decoded

by Jay-Z
Spiegel & Grau (Nov 16, 2010)
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Decoded is a book like no other: a collection of lyrics and their meanings that together tell the story of a culture, an art form, a moment in history, and one of the most provocative and successful artists of our time.

“Hip-hop’s renaissance man drops a classic. . . . Heartfelt, passionate and slick.”— Kirkus, starred review

Book Review

Click for more detail about Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters by Barack Obama Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters

by Barack Obama
Alfred A. Knopf (Nov 16, 2010)
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In this tender, beautiful letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O’Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America’s children.

Breathtaking, evocative illustrations by award-winning artist Loren Long at once capture the personalities and achievements of these great Americans and the innocence and promise of childhood.

This beautiful book celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans, from our nation’s founders to generations to come. It is about the potential within each of us to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths. It is a treasure to cherish with your family forever.

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Click for more detail about I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This

by Jacqueline Woodson
Puffin Books (Nov 11, 2010)
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Twelve-year-old Marie is a leader among the popular black girls in Chauncey, Ohio, a prosperous black suburb. She isn’t looking for a friend when Lena Bright, a white girl, appears in school. Yet they are drawn to each other because both have lost their mothers. And they know how to keep a secret. For Lena has a secret that is terrifying, and she’s desperate to protect herself and her younger sister from their father. Marie must decide whether she can help Lena by keeping her secret…or by telling it.


Click for more detail about The Dear One by Jacqueline Woodson The Dear One

by Jacqueline Woodson
Puffin Books (Nov 11, 2010)
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An intriguing look at teen pregnancy from a three-time Newbery Honor winning author

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Feni is furious when she finds out that her mother has agreed to take a fifteen-year-old pregnant girl into their home until her baby is born. What kind of girl would let herself get into so much trouble? How can Feni live under the same roof as someone like that? Her worst fears are confirmed when Rebecca arrives: she is mean, bossy, and uneducated. Feni decided she will have nothing to do with her. But it’s hard not to be curious about a girl so close to her own age who seems so different…


Click for more detail about Lena by Jacqueline Woodson Lena

by Jacqueline Woodson
Puffin Books (Nov 11, 2010)
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A compelling story of survival from a three-time Newbery Honor winning author

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

At the end of I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This, Lena and her younger sister, Dion, set off on their own, desperate to escape their abusive father. Disguised as boys, they hitchhike along, traveling in search of their mother’s relatives. They don’t know what they will find, or who they can trust along the way, but they do know that they can’t afford to make even one single mistake. Dramatic and moving, this is a heart-wrenching story of two young girls in search of a place to call home.


Click for more detail about The Last Days Of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley The Last Days Of Ptolemy Grey

by Walter Mosley
Riverhead Hardcover (Nov 11, 2010)
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A masterful, moving novel about age, memory, and family from one of the true literary icons of our time.

Ptolemy Grey is ninety-one years old and has been all but forgotten-by his family, his friends, even himself-as he sinks into a lonely dementia. His grand-nephew, Ptolemy’s only connection to the outside world, was recently killed in a drive-by shooting, and Ptolemy is too suspicious of anyone else to allow them into his life. until he meets Robyn, his niece’s seventeen-year-old lodger and the only one willing to take care of an old man at his grandnephew’s funeral.

But Robyn will not tolerate Ptolemy’s hermitlike existence. She challenges him to interact more with the world around him, and he grasps more firmly onto his disappearing consciousness. However, this new activity pushes Ptolemy into the fold of a doctor touting an experimental drug that guarantees Ptolemy won’t live to see age ninety- two but that he’ll spend his last days in feverish vigor and clarity. With his mind clear, what Ptolemy finds-in his own past, in his own apartment, and in the circumstances surrounding his grand-nephew’s death-is shocking enough to spur an old man to action, and to ensure a legacy that no one will forget.

In The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, Mosley captures the compromised state of his protagonist’s mind with profound sensitivity and insight, and creates an unforgettable pair of characters at the center of a novel that is sure to become a true contemporary classic.


Click for more detail about In the Falling Snow by Caryl Phillips In the Falling Snow

by Caryl Phillips
Vintage (Nov 02, 2010)
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From one of our most admired fiction writers: the searing story of breakdown and recovery in the life of one man and of a society moving from one idea of itself to another.
 
Keith—born in England in the early 1960s to immigrant West Indian parents but primarily raised by his white stepmother—is a social worker heading a Race Equality unit in London whose life has come undone. He is separated from his wife of twenty years, kept at arm’s length by his teenage son, estranged from his father, and accused of harassment by a coworker. And beneath it all, he has a desperate feeling that his work—even in fact his life—is no longer relevant.
 
Deeply moving in its portrayal of the vagaries of family love and bold in its scrutiny of the personal politics of race, this is Caryl Phillips’s most powerful novel yet.


Click for more detail about The Next Big Story: My Journey Through The Land Of Possibilities (Celebra Books) by Soledad O’Brien The Next Big Story: My Journey Through The Land Of Possibilities (Celebra Books)

by Soledad O’Brien
Celebra (Nov 02, 2010)
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An intimate look behind the CNN journalist’s most compelling reporting moments and how it has shaped her perspective on America’s future.

"Story is our medium. It’s how we connect emotionally with our viewers. And it’s how we make sense of our world…When we talk about a ’big story,’ we’re really talking about what resonates with people, what matters to them…And I think when it comes to our national narrative, what we need to realize is that we’re all contributing to the story, that we can affect where this country is going."

From top CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien comes a highly personal look at her biggest reporting moments from Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Southeast Asia, the devastating Haiti earthquake to the historic elections and high profile interviews with everyday Americans. Drawing on her own unique background and consciousness as well as her experiences as a journalist at the front lines of the most provocative issues in today’s society-and particularly from her work as host of the acclaimed series Black in America and Latino in America-O’Brien offers her candid, clear-eyed take on where we are as a country and where we’re going.

What emerges is both an inspiring message of hope and a glimpse into the heart and soul of one of America’s most straight-talking reporters.

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Book Review

Click for more detail about The Challenge For Africa by Wangari Maathai The Challenge For Africa

by Wangari Maathai
Anchor (Oct 19, 2010)
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The troubles of Africa today are severe and wide-ranging. Yet, too often, they are portrayed by the media in extreme terms connoting poverty, dependence, and desperation. Here Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement, offers a refreshingly unique perspective on these challenges, even as she calls for a moral revolution among Africans themselves.
 
Illuminating the complex and dynamic nature of the continent, Maathai offers “hardheaded hope” and “realistic options” for change and improvement. She deftly describes what Africans can and need to do for themselves, stressing all the while responsibility and accountability. Impassioned and empathetic, The Challenge for Africa is a book of immense importance.


Click for more detail about How To Read The Air by Dinaw Mengestu How To Read The Air

by Dinaw Mengestu
Riverhead Hardcover (Oct 14, 2010)
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From the prizewinning international literary star: the searing and powerful story of one man’s search for redemption. Dinaw Mengestu’s first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, earned the young writer comparisons to Bellow, Fitzgerald, and Naipaul, and garnered ecstatic critical praise and awards around the world for its haunting depiction of the immigrant experience. Now Mengestu enriches the themes that defined his debut with a heartbreaking literary masterwork about love, family, and the power of imagination, which confirms his reputation as one of the brightest talents of his generation.One early September afternoon, Yosef and Mariam, young Ethiopian immigrants who have spent all but their first year of marriage apart, set off on a road trip from their new home in Peoria, Illinois, to Nashville, Tennessee, in search of a new identity as an American couple. Soon, their son, Jonas, will be born in Illinois. Thirty years later, Yosef has died, and Jonas needs to make sense of the volatile generational and cultural ties that have forged him. How can he envision his future without knowing what has come before? Leaving behind his marriage and job in New York, Jonas sets out to retrace his mother and father’s trip and weave together a family history that will take him from the war-torn Ethiopia of his parents’ youth to his life in the America of today, a story—real or invented—that holds the possibility of reconciliation and redemption.Watch a Video


Click for more detail about Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir Of Family by Condoleezza Rice Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir Of Family

by Condoleezza Rice
Knopf (Oct 12, 2010)
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Condoleezza Rice has excelled as a diplomat, political scientist, and concert pianist.  Her achievements run the gamut from helping to oversee the collapse of communism in Europe and the decline of the Soviet Union, to working to protect the country in the aftermath of 9-11, to becoming only the second woman - and the first black woman ever — to serve as Secretary of State.
 
But until she was 25 she never learned to swim.
 
Not because she wouldn’t have loved to, but because when she was a little girl in Birmingham, Alabama, Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor decided he’d rather shut down the city’s pools than give black citizens access.
 
Throughout the 1950’s, Birmingham’s black middle class largely succeeded in insulating their children from the most corrosive effects of racism, providing multiple support systems to ensure the next generation would live better than the last.  But by 1963, when Rice was applying herself to her fourth grader’s lessons, the situation had grown intolerable.  Birmingham was an environment where blacks were expected to keep their head down and do what they were told — or face violent consequences. That spring two bombs exploded in Rice’s neighborhood amid a series of chilling Klu Klux Klan attacks.  Months later, four young girls lost their lives in a particularly vicious bombing.
 
So how was Rice able to achieve what she ultimately did?
 
Her father, John, a minister and educator, instilled a love of sports and politics.  Her mother, a teacher, developed Condoleezza’s passion for piano and exposed her to the fine arts.  From both, Rice learned the value of faith in the face of hardship and the importance of giving back to the community.  Her parents’ fierce unwillingness to set limits propelled her to the venerable halls of Stanford University, where she quickly rose through the ranks to become the university’s second-in-command.  An expert in Soviet and Eastern European Affairs, she played a leading role in U.S. policy as the Iron Curtain fell and the Soviet Union disintegrated.  Less than a decade later, at the apex of the hotly contested 2000 presidential election, she received the exciting news – just shortly before her father’s death – that she would go on to the White House as the first female National Security Advisor. 
 
As comfortable describing lighthearted family moments as she is recalling the poignancy of her mother’s cancer battle and the heady challenge of going toe-to-toe with Soviet leaders, Rice holds nothing back in this remarkably candid telling. This is the story of Condoleezza Rice that has never been told, not that of an ultra-accomplished world leader, but of a little girl – and a young woman — trying to find her place in a sometimes hostile world and of two exceptional parents, and an extended family and community, that made all the difference.

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Click for more detail about The Grace Of Silence: A Memoir by Michele Norris The Grace Of Silence: A Memoir

by Michele Norris
Pantheon Books (Sep 21, 2010)
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In the wake of talk of a “postracial” America upon Barack Obama’s ascension as president of the United States, Michele Norris, cohost of National Public Radio’s flagship program All Things Considered, set out to write, through original reporting, a book about “the hidden conversation” on race that is unfolding nationwide. She would, she thought, base her book on the frank disclosures of others on the subject, but she was soon disabused of her presumption when forced to confront the fact that “the conversation” in her own family had not been forthright.
 
Norris unearthed painful family secrets that compelled her to question her own self-understanding: from her father’s shooting by a Birmingham police officer weeks after his discharge from the navy at the conclusion of World War II to her maternal grandmother’s peddling pancake mix as an itinerant Aunt Jemima to white farm women in the Midwest. In what became a profoundly personal and bracing journey into her family’s past, Norris traveled from her childhood home in Minneapolis to her ancestral roots in the Deep South to explore the reasons for the “things left unsaid” by her father and mother when she was growing up, the better to come to terms with her own identity. Along the way she discovered how her character was forged by both revelation and silence.
 
Extraordinary for Norris’s candor in examining her own racial legacy and what it means to be an American, The Grace of Silence is also informed by rigorous research in its evocation of time and place, scores of interviews with ordinary folk, and wise observations about evolving attitudes, at once encouraging and disturbing, toward race in America today. For its particularity and universality, it is powerfully moving, a tour de force.

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Click for more detail about The Trouble With Nigeria by Chinua Achebe The Trouble With Nigeria

by Chinua Achebe
Penguin UK (Sep 21, 2010)
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Beautifully written yet highly controversial, An Image of Africa asserts Achebe’s belief in Joseph Conrad as a ’bloody racist’ and his conviction that Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness only serves to perpetuate damaging stereotypes of black people. Also included is The Trouble with Nigeria, Achebe’s searing outpouring of his frustrations with his country. GREAT IDEAS. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.


Click for more detail about Replenishing The Earth: Spiritual Values For Healing Ourselves And The World by Wangari Maathai Replenishing The Earth: Spiritual Values For Healing Ourselves And The World

by Wangari Maathai
Doubleday Religion (Sep 14, 2010)
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An impassioned call to heal the wounds of our planet and ourselves through the tenets of our spiritual traditions, from a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
 
It is so easy, in our modern world, to feel disconnected from the physical earth. Despite dire warnings and escalating concern over the state of our planet, many people feel out of touch with the natural world. Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai has spent decades working with the Green Belt Movement to help women in rural Kenya plant—and sustain—millions of trees. With their hands in the dirt, these women often find themselves empowered and “at home” in a way they never did before. Maathai wants to impart that feeling to everyone, and believes that the key lies in traditional spiritual values: love for the environment, self-betterment, gratitude and respect, and a commitment to service. While educated in the Christian tradition, Maathai draws inspiration from many faiths, celebrating the Jewish mandate tikkun olam (“repair the world”) and renewing the Japanese term mottainai (“don’t waste”). Through rededication to these values, she believes, we might finally bring about healing for ourselves and the earth.


Click for more detail about Getting To Happy by Terry McMillan Getting To Happy

by Terry McMillan
Knopf (Sep 07, 2010)
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An exuberant return to the four unforgettable heroines of Waiting to Exhale—the novel that changed African American fiction forever. Terry McMillan’s Waiting to Exhale was more than just a bestselling novel—its publication was a watershed moment in literary history. McMillan’s sassy and vibrant story about four African American women struggling to find love and their place in the world touched a cultural nerve, inspired a blockbuster film, and generated a devoted audience. Now, McMillan revisits Savannah, Gloria, Bernadine, and Robin fifteen years later. Each is at her own midlife crossroads: Savannah has awakened to the fact that she’s made too many concessions in her marriage, and decides to face life single again—at fifty-one. Bernadine has watched her megadivorce settlement dwindle, been swindled by her husband number two, and conned herself into thinking that a few pills will help distract her from her pain. Robin has an all-American case of shopaholism, while the big dream of her life—to wear a wedding dress—has gone unrealized. And for years, Gloria has taken happiness and security for granted. But being at the wrong place at the wrong time can change everything. All four are learning to heal past hurts and to reclaim their joy and their dreams; but they return to us full of spirit, sass, and faith in one another. They’ve exhaled: now they are learning to breathe.


Click for more detail about The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings by James Baldwin and Randall Kenan The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings

by James Baldwin and Randall Kenan
Pantheon Books (Aug 24, 2010)
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The Cross of Redemption is a revelation by an American literary master: a gathering of essays, articles, polemics, reviews, and interviews that have never before appeared in book form.
 
James Baldwin was one of the most brilliant and provocative literary figures of the past century, renowned for his fierce engagement with issues haunting our common history. In The Cross of Redemption we have Baldwin discoursing on, among other subjects, the possibility of an African-American president and what it might mean; the hypocrisy of American religious fundamentalism; the black church in America; the trials and tribulations of black nationalism; anti-Semitism; the blues and boxing; Russian literary masters; and the role of the writer in our society.
 
Prophetic and bracing, The Cross of Redemption is a welcome and important addition to the works of a cosmopolitan and canonical American writer who still has much to teach us about race, democracy, and personal and national identity. As Michael Ondaatje has remarked, “If van Gogh was our nineteenth-century artist-saint, Baldwin [was] our twentieth-century one.”

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Click for more detail about Tempted By Trouble by Eric Jerome Dickey Tempted By Trouble

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Dutton (Aug 17, 2010)
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New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey returns with a flaming-hot stand-alone set in the world of conmen and thieves.

We can plan all we want, but sometimes fate has a different agenda…

Dmytryk was a respectable man… once. College educated, happily married, a stable job at a car factory in Detroit. He’s the king of the world with nowhere to go but up. But when a crippling recession annihilates the auto industry, Dmytryk and his wife Cora suddenly find themselves without jobs. And after two years of trying to live honestly, they begin to realize that honesty just doesn’t pay the bills.

Afraid of losing her home and her marriage, Cora compromises her faith and makes some choices that she isn’t proud of. And when a powerful and ruthless crime boss named Eddie Coyle gives them an opportunity to buy back their old lives, Cora urges Dmytryk to man up. All he has to do is join Eddie’s crime ring and rob some banks: two minutes, in and out, nobody gets hurt. Torn between desperation and his moral integrity, Dmytryk gives in, but no sooner does he enter a life of crime than Cora abandons him, taking with her his dreams for a better life and disappearing without a trace.

Now, more determined than ever to get his life back on track, Dmytryk is only one bank job away from having enough money to leave Eddie Coyle and find Cora. But when the job goes dangerously wrong, he realizes yet again that destiny has another plan for him. Forced into seclusion with one of his partners — a dangerous and damaged woman with a plan of her own - Dmytryk wonders if he’ll ever find his way back to his old life. And in the end, will he even want to?


Click for more detail about Keena Ford and the Field Trip Mix-Up by Melissa Thomson Keena Ford and the Field Trip Mix-Up

by Melissa Thomson
Puffin Books (Aug 12, 2010)
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Keena Ford is so excited to go on a field trip to the United States Capitol with her second-grade class! At school, she is running for a spot on the student council, and on the field trip she’s going to meet a real live U.S. representative. The only trouble is, mean Tiffany Harris keeps teasing Keena and taking the best place in line. Keena doesn’t mean to get into trouble, but trouble seems to find her anyway!


Click for more detail about Plus by Veronica Chambers Plus

by Veronica Chambers
Razorbill (Aug 05, 2010)
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The perfect romantic makeover story about an every-girl whose dream comes true . . . Beatrice Wilson is our lovable Cinderella, who just got dumped by her very first boyfriend and put on twenty-five pounds. But then she?s discovered as a plus model. In the eyes of pop culture, Bee is Jessica Alba and then some! Now she must vanquish skinny rivals, fend off sleazy photogs, and banish jealous frenemies in her rise to superstardom. All the while, she?s torn between her first love and the surprisingly sincere up-and-coming rapper she tutors in calculus. But what?s better than finding your prince charming? Finally learning to love yourself!


Click for more detail about Resurrecting Midnight by Eric Jerome Dickey Resurrecting Midnight

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Dutton (Aug 03, 2010)
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The New York Times bestselling author does it again-in a fierce new novel of seduction, intrigue, and betrayal.

Gideon, a hired gun, trusts no one. But when his former lover resurfaces in need of his skills, Gideon accepts. The assignment leads to Argentina and a team of international mercenaries who will maim, kill, and torture to achieve victory. One of them has a connection to Gideon that neither assassin is aware of, a secret link that reaches into Gideon’s past and plunges him into a double-cross so explosive no one will make it out unscarred.


Click for more detail about From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

by Jacqueline Woodson
Puffin Books (Jul 08, 2010)
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Three-time Newbery Honor author Jacqualine Woodson explores race and sexuality through the eyes of a compelling narrator

Melanin Sun has a lot to say. But sometimes it’s hard to speak his mind, so he fills up notebooks with his thoughts instead. He writes about his mom a lot—they’re about as close as they can be, because they have no other family. So when she suddenly tells him she’s gay, his world is turned upside down. And if that weren’t hard enough for him to accept, her girlfriend is white. Melanin Sun is angry and scared. How can his mom do this to him—is this the end of their closeness? What will his friends think? And can he let her girlfriend be part of their family?


Click for more detail about Behind You by Jacqueline Woodson Behind You

by Jacqueline Woodson
Puffin Books (Jul 08, 2010)
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A moving story of love and loss from National Book Award winner , Jacqueline Woodson. Great for fans of Angie Thomas and Nic Stone.

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

You are so light you move with the wind and the snow. . . . And it lifts you up-over a world of sadness and anger and fear. Over a world of first kisses and hands touching and someone you’re falling in love with. She’s there now. Right there. . . .Miah and Ellie were in love. Even though Miah was black and Ellie was white, they made sense together. Then Miah was killed. This was the ending.And it was the beginning of grief for the many people who loved Miah. Now his mother has stopped trying, his friends are lost and Ellie doesn’t know how to move on. And there is Miah, watching all of this—unable to let go.How do we go on after losing someone we love? This is the question the living and the dead are asking.With the help of each other, the living will come together. Miah will sit beside them. They will feel Miah in the wind, see him in the light, hear him in their music. And Miah will watch over them, until he is sure each of those he loved is all right.This beautiful sequel to Jacqueline Woodson’s If You Come Softly explores the experiences of those left behind after tragedy. It is a novel in which through hope, understanding and love, healing begins.


Click for more detail about Dear Darkness: Poems by Kevin Young Dear Darkness: Poems

by Kevin Young
Knopf (Jul 06, 2010)
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Delivered in Young’s classic bluesy tone, this powerful collection of poems about the American family, smoky Southern food, and the losses that time inevitably brings “bristles with life, nerve and, best of all, wit” (San Francisco Chronicle).


Click for more detail about A Place Where Hurricanes Happen by Howard Zinn A Place Where Hurricanes Happen

by Howard Zinn
Random House Books for Young Readers (Jun 22, 2010)
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Natural and man-made disasters are becoming more commonplace in children’s lives, and this touching free-verse picture book provides a straightforward account of Hurricane Katrina. In alternating voices, four friends describe their lives before, during, and after the storm and how, even though the world can change in a heartbeat, people define the character of their community and offer one another comfort and hope even in the darkest hours.
Adrienne, Keesha, Michael, and Tommy have been friends for forever. They live on the same street—a street in New Orleans where everyone knows everybody. They play together all day long, every chance they get. It’s always been that way. But then people start talking about a storm headed straight for New Orleans. The kids must part ways, since each family deals with Hurricane Katrina in a different manner. And suddenly everything that felt like home is gone.
Renée Watson’s lyrical free verse is perfectly matched in Shadra Strickland’s vivid mixed media art. Together they celebrate the spirit and resiliency of New Orleans, especially its children.


Click for more detail about Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn And Made America A Democracy by Bruce Watson Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn And Made America A Democracy

by Bruce Watson
Knopf (Jun 10, 2010)
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A majestic history of the summer of ’64, which forever changed race relations in America

In the summer of 1964, with the civil rights movement stalled, seven hundred college students descended on Mississippi to register black voters, teach in Freedom Schools, and live in sharecroppers’ shacks. But by the time their first night in the state had ended, three volunteers were dead, black churches had burned, and America had a new definition of freedom.

This remarkable chapter in American history, the basis for the controversial film Mississippi Burning, is now the subject of Bruce Watson’s thoughtful and riveting historical narrative. Using in- depth interviews with participants and residents, Watson brilliantly captures the tottering legacy of Jim Crow in Mississippi and the chaos that brought such national figures as Martin Luther King Jr. and Pete Seeger to the state. Freedom Summer presents finely rendered portraits of the courageous black citizens-and Northern volunteers-who refused to be intimidated in their struggle for justice, and the white Mississippians who would kill to protect a dying way of life. Few books have provided such an intimate look at race relations during the deadliest days of the Civil Rights movement, and Freedom Summer will appeal to readers of Taylor Branch and Doug Blackmon.

Book Review

Click for more detail about You Don’t Know Me: Reflections of My Father, Ray Charles by Ray Charles Robinson Jr. You Don’t Know Me: Reflections of My Father, Ray Charles

by Ray Charles Robinson Jr.
Crown (Jun 08, 2010)
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A deeply personal memoir of the private Ray Charles - the man behind the legend - by his eldest son.

Ray Charles is an American music legend. A multiple Grammy Award-winning composer, pianist, and singer with an inimitable vocal style and a catalog of hits including “What I Say,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “Unchain My Heart,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” and “America the Beautiful,” Ray Charles’s music is loved by fans around the world.

Now his eldest son, Ray Charles Robinson Jr., shares an intimate glimpse of the man behind the music, with never-before-told stories. Going beyond the fame, the concerts, and the tours, Ray Jr. opens the doors of his family home and reveals their private lives with fondness and frankness.

He shares his father’s grief and guilt over his little brother’s death at the age of five as well of moments of personal joy, like watching his father run his hands over the Christmas presents under their tree while singing softly to himself. He tells of how Ray overcame the challenges of being blind, even driving cars, riding a Vespa, and flying his own plane. And, in gripping detail, he reveals how as a six-year-old boy he saved his father’s life one harrowing night.

Ray Jr. writes honestly about the painful facts of the addiction that nearly destroyed his father’s life. His father’s struggles with heroin addiction, his arrests, and how he ultimately kicked the drug cold turkey are presented in unflinching detail. Ray Jr. also shares openly about how, as an adult, he fell victim to the same temptations that plagued his father.

He paints a compassionate portrait of his mother, Della, whose amazing voice as a gospel singer first attracted Ray Charles. Though her husband’s drug use, his womanizing, and the paternity suits leveled against him constantly threatened the stability of the Robinson home, Della exhibited incredible resilience and inner strength.

Told with deep love and fearless candor, You Don’t Know Me is the powerful and poignant story of the Ray Charles the public never saw the father and husband and fascinating human being who also happened to be one of the greatest musicians of all time.


Click for more detail about The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The Thing Around Your Neck

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Anchor (Jun 01, 2010)
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In these twelve dazzlng stories, the bestselling, award-winning Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explores the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States. Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, these stories map, with Adichie’s signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them.


Click for more detail about The Blueprint: A Plan For Living Above Life’s Storms by Kirk Franklin and Denene Millner The Blueprint: A Plan For Living Above Life’s Storms

by Kirk Franklin and Denene Millner
Knopf (May 18, 2010)
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Seven–time Grammy award winning artist offers an inspiring blend of God and grit for building a fulfilling life “The Blueprint is a transparent approach to talking about issues-from marriage to politics to sex and religion-and it’s from my perspective. Not from a Princeton, mainline, protestant, evangelical or liberal viewpoint, but from a 2010 Christian moderate with swag.—…Kirk Franklin “The Blueprint is a transparent approach to talking about issues-from marriage to politics to sex and religion-and it’s from my perspective. Not from a Princeton, mainline, protestant, evangelical or liberal viewpoint, but from a 2010 Christian moderate with swag."" …Kirk Franklin Gospel artist Kirk Franklin’s faith wasn’t always as strong as it is today. His father abandoned his family; his mother constantly told Kirk that he was an unwanted child and left him to be adopted when he was four; his sister became a crack addict; he never saw a black man who was faithful in marriage. Despite his shaky foundation he found strength and success through his music and through God.

In The Blueprint, Franklin will explain how by communicating with life’s architect, God, he learned to see hardships as necessary life propellants and moved on to become the bestselling gospel musician in recent history, as well as a devoted husband and loving father.

This is not a step program, it’s a lifelong journey. With Franklin’s guidance, you will:

  • pursue your dreams without losing yourself in the chase
  • do some lifescaping to eliminate the “weeds” that hold you back
  • declare your life to be drama-free
  • get past your fears, so you can live and love fully
  • pass the baton to future generations by leading by example
It’s time to take faith out of the church pews and into our everyday lives. With hope, devotion, and strength, The Blueprint offers a plan to help you move beyond hardships to create your own personal Blueprint for life.


Click for more detail about The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron

by Howard Bryant
Pantheon Books (May 11, 2010)
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In the thirty-four years since his retirement, Henry (Hank) Aaron’s reputation has only grown in magnitude. But his influence extends beyond statistics, and at long last here is the first definitive biography of one of baseball’s immortal figures.
 
Based on meticulous research and extensive interviews The Last Hero reveals how Aaron navigated the upheavals of his time—fighting against racism while at the same time benefiting from racial progress—and how he achieved his goal of continuing Jackie Robinson’s mission to obtain full equality for African Americans, both in baseball and society, while he lived uncomfortably in the public eye. Eloquently written, detailed and penetrating, this is a revelatory portrait of a complicated, private man who through sports became an enduring American icon.


Click for more detail about A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison by Dwayne Betts A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison

by Dwayne Betts
Avery (May 04, 2010)
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A unique prison narrative that testifies to the power of books to transform a young man’s life

At the age of sixteen, R. Dwayne Betts—a good student from a lower-middle-class family-carjacked a man with a friend. He had never held a gun before, but within a matter of minutes he had committed six felonies. In Virginia, carjacking is a ""certifiable"" offense, meaning that Betts would be treated as an adult under state law. A bright young kid, he served his nine-year sentence as part of the adult population in some of the worst prisons in the state.

A Question of Freedom chronicles Betts’s years in prison, reflecting back on his crime and looking ahead to how his experiences and the books he discovered while incarcerated would define him. Utterly alone, Betts confronts profound questions about violence, freedom, crime, race, and the justice system. Confined by cinder-block walls and barbed wire, he discovers the power of language through books, poetry, and his own pen. Above all, A Question of Freedom is about a quest for identity-one that guarantees Betts’s survival in a hostile environment and that incorporates an understanding of how his own past led to the moment of his crime.


Click for more detail about Losing My Cool: How A Father’s Love And 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture by Thomas Chatterton Williams Losing My Cool: How A Father’s Love And 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture

by Thomas Chatterton Williams
Penguin Press (Apr 29, 2010)
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A pitch-perfect account of how hip-hop culture drew in the author and how his father drew him out again-with love, perseverance, and fifteen thousand books.

Into Williams’s childhood home-a one-story ranch house-his father crammed more books than the local library could hold. "Pappy" used some of these volumes to run an academic prep service; the rest he used in his unending pursuit of wisdom. His son’s pursuits were quite different-"money, hoes, and clothes." The teenage Williams wore Medusa- faced Versace sunglasses and a hefty gold medallion, dumbed down and thugged up his speech, and did whatever else he could to fit into the intoxicating hip-hop culture that surrounded him. Like all his friends, he knew exactly where he was the day Biggie Smalls died, he could recite the lyrics to any Nas or Tupac song, and he kept his woman in line, with force if necessary.

But Pappy, who grew up in the segregated South and hid in closets so he could read Aesop and Plato, had a different destiny in mind for his son. For years, Williams managed to juggle two disparate lifestyles- "keeping it real" in his friends’ eyes and studying for the SATs under his father’s strict tutelage. As college approached and the stakes of the thug lifestyle escalated, the revolving door between Williams’s street life and home life threatened to spin out of control. Ultimately, Williams would have to decide between hip-hop and his future. Would he choose "street dreams" or a radically different dream- the one Martin Luther King spoke of or the one Pappy held out to him now?

Williams is the first of his generation to measure the seductive power of hip-hop against its restrictive worldview, which ultimately leaves those who live it powerless. Losing My Cool portrays the allure and the danger of hip-hop culture like no book has before. Even more remarkably, Williams evokes the subtle salvation that literature offers and recounts with breathtaking clarity a burgeoning bond between father and son.

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Click for more detail about Stars Of The New Curfew by Ben Okri Stars Of The New Curfew

by Ben Okri
Knopf (Apr 27, 2010)
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To enter the world of Ben Okri’s stories is to surrender to a new reality. Set in the chaotic streets of Lagos and the jungle heart of Nigeria, all the laws of cause and effect, fact and fiction, are suspended. It is a world where the lives of the powerless veer terrifyingly close to nightmare. In rich, lyrical, almost hallucinatory prose Ben Okri guides us through the fabulous and the mundane, the serene and the randomly violent. The unrelenting Nigerian heat and the implacable darkness of the black-out and the military curfew are the backdrops for his characters each finding their own ways to survive. We witness their dogged resistance to impotence, their unquenchable humour and their insistence on the possibility of love in the face of terror. Written with the lucid clarity and logic of dream, Stars of the New Curfew is a book of visionary imagination.


Click for more detail about In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance by Wilbert Rideau In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance

by Wilbert Rideau
Knopf (Apr 27, 2010)
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From Wilbert Rideau, the award-winning journalist who spent forty-four years in Louisiana prisons working against unimaginable odds to redeem himself, the story of a remarkable life: a crime, its punishment, and ultimate triumph.

After killing a woman in a moment of panic following a botched bank robbery, Rideau, denied a fair trial, was improperly sentenced to death at the age of nineteen. After more than a decade on death row, his sentence was amended to life imprisonment, and he joined the inmate population of the infamous Angola penitentiary. Soon Rideau became editor of the prison newsmagazine The Angolite, which under his leadership became an uncensored, daring, and crusading journal instrumental in reforming the violent prison and the corrupt Louisiana justice system.

With the same incisive feel for detail that brought Rideau great critical acclaim, here he brings to vivid life the world of the prison through the power of his pen. We see Angola’s unique culture, encompassing not only rivalries, sexual slavery, ingrained racism, and daily, soul-killing injustices but also acts of courage and decency by keeper and kept alike. As we relive Rideau’s remarkable rehabilitation—he lived a more productive life in prison than do most outside—we also witness his long struggle for justice.

In the Place of Justice goes far beyond the confines of a prison memoir, giving us a searing exposé of the failures of our legal system framed within the dramatic tale of a man who found meaning, purpose, and hope in prison. This is a deeply moving, eloquent, and inspirational story about perseverance, unexpected friendships and love, and the possibility that good can be forged under any circumstances.


Click for more detail about The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

by Wes Moore
Spiegel & Grau (Apr 27, 2010)
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Two kids with the same name lived in the same decaying city. One went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.
 
In December 2000, the Baltimore Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local student who had just received a Rhodes Scholarship. The same paper also ran a series of articles about four young men who had allegedly killed a police officer in a spectacularly botched armed robbery. The police were still hunting for two of the suspects who had gone on the lam, a pair of brothers. One was named Wes Moore. 

Wes just couldn’t shake off the unsettling coincidence, or the inkling that the two shared much more than space in the same newspaper. After following the story of the robbery, the manhunt, and the trial to its conclusion, he wrote a letter to the other Wes, now a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. His letter tentatively asked the questions that had been haunting him: Who are you? How did this happen?

That letter led to a correspondence and relationship that have lasted for several years. Over dozens of letters and prison visits, Wes discovered that the other Wes had had a life not unlike his own: Both had grown up in similar neighborhoods and had had difficult childhoods, both were fatherless; they’d hung out on similar corners with similar crews, and both had run into trouble with the police. At each stage of their young lives they had come across similar moments of decision, yet their choices would lead them to astonishingly different destinies.

Told in alternating dramatic narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.


Click for more detail about A Game Of Character: A Family Journey From Chicago’s Southside To The Ivy League And Beyond by Craig Malcolm Robinson A Game Of Character: A Family Journey From Chicago’s Southside To The Ivy League And Beyond

by Craig Malcolm Robinson
Knopf (Apr 20, 2010)
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The eagerly anticipated inspirational memoir from Michelle Obama’s brother, celebrating the extraordinary family members and mentors who have shaped his life

When he stepped into history’s spotlight at the National Democratic Convention, Craig Robinson recalls that nothing could have been more gratifying than introducing his sister, Michelle Obama, to millions of Americans. Within minutes, he won the hearts of the nation by sharing highlights of growing up in the modest Robinson household, where the two were raised by devoted parents who taught them the values of education, hard work, and the importance of reaching far beyond what even seemed possible.

Those lessons of character were fundamentals in shaping Craig Robinson’s own remarkable journey: from his days playing street basketball on Chicago’s Southside, while excelling academically, to admission at Princeton University, where he was later named Ivy League Player of the Year, twice. After playing professionally in Europe, Robinson made an about-face, entering the competitive field of finance. With his MBA from the University of Chicago, his meteoric rise landed him a partnership in a promising new venture. But another dream beckoned and Craig made the unusual decision to forego the trappings of money and status in the business world in order to become a basketball coach. He soon helped transform three struggling teams - as an assistant coach at Northwestern, then as head coach at Brown and now at Oregon State University. In his first season at OSU, he navigated what was declared to be one of the nation’s best single season turnarounds.

In A Game of Character, Robinson takes readers behind the scenes to meet his most important influences in his understanding of the winning traits that are part of his playbook for success. Central to his story are his parents, Marian and Fraser, two indefatigable individuals who showed their children how to believe in themselves and live their lives with conviction through love, discipline and respect. With insights into this exemplary family, we relive memories of how Marian sacrificed a career to be a full-time mom, how Fraser got up and went to work every day while confronting the challenges of multiple sclerosis, how Craig and Michelle strengthened their bond as they journeyed out of the Southside to Princeton University and eventually, the national stage.

Heartwarming, inspiring, and even transformational, A Game of Character comes just at the right time in an era of change, reminding readers of our opportunity to work together and embrace the character of our nation, to make a difference in the lives of others and to pave the way for the next generation.

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Book Review

Click for more detail about Till You Hear From Me: A Novel by Pearl Cleage Till You Hear From Me: A Novel

by Pearl Cleage
One World/Ballantine (Apr 20, 2010)
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From the acclaimed Pearl Cleage, author of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day . . . and Seen It All and Done the Rest, comes an Obama-era romance featuring a cast of unforgettable characters.
 
Just when it appears that all her hard work on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is about to pay off with a White House job, thirty-five-year-old Ida B. Wells Dunbar finds herself on Washington, D.C.’s post-election sidelines even as her twentysomething counterparts overrun the West Wing. Adding to her woes, her father, the Reverend Horace A. Dunbar, Atlanta civil rights icon and self-described “foot soldier for freedom,” is notoriously featured on an endlessly replayed YouTube clip in which his pronouncements don’t exactly jibe with the new era in American politics.

    The Rev’s stinging words and myopic views don’t sound anything like the man who raised Ida to make her mark in the world. When friends call to express their concern, Ida realizes it’s time to head home and see for herself what’s going on. Besides, with her job prospects growing dimmer, getting out of D.C. for a while might be the smartest move she could make.

    Back in her old West End neighborhood, Ida runs into childhood friend and smooth political operator Wes Harper, also in town to pay a visit to the Reverend Dunbar, his mentor. Ida doesn’t trust Wes or his mysterious connections for one second, but she can’t deny her growing attraction to him.
 
While Ida and the Rev try to find the balance between personal loyalties and political realities, they must do some serious soul searching in order to get things back on track before Wes permanently derails their best laid plans.


Click for more detail about Relapse: A Novel by Nikki Turner Relapse: A Novel

by Nikki Turner
One World/Ballantine (Apr 20, 2010)
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Nikki Turner, Queen of Hip-Hop Lit, is back with one of her gutsiest female characters yet, a glamorous chick with a high-end hustle that can rival any man’s game.
 
As the respected, renowned concierge for a luxury hotel chain, Beijing Lee caters to the wealthy and famous. Whether it’s securing a dinner reservation, a fleet of limos, or a record deal, or protecting her clients from the paparazzi, there’s nothing Beijing can’t do. She’s stacked up an impressive pile of IOUs from the world’s elite—and one day she decides it’s time to start cashing in. Before long, she’s a five-star diva running her own lucrative business, where she secures her clients their most outrageous—and increasingly illegal—desires.

But Beijing has her own addiction: a man named Lootchee, who lavishes her with even more diamonds and luxury than she already has. But behind Lootchee’s charm and over-the-top romantic gestures is a selfish, high-stakes hustler who lures Beijing into a dangerous web that takes even this seasoned enterpriser by surpise, and breaks her heart in the process.

Once the ball finally drops, it’ll take a ghost from Beijing’s past to rescue her—not only from those who are out to seriously harm her, but from herself.


Click for more detail about Oprah: A Biography by Kitty Kelley Oprah: A Biography

by Kitty Kelley
Knopf (Apr 13, 2010)
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For the past twenty-five years, no one has been better at revealing secrets than Oprah Winfrey. On what is arguably the most influential show in television history, she has gotten her guests—often the biggest celebrities in the world—to bare their love lives, explore their painful pasts, admit their transgressions, reveal their pleasures, and explore their demons. In turn, Oprah has repeatedly allowed her audience to share in her own life story, opening up about the sexual abuse in her past and discussing her romantic relationships, her weight problems, her spiritual beliefs, her charitable donations, and her strongly held views on the state of the world.

After a quarter of a century of the Oprah-ization of America, can there be any more secrets left to reveal? Yes. Because Oprah has met her match.

Kitty Kelley has, over the same period of time, fearlessly and relentlessly investigated and written about the world’s most revered icons: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan, England’s Royal Family, and the Bush dynasty. In her #1 bestselling biographies, she has exposed truths and exploded myths to uncover the real human beings that exist behind their manufactured facades.

Turning her reportorial sights on Oprah, Kelley has now given us an unvarnished look at the stories Oprah’s told and the life she’s led. Kelley has talked to Oprah’s closest family members and business associates. She has obtained court records, birth certificates, financial and tax records, and even copies of Oprah’s legendary (and punishing) confidentiality agreements. She has probed every aspect of Oprah Winfrey’s life, and it is as if she’s written the most extraordinary segment of The Oprah Winfrey Show ever filmed—one in which Oprah herself is finally and fully revealed.

There is a case to be made, and it is certainly made in this book, that Oprah Winfrey is an important, and even great, figure of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. But there is also a case to be made that even greatness needs to be examined and put under a microscope. Fact must be separated from myth, truth from hype. Kitty Kelley has made that separation, showing both sides of Oprah as they have never been shown before. In doing so she has written a psychologically perceptive and meticulously researched book that will surprise and thrill everyone who reads it.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Life Is Short but Wide by J. California Cooper Life Is Short but Wide

by J. California Cooper
Knopf (Apr 06, 2010)
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Like the small towns J. California Cooper has so vividly portrayed in her previous novels, Wideland, Oklahoma, is home to ordinary Americans with big hearts. Among them are newlyweds Irene and Val, who graciously allow their neighbors, Bertha and Joseph, to build a house on their land. Together the couples have three daughters, all who struggle to find love and success in the changing world. But although the years may bring hardship and heartache, they also teach the importance of living one’s life boldly and squeezing out every possible moment of joy. An irresistible story of faith and family, Life Is Short But Wide proves that no matter who you are or what you do, you are never too old to chase your dreams.


Click for more detail about Love, Anger, Madness: A Haitian Triptych (Modern Library Classics) by Marie Vieux-Chauvet Love, Anger, Madness: A Haitian Triptych (Modern Library Classics)

by Marie Vieux-Chauvet
Modern Library (Mar 30, 2010)
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Available in English for the first time, Marie Vieux-Chauvet’s stunning trilogy of novellas is a remarkable literary event. In a brilliant translation by Rose-Myriam Réjouis and Val Vinokur, Love, Anger, Madness is a scathing response to the struggles of race, class, and sex that have ruled Haiti. Suppressed upon its initial publication in 1968, this major work became an underground classic and was finally released in an authorized edition in France in 2005.

In Love, Anger, Madness, Marie Vieux-Chauvet offers three slices of life under an oppressive regime. Gradually building in emotional intensity, the novellas paint a shocking portrait of families and artists struggling to survive under Haiti’s terrifying government restrictions that have turned its society upside down, transforming neighbors into victims, spies, and enemies.

In “Love,” Claire is the eldest of three sisters who occupy a single house. Her dark skin and unmarried status make her a virtual servant to the rest of the family. Consumed by an intense passion for her brother-in-law, she finds redemption in a criminal act of rebellion.

In “Anger,” a middle-class family is ripped apart when twenty-year-old Rose is forced to sleep with a repulsive soldier in order to prevent a government takeover of her father’s land.

And in “Madness,” René, a young poet, finds himself trapped in a house for days without food, obsessed with the souls of the dead, dreading the invasion of local military thugs, and steeling himself for one final stand against authority.

Sympathetic, savage and truly compelling with an insightful introduction by Edwidge Danticat, Love, Anger, Madness is an extraordinary, brave and graphic evocation of a country in turmoil.


From the Hardcover edition.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Lighthead (Poets, Penguin) by Terrance Hayes Lighthead (Poets, Penguin)

by Terrance Hayes
Penguin Books (Mar 30, 2010)
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Winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry

In his fourth collection, Terrance Hayes investigates how we construct experience. With one foot firmly grounded in the everyday and the other hovering in the air, his poems braid dream and reality into a poetry that is both dark and buoyant. Cultural icons as diverse as Fela Kuti, Harriet Tubman, and Wallace Stevens appear with meditations on desire and history. We see Hayes testing the line between story and song in a series of stunning poems inspired by the Pecha Kucha, a Japanese presenta­tion format. This innovative collection presents the light- headedness of a mind trying to pull against gravity and time. Fueled by an imagination that enlightens, delights, and ignites, Lighthead leaves us illuminated and scorched.


Click for more detail about Ossuaries by Dionne Brand Ossuaries

by Dionne Brand
McClelland & Stewart (Mar 30, 2010)
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Dionne Brand’s hypnotic, urgent long poem – her first book of poetry in four years, is about the bones of fading cultures and ideas, about the living museums of spectacle where these bones are found. At the centre of Ossuaries is the narrative of Yasmine, a woman living an underground life, fleeing from past actions and regrets, in a perpetual state of movement. She leads a solitary clandestine life, crossing borders actual (Algiers, Cuba, Canada), and timeless. Cold-eyed and cynical, she contemplates the periodic crises of the contemporary world. This is a work of deep engagement, sensuality, and ultimate craft from an essential observer of our time and one of the most accomplished poets writing today.


Click for more detail about Unzipped: An Urban Erotic Tale by Noire Unzipped: An Urban Erotic Tale

by Noire
One World/Ballantine (Mar 23, 2010)
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Have you ever had everything you love snatched from your hands in the blink of an eye? Do you know what it’s like to watch helplessly as those you cherish burn to a crisp? Have you ever heard a mournful cry for street justice and then realized that the only person left to heed the call was you?
 
Pearl Baines is a straight Harlem stunna. She and her twin sister, Diamond, are chased by some of the most notorious ballers in New York City. But while their father, ex-gangsta Irish Baines, devotes his life to rehabilitating young thugs, his sexy twin daughters fall hard for the glamour and glitter of strip clubs and street life. Unlike Diamond, though, Pearl is able to shake off the trappings of the hood in search of a better future. After graduating at the top of her class, Pearl becomes an FBI agent and plans to get as far away from the grime of Harlem as possible. But fate is cruel and the streets always get their due. On what should have been the happiest night of her life, Pearl’s family perishes in a ball of merciless flames—flames intentionally set on the orders of Mookie Mason, her father’s archenemy and the most ruthless gangsta in Harlem.

Crazed with grief, Pearl becomes unzipped. Hell-bent on retribution, she prepares for battle in New York’s urban jungle. With the help of Menace, an ex-lover who once trampled all over her heart but was deeply loyal to Irish Baines, Pearl puts her FBI training and tactical skills to work in a murderous mission designed to do what her father wasn’t able to: take down Mookie Mason, and his entire crew, one at a time.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Known To Evil (Leonid Mcgill, Book 2) by Walter Mosley Known To Evil (Leonid Mcgill, Book 2)

by Walter Mosley
Riverhead Hardcover (Mar 23, 2010)
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The Walter Mosley and his new hero, Leonid McGill, are back in the new New York Times-bestselling mystery series that’s already being hailed as a classic of contemporary noir.

Leonid McGill—the protagonist introduced in The Long Fall, the book that returned Walter Mosley to bestseller lists nationwide—is still fighting to stick to his reformed ways while the world around him pulls him in every other direction. He has split up with his girlfriend, Aura, because his new self won’t let him leave his wife—but then Aura’s new boyfriend starts angling to get Leonid kicked out of his prime, top-of-the­skyscraper office space. Meanwhile, one of his sons seems to have found true love—but the girl has a shady past that’s all of a sudden threatening the whole McGill family—and his other son, the charming rogue Twilliam, is doing nothing but enabling the crisis.

Most ominously of all, Alfonse Rinaldo, the mysterious power-behind-the-throne at City Hall, the fixer who seems to control every little thing that happens in New York City, has a problem that even he can’t fix—and he’s come to Leonid for help. It seems a young woman has disappeared, leaving murder in her wake, and it means everything to Rinaldo to track her down. But he won’t tell McGill his motives, which doesn’t quite square with the new company policy—but turning down Rinaldo is almost impossible to even contemplate.

Known to Evil delivers on all the promise of the characters and story lines introduced in The Long Fall, and then some. It careens fast and deep into gritty, glittery contemporary Manhattan, making the city pulse in a whole new way, and it firmly establishes Leonid McGill as one of the mystery world’s most iconic, charismatic leading men.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Dreams In A Time Of War: A Childhood Memoir by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o Dreams In A Time Of War: A Childhood Memoir

by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Pantheon Books (Mar 09, 2010)
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By the world-renowned novelist, playwright, critic, and author of Wizard of the Crow, an evocative and affecting memoir of childhood.
 
Ngugi wa Thiong’o was born in 1938 in rural Kenya to a father whose four wives bore him more than a score of children. The man who would become one of Africa’s leading writers was the fifth child of the third wife. Even as World War II affected the lives of Africans under British colonial rule in particularly unexpected ways, Ngugi spent his childhood as very much the apple of his mother’s eye before attending school to slake what was then considered a bizarre thirst for learning.
 
In Dreams in a Time of War, Ngugi deftly etches a bygone era, capturing the landscape, the people, and their culture; the social and political vicissitudes of life under colonialism and war; and the troubled relationship between an emerging Christianized middle class and the rural poor. And he shows how the Mau Mau armed struggle for Kenya’s independence against the British informed not only his own life but also the lives of those closest to him.
 
Dreams in a Time of War speaks to the human right to dream even in the worst of times. It abounds in delicate and powerful subtleties and complexities that are movingly told.


Click for more detail about Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson Saving Maddie

by Varian Johnson
Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Mar 09, 2010)
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Joshua Wynn is a preacher’s son and a “good boy” who always does the right thing. Until Maddie comes back to town. Maddie is the daughter of the former associate pastor of Joshua’s church, and his childhood crush. Now Maddie is all grown up, gorgeous—and troubled. She wears provocative clothes to church, cusses, drinks, and fools around with older men. Joshua’s ears burn just listening to the things she did to get kicked out of boarding school, and her own home.

As time goes on, Josh goes against his parents and his own better instincts to keep Maddie from completely capsizing. Along the way, he begins to question his own rigid understanding of God and whether, as his mother says, a girl like Maddie is beyond redemption. Maddie leads Josh further astray than any girl ever has . . . but is there a way to reconcile his love for her and his love for his life in the church?


Click for more detail about A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jack Keats A Letter to Amy

by Ezra Jack Keats
Puffin Books (Mar 05, 2010)
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Generations of children have read, re-read, and loved Ezra Jack Keats?s award-winning, classic stories about Peter and his neighborhood friends. Now, for the first time, Peter?s Chair, A Letter to Amy, and Goggles! are available in paperback exclusively from Puffin.?A master of ingenious collages, AKeats? has made brilliant variegated pictures?? — The Horn BookEzra Jack Keats (1916?1983) was the beloved author and/or illustrator of over eighty-five books for children.


Click for more detail about A Taste of Honey: Stories by Jabari Asim A Taste of Honey: Stories

by Jabari Asim
Broadway Books (Mar 02, 2010)
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Poignant and powerful, this debut collection from preeminent writer and critic Jabari Asim heralds his arrival as an exciting new voice in African American fiction.______________________________________________________________________ Through a series of fictional episodes set against the backdrop of one of the most turbulent years in modern history, Asim brings into pin-sharp focus how the tumultuous events of ’68 affected real people’s lives and shaped the country we live in today.   The sixteen connected stories in this exciting debut are set in the fictional Midwestern town of Gateway City, where second generation off-spring of the Great Migrators have pieced together a thriving, if fragile existence.  With police brutality on the rise, the civil rights movement gaining momentum, and wars raging at home and abroad, Asim has conjured a community that stands on edge.  But it is the individual struggles with love, childrearing, adolescence, etc, lyrically chronicled here, that create a piercing portrait of humanity. In I’d Rather Go Blind and Zombies, young Crispus Jones, who while sensitive to the tremors of upheaval around him is still much more concerned with his crush on neighbor Polly and if he’s ever going to be as cool as his brother.   When Ray Mortimer, a white cop, kills the owner of his favorite candy store, Crispus becomes aware of malice even more scary than zombies and the ghost that he thinks may be haunting his house.   In The Wheat from the Tares and A Virtuous Woman, Rose Whittier deals with her abusive husband with a desperate resignation until his past catches up with him and she’s given a second chance at love.  And Gabriel, her suitor, realizes that his whole-hearted commitment to The Struggle may have to give way for his own shot at romance. And in Ashes to Ashes we see how a single act of despicable violence in their childhoods cements a lasting connection between two unlikely friends.  From Crispus’ tender innocence to Ray Mortimer’s near pure evil, to Rose’s quiet determination, the characters in this book and their journeys showcase a world that is brimming with grace and meaning and showcases the talents of a writer at the top of his game.


Click for more detail about The Little Black Book Of Success: Laws Of Leadership For Black Women by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood and Rhonda Joy Mclean The Little Black Book Of Success: Laws Of Leadership For Black Women

by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood and Rhonda Joy Mclean
One World/Ballantine (Mar 02, 2010)
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In this engaging and invaluable “mentor in your pocket,” three dynamic and successful black female executives share their strategies to help all black women, at any level of their careers, play the power game—and win.

Rich with wisdom, this practical gem focuses on the building blocks of true leadership—self-confidence, effective communication, collaboration, and courage—while dealing specifically with stereotypes (avoid the Mammy Trap, and don’t become the Angry Black Woman) and the perils of self-victimization (don’t assume that every challenge occurs because you are black or female).

Some leaders are born, but most leaders are made—and The Little Black Book of Success will show you how to make it to the top, one step at a time.


Click for more detail about The Ex Chronicles: A Novel by Carol Taylor The Ex Chronicles: A Novel

by Carol Taylor
Plume (Feb 23, 2010)
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The creator of the bestselling Brown Sugar series returns with her first sexy novel In a New York City rife with emotional land mines, four friends search for Mr. Right but too often settle for Mr. Right Now. Precious, a struggling writer, discovers her fiancé Darius in bed with another woman, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting him. Bella, the wise-cracking, over-indulged only child of an absent diplomat father and pill-popping socialite mother, knows her boyfriend Julius is using her, but before she can give him up she has to give up her first love, alcohol. Half black, half British Zenobia sacrifices a successful modeling career for Malcolm, her overly critical boyfriend, but when she strays she fears she’s made a terrible mistake. Bourgie Hope, the creative director of a high-fashion magazine, is hiding her dementia- ridden mother and her debilitating depression, while trying to resist a strong attraction to her new driver Derrick, a single dad from the projects. Funny and sexy, heartbreaking and inspiring, The Ex-Chronicles is a novel about faith in one’s self, trust in one’s friends and the sacrifices we make in the name of love.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Safe From The Neighbors by Steve Yarbrough Safe From The Neighbors

by Steve Yarbrough
Knopf (Jan 26, 2010)
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Luke May teaches local history—his lifelong obsession—at his old high school in Loring, Mississippi. Having been mentored by his hometown newspaper’s publisher, a survivor of the civil rights turmoil, he now passes these stories along to students far too young to have experienced or, in some cases, even heard about them.

But when a long-lost friend suddenly returns to Loring, where years ago her family had been shattered by an act of spectacular violence, Luke begins to realize that his connection with her runs deeper, both personally and politically, than he ever imagined. Just children in 1962, they had no sense of what was happening when James Meredith’s enrollment at Ole Miss provoked a bloody new battle in the old Civil War, much less its impact on their fathers’ ambiguous friendship.

Once his daughters leave for Ole Miss, and with his marriage at an impasse, Luke’s investigation of this decades-old trauma soon spills over into his own life. With his parents unwilling, or unable, to help him unlock secrets whose existence he’d never suspected, this amateur historian is soon entirely consumed by an obscure past he can neither explain nor control—a gripping reminder that the past isn’t dead, or even past.

Once again Steve Yarbrough powerfully evokes—as David Guterson put it—“not only historical grief but the grief of our own time.”

Book Review

Click for more detail about Three Days Before The Shooting… by Ralph Ellison Three Days Before The Shooting…

by Ralph Ellison
Modern Library (Jan 26, 2010)
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At his death in 1994, Ralph Ellison left behind roughly two thousand pages of his unfinished second novel, which he had spent nearly four decades writing. Long awaited, it was to have been the work Ellison intended to follow his masterpiece, Invisible Man. Five years later, Random House published Juneteenth, drawn from the central narrative of Ellison’s unfinished epic.

Three Days Before the Shooting . . . gathers together in one volume, for the first time, all the parts of that planned opus, including three major sequences never before published. Set in the frame of a deathbed vigil, the story is a gripping multigenerational saga centered on the assassination of the controversial, race-baiting U.S. senator Adam Sunraider, who’s being tended to by “Daddy” Hickman, the elderly black jazz musician turned preacher who raised the orphan Sunraider as a light-skinned black in rural Georgia. Presented in their unexpurgated, provisional state, the narrative sequences form a deeply poetic, moving, and profoundly entertaining book, brimming with humor and tension, composed in Ellison’s magical jazz-inspired prose style and marked by his incomparable ear for vernacular speech.

Beyond its richly compelling narratives, Three Days Before the Shooting . . . is perhaps most notable for its extraordinary insight into the creative process of one of this country’s greatest writers. In various stages of composition and revision, its typescripts and computer files testify to Ellison’s achievement and struggle with his material from the mid-1950s until his death forty years later. Three Days Before the Shooting . . . is an essential, fascinating piece of Ralph Ellison’s legacy, and its publication is to be welcomed as a major event for American arts and letters.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Fdr’s Alphabet Soup: New Deal America 1932-1939 by Tonya Bolden Fdr’s Alphabet Soup: New Deal America 1932-1939

by Tonya Bolden
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Jan 12, 2010)
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FDR’S New Deal, which followed the 1929 stock market crash, was a hugely influential moment in the history of the United States, encompassing everything from the arts to finance, labor to legislation, and some think it helped bring the country out of the Great Depression. Here, Tonya Bolden, writing in her trademark accessible style, creates a portrait of a time that changed American history both then and now.

FDR’s First 100 Days and how the United States was changed by it then are closely examined, especially now. The 2009 financial situation is eerily mirrored by that of the late 1920s, and this is a perfect book to help teens understand history and its lasting impact on current events.


Click for more detail about Miracle’s Boys by Jacqueline Woodson Miracle’s Boys

by Jacqueline Woodson
Penguin Young Readers Group (Jan 07, 2010)
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From a three-time Newbery Honor author, a novel that was awarded the 2001 Coretta Scott King award and the Los Angeles Times Book PrizeFor Lafayette and his brothers, the challenges of growing up in New York City are compounded by the facts that they’ve lost their parents and it’s up to eldest brother Ty’ree to support the boys, and middle brother Charlie has just returned home from a correctional facility.Lafayette loves his brothers and would do anything if they could face the world as a team. But even though Ty’ree cares, he’s just so busy with work and responsibility. And Charlie’s changed so much that his former affection for his little brother has turned to open hostility.Now, as Lafayette approaches 13, he needs the guidance and answers only his brothers can give him. The events of one dramatic weekend force the boys to make the choice to be there for each other—to really see each other—or to give in to the pain and problems of every day.


Click for more detail about After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson After Tupac and D Foster

by Jacqueline Woodson
Puffin Books (Jan 07, 2010)
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 A Newbery Honor Book

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

The day D Foster enters Neeka and her best friend’s lives, the world opens up for them. Suddenly they’re keenly aware of things beyond their block in Queens, things that are happening in the world—like the shooting of Tupac Shakur—and in search of their Big Purpose in life. When—all too soon—D’s mom swoops in to reclaim her, and Tupac dies, they are left with a sense of how quickly things can change and how even all-too-brief connections can touch deeply.

Includes a Discussion Guide by Jacqueline Woodson


"A slender, note-perfect novel."—The Washington Post

"The subtlety and depth with which the author conveys the girls’ relationships lend this novel exceptional vividness and staying power."—Publishers Weekly 

"Jacqueline Woodson has written another absorbing story that all readers—especially those who have felt the loss of a friendship—will identify with."—Children’s Literature  "Woodson creates a thought-provoking story about the importance of acceptance and connections in life."—VOYA


Click for more detail about Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson Locomotion

by Jacqueline Woodson
Speak (Jan 07, 2010)
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Finalist for the National Book Award

When Lonnie was seven years old, his parents died in a fire. Now he’s eleven, and he still misses them terribly. And he misses his little sister, Lili, who was put into a different foster home because "not a lot of people want boys-not foster boys that ain’t babies." But Lonnie hasn’t given up. His foster mother, Miss Edna, is growing on him. She’s already raised two sons and she seems to know what makes them tick. And his teacher, Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper.

Told entirely through Lonnie’s poetry, we see his heartbreak over his lost family, his thoughtful perspective on the world around him, and most of all his love for Lili and his determination to one day put at least half of their family back together. Jacqueline Woodson’s poignant story of love, loss, and hope is lyrically written and enormously accessible.


Click for more detail about If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson If You Come Softly

by Jacqueline Woodson
Speak (Jan 07, 2010)
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A heartbreaking contemporary romance from a three-time Newbery Honor winning author

Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he’s in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he’s going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don’t exactly fit in there. So it’s a surprise when he meets Ellie the first week of school. In one frozen moment their eyes lock and after that they know they fit together — even though she’s Jewish and he’s black. Their worlds are so different, but to them that’s not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world has to get in their way. Reviewers have called Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson’s work "exceptional" (Publishers Weekly) and "wrenchingly honest" (School Library Journal), and have said "it offers a perspective on racism and elitism rarely found in fiction for this age group" (Publishers Weekly). In If You Come Softly, she delivers a powerful story of interracial love that leaves readers wondering "why" and "if only…."


Click for more detail about Blonde Roots by Bernardine Evaristo Blonde Roots

by Bernardine Evaristo
Riverhead Books (Jan 05, 2010)
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The most provocative debut novel of the year, "a dizzying satire" (The New Yorker) that "boldly turns history on its head" (Elle).

What if the history of the transatlantic slave trade had been reversed and Africans had enslaved Europeans? How would that have changed the ways that people justified their inhuman behavior? How would it inform our cultural attitudes and the insidious racism that still lingers today? We see this tragicomic world turned upside down through the eyes of Doris, an Englishwoman enslaved and taken to the New World, movingly recounting experiences of tremendous hardship and the dreams of the people she has left behind, all while journeying toward an escape into freedom.

A poignant and dramatic story grounded in provocative ideas, Blonde Roots is a genuinely original, profoundly imaginative novel.


Click for more detail about Basketball Jones by E. Lynn Harris Basketball Jones

by E. Lynn Harris
Anchor (Jan 05, 2010)
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AJ Richardson is living the good life. Thanks to his longtime lover, NBA star Dray Jones, he has a gorgeous townhouse in New Orleans, plenty of frequent-flier miles, and an MBA he’s never had to use. Built on a deep and abiding love, their hidden relationship sustains them both. But when Dray’s teammates begin to ask insinuating questions, Dray puts their doubts to rest by marrying Judi, a beautiful and ambitious woman. Judi knows nothing about Dray’s “other life.” Or does she?
 
In Basketball Jones, E. Lynn Harris explores the consequences of loving someone who is desperate to conform. Filled with nonstop twists and turns, it will keep readers riveted from the first page to the last.


Click for more detail about The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W. Durrow The Girl Who Fell From The Sky

by Heidi W. Durrow
One World (Jan 01, 2010)
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A bizarre mystery surrounding a family tragedy forms the centrepiece of this atmospheric story of a mixed-race girl’s struggle for identity. Orphaned and alone, young Rachel is taken under the wing of her strict African-American grandmother and moved to a mostly black community where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and astonishing beauty start to attract a troubling level of attention. As the terrible secrets begin to emerge, Rachel learns to swallow her grief and construct her own self-image in a world that wants to see her as either Black or White. Inspired by the true story of a mother’s twisted love, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky is a lyrical and poignant journey into loss, trauma, and the kinship that eventually allows a young girl to face the truth, confront the demons she has buried, and finally achieve a sense of peace.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Best African American Fiction 2010 by Dorothy Sterling and Chris Abani Best African American Fiction 2010

by Dorothy Sterling and Chris Abani
One World (Dec 29, 2009)
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Bursting with energy and innovation, the second volume in the annual anthology collects the year’s best short stories by African American authors.
 
Dealing with all aspects of life from the pain of war to the warmth of family, the superb tales in Best African American Fiction 2010 are a tribute to the stunning imaginations thriving in today’s African American literary community. Chosen by this year’s guest editor, the legendary Nikki Giovanni, these works delve into international politics and personal histories, the clash of armies and of generations—and come from such publications as The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Kenyon Review, and Callaloo.

In "Ghosts," Edwidge Danticat portrays an aspiring radio talk show host in Bel Air—which some call the Baghdad of Haiti—who is brutally scapegoated, and in "Three Letters, One Song & a Refrain," Chris Abani gives a searing account of the violent life of a thirteen-year-old member of a Burmese hill tribe. Jeffery Renard Allen dramatizes the mysterious arrival in Harlem of a child’s hated grandmother, and Wesley Brown fictionalizes the life of the great saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, with cameo appearances by Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, and other immortals. John Edgar Wideman contributes dense and textured "Microstories" that interweave everything from taboo sex acts to Richard Wright’s last works to murder in a modern family. Desiree Cooper depicts a debutante from Atlanta moving to Detroit, "a city where there’s no place to hide," while in "Been Meaning to Say" by Amina Gautier, a widower gets an unforgettable holiday visit from his resentful daughter.

From Africa to Philadelphia, from the era of segregation to the age of Obama, the times and places, people and events in Best African American Fiction 2010 reveal inconvenient truths through incomparable fiction.


Click for more detail about Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays

by Zadie Smith
Penguin Press (Nov 12, 2009)
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A sparkling collection of Zadie Smith?s nonfiction over the past decade.

Zadie Smith brings to her essays all of the curiosity, intellectual rigor, and sharp humor that have attracted so many readers to her fiction, and the result is a collection that is nothing short of extraordinary.

Split into four sections??Reading,? ?Being,? ?Seeing,? and ?Feeling??Changing My Mind invites readers to witness the world from Zadie Smith?s unique vantage. Smith casts her acute eye over material both personal and cultural, with wonderfully engaging essays?some published here for the first time?on diverse topics including literature, movies, going to the Oscars, British comedy, family, feminism, Obama, Katharine Hepburn, and Anna Magnani.

In her investigations Smith also reveals much of herself. Her literary criticism shares the wealth of her experiences as a reader and exposes the tremendous influence diverse writers?E. M. Forster, Zora Neale Hurston, George Eliot, and others?have had on her writing life and her self-understanding. Smith also speaks directly to writers as a craftsman, offering precious practical lessons on process. Here and throughout, readers will learn of the wide-ranging experiences?in novels, travel, philosophy, politics, and beyond?that have nourished Smith?s rich life of the mind. Her probing analysis offers tremendous food for thought, encouraging readers to attend to the slippery questions of identity, art, love, and vocation that so often go neglected.

Changing My Mind announces Zadie Smith as one of our most important contemporary essayists, a writer with the rare ability to turn the world on its side with both fact and fiction. Changing My Mind is a gift to readers, writers, and all who want to look at life more expansively.


Click for more detail about Lifelines: The Black Book Of Proverbs by Askhari Johnson Hodari and Yvonne Mccalla Sobers Lifelines: The Black Book Of Proverbs

by Askhari Johnson Hodari and Yvonne Mccalla Sobers
Knopf (Nov 10, 2009)
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This little book contains the wisdom of the ages, and is guaranteed to produce a smile of appreciation at the sheer sense of the proverbs you will find inside. From advice you wish your mother had given you, to things you probably suspected, but had never put into words, Lifelines is a book to be read, absorbed and treasured.—Pearl Cleage, New York Times best selling author of What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day

This illustrated treasury of proverbs unites the timeless wisdom of Black communities in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas, while speaking to the triumphs and challenges of everyday life.

Lifelines: The Black book of Proverbs travels to all corners of the globe to reclaim and preserve African wisdom. This book offers the remarkably wise heart of Africa and her children to readers experiencing career changes, new births, weddings, death, and other rites of passage. Readers will find truth in the African saying, “When the occasion arises, there is a proverb to suit it.”

Proverbs are presented in vibrant story-poem form; and are uniquely arranged by key life cycle events such as birth, initiation, marriage, and death. The proverbs can be found under themes such as “wealth”, “parenting”, “change” and “strength.” Inspired illustrations introduce each section along with beautiful vignettes showing how African proverbs comfort, inspire and instruct during different phases of life.

Lifelines illuminates how traditions, civilization and spirit survive and thrive, despite centuries of loss of freedom, family, identity, language, land, and wealth. The proverbs offer wisdom for every stage of our lives. Collected in one place as never before, it is the perfect addition to the book shelves of families large and small, from Nairobi to New Orleans and every city in between.

From Birth:
Every cackling hen was an egg at first.
-Rwanda
to Marriage:

A woman’s clothes are the price her husband pays for peace.
-Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa (Bantu)
and Elderhood:
Every time an old man dies it is as if a library has burnt down.
-West Africa

as well as every stage of life in between, the proverbs found in Lifelines offer the guidance and wisdom to last a life time.

Unlike other collections of proverbs, Lifelines hews closely to the cycle of life and draws inspiration from the authors combined 110 years of experience. Askhari Johnson Hodari and Yvonne McCalla Sobers have set out to let their proverbs both tell a story and stand alone. So whether you flip it open to a random page, read it through from start to finish, or go searching for a proverb to match your unique circumstance, you’ll find just the right lifeline to provide the comfort and guidance you’re looking for.


Click for more detail about Millionaire Wives Club: A Novel by Tu-Shonda L. Whitaker Millionaire Wives Club: A Novel

by Tu-Shonda L. Whitaker
One World/Ballantine (Nov 10, 2009)
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In Tu-Shonda L. Whitaker’s steamiest novel yet, we meet the four deliciously dramatic, designer-clad divas from prime time’s new hit reality show, The Millionaire Wives Club.

Evan: Married to a pro-football star who isn’t in love with her anymore, Evan is digging her freshly manicured nails in ever deeper as she fights to keep the husband who loves someone else.

Milan: Half Dominican, half black, and beautifully exotic-looking, Milan is watching her has-been husband’s fortune fade fast–while her romantic attachment to Evan’s husband is heating up.

Jaise: Divorced from a former boxing star who’s now married to a white woman, Jaise is trying to raise her sixteen-year-old son on her own. Will her huge alimony checks keep her from falling in love?

Chaunci: Editor of the hottest black women’s magazine, Chaunci is now engaged to the high-powered man who helped finance her magazine when she was just a struggling single mom. But when a onetime passionate flame reignites, Chaunci may not be able to resist its charms.

When these starlets’ private lives run as wild as their emotions, their relationships with one another inevitably turn into high-profile catfights. Through it all, the cameras never stop rolling on TV’s guiltiest pleasure, where power–and diamonds–are always a girl’s best friend.


Click for more detail about Devil’s Dream: A Novel About Nathan Bedford Forrest by Madison Smartt Bell Devil’s Dream: A Novel About Nathan Bedford Forrest

by Madison Smartt Bell
Pantheon Books (Nov 03, 2009)
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From the author of All Souls’ Rising which The Washington Post called “A serious historical novel that reads like a dream,” comes a powerful new novel about Nathan Bedford Forrest, the most reviled, celebrated, and legendary, of Civil War generals.

With the same eloquence, dramatic energy, and grasp of history that marked his previous works, Madison Smartt Bell gives us a wholly new vantage point from which to view this complicated American figure. Considered a rogue by the upper ranks of the Confederate Army, who did not properly use his talents, Forrest was often relegated to small-scale operations.

In Devil’s Dream, Bell brings to life an energetic, plainspoken man who does not tolerate weakness in himself or in those around him. We see Forrest on and off the battlefield, in less familiar but no less revealing moments of his life: courting the woman who would become his wife; battling a compulsion to gamble; overcoming his abhorrence of the army bureaucracy to rise to its highest ranks. We see him treating his slaves humanely even as he fights to ensure their continued enslavement, and in battle we see his knack for keeping his enemy unsettled, his instinct for the unexpected, and his relentless stamina.

As Devil’s Dream moves back and forth in time, providing prismatic glimpses of Forrest, a vivid portrait comes into focus: a rough, fierce man with a life fill of contradictions.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou Letter to My Daughter

by Maya Angelou
Knopf (Oct 27, 2009)
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Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that taught Angelou lessons in compassion and fortitude: how she was brought up by her indomitable grandmother in segregated Arkansas, taken in at thirteen by her more worldly and less religious mother, and grew to be an awkward six-foot-tall teenager whose first experience of loveless sex paradoxically left her with her greatest gift, a son.

Whether she is recalling lost friends such as Coretta Scott King and Ossie Davis, extolling honesty, decrying vulgarity, explaining why becoming a Christian is a “lifelong endeavor,” or simply singing the praises of a meal of red rice, Maya Angelou writes from the heart to millions of women she considers her extended family.


Click for more detail about Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English by John McWhorter Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English

by John McWhorter
Avery (Oct 27, 2009)
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A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar

Why do we say I am reading a catalog instead of I read a catalog? Why do we say do at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more,  Our Magnificent Bastard Language  distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.

Covering such turning points as the little-known Celtic and Welsh influences on English, the impact of the Viking raids and the Norman Conquest, and the Germanic invasions that started it all during the fifth century ad, John McWhorter narrates this colorful evolution with vigor. Drawing on revolutionary genetic and linguistic research as well as a cache of remarkable trivia about the origins of English words and syntax patterns,  Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue  ultimately demonstrates the arbitrary, maddening nature of English and its ironic simplicity due to its role as a streamlined lingua franca during the early formation of Britain. This is the book that language aficionados worldwide have been waiting for (and no, it’s not a sin to end a sentence with a preposition).


Click for more detail about Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson (Borzoi Books) by Wil Haygood Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson (Borzoi Books)

by Wil Haygood
Knopf (Oct 13, 2009)
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From the author of the critically acclaimed In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr., comes another illuminating socio-historical narrative of the twentieth century, this one spun around one of the most iconic figures of the fight game, Sugar Ray Robinson.

Continuing to set himself apart as one of our canniest cultural historians, Wil Haygood grounds the spectacular story of Robinson’s rise to greatness within the context of the fighter’s life and times. Born Walker Smith, Jr., in 1921, Robinson had an early childhood marked by the seething racial tensions and explosive race riots that infected the Midwest throughout the twenties and thirties. After his mother moved him and his sisters to the relative safety of Harlem, he came of age in the vibrant post-Renaissance years. It was there that—encouraged to box by his mother, who wanted him off the streets—he soon became a rising star, cutting an electrifying, glamorous figure, riding around town in his famous pink Cadillac. Beyond the celebrity, though, Robinson would emerge as a powerful, often controversial black symbol in a rapidly changing America. Haygood also weaves in the stories of Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, and Miles Davis, whose lives not only intersected with Robinson’s but also contribute richly to the scope and soul of the book.

From Robinson’s gruesome six-bout war with Jake "Raging Bull" LaMotta and his lethal meeting with Jimmy Doyle to his Harlem nightclub years and thwarted show-biz dreams, Haygood brings the champion’s story, in the ring and out, powerfully to life against a vividly painted backdrop of the world he captivated.


Click for more detail about Dying for Revenge by Eric Jerome Dickey Dying for Revenge

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Dutton (Oct 06, 2009)
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The next installment in the bold and sexy series by the fearless New York Times bestselling author.

Sleeping with Strangers and Waking with Enemies "[left] Dickey fans wanting more"(Ebony). Now, with Dying for Revenge, he returns to that adrenaline- fueled underworld.

Gideon, a professional assassin, is convinced that an old score with a former client from Detroit was settled a long time ago. But the lady from Detroit has never forgotten-or forgiven-Gideon, and with a crack team of hit-men, she’s not letting him out of her sight. Now, Gideon’s on the run again, embarking on a global chase that takes him from London to Nashville, and back to the Caribbean where those on both sides of this battle are dying for revenge.


Click for more detail about The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) by David Anthony Durham The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2)

by David Anthony Durham
Doubleday (Sep 15, 2009)
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David Anthony Durham presents the thrilling new installment in his ambitious Acacia trilogy, which has been praised by the Washington Post as "gripping and sophisticated."

Similar books:









The Sacred Band: Book Three of the Acacia Trilogy








Acacia: The War with the Mein (Acacia, Book 1)








The Risen: A Novel of Spartacus








Acacia: The War with the Mein (Acacia, Book 1)








The Broken Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy)


Click for more detail about Wildflowers: A Novel by Lyah Beth LeFlore Wildflowers: A Novel

by Lyah Beth LeFlore
Knopf (Sep 08, 2009)
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Twenty-three dollars and eleven cents–that’s all that thirty-five-year-old Chloe Davis Michaels has to her name after she is driven from her home and career as a jet-setting Hollywood publicist, desperate to protect her unborn child from her crazed newlywed husband. She thought she had it all. Now Chloe seeks refuge in her Midwestern hometown to “get prayed up” by the women in her family.
Chloe’s impromptu homecoming takes us into the world of eight African-American women who make up the Davis clan–three mothers and five daughters, including Chloe, who soon discovers that the secrets she’s been keeping about her own life don’t compare to the secrets the other women in her family have been hiding.
As the bonds of family are tested, the women call upon their strong faith and spiritual teachings of deceased family matriarchs, MaMaw and Muh, in order to weather the storm.
With rippling boldness and crackling prose, Wildflowers is a beautifully written novel that explores the richness and complexity of the love between mothers and daughters.


Click for more detail about The Conversation: How Black Men And Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships by Hill Harper The Conversation: How Black Men And Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships

by Hill Harper
Knopf (Sep 08, 2009)
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In his first book for adults, New York Times bestselling author Hill Harper invites you to join the Conversation: an honest dialogue about the breakdown of African—American relationships. For generations African Americans have turned to their families in times of need—but now, this proud and strong legacy is in peril. Black men and women have stopped communicating effectively and it threatens the very relationships and marriages necessary to sustain the Black family. Today, less than a third of Black children are being raised in two—parent households, a sharp decline from past generations. So, why is it so difficult for Black men and women to build long—term, loving and mutually beneficial relationships? What is happening in the community that makes it so hard for women and men to find their way to each other? And why are there so few people who manage to hold a marriage together, even after finding a person to love?

In his moving yet practical book, Hill Harper undertakes a journey both universal and deeply personal in search of answers to these questions. He has conversations with friends and strangers—married, single and divorced—and learns about their private struggles, emotional vulnerabilities, and real concerns, and begins to see common themes emerge. As his journey picks up momentum, Hill begins to recognize his own struggles in other people’s stories, and is encouraged to more deeply examine his own relationship issues.

Why does so much misinformation and mistrust exist between the sexes? Hill addresses the stereotypes that have developed in the Black community, in the hope that by addressing the challenges, Black men and women can find their way to common ground. The Conversation aims to open up the lines of communication, and offers inspiration to those who want to take control of this crisis and start building successful, sustainable relationships.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Shooting Stars by Lebron James and Buzz Bissinger Shooting Stars

by Lebron James and Buzz Bissinger
Penguin Press (Sep 08, 2009)
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From the ultimate team—basketball superstar LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August—a poignant, thrilling tale of the power of teamwork to transform young lives, including James’s own The Shooting Stars were a bunch of kids—LeBron James and his best friends—from Akron, Ohio, who first met on a youth basketball team of the same name when they were ten and eleven years old. United by their love of the game and their yearning for companionship, they quickly forged a bond that would carry them through thick and thin (a lot of thin) and, at last, to a national championship in their senior year of high school. They were a motley group who faced challenges all too typical of inner-city America. LeBron grew up without a father and had moved with his mother more than a dozen times by the age of ten. Willie McGee, the quiet one, had left both his parents behind in Chicago to be raised by his older brother in Akron. Dru Joyce was outspoken, and his dad was ever present; he would end up coaching all five of the boys in high school. Sian Cotton, who also played football, was the happy-go-lucky enforcer, while Romeo Travis was unhappy, bitter, even surly, until he finally opened himself up to the bond his teammates offered him. In the summer after seventh grade, the Shooting Stars tasted glory when they qualified for a national championship tournament in Memphis. But they lost their focus and had to go home early. They promised one another they would stay together and do whatever it took to win a national title. They had no idea how hard it would be to fulfill that promise. In the years that followed, they would endure jealousy, hostility, exploitation, resentment from the black community (because they went to a “white” high school), and the consequences of their own overconfidence. Not least, they would all have to wrestle with LeBron’s outsize success, which brought too much attention and even a whiff of scandal their way. But together these five boys became men, and together they claimed the prize they had fought for all those years—a national championship. Shooting Stars is a stirring depiction of the challenges that face America’s youth today and a gorgeous evocation of the transcendent impact of teamwork.

Book Review

Click for more detail about In The Falling Snow by Caryl Phillips In The Falling Snow

by Caryl Phillips
Knopf (Sep 01, 2009)
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From one of our most admired fiction writers: the searing story of breakdown and recovery in the life of one man and of a society moving from one idea of itself to another.

Keith—born in England in the early 1960s to immigrant West Indian parents but primarily raised by his white stepmother—is a social worker heading a Race Equality unit in London whose life has come undone. He is separated from his wife of twenty years (whose family “let her go” when she married a black man), kept at arm’s length by his seventeen-year-old son, estranged from his father, and accused of harassment by a co-worker. And beneath it all, he has a desperate feeling that his work—even in fact his life—is no longer relevant.

Moving deftly between past and present, the narrative uncovers the particulars of class, background, temperament, and desire that have brought Keith to this moment, and reveals how, often unwittingly, his wife, his son, and, ultimately, his father help him grasp the breadth of the changes that have occurred around him—and what these changes will require of him.

At once intimate and expansive, deeply moving in its portrayal of the vagaries of familial love and bold in its scrutiny of the personal and societal politics of race, this is Caryl Phillips’s most powerful novel yet.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Down to Business: The First 10 Steps to Entrepreneurship for Women by Clara Villarosa Down to Business: The First 10 Steps to Entrepreneurship for Women

by Clara Villarosa
Avery (Sep 01, 2009)
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A bulletproof, step-by-step plan for turning your business brainstorm into a money-making reality

At age fifty-two , after years of working her way up the corporate ladder, Clara Villarosa found herself out of a job. But she didn’t let that get her down. Instead, she put her gifts to the test and started her own business, which became one of the country’s best-known independent specialty bookstores-The Hue- Man Bookstore. Now, twenty years and two successful stores later, Clara is a highly sought-after business coach and expert in the industry.

Down to Business expands on Villarosa’s proven "First 10 Steps to Entrepreneurship for Women" to offer women everywhere a targeted plan to help them launch the small business of their dreams. This book includes advice on:

?How to develop realistic business ideas by researching the industry

?Analyzing a competitor’s marketing approach and attracting your ideal customer

? Accumulating the start-up funds you need, from recruiting investors to using loans wisely

?Scouting the ideal location

? Creating a sound business plan-and beyond-with a simple, step-by-step strategy

Packed with stories of businesswomen at all stages of the game-from a beer connoisseur-turned-brewer to an avid reader-turned-literary agent-Villarosa brings together inspiring, real-life stories with her award-winning business savvy. Encouraging and empowering, Down to Business will get you motivated to dust off your dream and get your plan into action.


Click for more detail about Resurrecting Midnight by Eric Jerome Dickey Resurrecting Midnight

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Dutton (Aug 25, 2009)
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After nearly losing his life in Antigua during a mission that went terribly wrong, Gideon trusts no one. But when a former lover, a grifter named Arizona, resurfaces in need of his skills, she reminds him he is indebted to a man who had once saved his life: the son of the legendary con man Scamz. Gideon is forced to take on an assignment that will lead him to Argentina in pursuit of a briefcase containing one part of a larger puzzle. The “package” contains material that another group of assassins—the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—will kill for to obtain and protect. One of the leaders of the Four Horsemen has a connection to Gideon of which neither man is aware—a connection that will be exposed when they meet face-to-face and gun-to-gun. Each member of the Four Horsemen is a world-class killer, each with a dark and dangerous past, and nothing will stop that team of renegades from completing their mission. But will a cunning woman be their undoing? In this world of killers, con men, and manipulative women, Gideon struggles to keep promises and uncover information about his past. He soon finds himself at the center of the ultimate double cross and is forced to do what he must in order to protect himself and those closest to him. Set amid the exotic and vibrant streets of Miami and Buenos Aires, Resurrecting Midnight is a seductive, pulse-pounding thriller.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Hungry Ghosts by Julius Lester The Hungry Ghosts

by Julius Lester
Dial (Aug 20, 2009)
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There are ghosts in the cemetery near Malcolm David’s house, and they?re filling the air with their spooky OOOOOs and EEEEEs and ARRRRs. When Malcolm David dares to go looking for them late one night, he is surprised to discover that the eerie howling is actually coming from the ghosts? empty stomachs. They?re not trying to scare anybody? they?re just hungry, and they don?t know what it is that ghosts are supposed to eat! A satisfying read-aloud for Halloween or anytime, this book mixes playfulness and lyricism as only Newbery Honor?winning author Julius Lester could do it. His dynamic text is well matched by Geraldo Valério?s glowing, happy artwork.


Click for more detail about Big Machine: A Novel by Victor Lavalle Big Machine: A Novel

by Victor Lavalle
Spiegel & Grau (Aug 11, 2009)
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A fiendishly imaginative comic novel about doubt, faith, and the monsters we carry within us.


Ricky Rice was as good as invisible: a middling hustler, recovering dope fiend, and traumatized suicide cult survivor running out the string of his life as a porter at a bus depot in Utica, New York. Until one day a letter appears, summoning him to the frozen woods of Vermont. There, Ricky is inducted into a band of paranormal investigators comprised of former addicts and petty criminals, all of whom had at some point in their wasted lives heard The Voice: a mysterious murmur on the wind, a disembodied shout, or a whisper in an empty room that may or may not be from God.

Evoking the disorienting wonder of writers like Haruki Murakami and Kevin Brockmeier, but driven by Victor LaValle’s perfectly pitched comic sensibility Big Machine is a mind-rattling literary adventure about sex, race, and the eternal struggle between faith and doubt.


Click for more detail about Friends & Fauxs: A Novel by Tracie Howard Friends & Fauxs: A Novel

by Tracie Howard
Knopf (Jul 28, 2009)
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Tracie Howard is back with all of the Gucci, glitz, and glamour in this steamy follow-up to her smash hit Gold Diggers!
Gillian Tillman learned all about landing a wealthy man from her globe-trotting mother, Imelda, but this second-generation gold digger has a style all her own. With big dreams of becoming a huge star, she slept her way right into the million-dollar mansion of her now-husband, star-producer Brandon Russell. He not only launched Gillian’s film career, but landed her the starring and Oscar-nominated role in the hit film Gold Diggers. But all that glitters may not be gold. Gillian wrestles with the real possibility that Brandon may be a mob-connected money launderer, and worse yet, may have had a hand in the murder of her friend Paulette. When pictures of her naked surface on the Internet, both Gillian’s Oscar dreams and her marriage are threatened, even though she swears they aren’t of her. Meanwhile her best friends are struggling with issues of their own. Reese’s beloved son falls ill and she’s forced to decide between spilling a long-kept secret and saving his life, and Lauren’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a shocking betrayal.
Buckle your seatbelt as the lives of these larger-than-life characters intersect in a wild, page-turning romp.


Click for more detail about Wife Of The Gods: A Novel by Kwei Quartey Wife Of The Gods: A Novel

by Kwei Quartey
Knopf (Jul 14, 2009)
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Detective Inspector Darko Dawson, a good family man and a remarkably intuitive sleuth, is sent to the village of Ketanu-the site of his mother’s disappearance many years ago-to solve the murder of an accomplished young AIDS worker.While battling his own anger issues and concerns for his ailing son, Darko explores the motivations and secrets of the residents of Ketanu. It soon becomes clear that in addition to solving a recent murder, he is about to unravel the shocking truth about his mother’s disappearance.Kwei Quartey’s sparkling debut novel introduces readers to a rich cast of characters, including the Trokosi-young women called Wives of the Gods-who, in order to bring good fortune to their families, are sent to live with fetish priests. Set in Ghana, with the action moving back and forth between the capital city of Accra and a small village in the Volta Region, Wife of the Gods brings the culture and beauty of its setting brilliantly to life.


Click for more detail about The True History of Paradise: A Novel by Margaret Cezair-Thompson The True History of Paradise: A Novel

by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
Random House Trade Paperbacks (Jul 14, 2009)
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It is 1981. Jean Landing secretly plans to flee her beloved Jamaica–the only home her family has ever known, a place now rife with political turmoil. But before she can make her final preparations, she receives devastating news: Lana, her sister, is dead. The country’s state of emergency leaves no time to arrange a proper funeral. Even Jean’s mother, Monica, who hadn’t spoken to Lana in more than a decade, cannot fully embrace her grief.

The tragedy only underscores Jean’s need to leave an island that holds no promise of a future. Her harrowing journey to freedom across a battered landscape takes Jean through a terrain of memories: of her childhood, with a detached mother at odds with an adoring father, of her complex bond with Lana, and of the friends and lovers who have shaped and shared her days. Epic in scope, The True History of Paradise poignantly portrays the complexities of family and racial identity in a troubled Eden.


Click for more detail about Take Back Your Family: How To Raise Respectful And Loving Kids In A Dysfunctional World by Rev. Run, Justine Simmons and Chris Morrow Take Back Your Family: How To Raise Respectful And Loving Kids In A Dysfunctional World

by Rev. Run, Justine Simmons and Chris Morrow
Knopf (Jul 01, 2009)
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Stars of MTV?s Run?s House ? dubbed ?the new Cosby family? ? celebrate family values in this inspiring guide to modern parenting

Despite being a hip-hop icon, an ordained minister, and a reality TV star, Rev Run?s greatest accomplishment has been raising his six children?Angela, Vanessa, JoJo, Diggy, Russy and Miley?with his wife Justine. Their journey has been captured on Run?s House, a show that celebrates ? finally ? a reality TV family that is functional instead of dysfunctional. In an age marked by shallow materialism and fragmented families, Rev Run and Justine have inspired millions of viewers by teaching old-fashioned family values applied with a hip-hop twist. In Take Back Your Family, Rev Run and Justine celebrate the role of parents and share their secrets to raising a respectful and loving family that can enjoy the good times while surviving the hard ones.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Children of the Revolution by Dinaw Mengestu Children of the Revolution

by Dinaw Mengestu
Vintage Books USA (Jul 01, 2009)
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Seventeen years after fleeing the revolutionary Ethiopia that claimed his father’s life, Stepha Stephanos is a man still caught between two existences: the one he left behind, aged nineteen, and the new life he has forged in Washington D.C. Sepha spends his days in a sort of limbo: quietly running his grocery store into the ground, revisiting the Russian classics, and toasting the old days with his friends Kenneth and Joseph, themselves emigrants from Africa. But when a white woman named Judith moves next door with her only daughter, Naomi, Sepha’s life seems on the verge of change…


Click for more detail about Just Too Good to Be True: A Novel by E. Lynn Harris Just Too Good to Be True: A Novel

by E. Lynn Harris
Anchor (Jun 30, 2009)
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A New York Times Bestseller Brady Bledsoe and his mother, Carmyn, have a strong relationship. A single mother, faithful churchgoer, and the owner of several successful Atlanta beauty salons, Carmyn has devoted herself to her son and his dream of becoming a professional football player. Brady has always followed her lead, including becoming a member of the church’s "Celibacy Circle." Now, in his senior year at college, the smart and very handsome Brady is a lead contender for the Heisman Trophy and a spot in the NFL. As sports agents hover around Brady, a beautiful and charming cheerleader named Barrett enters the picture. Barrett is set on seducing Brady and getting a piece of his multimillion-dollar future. But is that all she wants from him? Is she acting alone? In a story that combines football, family, faith and secrets, Just Too Good to Be True is a sweeping novel that proves once and again why E. Lynn Harris is a bestselling author.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Too Much Of A Good Thing Ain’t Bad by Clarence Nero Too Much Of A Good Thing Ain’t Bad

by Clarence Nero
Knopf (Jun 23, 2009)
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In this sequel to THREE SIDES TO EVERY STORY, daring and acclaimed writer Clarence Nero takes us back into the lives of Johnny and James in a powerful novel about fraternities, family, and college drama.

Johnny and James survived the tough streets of New Orleans, but when Hurricane Katrina lays waste to their beloved Ninth Ward, they are forced to begin a new chapter in Washington DC. For Johnny, this means finally pursuing his dream of a becoming a student at the historic Wheatley College. James soon joins Johnny in the Nation’s Capitol but the strong connection that brought them together in prison is strained by the pressures of their new lives. Then Johnny’s brother Carl and his wife, Tiffany, introduce Johnny to the beautiful, sexy, and smart, Sheila Doggett with the intent of steering Johnny in a different direction. The entire family rallies around Johnny and Shelia’s budding friendship and Johnny prepares to join the frat that is a legacy in his family.

But once James gets wind of what Johnny’s family is up to, he decides that he’ll stop at nothing to save his relationship. Meanwhile, Johnny is struggling to keep the peace with everyone and keeping a potentially deadly secret that could stand in the way of his dreams. Everyone is soon confronted with the truth that the havoc in their lives has only just begun…

How far will you go for love?

Our heroes and sheroes wrestle with this question as they struggle to do right by themselves and those they love and the result is a fast-paced, thought-provoking roller coaster of a read.


Click for more detail about Children Of The Waters: A Novel by Carleen Brice Children Of The Waters: A Novel

by Carleen Brice
One World/Ballantine (Jun 23, 2009)
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Still reeling from divorce and feeling estranged from her teenage son, Trish Taylor is in the midst of salvaging the remnants of her life when she uncovers a shocking secret: her sister is alive. For years Trish believed that her mother and infant sister had died in a car accident. But the truth is that her mother fatally overdosed and that Trish’s grandparents put the baby girl up for adoption because her father was black.

After years of drawing on the strength of her black ancestors, Billie Cousins is shocked to discover that she was adopted. Just as surprising, after finally overcoming a series of health struggles, she is pregnant–a dream come true for Billie but a nightmare for her sweetie, Nick, and for her mother, both determined to protect Billie from anything that may disrupt her well-being.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Lover Man by Geneva Holliday Lover Man

by Geneva Holliday
Knopf (Jun 09, 2009)
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LOVER MAN finds two of our girls lusting for Mr. Right… but the trouble comes when there’s more than enough of him to go around.

After two years in Antigua, Crystal has had enough. Neville is her son’s father, her best friend, and her sometime lover, but Crystal realizes she wants more. And that “more” struts into her life at just the right moment. Claude Justine, widowed with a three-year-old daughter, has movie-star good looks, an athlete’s body, and cash to spare. After a short and steamy long-distance courtship, Claude lures Crystal to his lavish New Jersey mansion and introduces her to a jet-setting world where no pleasure is spared and every desire is met.

Karma Jackson, newly made over and back in New York after a scandalous affair in Europe, secures a position as an assistant to the president of a hedge fund. On the prowl for someone who can give her what she wants, the way she wants it, Karma falls for the cocky and irresistible C.J., and the two begin a secret fling.

Geneva, now living in Brooklyn, listens to both women’s tales of impromptu helicopter rides and lingerie sprees, failing to make the connection between the two men. But when Claude’s web of lies starts to unravel, the truth is even more outrageous than any of them could have imagined…


Click for more detail about Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis Mare’s War

by Tanita S. Davis
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Jun 09, 2009)
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Meet Mare, a grandmother with flair and a fascinating past.

Octavia and Tali are dreading the road trip their parents are forcing them to take with their grandmother over the summer. After all, Mare isn’t your typical grandmother. She drives a red sports car, wears stiletto shoes, flippy wigs, and push-up bras, and insists that she’s too young to be called Grandma. But somewhere on the road, Octavia and Tali discover there’s more to Mare than what you see. She was once a willful teenager who escaped her less-than-perfect life in the deep South and lied about her age to join the African American battalion of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.

Told in alternating chapters, half of which follow Mare through her experiences as a WAC member and half of which follow Mare and her granddaughters on the road in the present day, this novel introduces a larger-than-life character who will stay with readers long after they finish reading.


Click for more detail about Pleasure by Eric Jerome Dickey Pleasure

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Dutton (Jun 02, 2009)
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The bold new blockbuster from the New York Times bestselling author.

Born in Trinidad and living in Atlanta after a relationship gone bad, Nia Simone Bijou is an ambitious writer who has it all. Except for the one thing that’ll give her the control she craves-and the power she deserves: absolute, uninhibited sexual satisfaction. Now, in the sweltering days and nights of summer, the heat is on. Nia’s fantasies will become a reality-with man after man after man. She will shatter the limits of erotic love. She will open herself up to experiences she never dared before. And as her fantasies begin to spin out of control, she’ll discover the unexpected price of the extreme.


Click for more detail about Renegade: The Making Of A President by Richard Wolffe Renegade: The Making Of A President

by Richard Wolffe
Crown (Jun 02, 2009)
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Before the White House and Air Force One, before the TV ads and the enormous rallies, there was the real Barack Obama: a man wrestling with the momentous decision to run for the presidency, feeling torn about leaving behind a young family, and figuring out how to win the biggest prize in politics.

This book is the previously untold and epic story of how a political newcomer with no money and an alien name grew into the world’s most powerful leader. But it is also a uniquely intimate portrait of the person behind the iconic posters and the Secret Service code name Renegade.

Drawing on a dozen unplugged interviews with the candidate and president, as well as twenty-one months covering his campaign as it traveled from coast to coast, Richard Wolffe answers the simple yet enduring question about Barack Obama: Who is he?

Based on Wolffe’s unprecedented access to Obama, Renegade reveals the making of a president, both on the campaign trail and before he ran for high office. It explains how the politician who emerged in an extraordinary election learned the personal and political skills to succeed during his youth and early career. With cool self-discipline, calculated risk taking, and simple storytelling, Obama developed the strategies he would need to survive the onslaught of the Clintons and John McCain, and build a multimillion-dollar machine to win a historic contest.

In Renegade, Richard Wolffe shares with us his front-row seat at Obama’s announcement to run for president on a frigid day in Springfield, and his victory speech on a warm night in Chicago. We fly on the candidate’s plane and ride in his bus on an odyssey across a country in crisis; stand next to him at a bar on the night he secures the nomination; and are backstage as he delivers his convention speech to a stadium crowd and a transfixed national audience. From a teacher’s office in Iowa to the Oval Office in Washington, we see and hear Barack Obama with an immediacy and honesty never witnessed before.

Renegade provides not only an account of Obama’s triumphs, but also examines his many personal and political trials. We see Obama wrestling with race and politics, as well as his former pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright. We see him struggling with life as a presidential candidate, a campaign that falters for most of its first year, and his reaction to a surprise defeat in the New Hampshire primary. And we see him relying on his personal experience, as well as meticulous polling, to pass the presidential test in foreign and economic affairs.

Renegade is an essential guide to understanding President Barack Obama and his trusted inner circle of aides and friends. It is also a riveting and enlightening first draft of history and political psychology.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Mixology (National Poetry Series) by Adrian Matejka Mixology (National Poetry Series)

by Adrian Matejka
Penguin Books (May 26, 2009)
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Selected for the 2008 National Poetry Series by Kevin YoungFinalist for the 2010 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature — Poetry
The poems in Adrian Matejka’s second collection, Mixology, shapeshift through the myriad meanings of "mixing" to explore and explode ideas of race, skin politics, appropriation, and cultural identity. Whether the focus of the individual poems is musical, digital, or historical, the otherness implicit in being of more than one racial background guides Matejka’s work to the inevitable conclusion that all things-no matter how disparate-are parts of the whole.


Click for more detail about The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South by W. Ralph Eubanks The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South

by W. Ralph Eubanks
DK (May 19, 2009)
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A powerful story about race and identity told through the lives of one American family across three generationsIn 1914, in defiance of his middle-class landowning family, a young white man named James Morgan Richardson married a light-skinned black woman named Edna Howell. Over more than twenty years of marriage, they formed a strong family and built a house at the end of a winding sandy road in South Alabama, a place where their safety from the hostile world around them was assured, and where they developed a unique racial and cultural identity. Jim and Edna Richardson were Ralph Eubanks’s grandparents.Part personal journey, part cultural biography, The House at the End of the Road examines a little-known piece of this country’s past: interracial families that survived and prevailed despite Jim Crow laws, including those prohibiting mixed-race marriage. As he did in his acclaimed 2003 memoir, Ever Is a Long Time, Eubanks uses interviews, oral history, and archival research to tell a story about race in American life that few readers have experienced. Using the Richardson family as a microcosm of American views on race and identity, The House at the End of the Road examines why ideas about racial identity rooted in the eighteenth century persist today. In lyrical, evocative prose, this extraordinary book pierces the heart of issues of race and racial identity, leaving us ultimately hopeful about the world as our children might see it.


Click for more detail about Down Home With The Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook by Pat Neely, Gina Neely and Paula Disbrowe Down Home With The Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook

by Pat Neely, Gina Neely and Paula Disbrowe
Knopf (May 12, 2009)
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Collects over one hundred and twenty southern style recipes and cooking secrets, from adding barbeque sauce to spaghetti and nachos to molasses-baked beans and a kitchen sink omelet.
Title: Down Home With the Neelys
Author: Neely, Patrick/ Neely, Gina/ Disbrowe, Paula
Random House Inc
2009/05/12
Number of 278
Binding Type: HARDCOVER
Library of Congress: 2008054393

Book Review

Click for more detail about Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny by Hill Harper Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny

by Hill Harper
Avery (May 05, 2009)
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• Does life sometimes seem so much harder for girls?

• Do you ever feel insecure, pressured, or confused?

• Do you wish you had someone to give you honest advice on topics like boys, school, family, and pursuing your dreams?

• Do you want to make a positive impact on the world, but don't even know how to begin?

In the follow-up to his award winning national bestseller, Letters to a Young Brother, actor and star of CSI: NY shares powerful wisdom for young women everywhere, drawing on the courageous advice of the female role models who transformed his life.

Letters to a Young Sister unfolds as a series of letters written by older brother Hill to a universal young sister. She's up against the same challenges as every young woman: from relating to her parents and dealing with peer pressure, to juggling schoolwork and crushes and keeping faith in the face of heartache. Hill offers guidance, encouragement, personal stories, and asks his female friends to help answer some truly tough questions. Every young sister needs to know that it's okay to dream big and to deFINE her own destiny. This is a book that will educate, uplift and inspire.


Click for more detail about Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead Sag Harbor

by Colson Whitehead
Knopf (Apr 28, 2009)
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The warm, funny, and supremely original new novel from one of the most acclaimed writers in America

The year is 1985. Benji Cooper is one of the only black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. He spends his falls and winters going to roller-disco bar mitzvahs, playing too much Dungeons and Dragons, and trying to catch glimpses of nudity on late-night cable TV. After a tragic mishap on his first day of high school—when Benji reveals his deep enthusiasm for the horror movie magazine Fangoria—his social doom is sealed for the next four years.

But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own. Because their parents come out only on weekends, he and his friends are left to their own devices for three glorious months. And although he’s just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates the rest of the year, he thinks that maybe this summer things will be different. If all goes according to plan, that is.

There will be trials and tribulations, of course. There will be complicated new handshakes to fumble through, and state-of-the-art profanity to master. He will be tested by contests big and small, by his misshapen haircut (which seems to have a will of its own), by the New Coke Tragedy of ’85, and by his secret Lite FM addiction. But maybe, with a little luck, things will turn out differently this summer.

In this deeply affectionate and fiercely funny coming-of-age novel, Whitehead—using the perpetual mortification of teenage existence and the desperate quest for reinvention—lithely probes the elusive nature of identity, both personal and communal.


Click for more detail about Gather Together In My Name by Maya Angelou Gather Together In My Name

by Maya Angelou
Random House Trade Paperbacks (Apr 21, 2009)
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Gather Together in My Name continues Maya Angelou’s personal story, begun so unforgettably in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The time is the end of World War II and there is a sense of optimism everywhere. Maya Angelou, still in her teens, has given birth to a son. But the next few years are difficult ones as she tries to find a place in the world for herself and her child. She goes from job to job–and from man to man. She tries to return home–back to Stamps, Arkansas–but discovers that she is no longer part of that world. Then Maya’s life takes a dramatic turn, and she faces new challenges and temptations.

In this second volume of her poignant autobiographical series, Maya Angelou powerfully captures the struggles and triumphs of her passionate life with dignity, wisdom, humor, and humanity.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou The Heart of a Woman

by Maya Angelou
Random House Trade Paperbacks (Apr 21, 2009)
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In The Heart of a Woman, Maya Angelou leaves California with her son, Guy, to move to New York. There she enters the society and world of black artists and writers, reads her work at the Harlem Writers Guild, and begins to take part in the struggle of black Americans for their rightful place in the world. In the meantime, her personal life takes an unexpected turn. She leaves the bail bondsman she was intending to marry after falling in love with a South African freedom fighter, travels with him to London and Cairo, where she discovers new opportunities.

The Heart of a Woman is filled with unforgettable vignettes of such renowned people as Billie Holiday and Malcom X, but perhaps most importantly chronicles the joys and the burdens of a black mother in America and how the son she has cherished so intensely and worked for so devotedly finally grows to be a man.


Click for more detail about I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

by Maya Angelou
Ballantine Books (Apr 21, 2009)
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Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age–and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns about love for herself and the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a modern American classic that will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.

Superbly told, with the poet's gift for language and observation, Angelou's autobiography of her childhood in Arkansas.


Click for more detail about Ghetto Superstar: A Novel (Many Cultures, One World) by Nikki Turner Ghetto Superstar: A Novel (Many Cultures, One World)

by Nikki Turner
One World/Ballantine (Apr 21, 2009)
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The reigning queen of hip-hop lit, Nikki Turner, takes on the music biz in this tale of a young woman who risks everything to be a superstar.

Fabiola Mays was born to sing. She has a voice like honey and a body to match, but one heartbreaking setback after another threatens to derail her dreams of a recording deal. To make matters worse, it’s Christmastime, rent is past due, and the cops intend to kick her tight-knit family to the curb–until a small-town gangster comes to the rescue and offers them a place to stay.
Years pass, and Fabiola continues to play gigs and travel around the country hoping for another shot at fame. She’s long forgotten the gangster named Casino who bailed out her family once upon a time. But when Casino is shot, Fabiola feels that she must help the man who helped her family during their lowest point.

As Fabiola climbs the ladder of success, she is pulled between the spotlight and the street, trying to resist industry moguls who find the allure of fresh meat irresistible and the thugs from the shadowy side of the ghetto who threaten to keep her close.


Click for more detail about Leaving Tangier: A Novel by Tahar Ben Jelloun Leaving Tangier: A Novel

by Tahar Ben Jelloun
Penguin Books (Mar 31, 2009)
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From one of the world’s great writers, a breakthrough novel about leaving home for a better life

In his new novel, award-winning, internationally bestselling author Tahar Ben Jelloun tells the story of a Moroccan brother and sister making new lives for themselves in Spain. Azel is a young man in Tangier who dreams of crossing the Strait of Gibraltar. When he meets Miguel, a wealthy Spaniard, he leaves behind his girlfriend, his sister, Kenza, and his mother, and moves with him to Barcelona, where Kenza eventually joins them. What they find there forms the heart of this novel of seduction and betrayal, deception and disillusionment, in which Azel and Kenza are reminded powerfully not only of where they’ve come from, but also of who they really are.


Click for more detail about Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper Life Is Short But Wide

by J. California Cooper
Knopf (Mar 24, 2009)
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Beloved writer J. California Cooper has won a legion of loyal fans and much critical acclaim for her powerful storytelling gifts. In language both spare and direct yet wondrously lyrical, LIFE IS SHORT BUT WIDE is an irresistible story of family that proves no matter who you are or what you do, you are never too old to chase your dreams.
Like the small towns J. California Cooper has so vividly portrayed in her previous novels and story collections, Wideland, Oklahoma, is home to ordinary Americans struggling to raise families, eke out a living, and fulfill their dreams. In the early twentieth century, Irene and Val fall in love in Wideland. While carving out a home for themselves, they also allow neighbors Bertha and Joseph to build a house and live on their land. The next generation brings two girls for Irene and Val, and a daughter for Bertha and Joseph. As the families cope with the hardships that come with changing times and fortunes, and people are born and pass away, the characters learn the importance of living one’s life boldly and squeezing out every possible moment of joy.
Cooper brilliantly captures the cadences of the South and draws a picture of American life at once down-to-earth and heartwarming in this-as her wise narrator will tell you-“strange, sad, kind’a beautiful, life story.” It is a story about love that leads to the ultimate realization that whoever you are, and whatever you do, life is short, but it is also wide.


Click for more detail about I’m Your Peanut Butter Big Brother by Selina Alko I’m Your Peanut Butter Big Brother

by Selina Alko
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Mar 10, 2009)
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In this delightfully engaging picture book, our narrator, big brother, uses his boundless imagination to wonder what his new sibling will look like.

Baby brother or sister, will you look like me? I blend from semisweet dark
Daddy chocolate bar and strawberry cream Mama’s milk.
My hair is soft crunchy billows of cotton candy.
I’m your peanut butter big-brother-to-be.

Selina Alko’s lyrical and jazz-like text, matched with the vibrant energy of her illustrations, perfectly captures the excitement of a new baby for an older sibling, while celebrating the genuine love of family.

Selina Alko is the illustrator of My Taxi Ride and My Subway Ride. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts and lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Sean Qualls, who is also an illustrator, and their two children.


From the Hardcover edition.


Click for more detail about Lemon City: A Novel by Elaine Meryl Brown Lemon City: A Novel

by Elaine Meryl Brown
One World/Ballantine (Feb 24, 2009)
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In this wry fiction debut, Elaine Meryl Brown plunges lucky readers into a gripping narrative of small-town hijinks and big-time hearts.

Rule Number One: Never marry an Outsider. If you do, the boll weevil will bite you back. Rule Number Two: If you can’t be honest, you might as well be dead.

Nestled in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains, Lemon City has ten rules, all designed in the best interests of its tight-knit black community. Granddaddy Dunlap knows all too well what can happen to folks who venture beyond Lemon City’s protective borders. He once had to venture outside town to identify his best friend’s body. So when his firebrand granddaughter Faye, returns from college married to an Outsider, he must act fast to keep her in Lemon City’s safe embrace.

It proves to be a challenge–and not just because the patriarch is distracted by the tensions arising from the heated tomato-growing contest for the annual county fair. Faye’s new husband, Harry, is a slick talker with a roving eye. Faye sees him as her ticket to New York City, where she hopes to fulfill big business dreams, but even the best-laid plans can be thwarted, as Faye discovers that marriage itself isn’t much of a honeymoon. No matter. She packs her bags, fully prepared to head north with or without her husband, when Harry turns up dead. Now the Dunlap family is trying to figure out–before the Thanksgiving turkey gets cold–who did the deed.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Click for more detail about The Book Of Night Women by Marlon James The Book Of Night Women

by Marlon James
Knopf (Feb 19, 2009)
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From the author shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize

"An undeniable success.” — The New York Times Book Review

The Book of Night Women is a sweeping, startling novel, a true tour de force of both voice and storytelling. It is the story of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. Even at her birth, the slave women around her recognize a dark power that they—and she—will come to both revere and fear.

The Night Women, as they call themselves, have long been plotting a slave revolt, and as Lilith comes of age and reveals the extent of her power, they see her as the key to their plans. But when she begins to understand her own feelings and desires and identity, Lilith starts to push at the edges of what is imaginable for the life of a slave woman in Jamaica, and risks becoming the conspiracy’s weak link.

Lilith’s story overflows with high drama and heartbreak, and life on the plantation is rife with dangerous secrets, unspoken jealousies, inhuman violence, and very human emotion—between slave and master, between slave and overseer, and among the slaves themselves. Lilith finds herself at the heart of it all. And all of it told in one of the boldest literary voices to grace the page recently—and the secret of that voice is one of the book’s most intriguing mysteries.

Book Review

Click for more detail about One Big Happy Family: 18 Writers Talk About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbandry, Single Motherhood, And Other Realities Of Truly Modern Love by Rebecca Walker One Big Happy Family: 18 Writers Talk About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbandry, Single Motherhood, And Other Realities Of Truly Modern Love

by Rebecca Walker
Riverhead Hardcover (Feb 19, 2009)
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An illuminating, entertaining, and provocative immersion in today’s American family, with essays from ZZ Packer, Dan Savage, Min Jin Lee, asha bandele, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, and others, illustrating the changing realities of domestic life.

Edited by bestselling author Rebecca Walker, this anthology invites us to step into the center of a range of different domestic arrangements and take a good look around. From gay adoption to absentee fathers, from open marriages to green-card marriages, the reality of the American household has altered dramatically over the last three decades. With changing values and expectations, fluid gender roles, and a shifting economy, along with increase in infertility, adoption, and the incidence of mixed-race couples, people across the country are redefining the standard arrangement of family life. In a collection of eighteen honest, personal, and deeply affecting essays from an array of writers, One Big Happy Family offers a fresh look at how contemporary families are adapting to this altering reality.

Each writing from the perspective of his or her own unique domestic arrangements and priorities, the authors of these essays explore topics like transracial adoption, bicultural marriage and children, cohousing, equal parenting, and the creation of virtual families. Dan Savage writes about the unexpected responsibilities of open adoption. Jenny Block tells of the pros and cons of her own open marriage. ZZ Packer explores the ramifications of, and her own self-consciousness about, having a mixed-race child. asha bandele writes of her decision to have a child with a man in prison for life. And Min Jin Lee points to the intimacy shared by a mother and her child’s hired caregiver.

All of these pieces smartly discuss the various cultural pressures, issues, and realities for families today, in a manner that is inviting and accessible—sometimes humorous, sometimes moving, sometimes shocking, but always fascinating.


Click for more detail about Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale Of Love And Deception Across The Color Line by Martha A. Sandweiss Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale Of Love And Deception Across The Color Line

by Martha A. Sandweiss
Penguin Press (Feb 05, 2009)
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The secret double life of the man who mapped the American West, and the woman he loved

Clarence King is a hero of nineteenth century western history; a brilliant scientist and witty conversationalist, best-selling author and architect of the great surveys that mapped the West after the Civil War. Secretary of State John Hay named King “the best and brightest of his generation.” But King hid a secret from his Gilded Age cohorts and prominent family in Newport: for thirteen years he lived a double life—as the celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer Clarence King and as a black Pullman porter and steel worker named James Todd. The fair blue-eyed son of a wealthy China trader passed across the color line, revealing his secret to his black common- law wife, Ada Copeland, only on his deathbed.

King lied because he wanted to and he lied because he had to. To marry his wife in a public way – as the white man known as Clarence King – would have created a scandal and destroyed his career. At a moment when many mixed-race Americans concealed their African heritage to seize the privileges of white America, King falsely presented himself as a black man in order to marry the woman he loved.

Noted historian of the American West Martha Sandweiss is the first writer to uncover the life that King tried so hard to conceal from the public eye. She reveals the complexity of a man who while publicly espousing a personal dream of a uniquely American “race,” an amalgam of white and black, hid his love for his wife, Ada, and their five biracial children. Passing Strange tells the dramatic tale of a family built along the fault lines of celebrity, class, and race—from the “Todd’s” wedding in 1888, to the 1964 death of Ada King, one of the last surviving Americans born into slavery.


Click for more detail about It’s All Love: Black Writers On Soul Mates, Family And Friends by Marita Golden It’s All Love: Black Writers On Soul Mates, Family And Friends

by Marita Golden
Knopf (Feb 03, 2009)
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In It’s All Love, Black writers celebrate the complexity, power, danger, and glory of love in all its many forms: romantic, familial, communal, and sacred. Editor Marita Golden recounts the morning she woke up certain that she would meet her soul mate in “My Own Happy Ending”; memoirist Reginald Dwayne Betts, in a piece he calls “Learning the Name Dad,” writes stirringly about serving time in prison and how that transformed his life for the better; New York Times bestselling author Pearl Cleage is at her best in the delicate, touching “Missing You”; award-winning author David Anthony Durham enraptures readers with his “An Act of Faith”; New York Times bestselling author L. A. Banks is both funny and wise in her beautiful essay on discovering love as a child, “Two Cents and a Question.” And the poetry of love is here, too—from Gwendolyn Brooks’s classic “Black Wedding Song” to works by Nikki Giovanni, E. Ethelbert Miller, and Kwame Alexander. It’s All Love is a dazzling, delightfully diverse exploration of the wonderful gift of love.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Negro With A Hat: The Rise And Fall Of Marcus Garvey by Colin Grant Negro With A Hat: The Rise And Fall Of Marcus Garvey

by Colin Grant
Knopf (Feb 02, 2009)
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Definitive biography of Marcus Garvey from an exciting and talented new writer.

At one time during the first half of the twentieth century, Marcus Garvey was the most famous black man on the planet. Hailed as both the ‘black Moses’ and merely ‘a Negro with a hat’, he masterminded the first International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World, began the Universal Negro Improvement Association and captivated audiences with his powerful speeches and audacious ‘Back to Africa’ programme. But he was to end his life in penury, ignominy and friendless exile, after serving hail time in both the US and Jamaica.

With masterful skill, wit and compassion, Colin Grant chronicles Garvey’s extraordinary life, the failed business ventures, his misguided negotiations with the Ku Klux Klan, the two wives and the premature obituaries that contributed to his lonely, tragic death. This is the dramatic cautionary tale of a man who articulated the submerged thoughts of an awakening people.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Basketball Jones by E. Lynn Harris Basketball Jones

by E. Lynn Harris
Knopf (Jan 27, 2009)
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E. Lynn Harris has wowed and seduced more than three million readers with the wicked drama and undeniable heart in his novels. Now he’s back with another winner sure to top the bestseller lists—a rip-roaring tale of sex, secrets, betrayal . . . and blackmail.

Aldridge James “AJ” Richardson is living the good life. He has a gorgeous town house in always-flavorful New Orleans, plenty of frequent-flier miles from jet-setting around the country on a whim, and an MBA—but he’s never had to work a regular job. He owes it all to his longtime lover, Dray Jones. Dray Jones the rich and famous NBA star. They fell in love in college when AJ was hired to tutor Dray, a freshman on the basketball team. But Dray knew if he wanted to make it to the big time, he must juggle his public image and his private desires. Built on a deep, abiding love, their hidden relationship sustains them both, but when Dray’s teammates begin to ask insinuating questions about AJ, Dray puts their doubts to rest by marrying Judi, a beautiful and ambitious woman. Judi knows nothing about Dray’s “other life.” Or does she?
In Basketball Jones, E. Lynn Harris explores the consequences of loving someone who is forced to conform to the rules society demands its public heroes follow. Filled with nonstop twists and turns, it will keep readers riveted from the first page to the last.


Click for more detail about In Search Of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. In Search Of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past

by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Crown (Jan 27, 2009)
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Unlike most white Americans who, if they are so inclined, can search their ancestral records, identifying who among their forebears was the first to set foot on this country’s shores, most African Americans, in tracing their family’s past, encounter a series of daunting obstacles. Slavery was a brutally efficient nullifier of identity, willfully denying black men and women even their names. Yet, from that legacy of slavery, there have sprung generations who’ve struggled, thrived, and lived extraordinary lives.

For too long, African Americans’ family trees have been barren of branches, but, very recently, advanced genetic testing techniques, combined with archival research, have begun to fill in the gaps. Here, scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., backed by an elite team of geneticists and researchers, takes nineteen extraordinary African Americans on a once unimaginable journey, tracing family sagas through U.S. history and back to Africa.

Those whose recovered pasts collectively form an African American “people’s history” of the United States include celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, Don Cheadle, Chris Tucker, Morgan Freeman, Tina Turner, and Quincy Jones; writers such as Maya Angelou and Bliss Broyard; leading thinkers such as Harvard divinity professor Peter Gomes, the Reverend T. D. Jakes, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and sociologist Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot; and famous achievers such as astronaut Mae Jemison, media personality Tom Joyner, decathlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Ebony and Jet publisher Linda Johnson Rice.

More than a work of history, In Search of Our Roots is a book of revelatory importance that, for the first time, brings to light the lives of ordinary men and women who, by courageous example, blazed a path for their famous descendants. For a reader, there is the stirring pleasure of witnessing long-forgotten struggles and triumphs–but there’s an enduring reward as well. In accompanying the nineteen contemporary achievers on their journey into the past and meeting their remarkable forebears, we come to know ourselves.


Click for more detail about Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden
Ron’s Big Mission

by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden
Dutton Books for Young Readers (Jan 22, 2009)
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Nine-year-old Ron loves going to the Lake City Public Library to look through all the books on airplanes and flight. Today, Ron is ready to take out books by himself. But in the segregated world of South Carolina in the 1950s, Ron?s obtaining his own library card is not just a small rite of passage?it is a young man?s fi rst courageous mission. Here is an inspiring story, based on Ron McNair?s life, of how a little boy, future scientist, and Challenger astronaut desegregated his library through peaceful resistance.


Click for more detail about The Breakthrough: Politics And Race In The Age Of Obama by Gwen Ifill The Breakthrough: Politics And Race In The Age Of Obama

by Gwen Ifill
Knopf (Jan 20, 2009)
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In The Breakthrough, veteran journalist Gwen Ifill surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential victory and introducing the emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power.

Ifill argues that the Black political structure formed during the Civil Rights movement is giving way to a generation of men and women who are the direct beneficiaries of the struggles of the 1960s. She offers incisive, detailed profiles of such prominent leaders as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and U.S. Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama (all interviewed for this book), and also covers numerous up-and-coming figures from across the nation. Drawing on exclusive interviews with power brokers such as President Obama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vernon Jordan, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, his son Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., and many others, as well as her own razor-sharp observations and analysis of such issues as generational conflict, the race/ gender clash, and the "black enough" conundrum, Ifill shows why this is a pivotal moment in American history.

The Breakthrough is a remarkable look at contemporary politics and an essential foundation for understanding the future of American democracy in the age of Obama.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Best African American Fiction: 2009 by E. Lynn Harris and Gerald L. Early Best African American Fiction: 2009

by E. Lynn Harris and Gerald L. Early
Bantam (Jan 13, 2009)
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Introducing the first volume in an exciting new annual anthology featuring the year's most outstanding fiction by some of today's finest African American writers.

From stories that depict black life in times gone by to those that address contemporary issues, this inaugural volume gathers the very best recent African American fiction. Created during a period of electrifying political dialogue and cultural, social, and economic change that is sure to captivate the imaginations of writers and readers for years to come, these short stories and novel excerpts explore a rich variety of subjects. But most of all, they represent exceptional artistry.

Here youill find work by both established names and up-and-comers, ranging from Walter Dean Myers to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mat Johnson, and Junot Díaz . They write about subjects as diverse as the complexities of black middle-class life and the challenges of interracial relationships, a modern-day lynching in the South and a young musician's coming-of-age during the Harlem Renaissance. What unites these stories, whether set in suburbia, in eighteenth-century New York City, or on a Caribbean island that is supposed to be "brown skin paradise," is their creators' passionate engagement with matters of the human heart.

Masterful and engaging, this first volume of Best African American Fiction features stories you'll want to savor, share, and return to again and again.


Click for more detail about Best African American Essays: 2009 by Gerald L. Early Best African American Essays: 2009

by Gerald L. Early
Bantam (Jan 13, 2009)
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This exciting collection introduces the first-ever annual anthology of writing by African Americans. Here are remarkable essays on a variety of subjects informed by—but not necessarily about—the experience of blackness, as seen through the eyes of some of our finest writers.

From art, entertainment, and science to technology, sexuality, and current events—including the battle for the Democratic nomination for the presidency—the essays in this inaugural anthology offer the compelling perspectives of a number of well-known, distinguished writers, among them Malcolm Gladwell, Jamaica Kincaid, James McBride, and Walter Mosley, and a number of other writers who are just beginning to be heard.

Selected from a diverse array of respected publications such as the New Yorker, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Slate, and National Geographic, the essays gathered here are about making history, living everyday life—and everything in between. In “Fired,” author and professor Emily Bernard wrestles with the pain of a friendship inexplicably ended. Kenneth McClane writes hauntingly of the last days of his parents’ lives in “Driving.” Journalist Brian Palmer shares “The Last Thoughts of an Iraq War Embed.” Jamaica Kincaid describes her oddly charged relationship with that quintessentially British, Wordsworthian flower in “Dances with Daffodils,” and writer Hawa Allan depicts the forces of race and rivalry as two catwalk icons face off in “When Tyra Met Naomi.” A venue in which African American writers can branch out from traditionally “black” subjects, Best African American Essays features a range of gifted voices exploring the many issues and experiences, joys and trials, that, as human beings, we all share.


Please click the "Behind the Book" link for contributor’s bios.


From the Hardcover edition.


Click for more detail about Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

by Douglas A. Blackmon
Anchor (Jan 13, 2009)
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In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history—an “Age of Neoslavery” that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II.Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Douglas A. Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter. By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.


Click for more detail about Song Yet Sung by James McBride Song Yet Sung

by James McBride
Riverhead Books (Jan 06, 2009)
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction.

In the days before the Civil War, a runaway slave named Liz Spocott breaks free from her captors and escapes into the labyrinthine swamps of Maryland’s eastern shore, setting loose a drama of violence and hope among slave catchers, plantation owners, watermen, runaway slaves, and free blacks. Liz is near death, wracked by disturbing visions of the future, and armed with “the Code,” a fiercely guarded cryptic means of communication for slaves on the run. Liz’s flight and her dreams of tomorrow will thrust all those near her toward a mysterious, redemptive fate.

Filled with rich, true details—much of the story is drawn from historical events—and told in McBride’s signature lyrical style, Song Yet Sung is a story of tragic triumph, violent decisions, and unexpected kindness.


Click for more detail about The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, And An Unlikely Road To Manhood by Ta-Nehisi Coates The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, And An Unlikely Road To Manhood

by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Spiegel & Grau (Jan 06, 2009)
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An exceptional father-son story about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us.

Paul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true history of African civilization. Most of all, he was a wily tactician whose mission was to carry his sons across the shoals of inner-city adolescence—and through the collapsing civilization of Baltimore in the Age of Crack—and into the safe arms of Howard University, where he worked so his children could attend for free.

Among his brood of seven, his main challenges were Ta-Nehisi, spacey and sensitive and almost comically miscalibrated for his environment, and Big Bill, charismatic and all-too-ready for the challenges of the streets. The Beautiful Struggle follows their divergent paths through this turbulent period, and their father’s steadfast efforts—assisted by mothers, teachers, and a body of myths, histories, and rituals conjured from the past to meet the needs of a troubled present—to keep them whole in a world that seemed bent on their destruction.

With a remarkable ability to reimagine both the lost world of his father’s generation and the terrors and wonders of his own youth, Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys trying to become men in black America and beyond.


Click for more detail about The Truth Shall Make You Rich: The New Road Map to Radical Prosperity by Farrah Gray The Truth Shall Make You Rich: The New Road Map to Radical Prosperity

by Farrah Gray
Plume (Dec 30, 2008)
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The bestselling author of Reallionaire challenges common misconceptions about success and lays out the road map to a richer life

Raised in the impoverished south side of Chicago, Farrah Gray defied the odds and became a millionaire by age fourteen. He was the youngest person to have an office on Wall Street, and the youngest to receive an honorary doctorate. Now, at 24, he is an inspiration to millions and the bestselling author of Reallionaire, #1 Essence Bestseller.

In The Truth Shall Make You Rich, Gray shares the secret to his success: an emphatic rejection of the seven fallacies most people believe about money and success: the Born Lucky Lie, the Celebrity Lie, the Money Lie, the Debt Lie, the Google and Gates Lie, the Wall Street Lie, and the Work-Hard Lie. By revealing the truth behind the myths, Gray empowers readers to blaze their own paths and make their own millions.


Click for more detail about W. E. B Du Bois (Up Close) by Tonya Bolden W. E. B Du Bois (Up Close)

by Tonya Bolden
Viking Books for Young Readers (Dec 26, 2008)
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William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, perhaps best known for his seminal work The Souls of Black Folk and as the founding editor of the NAACP?s groundbreaking magazine The Crisis, was ever a soul in motion for justice. Whether he was protesting Jim Crow laws and lynch mobs in the Deep South, advocating for the end of European Colonialism, or campaigning for world peace, Du Bois was always speaking out for others. This fascinating Up Close biography by award-winning author Tonya Bolden tells the story of how one man?tirelessly and never quietly? fought for equality until his death at age ninety-five.


Click for more detail about The Egyptian Book of the Dead by E. A. Wallace Budge The Egyptian Book of the Dead

by E. A. Wallace Budge
Penguin Classics (Nov 25, 2008)
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A unique collection of funerary texts from a wide variety of sources, dating from the 15th to the 4th century BC

Consisting of spells, prayers and incantations, each section contains the words of power to overcome obstacles in the afterlife. The papyruses were often left in sarcophagi for the dead to use as passports on their journey from burial, and were full of advice about the ferrymen, gods and kings they would meet on the way. Offering valuable insights into ancient Egypt, The Book of the Dead has also inspired fascination with the occult and the afterlife in recent years.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


Click for more detail about Looking For Lincoln: The Making Of An American Icon by Philip B. Kunhardt III, Peter W. Kunhardt and Peter W. Kunhardt Jr. Looking For Lincoln: The Making Of An American Icon

by Philip B. Kunhardt III, Peter W. Kunhardt and Peter W. Kunhardt Jr.
Knopf (Nov 18, 2008)
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An extensively researched, lavishly illustrated consideration of the myths, memories, and questions that gathered around our most beloved—and most enigmatic—president in the years between his assassination and the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in 1922.
 
Availing themselves of a vast collection of both published and never-before-seen materials, the authors—the fourth and fifth generations of a family of Lincoln scholars—bring into focus the posthumous portrait of Lincoln that took hold in the American imagination. Told through the voices of those who knew the man—Northerners and Southerners, blacks and whites, neighbors and family members, adversaries and colleagues—Looking for Lincoln charts the dramatic epilogue to Lincoln’s extraordinary life.
 
During these years, as Americans struggled to understand their loss and rebuild their country, Lincoln’s legacy was still hotly debated. The authors take us through the immediate aftermath of the assassination; the private memories of those closest to the slain president; the difficult period between 1876 and 1908, when a tired nation turned its back on the former slaves and betrayed Lincoln’s teachings; and the early years of the twentieth century when Lincoln’s popularity soared as African Americans fought to reclaim the ideals he espoused.
 
Looking for Lincoln will deeply enhance our understanding of the statesman and his legacy, at a moment when the timeless example of his leadership is more crucial than ever.


Click for more detail about Dying For Revenge (Gideon Trilogy, Book 3) by Eric Jerome Dickey Dying For Revenge (Gideon Trilogy, Book 3)

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Dutton (Nov 18, 2008)
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International hit man Gideon never misses his target, but when a job in Detroit goes bad, he should have killed his client – a cold-blooded woman who hired him to kill her husband – when he had the chance. Now the city’s mayor and with money and power to spare, this woman will stop at nothing to see that Gideon gets what he deserves. Gideon soon finds himself in the crosshairs of two hired assassins: a seasoned killer known as El Matador and his voluptuous but ruthless wife, who dons Manolo Blahniks for even the dirtiest jobs. But when Gideon proves himself an impossible target, the lady from Detroit sets her sights on those closest to him. On the exotic island of Antigua, Gideon enlists the help of his friend and fellow assassin Hawks to square off against his deadliest adversary yet. Amid palm trees and white sands, sparks and bullets fly as Gideon must outsmart and defeat his pursuers before it’s too late. Featuring Dickey’s trademark blend of passion and suspense, Dying for Revenge is a pulse-pounding and deliciously sexy thrill-ride through a Caribbean island paradise.


Click for more detail about 32 Ways To Be A Champion In Business by Earvin Magic Johnson 32 Ways To Be A Champion In Business

by Earvin Magic Johnson
Crown Business (Nov 18, 2008)
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As a young man, Earvin “Magic” Johnson admired his father and other small-town entrepreneurs who created jobs and served as leaders in his Midwestern community. He worked for them, watched them, and his interest in building communities through economic development grew even while his basketball career flourished. His fame as an NBA star gave him access to some of the most successful business leaders in the country. It was Earvin’s own entrepreneurial spirit that inspired them to serve as his mentors.

Earvin made the transition from great athlete to greater entrepreneur through hard work and by avidly pursuing opportunities. He recognized that densely populated urban communities were ripe for commercial and residential development. He partnered with major brands like Starbucks, 24 Hour Fitness, and T.G.I. Friday’s to lead a major economic push in these communities. The success of his businesses proved that ethnically diverse urban residents would welcome and support major brands if given the opportunity. Earvin continues to be a leader of urban economic development that provides jobs, goods, and a new spirit of community.

32 Ways to Be a Champion in Business will inspire and enlighten readers who wish to make a similar impact with their careers and business endeavors.

Book Review

Click for more detail about A Mercy by Toni Morrison A Mercy

by Toni Morrison
Knopf Canada (Nov 11, 2008)
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A powerful tragedy distilled into a small masterpiece by the Nobel Prize-winning author of Beloved and, almost like a prelude to that story, set two centuries earlier.

Jacob is an Anglo-Dutch trader in 1680s United States, when the slave trade is still in its infancy. Reluctantly he takes a small slave girl in part payment from a plantation owner for a bad debt. Feeling rejected by her slave mother, 14-year-old Florens can read and write and might be useful on his farm. Florens looks for love, first from Lina, an older servant woman at her new master’s house, but later from the handsome blacksmith, an African, never enslaved, who comes riding into their lives . . .

At the novel’s heart, like Beloved, it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter – a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.


Click for more detail about Foreigners (Vintage International) by Caryl Phillips Foreigners (Vintage International)

by Caryl Phillips
Vintage (Nov 11, 2008)
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From an acclaimed, award-winning novelist comes this brilliant hybrid of reportage, fiction, and historical fact: the stories of three black men whose tragic lives speak resoundingly to the problem of race in British society.

With his characteristic grace and forceful prose, Phillips describes the lives of three very different men: Francis Barber, “given” to the 18th-century writer Samuel Johnson, whose friendship with Johnson led to his wretched demise; Randolph Turpin, a boxing champion who ended his life in debt and decrepitude; and David Oluwale, a Nigerian stowaway who arrived in Leeds in 1949 and whose death at the hands of police twenty years later was a wake up call for the entire nation. As Phillips weaves together these three stories, he illuminates the complexities of race relations and social constraints with devastating results.


Click for more detail about Red Light Special: A Novel by Risque Red Light Special: A Novel

by Risque
One World/Ballantine (Oct 28, 2008)
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Monday Smith is married to the mayor of New York City and struggles to keep her troubled past a secret. But when her husband’s thirst for high-priced sex leads them down an explosive path of passion, murder, and lies, she has to decide if her marriage is worth saving, and at what cost.

Collyn Bazemore, a Manhattan madam, deals with an elite clientele, and they pay big for the best sex in the city. One of Collyn’s most important customers, the mayor, has planned an erotic extravaganza in the Hamptons, but when he sends one of his associates to seal the deal, Collyn grows suspicious of this replacement–and yet her attraction to him is undeniable. While her mind tells her no, her body aches to say yes, and just when he melts her in all the right places, it turns out he has a few secrets of his own.

These two women are bound together by an erotically charged past, and when their carefully crafted facades start to crumble, neither will ever be the same.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Cubicles: A Novel by camika c. spencer Cubicles: A Novel

by camika c. spencer
One World/Ballantine (Oct 28, 2008)
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New from the Blackboard-bestselling author of When All Hell Breaks Loose: When some old secrets make office politics spiral out of control, three women will have to decide how far they’re willing to go to climb the corporate ladder.

At first glance, you couldn’t find three women more different than Margaret, Faulkner, and Joyce. Margaret is almost sixty, devoutly religious, and getting ready to retire from her job at Meridian Southwest. Faulkner is a young go-getter who really wants to land a position in upper management. And Joyce is a domineering, immaculately dressed middle-aged woman who’s moments away from receiving a top executive appointment.

But something just doesn’t seem right with these three. Isn’t it strange that Margaret and Joyce have worked together for more than twenty years but barely even speak? Why is it that the more Faulkner tries to impress Joyce with her hard work, the more Joyce seems to hate her? Who can explain why the management position for which Faulkner is the best qualified applicant remains vacant? And why is James, the department intern, always smiling about something?

Over the course of a few weeks, Margaret, Faulkner, and Joyce are unexpectedly drawn together as a tangled web woven decades earlier begins to unravel.


From the Hardcover edition.


Click for more detail about The Essential Writings of James Weldon Johnson (Modern Library Classics) by James Weldon Johnson The Essential Writings of James Weldon Johnson (Modern Library Classics)

by James Weldon Johnson
Modern Library (Oct 21, 2008)
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“A canonical collection, splendidly and sensitively edited by Rudolph Byrd.”
–Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

One of the leading voices of the Harlem Resaissance and a crucial literary figure of his time, James Weldon Johnson was also an editor, songwriter, founding member and leader of the NAACP, and the first African American to hold a diplomatic post as consul to Venezuela and Nicaragua. This comprehensive volume of Johnson’s works includes the seminal novel Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, poems from God’s Trombones, essays on cultural and political topics, selections from Johnson’s autobiography, Along This Way, and two previously unpublished short plays: Do You Believe in Ghosts? and The Engineer. Featuring a chronology, bibliography, and a Foreword by acclaimed author Charles Johnson, this Modern Library edition showcases the tremendous range of James Weldon Johnson’s writings and their considerable influence on American civic and cultural life.

“This collection of poetry, fiction, criticism, autobiography, political writing and two unpublished plays by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) spans 60 years of pure triumph over adversity. [….Johnson’s] nobility, his inspiration shine forth from these pages, setting moral and artistic standards.” —Los Angeles Times


Click for more detail about The Moon Over Star by Dianna Hutts Aston The Moon Over Star

by Dianna Hutts Aston
Dial Books for Young Readers (Oct 16, 2008)
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In July 1969, the world witnessed an awe-inspiring historical achievement when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon. For the young protagonist of this lyrical and hopeful picture book, that landing is something that inspires her to make one giant step toward all of the possibilities that life has to offer.

Caldecott Honor–winning painter Jerry Pinkney and the poetic Dianna Hutts Aston create a moving tribute to the historic Apollo 11 Mission, just in time to commemorate its upcoming fortieth anniversary.


Click for more detail about The Love Child’s Revenge by Nicole Bailey-Williams The Love Child’s Revenge

by Nicole Bailey-Williams
Broadway Books (Oct 07, 2008)
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Shy and awkward, ruthlessly ridiculed by other children and carelessly treated by adults, Claudia Fryar flees her hometown of Philadelphia after her father’s death. But years of shame and silent suffering as the love child of the respected—and married—Louis Harrison finally come to a raging boil when Harrison’s jealous widow cheats Claudia out of her inheritance.

Twice-scorned, Claudia transforms herself into Peach Harrison: bold, beautiful…and sinister. Now a successful newscaster, Peach makes a triumphant return to Philadelphia, to the welcoming arms of those who once cast her aside. But as Peach puts her “big payback” scheme into action, she realizes that revenge comes with some serious costs of its own.


Click for more detail about The Bond by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt The Bond

by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt
Riverhead Books (Oct 07, 2008)
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Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt discovered early in their friendship that they shared a disturbing trait: as children, they navigated dangerous inner-city life without a father’s guidance. In spite of this, they escaped delinquency and crime to form the Pact, dedicated to putting themselves on the road to success. Now, the Three Doctors make a new promise: to set aside their resentment, and rebuild the relationships with their fathers—men they barely recognize. Told in alternating voices between father and son, The Bond explores the hard lessons of growing up without a father and suggests ways to stem the tide of fatherlessness in communities across the country. Honest, brave, and poignant, The Bond is a book for every child and every family.


Click for more detail about Great Ideas Concerning Violence (Penguin Great Ideas) by Frantz Fanon Great Ideas Concerning Violence (Penguin Great Ideas)

by Frantz Fanon
Penguin UK (Sep 23, 2008)
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Angered by the racism he witnessed on Martinique during the Second World War, Fanon here examines the roles of class, culture and violence, and expresses his profound alienation from the idea of colonialism and its bloodshed. More than four decades on, Fanon’s work still inspires liberation movements today. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives – and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.


Click for more detail about Willie and the All-Stars by Floyd Cooper Willie and the All-Stars

by Floyd Cooper
Philomel Books (Sep 18, 2008)
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Willie, an African-American boy growing up in Chicago, dreams of playing baseball in the Major Leagues, like his idols. But it?s 1942, and Jackie Robinson is years away from breaking the color barrier. One day Willie sits with the old men in the neighborhood as they spin tall baseball tales. Willie knows the game like the back of his hand, but he?s never heard of Josh Gibson or Cool Papa Bell. ?That?s because they?re Negro Leaguers,? says Ol? Ezra. ?Being a Major Leaguer is about a lot more than how good a fella is. It?s also about the color of his skin. And yours is the wrong color.? Willie is crushed. Until, that is, Ezra hands him two tickets to an exhibition all-star game between Major Leaguers and Negro Leaguers, and Willie sees firsthand how determination can change everything. A beautifully illustrated tribute to the power of a boy?s dreams, and the great gift that is hope.


Click for more detail about For The Confederate Dead by Kevin Young For The Confederate Dead

by Kevin Young
Knopf (Sep 09, 2008)
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The award-winning “lively and excellent collection” (Los Angeles Times) about the South and its legacy, about African-American griefs and passages, from the author of Jelly Roll and Black Maria, a poet who has “set himself apart from his peers with his supple, variable, blues-inflected lines” (Publishers Weekly).


Click for more detail about Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It by Sundee T. Frazier Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It

by Sundee T. Frazier
Yearling (Sep 09, 2008)
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Ten-year-old Tae Kwon Do blue belt and budding rock hound Brendan Buckley keeps a CONFIDENTIAL notebook for his top-secret discoveries. And he's found something totally top secret. The grandpa he's never met, whom his mom refuses to see or even talk about, is an expert mineral collector, and he lives nearby! Brendan sneaks off to visit his grandpa Ed DeBose, whose skin is pink, not brown like Brendan's, his dad's, and the late Grandpa Clem's. Brendan sets out to find the reason behind Ed's absence, but what he discovers can't be explained by science, and now he wishes he'd never found Ed at all. . . .


Click for more detail about Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat Brother, I’m Dying

by Edwidge Danticat
Vintage (Sep 09, 2008)
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From the age of four, award-winning writer Edwidge Danticat came to think of her uncle Joseph as her “second father,” when she was placed in his care after her parents left Haiti for America. And so she was both elated and saddened when, at twelve, she joined her parents and youngest brothers in New York City. As Edwidge made a life in a new country, adjusting to being far away from so many who she loved, she and her family continued to fear for the safety of those still in Haiti as the political situation deteriorated.

In 2004, they entered into a terrifying tale of good people caught up in events beyond their control. Brother I'm Dying is an astonishing true-life epic, told on an intimate scale by one of our finest writers.


Click for more detail about The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

by Junot Diaz
Riverhead Books (Sep 02, 2008)
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Winner of:
The Pulitzer Prize
The National Book Critics Circle Award
The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
The Jon Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize
A Time Magazine #1 Fiction Book of the Year

One of the best books of 2007 according to: The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, People, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, Salon, Baltimore City Paper, The Christian Science Monitor, Booklist, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, New York Public Library, and many more…

Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister—dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fukú—a curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA. Encapsulating Dominican-American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere—and risk it all—in the name of love.


Click for more detail about Keyshia And Clyde: A Novel by Treasure Blue Keyshia And Clyde: A Novel

by Treasure Blue
One World/Ballantine (Aug 26, 2008)
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Treasure E. Blue–acclaimed author of Harlem Girl Lost and A Street Girl Named Desire–is back with a heartbreaking urban love story of two star-crossed lovers up against the dirtiest dealer Harlem has ever seen.

Knocked up by a Southern preacher, Keyshia is sent to live with her aunt in New York, but after a horrific act of violence, the timid young woman becomes ice-cold–turning tricks and finding comfort in a crack vial.

Clyde and his two brothers find themselves living with a family friend after their mother is shot by their own father–leaving her institutionalized and unable to communicate, and him behind bars. Clyde’s older brother leads a decent life, working as a bank manager and trying to keep Clyde off the streets, but Clyde’s younger bro is the coldest killer in Harlem and takes every opportunity to involve Clyde in his infamous robberies-turned-blood baths.

When Keyshia and Clyde meet, they are instantly drawn to each other. Forced to pay back a large sum of cash to one nasty Harlem kingpin or risk the lethal consequences, Keyshia and Clyde use their tight game and their loyalty to pull off the impossible. And when Clyde is falsely accused of a bank hit, Keyshia vows to stick by her man–no matter the cost.

Praise for Treasure E. Blue’s A Street Girl Named Desire:

“Treasure Blue continues and solidifies his position as the true heir to Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines. A book full of gritty realism, violence, drug abuse, and hope; the book is simply off the damn hook!”
–African American Literary Book Club

“Drenched in drama, drugs, vengeance, power, pain, envy, love and hope . . . all the elements needed to satisfy [the] desire for a good read.”
–Urban Reviews


Click for more detail about From the Streets to the Sheets: Urban Erotic Quickies by Noire From the Streets to the Sheets: Urban Erotic Quickies

by Noire
One World/Ballantine (Aug 12, 2008)
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In this bold collection of hard-hitting urban erotic quickies, Noire, the undisputed Queen of Urban Erotica, brings you eleven authors who explore, without apology or restraint, street sagas of sexual pleasure.

Boasting an all-star lineup of some of today’s hottest authors–and sprinkled with heat from some fresh new talent too–this collection from Noire thoroughly lives up to her credo of giving her fans just what they like: street drama with a sheet-drenching erotic twist.

Here you’ll find sexy tales from fan favorites K’wan, Joy, Thomas Long, Jamise L. Dames, Andrea Blackstone, Gerald Malcom, Euftis Emory, Kweli Walker, and Erick Gray, along with two hot new voices: Aretha Temple and Plea$ure. Noire even supplies her own juicy addition to the hard-body lineup.

So beware: The heat and the drama between these pages are not fairy tales for the desperate housewife. Ride hard with Noire as her authors get their grind on and take it to the limits in From the Streets to the Sheets.

Book Review

Take Back Your Family: A Challenge to America’s Parents

by Rev. Run, Justine Simmons and Chris Morrow
Gotham (Aug 05, 2008)
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Stars of MTV?s Run?s House ? dubbed ?the new Cosby family? ? celebrate family values in this inspiring guide to modern parenting

Despite being a hip-hop icon, an ordained minister, and a reality TV star, Rev Run?s greatest accomplishment has been raising his six children?Angela, Vanessa, JoJo, Diggy, Russy and Miley?with his wife Justine. Their journey has been captured on Run?s House, a show that celebrates ? finally ? a reality TV family that is functional instead of dysfunctional. In an age marked by shallow materialism and fragmented families, Rev Run and Justine have inspired millions of viewers by teaching old-fashioned family values applied with a hip-hop twist. In Take Back Your Family, Rev Run and Justine celebrate the role of parents and share their secrets to raising a respectful and loving family that can enjoy the good times while surviving the hard ones.


Click for more detail about Going Down South: A Novel by Bonnie J. Glover Going Down South: A Novel

by Bonnie J. Glover
One World/Ballantine (Jul 29, 2008)
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From the author of The Middle Sister comes a heartwarming tale of second chances and the unparalleled love between mothers and daughters.

When fifteen-year-old Olivia Jean finds herself in the “family way,” her mother, Daisy, who has never been very maternal, springs into action. Daisy decides that Olivia Jean can’t stay in New York and whisks her away to her grandmother’s farm in Alabama to have the baby–even though Daisy and her mother, Birdie, have been estranged for years. When they arrive, Birdie lays down the law: Sure, her granddaughter can stay, but Daisy will have to stay as well. Though Daisy is furious, she has no choice.

Now, under one little roof in the 1960s Deep South, three generations of spirited, proud women are forced to live together. One by one, they begin to lose their inhibitions and share their secrets. And as long-guarded truths emerge, a baby is born–a child with the power to turn these virtual strangers into a real, honest-to-goodness family.

Praise for Going Down South:

“Long live Olivia Jean, Daisy, and Birdie! These three daughters, mothers, and women are smart, feisty, and funny. Their stories will break your heart in the very best way. I absolutely loved Going Down South!”
—Carleen Brice, author of Orange Mint and Honey

Book Review

Click for more detail about Waking with Enemies by Eric Jerome Dickey Waking with Enemies

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Dutton (Jul 01, 2008)
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New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey’s must-read follow-up to Sleeping with Strangers.Gideon, the hit man introduced in Sleeping with Strangers, returns in this “high-octane”(Publishers Weekly) thriller to discover that a hit has been taken out on him. Is it the man he left alive in Tampa, the cold beauty who taught him how to kill, the scorned woman he still desires, or an unknown enemy? As the hunter becomes the hunted, Gideon will need his friends—and his enemies—to get out of this crisis alive.


Click for more detail about Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale  by John Steptoe Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

by John Steptoe
Puffin Books (Jul 01, 2008)
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This is the tale of Mufaro’s two daughters, two beautiful girls who react in different ways to the king’s search for a wife - one is aggressive and selfish, the other kind and dignified. The king takes on disguises to learn the true nature of both girls and of course chooses Nyasha, the kind and generous daughter, to be his queen.

While all of Mr. Steptoe's work deals with aspects of the African American experience, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughter was acknowledged by reviewers and critics as a breakthrough. Based on an African tale recorded in the 19th century, it required Mr. Steptoe for the first time to research African history and culture, awakening his pride in his African ancestry. Mr. Steptoe hoped that his books would lead children, especially African American children, to feel pride in their origins and in who they are.


Click for more detail about All About The Beat: Why Hip-Hop Can’t Save Black America by John McWhorter All About The Beat: Why Hip-Hop Can’t Save Black America

by John McWhorter
Knopf (Jun 19, 2008)
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The bestselling commentator, hailed for his frank and fearless arguments on race, imparts a scathing look at the hypocrisy of hip-hop—and why its popularity proves that black America must overhaul its politics.

One of the most outspoken voices in America’s cultural dialogues, John McWhorter can always be counted on to provide provocative viewpoints steeped in scholarly savvy. Now he turns his formidable intellect to the topic of hip-hop music and culture, smashing the claims that hip-hop is politically valuable because it delivers the only “real” portrayal of black society.

In this measured, impassioned work, McWhorter delves into the rhythms of hip-hop, analyzing its content and celebrating its artistry and craftsmanship. But at the same time he points out that hip-hop is, at its core, simply music, and takes issue with those who celebrate hip-hop as the beginning of a new civil rights program and inflate the lyrics with a kind of radical chic. In a power vacuum, this often offensive and destructive music has become a leading voice of black America, and McWhorter stridently calls for a renewed sense of purpose and pride in black communities.

Joining the ranks of Russell Simmons and others who have called for a deeper investigation of hip-hop’s role in black culture, McWhorter’s All About the Beat is a spectacular polemic that takes the debate in a seismically new direction.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Seduction by Geneva Holliday Seduction

by Geneva Holliday
Knopf (Jun 10, 2008)
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In Geneva Holliday’s latest novel of lust and revenge, Seduction works both ways.

Mildred Johnson is the last woman on earth that gorgeous Tony Landry would dare to be seen with. That is, until Tony wants to pull a scam on the company where she works. In order to keep Mildred signing phony documents, Tony gives Mildred a taste of romance and keeps raising the stakes until he’s eventually forced to propose. But when the big day arrives he skips town with the money he’s stolen.
Heartbroken, Mildred takes a trip to Barbados where her “vacation” turns out to be a boot-camp style weight loss clinic! Soon she discovers a goddess that had been hiding beneath her homely exterior. And when she runs into Tony on the island, he doesn’t even recognize the sexy fox standing before him. Little does he know that this fox has a plan for revenge that will leave him whimpering with his tail between his legs for a good, long time.


Click for more detail about The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats by Grandmaster Flash The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats

by Grandmaster Flash
Crown Publishing Group (Jun 10, 2008)
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A no-holds-barred memoir from the primary architect of hip hop and one of the culture's most revered music icons—both the tale of his life and legacy and a testament to dogged determination.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five fomented the musical revolution known as hip hop. Theirs was a groundbreaking union between one DJ and five rapping MCs. One of the first hip hop posses, they were responsible for such masterpieces as “The Message” and “Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel.”

In the 1970s Grandmaster Flash pioneered the art of break-beat DJing—the process of remixing and thereby creating a new piece of music by playing vinyl records and turntables as musical instruments. Disco-era DJs spun records so that people could dance. The original turntablist, Flash took it a step further by cutting, rubbing, back spinning, and mixing records, focusing on “breaks”—what Flash described as “the short, climactic parts of the records that really grabbed me”—as a way of heightening musical excitement and creating something new.

Now the man who paved the way for such artists as Jay-Z, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, and 50 Cent tells all—from his early days on the mean streets of the South Bronx, to the heights of hip hop stardom, losing millions at the hands of his record label, his downward spiral into cocaine addiction, and his ultimate redemption with the help and love of his family and friends. In this powerful memoir, Flash recounts how music from the streets, much like rock ’n’ roll a generation before, became the sound of an era and swept a nation with its funk, flavor, and beat.


Click for more detail about Mr. Chickee’s Messy Mission (Mr. Chickee’s Series) by Christopher Paul Curtis Mr. Chickee’s Messy Mission (Mr. Chickee’s Series)

by Christopher Paul Curtis
Yearling (Jun 10, 2008)
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Steven and his best friend Russell are back!

When Russell’s dog, Rodney Rodent, jumps into a mural to chase a demonic-looking gnome and disappears, the Flint Future Detectives are on the case. With the secret password (Bow-wow-wow yippee yo yippee yay!) Steven, Richelle, and Russell enter the mural too, only to find the mysterious Mr. Chickee on the other side. To find a way out, the detectives must complete a mission—finding Rodney Rodent. And that means they’re in some wild adventure!

As Steven says, "I second that emotion."


From the Hardcover edition.


Click for more detail about The Opposite House by Helen Oyeyemi The Opposite House

by Helen Oyeyemi
Anchor (Jun 10, 2008)
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Lyrical and intensely moving, The Opposite House explores the thin wall between myth and reality through the alternating tales of two young women. Growing up in London, Maja, a singer, always struggled to negotiate her Afro-Cuban background with her physical home. Yemaya is a Santeria emissary who lives in a mysterious somewherehouse with two doors: one opening to London, the other to Lagos. She is troubled by the ease with which her fellow emissaries have disguised themselves behind the personas of saints and by her inability to recognize them. Interweaving these two tales. Helen Oyeyemi, acclaimed author of The Icarus Girl, spins a dazzling tale about faith, identity, and self-discovery.


Click for more detail about Of Love and Other Demons  by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Of Love and Other Demons

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Vintage (Jun 10, 2008)
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On her twelfth birthday, Sierva Maria – the only child of a decaying noble family in an eighteenth-century South American seaport – is bitten by a rabid dog. Believed to be possessed, she is brought to a convent for observation. And into her cell stumbles Father Cayetano Delaura, who has already dreamed about a girl with hair trailing after her like a bridal train. As he tends to her with holy water and sacramental oils, Delaura feels something shocking begin to occur. He has fallen in love – and it is not long until Sierva Maria joins him in his fevered misery. Unsettling and indelible, Of Love and Other Demons is an evocative, majestic tale of the most universal experiences known to woman and man.


Click for more detail about Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny by Hill Harper Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny

by Hill Harper
Gotham (Jun 03, 2008)
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Now in paperback: the New York Times bestselling book of inspirational advice and wisdom for young women from the powerhouse public speaker, star of CSI: NY, and bestselling author of Letters to a Young Brother

* Does life sometimes seem so much harder for girls?
* Do you ever feel insecure, pressured, or confused?
* Do you wish you had someone to give you honest advice on topics like boys, school, family, and pursuing your dreams?
* Do you want to make a positive impact on the world, but don’t even know how to begin?

In the follow-up to his award winning national bestseller, Letters to a Young Brother, actor and star of CSI: NY shares powerful wisdom for young women everywhere, drawing on the courageous advice of the female role models who transformed his life.

Letters to a Young Sister unfolds as a series of letters written by older brother Hill to a universal young sister. She’s up against the same challenges as every young woman: from relating to her parents and dealing with peer pressure, to juggling schoolwork and crushes and keeping faith in the face of heartache. Hill offers guidance, encouragement, personal stories, and asks his female friends to help answer some truly tough questions. Every young sister needs to know that it’s okay to dream big and to deFINE her own destiny. This is a book that will educate, uplift and inspire.

Including original contributions from:
Michelle Obama * Angela Basset * Ciara * Tatyana Ali * Eve * Malinda Williams * Chanel Iman * Kim Porter * and many more.

Book Review

Click for more detail about I Get So Hungry by Bebe Moore Campbell I Get So Hungry

by Bebe Moore Campbell
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (May 29, 2008)
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Beloved author Bebe Moore Campbell?s last book shines light on childhood obesity. Once Nikki starts eating, it?s hard for her to stop. She snacks when she is upset, angry or bored. But when her teacher, Mrs. Patterson, is taken to the hospital because of her weight, Nikki realizes that she wants to live a healthier lifestyle. She and Mrs. Patterson work together to help each other succeed, and Nikki even convinces her mom to get involved and exercise too. Acclaimed author Bebe Moore Campbell said she wrote this as she felt strongly about the worth and necessity of this story. She hoped to touch kids and parents and help them make changes in their lives. Amy Bates? charming illustrations bring to life this important story of one young girl?s struggle with weight gain, an all-too-familiar problem for children today.


Click for more detail about God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse (Penguin Classics) by James Weldon Johnson God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse (Penguin Classics)

by James Weldon Johnson
Penguin Classics (May 27, 2008)
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Introduced by Maya Angelou, the inspiring sermon-poems of James Weldon Johnson 

James Weldon Johnson was a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance, and one of the most revered African Americans of all time, whose life demonstrated the full spectrum of struggle and success. In God’s Trombones, one of his most celebrated works, inspirational sermons of African American preachers are reimagined as poetry, reverberating with the musicality and splendid eloquence of the spirituals. This classic collection includes "Listen Lord (A Prayer)," "The Creation," "The Prodigal Son," "Go Down Death (A Funeral Sermon)," "Noah Built the Ark," "The Crucifixion," "Let My People Go," and "The Judgment Day."

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


Click for more detail about New England White (Vintage Contemporaries) by Stephen L. Carter New England White (Vintage Contemporaries)

by Stephen L. Carter
Vintage (May 27, 2008)
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Lemaster Carlyle, the president of the country’s most prestigious university, and his wife, Julie, the divinity school’s deputy dean, are America’s most prominent and powerful African American couple. Driving home through a swirling blizzard late one night, the couple skids off the road. Near the sight of their accident they discover a dead body. To her horror, Julia recognizes the body as a prominent academic and one of her former lovers. In the wake of the death, the icy veneer of their town Elm Harbor, a place Julie calls "the heart of whiteness," begins to crack, having devastating consequences for a prominent local family and sending shock waves all the way to the White House.


Click for more detail about Slavery Time When I Was Chillun by Belinda Hurmence Slavery Time When I Was Chillun

by Belinda Hurmence
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (May 16, 2008)
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”Now that it’s all over, I don’t find life so good in my old age, as it was in slavery time when I was chillun, down on Marster’s plantation,” said James Bolton when he was interviewed as an old man in Georgia.

Not all memories of slavery were as good as Bolton’s, and this book shows many aspects of plantation life as seen through the eyes of men and women who were children when slavery came to an end, in 1865. Mingo White recounts how he was sent away from his parents when he was four or five, so that he didn’t recognize his mother when she came to find him. Tempie Durham tells of her wedding, at which she wore a white dress and veil and her mistress played the wedding march on the piano. Lucinda Davis talks about growing up as a slave to a Creek Indian family. Descriptions of children’s games contrast with accounts of brutal mistreatment, but most affecting of all are the stories of what it was like when slaves suddenly found themselves free to go where they pleased, after a lifetime of being the property of their masters.


Click for more detail about The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, And An Unlikely Road To Manhood by Ta-Nehisi Coates The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, And An Unlikely Road To Manhood

by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Spiegel & Grau (May 06, 2008)
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An exceptional father-son story about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us.

W. Paul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true history of African civilization. Most of all, he was a wily tactician whose mission was to carry his sons across the shoals of inner-city adolescence—and through the collapsing civilization of Baltimore in the Age of Crack—and into the safe arms of Howard University, where he worked so his children could attend for free.

Among his brood of seven, his main challenges were Ta-Nehisi, spacey and sensitive and almost comically miscalibrated for his environment, and Big Bill, charismatic and all-too-ready for the challenges of the streets. The Beautiful Struggle follows their divergent paths through this turbulent period, and their father’s steadfast efforts—assisted by mothers, teachers, and a body of myths, histories, and rituals conjured from the past to meet the needs of a troubled present—to keep them whole in a world that seemed bent on their destruction.

With a remarkable ability to reimagine both the lost world of his father’s generation and the terrors and wonders of his own youth, Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys trying to become men in black America and beyond.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora Peekaboo Morning

by Rachel Isadora
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (May 01, 2008)
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A toddler plays a game of peekaboo, and you're invited to play too. First there's Mommy to find, with Daddy not far behind. Then Puppy comes peeking around the corner, and a favorite toy train brings the toddler to Grandma and Grandpa. Isadora's brilliant, joyful pastel illustrations capture the familiar and cozy people, toys and animals that will delight babies.

Join this sweet toddler in the morning fun, sharing words your baby can repeat and pictures your baby will recognize. Then find out what this toddler sees next. It could be you!


Click for more detail about Black Widow: A Novel (Nikki Turner Original) by Nikki Turner Black Widow: A Novel (Nikki Turner Original)

by Nikki Turner
One World/Ballantine (Apr 29, 2008)
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#1 bestselling author Nikki Turner returns with an explosive new novel about a woman at an emotional crossroads–and the men left in her wake.

Isis Tatum knows firsthand the way love can mess up a person. After all, she saw her mother drive a truck through the home of her father’s mistress before killing her dad. And ever since Isis was a teenager, her love life has been a series of disasters: Her first sweetheart was executed by the state of Virginia, and her next lover was sent to jail for murder. Now Isis is a successful jewelry designer, but she remains a failure with men. When she meets Logic, a Las Vegas high roller who treats her like a princess, Isis reckons she’s finally struck gold–literally. Logic sees to it that her custom pieces of jewelry are seen on the hottest rap stars and pro athletes.

But when this Mr. Right ends up in jail too, Isis starts to believe that she’s cursed, that she’s a true Black Widow. Always one to roll with the punches, she embraces her life and walks bravely down all its twisted paths, taking her business to unprecedented heights while letting the men who dare to get involved with her take their chances.


“Few writers working in the field today bring the drama quite as dramatically as Nikki Turner. . . . [She’s] a master at weaving juicy, ’hood-rich sagas of revenge, regret, and redemption.”
–Vibe.com

“Turner [takes] street literature to the next level, further proving that she is indeed ‘The Queen of Hip-Hop Fiction.’ ”
–UrbanPublicity.com


Click for more detail about Do You!: 12  Laws To Access The Power In You To Achieve Happiness And Success by Russell Simmons and Chris Morrow Do You!: 12 Laws To Access The Power In You To Achieve Happiness And Success

by Russell Simmons and Chris Morrow
Knopf (Apr 10, 2008)
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Since rising out of the New York City streets over twenty-five years ago, Russell Simmons has helped create such groundbreaking ventures as Def Jam Records, Phat Farm, and Def Comedy Jam. Russell might have helped introduce hip-hop to the world, but he credits his success to his belief in a strong set of principles—or laws. In twelve straightforward steps, Russell reveals a path that can be followed by anyone struggling to realize their dreams.

Russell’s laws stem from the belief that it’s impossible to receive any sort of lasting success from the world without giving something of lasting value to the world first. Blending business insight, universal spiritual truths, and an inspired sense of purpose, Do You! crosses the lines of age, race, and background, with wisdom that will lift you up and motivate you to pursue your vision.


Click for more detail about Pleasure by Eric Jerome Dickey Pleasure

by Eric Jerome Dickey
Dutton Adult (Apr 01, 2008)
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How realistic is it to believe that one lover can satisfy a woman’s every fantasy?Nia Simone Bijou is a woman who has it all?and is driven by the desire for more. Born in Trinidad, reared in Los Angeles, living in Atlanta, Nia is a writer, a thinker, and a woman in conflict. She’s dealing with two sides of her Gemini self, feeling as if there are two women living inside her, both struggling for domination. One side of Nia is a logical yet heartbroken person who has never let go of an old pain, while the other side is a sensual woman who will not let her rest, desiring intimacy and sexual freedom, demanding Pleasure.In the sweltering heat of July, loneliness, desire, and a struggle with both the sensual self and fantasy inspire Nia to become sexually adventurous, meeting lovers who arouse her in diverse ways, lovers who give her unimaginable experiences, generous lovers who desire to please her as much as she desires to satisfy them. Fantasies spiral out of control, and with her life on the line, Nia discovers that Pleasure does not come without pain. Filled with passion, populated with characters that are sexually uninhibited, Pleasure is an unforgettable journey into a free-spirited world.


Click for more detail about My Best Friend’s Girl by Dorothy Koomson My Best Friend’s Girl

by Dorothy Koomson
Bantam (Mar 25, 2008)
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How far would you go for the best friend who broke your heart? This internationally bestselling novel tells an enchanting tale of life’s most unpredictable loves and heartaches, and the unforgettable bond between a single woman and an extraordinary five-year-old girl. From the moment they met in college, best friends Adele Brannon and Kamryn Matika thought nothing could come between them—until Adele did the unthinkable and slept with Kamryn’s fiancé, Nate. Now, after years of silence, the two women are reuniting, and Adele has a stunning request for her old friend: she wants Kamryn to adopt her five-year-old daughter, Tegan.

Besides the difference in skin color—many will assume that headstrong, impulsive Kamryn is Tegan’s nanny—there’s the inconvenient truth that Kamryn is wholly unprepared to take care of anyone, especially someone who reminds her so much of Nate. With crises brewing at work and her love life in shambles, can Kamryn somehow become the mother a little girl needs her to be?

In My Best Friend’s Girl, Dorothy Koomson takes us on a warm and wondrous journey through laughter and tears, forgiveness and hope—and the enduring love forged by the unlikeliest of families.


Click for more detail about Knots by Nuruddin Farah Knots

by Nuruddin Farah
Penguin Books (Mar 25, 2008)
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From the internationally revered author of Links comes "a beautiful, hopeful novel about one woman’s return to war-ravaged Mogadishu" (Time)

Called "one of the most sophisticated voices in modern fiction" (The New York Review of Books), Nuruddin Farah is widely recognized as a literary genius. He proves it yet again with Knots, the story of a woman who returns to her roots and discovers much more than herself. Born in Somalia but raised in North America, Cambara flees a failed marriage by traveling to Mogadishu. And there, amid the devastation and brutality, she finds that her most unlikely ambitions begin to seem possible. Conjuring the unforgettable extremes of a fractured Muslim culture and the wayward Somali state through the eyes of a strong, compelling heroine, Knots is another Farah masterwork.


Click for more detail about Seen It All and Done the Rest: A Novel by Pearl Cleage Seen It All and Done the Rest: A Novel

by Pearl Cleage
One World/Ballantine (Mar 18, 2008)
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For Josephine Evans, home was on the stages of the world where she spent thirty years establishing herself as one of the finest actresses of her generation. Josephine was the toast of Europe, and her fabulous apartment in Amsterdam’s theater district was a popular gathering place for an international community of artists, actors, and expatriates who considered themselves true citizens of the world. Josephine lived above and beyond the reach of conventional definitions of who and what an African American diva could be, and her legions of loyal fans loved her for it. She had a perfect life and enough sense to live it to the hilt, but then a war she didn’t fully understand turned everything upside down, thrusting her into a role she never wanted and was not prepared to play. Suddenly the target of angry protests aimed at the country she had never really felt was her own, Josephine is forced to return to America to see if she can create a new definition of home.

Camping out with her granddaughter, Zora, who is housesitting in Atlanta’s West End; and trying to avoid the unwanted attentions of Dig It!, the city’s brand-new gossip magazine, Josephine struggles to reclaim her old life even as she scrambles to shape her new one. Hoping her friend Howard Denmond is as good as his word when he promises to engineer her triumphant return to the European stage, Josephine sets out to increase her nest egg by selling the house her mother willed her, only to find the long-neglected property has become home to squatters who have no intention of leaving.

But an unexpected reunion with an old friend offers Josephine a chance to set things right. Spurning an offer from unscrupulous land developer Greer Woodruff, Josephine gathers new friends around her, including Victor Causey, a lawyer whose addictions left him homeless but still determined to protect his mother; Louie Baptiste, a displaced New Orleans chef hoping to return to the city he loves; and Aretha Hargrove, recovering from her role in the same scandal that sent Zora running for cover. As Greer gets serious about her plan to tear the community apart, Josephine finds herself playing the most important role of her life, showing her neighbors what courage really is and learning the true meaning of coming home.


Click for more detail about Standing Tall: A Memoir Of Tragedy And Triumph by C. Vivian Stringer and Laura Tucker Standing Tall: A Memoir Of Tragedy And Triumph

by C. Vivian Stringer and Laura Tucker
Knopf (Mar 04, 2008)
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“Lots of people have dreams, but C. Vivian Stringer is the dream—a coalminer’s daughter who believed when her Poppa told her there was no obstacle she could not surmount. And she lives that dream, teaching others to rise up to meet challenges, turning underdogs into champions again and again—on and off the court. This is the quintessential American story, of a woman and of a family pulling together against the odds. Standing Tall offers an important message of hope to so many.”
—John Chaney, Hall of Fame college basketball coach


At a time when heroes are too rare, C. Vivian Stringer sets a shining example. She has time and again shown character, fortitude, and heart, both on and off the hardwood, and in the face of unbearable loss. In Standing Tall, she shares her remarkable life story, inspiring us to find this fortitude within ourselves.

“Work hard, and don’t look for excuses,” Stringer’s parents told her, “and you can achieve anything.” But her faith and perseverance would be tested many times. A gifted athlete, she had to fight for a place on an all-white cheerleading squad in the sixties. In 1981, just as her coaching career was taking off, her fourteen-month-old daughter, Nina, was stricken with spinal meningitis. Nina would never walk or talk again. Still grieving, Stringer brought a small, poor, historically black college to the national championships—a triumph hailed as “Hoosiers with an all-female cast.” In 1991, her husband, Bill—her staunchest supporter, the father of her children, and the love of her life—fell dead of a sudden heart attack, but that same year, she led yet another young team to the Final Four. Through these dark times and others—including her bout with cancer, shared here for the first time—Stringer has carried her burdens with grace. Given her history, it was no surprise that she led her team to respond to Don Imus’s slurs with dignity and courage.

Standing Tall is a story of quiet strength in the face of punishing odds. Above all, it is an extraordinary love story—love for the game, for the players she has coached, for her close-knit family, and for the husband she lost far too soon. It will resonate long after the last page.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After A Lifetime Of Ambivalence by Rebecca Walker Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After A Lifetime Of Ambivalence

by Rebecca Walker
Knopf (Mar 04, 2008)
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From the international bestselling author of Black, White, and Jewish comes a "wonderfully insightful" (Associated Press) book that’s destined to become a motherhood classic. Now in trade.

Like many women her age, thirty-four-year-old Rebecca Walker was brought up to be skeptical of motherhood. As an adult she longed for a baby but feared losing her independence. In this very smart memoir, Walker explores some of the larger sociological trends of her generation while delivering her own story about the emotional and intellectual transformation that led her to motherhood.


Click for more detail about Orange Mint And Honey: A Novel by Carleen Brice Orange Mint And Honey: A Novel

by Carleen Brice
One World/Ballantine (Feb 12, 2008)
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“A wonderful, jazzy, exciting read.”
–Nikki Giovanni, author of Acolytes

Broke and burned-out from grad school, Shay Dixon does the unthinkable after receiving a “vision” from her de facto spiritual adviser, blues singer Nina Simone. She phones Nona, the mother she had all but written off, asking if she can come home for a while.

When Shay was growing up, Nona was either drunk, hungover, or out with her latest low-life guy. So Shay barely recognizes the new Nona, now sober and with a positive outlook on life, a love of gardening, and a toddler named Sunny. Though reconciliation seems a hard proposition for Shay, something unmistakable is taking root inside her, waiting to blossom like the morning glories opening up in Nona’s garden sanctuary.

Soon Shay finds herself facing exciting possibilities and even her first real romantic relationship. But when an unexpected crisis hits, even the wise words and soulful melodies of Nina Simone may not be enough for solace. Shay begins to realize that, like orange mint and honey, sometimes life tastes better when bitter is followed by sweet.


“Carleen Brice has woven her talent for storytelling into a funny, sad, and perceptive novel that speaks to all of us who navigate less-than-perfect relationships with our parents or children.”
–Elyse Singleton, author of This Side of the Sky

“Brice deftly shows the importance and joy of understanding our past and not only forgiving those who hurt us, but loving them in spite of that hurt. Readers of Terry McMillan and Bebe Moore Campbell will find a new writer to watch.”
–Judy Merrill Larsen, author of All the Numbers

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears

by Dinaw Mengestu
Riverhead Books (Feb 05, 2008)
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Seventeen years ago, Sepha Stephanos fled the Ethiopian Revolution for a new start in the United States. Now he finds himself running a failing grocery store in a poor African-American section of Washington, D.C., his only companions two fellow African immigrants who share his bitter nostalgia and longing for his home continent. Years ago and worlds away Sepha could never have imagined a life of such isolation. As his environment begins to change, hope comes in the form of a friendship with new neighbors Judith and Naomi, a white woman and her biracial daughter. But when a series of racial incidents disturbs the community, Sepha may lose everything all over again.

Watch a QuickTime interview with Dinaw Mengestu about this book.


Click for more detail about Song Yet Sung by James McBride Song Yet Sung

by James McBride
Riverhead Hardcover (Feb 05, 2008)
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction.

In the days before the Civil War, a runaway slave named Liz Spocott breaks free from her captors and escapes into the labyrinthine swamps of Maryland’s eastern shore, setting loose a drama of violence and hope among slave catchers, plantation owners, watermen, runaway slaves, and free blacks. Liz is near death, wracked by disturbing visions of the future, and armed with ?the Code,” a fiercely guarded cryptic means of communication for slaves on the run. Liz’s flight and her dreams of tomorrow will thrust all those near her toward a mysterious, redemptive fate.

Filled with rich, true details?much of the story is drawn from historical events?and told in McBride’s signature lyrical style, Song Yet Sung is a story of tragic triumph, violent decisions, and unexpected kindness.


Click for more detail about Of Blood and Sorrow: A Tamara Hayle Mystery (Tamara Hayle Mysteries) by Valerie Wilson Wesley Of Blood and Sorrow: A Tamara Hayle Mystery (Tamara Hayle Mysteries)

by Valerie Wilson Wesley
One World/Ballantine (Jan 29, 2008)
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Valerie Wilson Wesley’s private investigator, Tamara Hayle, whom the Houston Chronicle calls “smart, sexy, tough but tender,” has earned enthusiastic acclaim from reviewers and readers alike. Now Newark, New Jersey’s savviest detective confronts the one case she never saw coming–and discovers how ties that bind can easily become a noose.

Tamara Hayle can’t believe that her life is this good. New York’s most powerful businessman wants her to work for him, her new lover seems caring and supportive, and her son, Jamal, is thriving. But as Tamara sardonically observes, “When things stir that easy, there’s always something lumpy at the bottom of the pot.”

Enter Lilah Love, an old acquaintance who begs Tamara to find her missing child. Tamara, however, is wary of Lilah, who attracts mayhem and murder like an alley cat attracts fleas. Next up is Basil Dupre, Tamara’s outlaw ex-lover, who always brings passion–and chaos–when he strolls into Tamara’s life. Suddenly Tamara’s safe world isn’t so secure, especially when Jamal witnesses a brutal murder and becomes the prime suspect.

As the body count rises, Tamara and Jamal will follow a long-forgotten secret into a terrifying confrontation with love gone bad, trust turned lethal, and a past hungry to claim more lives.


Click for more detail about The Road to Paris by Nikki Grimes The Road to Paris

by Nikki Grimes
Penguin Young Readers Group (Jan 10, 2008)
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Paris has just moved in with the Lincoln family, and she isn?t thrilled to be in yet another foster home. She has a tough time trusting people, and she misses her brother, who?s been sent to a boys? home. Over time, the Lincolns grow on Paris. But no matter how hard she tries to fit in, she can?t ignore the feeling that she never will, especially in a town that?s mostly white while she is half black. It isn?t long before Paris has a big decision to make about where she truly belongs.


Click for more detail about Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present

by Harriet A. Washington
Anchor (Jan 08, 2008)
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National Book Critics Circle Award Winner (Nonfiction)
PEN/Oakland Award Winner
BCALA Nonfiction Award Winner
Gustavus Meyers Award Winner

From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.

Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.
The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers—and indeed the whole medical establishment—with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.


Click for more detail about Sellout: The Politics Of Racial Betrayal by Randall Kennedy Sellout: The Politics Of Racial Betrayal

by Randall Kennedy
Pantheon Books (Jan 08, 2008)
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In the wake of his controversial national best-seller, Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, Randall Kennedy grapples brilliantly and judiciously with another stigma of our racial discourse: "selling out," or racial betrayal, which is a subject of much anxiety and acrimony in Black America. He atomizes the vicissitudes of the term and shows how its usage bedevils blacks and whites, while elucidating the effects it has on individuals and on our society as a whole.

Kennedy begins his exploration of selling out with a cogent, historical definition of the "black" community, accounting precisely for who is considered black and who is not. He looks at the ways in which prominent members of that community—Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Barack Obama, among others—have been stigmatized as sellouts. He outlines the history of the suspicion of racial betrayal among blacks, and he shows how current fears of selling out are expressed in thought and practice. He offers a rigorous and bracing case study of the quintessential "sellout"—Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, perhaps the most vilified black public official in American history. And he gives is a first-person reckoning of how he himself has dealt with accusations of having sold out at Harvard, especially after the publication of Nigger.

Lucidly and powerfully articulated, Sellout is essential to any discussion of the troubled history of race in America.


Click for more detail about News of a Kidnapping (Vintage International) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez News of a Kidnapping (Vintage International)

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Vintage (Jan 08, 2008)
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In 1990, fearing extradition to the United States, Pablo Escobar – head of the Medellín drug cartel – kidnapped ten notable Colombians to use as bargaining chips. With the eye of a poet, García Márquez describes the survivors’ perilous ordeal and the bizarre drama of the negotiations for their release. He also depicts the keening ache of Colombia after nearly forty years of rebel uprisings, right-wing death squads, currency collapse and narco-democracy. With cinematic intensity, breathtaking language and journalistic rigor, García Márquez evokes the sickness that inflicts his beloved country and how it penetrates every strata of society, from the lowliest peasant to the President himself.


Click for more detail about Get Real, Get Rich: Conquer The 7 Lies Blocking You From Success by Farrah Gray Get Real, Get Rich: Conquer The 7 Lies Blocking You From Success

by Farrah Gray
Dutton (Dec 27, 2007)
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Raised by a single parent in the impoverished south side of Chicago as the youngest of five children, Farrah Gray defied the odds to become a millionaire at the age of fourteen. He made his second million by sixteen and now inspires thousands through his speeches, writing, and consulting. His recipe for success: attitude, hustle, and an emphatic rejection of the most pervasive lies most of us believe about money and success. In Get Real, Get Rich, Farrah breaks down those seven lies one by one. Have you ever thought to yourself I’ll never be rich because I wasn’t born with connections, or a special talent? That’s The Born Lucky Lie. The truth is this: Luck is about showing up. And Farrah will help you move beyond the lottery mentality. If you’ve convinced yourself that you must first have money to make money, then you’ve fallen prey to The Money Lie. In the real world, the path to millions starts with just one dollar, and Farrah can help you find that first one. Perhaps you recognize yourself in one of these other misconceptions: I have to hit it big in entertainment or sports to be rich (The Celebrity Lie). I have to work hard and make sacrifices to be rich (The Work Hard Lie). I have to have zero debt to be rich (The Debt Lie). I have to be super smart or invent something the world relies on to be rich (The Google and Gates Lie). I have to know a lot about the stock market or work on the Street to be rich (The Wall Street Lie). In seven simple and provocative chapters blending inspiration and an actionable wealth building plan, Farrah lays out your road map to a richer life. “Too many of us live paycheck to paycheck and pray that those compilations of books and CDs and DVDs will somehow lead us to ‘automatic wealth.’ News flash: There’s no such thing as automatic wealth - at least not in the real world. In this book, I’m not only going to share the mind-set you need to achieve all that you dream, but also the specific strategies that accompany that state of mind. I want to help you marshal out your own wealth potential, which relates to everything about you - not just your bank account.”

Book Review

Click for more detail about Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins

by Carole Boston Weatherford
Puffin Books (Dec 27, 2007)
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Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins


Click for more detail about The 33 Strategies of War (Joost Elffers Books) by Robert Greene The 33 Strategies of War (Joost Elffers Books)

by Robert Greene
Penguin Books (Dec 14, 2007)
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Brilliant distillations of the strategies of war—and the subtle social game of everyday life—by the bestselling author of The 48 Laws of PowerRobert Greene’s groundbreaking guides, The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, and  Mastery, espouse profound, timeless lessons from the events of history to help readers vanquish an enemy, ensnare an unsuspecting victim, or become the greatest in your field. In The 33 Strategies of War, Greene has crafted an important addition to this ruthless and unique series.Spanning world civilizations, synthesizing dozens of political, philosophical, and religious texts and thousands of years of violent conflict, The 33 Strategies of War is a comprehensive guide to the subtle social game of everyday life informed by the most ingenious and effective military principles in war. Structured in Greene’s trademark style, The 33 Strategies of War is the I-Ching of conflict, the contemporary companion to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.Abundantly illustrated with examples from history, including the folly and genius of everyone from Napoleon to Margaret Thatcher, Shaka the Zulu to Lord Nelson, Hannibal to Ulysses S. Grant, as well as movie moguls, Samurai swordsmen, and diplomats, each of the thirty-three chapters outlines a strategy that will help you win life’s wars. Learn the offensive strategies that require you to maintain the initiative and negotiate from a position of strength, or the defensive strategies designed to help you respond to dangerous situations and avoid unwinnable wars. The great warriors of battlefields and drawing rooms alike demonstrate prudence, agility, balance, and calm, and a keen understanding that the rational, resourceful, and intuitive always defeat the panicked, the uncreative, and the stupid. An indispensable book, The 33 Strategies of War provides all the psychological ammunition you need to overcome patterns of failure and forever gain the upper hand.


Click for more detail about Swahili: A Complete Course for Beginners (Spoken World) (Book & CD) by Living Language Swahili: A Complete Course for Beginners (Spoken World) (Book & CD)

by Living Language
Living Language (Nov 13, 2007)
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This simple and effective introduction to Swahili will teach you everything you need to speak, understand, read, and write in Swahili. This program assumes no background in the language, and it explains each new concept clearly with plenty of examples, making it ideal for beginners or anyone who wants a thorough review. Living Language Swahili includes:

·A course book and six audio CDs
·Two unique sets of recordings, one for use with the book, and a second for use anywhere to review and reinforce
·Natural dialogues, clear grammar notes, vocabulary building, and key expressions
·Plenty of practice, both written and recorded
·Notes on culture, cuisine, history, geography, and more
·Real life “discovery” activities and internet resources
·An extensive two-way glossary


Click for more detail about Christmas In The Hood (Street Chronicles) by Nikki Turner Christmas In The Hood (Street Chronicles)

by Nikki Turner
One World/Ballantine (Oct 30, 2007)
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The undisputed queen of hip-hop fiction, #1 Essence bestselling author Nikki Turner unwraps a talented new collection of writers with raw urban stories to jingle your bells this season.

Christmas in the Hood presents fresh talent alongside shining stars such as K. Elliott and Seth “Soul Man” Ferranti–all writing gritty tales that reveal what the holidays bring for the naughty and the nice who live by the code of the street. In “Secret Santa,” after her children’s Christmas presents are stolen, a woman has to decide what she’s willing to sacrifice to give them the holiday they deserve; in “Me and Grandma,” a senior sleighs more crack than candy canes to bring Christmas cheer to her needy grandkids; and in “Holiday Hell,” Noelle must raise $23,000 to repay a loan shark or her sister will become a ghost of Christmas past. True to the streets and true to the season, these stories will raise the holiday spirit in the heart of even the most ghetto-hardened gangsta.

“The ghetto’s voice without constraint.”
–Upscale, on Tales from da Hood


Click for more detail about Inside the Helmet: My Life as a Sunday Afternoon Warrior by Michael Strahan Inside the Helmet: My Life as a Sunday Afternoon Warrior

by Michael Strahan
Gotham (Oct 09, 2007)
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Just in time for the 2007 season: One of the finest defensive players ever to wear an NFL uniform delivers the first truly authentic, hard-hitting, revelatory portrait of America’s most popular sport—including the brutality, the vicious fights, and the high price of gridiron glory.

Michael Strahan is one of the NFL’s most talented players, and he is also one of the game’s most vocal personalities. So it’s no surprise that his first book would be a no-holds-barred, hard-hitting account of life in the league, venturing into territory no previous football authors had the nerve to tread. Inside the Helmet is not a self-serving memoir or a collection of triumphant feel- good anecdotes. Yes, Strahan recounts exhilarating victories in vivid detail, but not without the hair-raising details of the ruthless grit required for every win.

Sure to be controversial, Strahan’s account reveals never-before-seen details about the truth of life in the NFL, including the names of the dirtiest players, what it feels and sounds like to crush another player, which potent painkillers players take in order to return to the battlefield, the wild parties such as the Vikings’ infamous Love Boat romp, the pressure to live up to a multimillion- dollar salary, the intense and sometimes volatile relationship between player and coach, and the violent blowups that occur when that pressure gets too intense. For the 21.7 million fans who attend NFL football games, Inside the Helmet is an all-access pass into the huddle, the locker room, and even the minds of some of the most legendary players on the field today.


Click for more detail about Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes by Maya Angelou Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes

by Maya Angelou
Random House Trade Paperbacks (Oct 09, 2007)
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Throughout Maya Angelou’s life, from her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas, to her world travels as a bestselling writer, good food has played a central role. Preparing and enjoying homemade meals provides a sense of purpose and calm, accomplishment and connection. Now in Hallelujah! The Welcome Table, Angelou shares memories pithy and poignant–and the recipes that helped to make them both indelible and irreplaceable.

Angelou tells us about the time she was expelled from school for being afraid to speak–and her mother baked a delicious maple cake to brighten her spirits. She gives us her recipe for short ribs along with a story about a job she had as a cook at a Creole restaurant (never mind that she didn’t know how to cook and had no idea what Creole food might entail). There was the time in London when she attended a wretched dinner party full of wretched people; but all wasn’t lost–she did experience her initial taste of a savory onion tart. She recounts her very first night in her new home in Sonoma, California, when she invited M. F. K. Fisher over for cassoulet, and the evening Deca Mitford roasted a chicken when she was beyond tipsy–and created Chicken Drunkard Style. And then there was the hearty brunch Angelou made for a homesick Southerner, a meal that earned her both a job offer and a prophetic compliment: “If you can write half as good as you can cook, you are going to be famous.”

Maya Angelou is renowned in her wide and generous circle of friends as a marvelous chef. Her kitchen is a social center. From fried meat pies, chicken livers, and beef Wellington to caramel cake, bread pudding, and chocolate éclairs, the one hundred-plus recipes included here are all tried and true, and come from Angelou’s heart and her home. Hallelujah! The Welcome Table is a stunning collaboration between the two things Angelou loves best: writing and cooking.


From the Hardcover edition.


Click for more detail about Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Love in the Time of Cholera

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Vintage (Oct 05, 2007)
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"A love story of astonishing power." - Newsweek
the International Bestseller and modern literary classic by Nobel Prize-Winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.


Click for more detail about A Family Sin: A Novel by Travis Hunter A Family Sin: A Novel

by Travis Hunter
One World/Ballantine (Sep 25, 2007)
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Karim Spencer, raised in the home of a bootlegger in a run-down neighborhood, has gone on to become a successful businessman with a tony home, a beautiful girlfriend, and a son. But memories of tragedy and betrayal have kept him entrenched in the past, as have the living reminders of his former life, including his down-on-her-luck sister, Nadiah; JaQuan, Nadiah’s thugged-out teenage son; and Karim’s older brother, Omar, serving a life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit.

As emotions reach a boiling point, does Karim have what it takes to set JaQuan on a straight path, clear his brother of a bogus indictment without jeopardizing his own future, and hold together the family that he so desperately loves?

As Travis Hunter skillfully draws us in with strong, believable characters with endearing flaws and broken dreams, A Family Sin, full of riveting twists and turns of plot, unravels the mystery of a long-buried secret that threatens to tear a family apart.


Click for more detail about The People Could Fly Picture Book by Virginia Hamilton The People Could Fly Picture Book

by Virginia Hamilton
Knopf Books for Young Readers (Sep 11, 2007)
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LEO AND DIANE DILLON’S award-winning picture book interpretation of Newbery Medalist Virginia Hamilton’s beloved tale now includes an unforgettable word-for-word CD narration by James Earl Jones and Virginia Hamilton. This tale of slaves who could fly to freedom offered hope in the darkly brutal times of slavery. "That is what Virginia Hamilton set out to show, what the Dillons have so astutely expounded on and what ultimately makes this version of ’People’ so powerful. Think of it as a triad of words, pictures, and storytelling." - New York Times Book Review

An elegant gift for reading, looking, and listening.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat Brother, I’m Dying

by Edwidge Danticat
Knopf (Sep 04, 2007)
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From the best-selling author of The Dew Breaker, a major work of nonfiction: a powerfully moving family story that centers around the men closest to her heart—her father, Mira, and his older brother, Joseph.

From the age of four, Edwidge Danticat came to think of her uncle Joseph, a charismatic pastor, as her “second father,” when she was placed in his care after her parents left Haiti for a better life in America. Listening to his sermons, sharing coconut-flavored ices on their walks through town, roaming through the house that held together many members of a colorful extended family, Edwidge grew profoundly attached to Joseph. He was the man who “knew all the verses for love.”

And so she experiences a jumble of emotions when, at twelve, she joins her parents in New York City. She is at last reunited with her two youngest brothers, and with her mother and father, whom she has struggled to remember. But she must also leave behind Joseph and the only home she’s ever known.

Edwidge tells of making a new life in a new country while fearing for the safety of those still in Haiti as the political situation deteriorates. But Brother I’m Dying soon becomes a terrifying tale of good people caught up in events beyond their control. Late in 2004, his life threatened by an angry mob, forced to flee his church, the frail, eighty-one-year-old Joseph makes his way to Miami, where he thinks he will be safe. Instead, he is detained by U.S. Customs, held by the Department of Homeland Security, brutally imprisoned, and dead within days. It was a story that made headlines around the world. His brother, Mira, will soon join him in death, but not before he holds hope in his arms: Edwidge’s firstborn, who will bear his name—and the family’s stories, both joyous and tragic—into the next generation.

Told with tremendous feeling, this is a true-life epic on an intimate scale: a deeply affecting story of home and family—of two men’s lives and deaths, and of a daughter’s great love for them both.


Click for more detail about Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai Unbowed: A Memoir

by Wangari Maathai
Anchor (Sep 04, 2007)
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In Unbowed, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai recounts her extraordinary journey from her childhood in rural Kenya to the world stage. When Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, she began a vital poor people’s environmental movement, focused on the empowerment of women, that soon spread across Africa. Persevering through run-ins with the Kenyan government and personal losses, and jailed and beaten on numerous occasions, Maathai continued to fight tirelessly to save Kenya’s forests and to restore democracy to her beloved country. Infused with her unique luminosity of spirit, Wangari Maathai’s remarkable story of courage, faith, and the power of persistence is destined to inspire generations to come.


Click for more detail about Wizard Of The Crow by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o Wizard Of The Crow

by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Anchor (Aug 28, 2007)
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In exile now for more than twenty years, Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet and critic Ngugi wa Thiong’o has become one of the most widely read African writers. Commencing in “our times” and set in the fictional “Free Republic of Aburiria,” Wizard of the Crow dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for control of the souls of the Aburirian people. Fashioning the stories of the powerful and the ordinary into a dazzling mosaic, this magnificent novel reveals humanity in all its endlessly surprising complexity.


Click for more detail about DK Biography: Annie Oakley by Chuck Wills DK Biography: Annie Oakley

by Chuck Wills
DK (Jul 30, 2007)
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DK’s acclaimed Biography line shine the spotlight on sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Includes detailed sidebars, handy vocabulary, and a visual timeline. Supports the Common Core State Standards.


Click for more detail about Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete by William C. Rhoden Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete

by William C. Rhoden
Broadway Books (Jul 24, 2007)
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From Jackie Robinson to Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe, African American athletes have been at the center of modern culture, their on-the-field heroics admired and stratospheric earnings envied. But for all their money, fame, and achievement, says New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden, black athletes still find themselves on the periphery of true power in the multibillion-dollar industry their talent built.

Provocative and controversial, Rhoden’s $40 Million Slaves weaves a compelling narrative of black athletes in the United States, from the plantation to their beginnings in nineteenth-century boxing rings to the history-making accomplishments of notable figures such as Jesse Owens, Althea Gibson, and Willie Mays. Rhoden reveals that black athletes’ “evolution” has merely been a journey from literal plantations—where sports were introduced as diversions to quell revolutionary stirrings—to today’s figurative ones, in the form of collegiate and professional sports programs. He details the “conveyor belt” that brings kids from inner cities and small towns to big-time programs, where they’re cut off from their roots and exploited by team owners, sports agents, and the media. He also sets his sights on athletes like Michael Jordan, who he says have abdicated their responsibility to the community with an apathy that borders on treason.

The power black athletes have today is as limited as when masters forced their slaves to race and fight. The primary difference is, today’s shackles are often the athletes’ own making.


Click for more detail about Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa by Veronica Chambers Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa

by Veronica Chambers
Puffin Books (Jul 19, 2007)
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Everyone knows the flamboyant, larger-than-life Celia Cruz, the extraordinary salsa singer who passed away in 2003, leaving millions of fans brokenhearted. indeed, there was a magical vibrancy to the Cuban salsa singer. to hear her voice or to see her perform was to feel her life-affirming energy deep within you. relish the sizzling sights and sounds of her legacy in this glimpse into Celia’s childhood and her inspiring rise to worldwide fame and recognition as the Queen of salsa. Her inspirational life story is sure to sweeten your soul.


Click for more detail about Black Gold of the Sun: Searching for Home in Africa and Beyond by Ekow Eshun Black Gold of the Sun: Searching for Home in Africa and Beyond

by Ekow Eshun
Vintage (Jul 10, 2007)
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At the age of thirty-three, Ekow Eshun—born in London to African-born parents—travels to Ghana in search of his roots. He goes from Accra, Ghana’s cosmopolitan capital city, to the storied slave forts of Elmina, and on to the historic warrior kingdom of Asante. During his journey, Eshun uncovers a long-held secret about his lineage that will compel him to question everything he knows about himself and where he comes from. From the London suburbs of his childhood to the twenty-first century African metropolis, Eshun’s is a moving chronicle of one man’s search for home, and of the pleasures and pitfalls of fashioning an identity in these vibrant contemporary worlds.


Click for more detail about Heat by Geneva Holliday Heat

by Geneva Holliday
Knopf (Jun 26, 2007)
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It’s spring in New York City, but in the lives of these four friends there’s already plenty of HEAT


Geneva Holliday got your Groove on, gave you Fever, and now she turns up the Heat, in her wildest novel yet. Between their bedroom antics and their busy lives, Crystal, Geneva, Chevy, and Noah are all faced with situations that are way too hot to handle . . .

Crystal’s finding it hard to concentrate at work, and no wonder—she’s got a stud in Antigua who’s beginning to mean more to her than just steamy sex.

While things are red-hot with Geneva and her sexy young man, Deeka, her new diet pills stir up more trouble than her collection of slinky lingerie ever did.

Chevy’s out-of-control spending has finally caught up with her; when her paycheck is almost entirely garnished, she is forced to resort to sex with an ex to keep a roof over her head.

Noah and his partner can’t come to an agreement about adopting children, but one thing’s for sure: A blast from his little-known past with a woman is about to rock his world.


Click for more detail about A Street Girl Named Desire: A Novel by Treasure Blue A Street Girl Named Desire: A Novel

by Treasure Blue
One World (Jun 26, 2007)
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Bestselling author Treasure E. Blue returns with a gritty against-all-odds urban fairy tale set in the same unforgiving neighborhood as that of his breakout debut novel Harlem Girl Lost.

Desire was born on the streets of Harlem–literally. Her mom, a crack-addicted prostitute, delivered her on a bitter winter’s night after turning a trick and being brutally beaten by the john. Taken from her mother by the state, Desire grows up unwelcoming foster homes, until a local Good Samaritan takes her in. With Miss Hattie Mae’s love and Christian guidance, Desire gains confidence, joins the church choir, and discovers that she’s got a set of pipes–which soon attract the attention of hip-hop’s biggest exec.

But the road to superstardom is paved with dangers and temptations: drugged-out, violent rappers, untrustworthy pro athletes promising romance, and vicious drugs. Despite her phenomenal success and Miss Hattie Mae’s kindness, Desire seems destined for a fall from the top that will slam her back onto the pavement where her mama left her–until an unexpected angel picks her back up. . . .


Click for more detail about Acacia: The War with the Mein (Acacia, Book 1) by David Anthony Durham Acacia: The War with the Mein (Acacia, Book 1)

by David Anthony Durham
Doubleday (Jun 12, 2007)
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Leodan Akaran, ruler of the Known World, has inherited generations of apparent peace and prosperity, won ages ago by his ancestors. A widower of high intelligence, he presides over an empire called Acacia, after the idyllic island from which he rules. He dotes on his four children and hides from them the dark realities of traffic in drugs and human lives on which their prosperity depends. He hopes that he might change this, but powerful forces stand in his way. And then a deadly assassin sent from a race called the Mein, exiled long ago to an ice-locked stronghold in the frozen north, strikes at Leodan in the heart of Acacia while they unleash surprise attacks across the empire. On his deathbed, Leodan puts into play a plan to allow his children to escape, each to their separate destiny. And so his children begin a quest to avenge their father’s death and restore the Acacian empire–this time on the basis of universal freedom.

ACACIA is a thrilling work of literary imagination that creates an all-enveloping and mythic world that will carry readers away. It is a timeless tale of heroism and betrayal, of treachery and revenge, of primal wrongs and ultimate redemption. David Durham has reimagined the epic narrative for our time in a book that will surely mark his breakthrough to a wide audience.


Click for more detail about I Got Your Back: A Father and Son Keep It Real About Love, Fatherhood, Family, and Friendship by Eddie Levert, Gerald Levert, and Lyah Beth LeFlore I Got Your Back: A Father and Son Keep It Real About Love, Fatherhood, Family, and Friendship

by Eddie Levert, Gerald Levert, and Lyah Beth LeFlore
Crown Archetype (Jun 05, 2007)
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Check out Photos from the Book Launch Party for I Got Your Back


The final collaboration from Eddie and Gerald Levert: an intimate glimpse into their lives, their passions, and their musical legacy. But most important, I Got Your Back gets inside the special and rare father-son bond that these two R&B legends shared. Eddie and Gerald put their hearts and souls on the line and talk about their failures, concerns, fears, and triumphs as father and son. With a powerful message of reconciliation for broken families, Eddie and Gerald explore the themes of fatherhood, male bonding and male-female relationships. The book includes moving tributes from Eddie, Patti LaBelle, Steve Harvey and others, as well as treasured family photographs.


Click for more detail about Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley Roots: The Saga of an American Family

by Alex Haley
Vanguard Press (May 22, 2007)
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One of the most important books and television series ever to appear, Roots, galvanized the nation, and created an extraordinary political, racial, social and cultural dialogue that hadn’t been seen since the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The book sold over one million copies in the first year, and the miniseries was watched by an astonishing 130 million people. It also won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Roots opened up the minds of Americans of all colors and faiths to one of the darkest and most painful parts of America’s past.

Over the years, both Roots and Alex Haley have attracted controversy, which comes with the territory for trailblazing, iconic books, particularly on the topic of race. Some of the criticism results from whether Roots is fact or fiction and whether Alex Haley confused these two issues, a subject he addresses directly in the book. There is also the fact that Haley was sued for plagiarism when it was discovered that several dozen paragraphs in Roots were taken directly from a novel, The African, by Harold Courlander, who ultimately received a substantial financial settlement at the end of the case.

But none of the controversy affects the basic issue. Roots fostered a remarkable dialogue about not just the past, but the then present day 1970s and how America had fared since the days portrayed in Roots. Vanguard Press feels that it is important to publish Roots: The 30th Anniversary Edition to remind the generation that originally read it that there are issues that still need to be discussed and debated, and to introduce to a new and younger generation, a book that will help them understand, perhaps for the first time, the reality of what took place during the time of Roots.


Click for more detail about The Bluest Eye  by Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye

by Toni Morrison
Vintage Books (May 08, 2007)
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Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in.Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.


Click for more detail about Take-Off (Bk & Cd): American All-Girl Bands During World War Ii by Tonya Bolden Take-Off (Bk & Cd): American All-Girl Bands During World War Ii

by Tonya Bolden
Knopf Books for Young Readers (May 08, 2007)
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The 1940’s was a time when society thought it improper for women to make a sax wail or let loose hot licks on skins, but with the advent of World War II and many men away fighting the war, women finally got their chance to strut their stuff on the bandstand. These all-girl bands kept morale high on the homefront and on USO tours of miltary bases across the globe while also helping to establish America’s legacy in jazz music.

"Take-off?" Oh, yeah. Several all-girl bands did.

This book includes a hip swing CD.


Click for more detail about Allah is Not Obliged by Ahmadou Kourouma Allah is Not Obliged

by Ahmadou Kourouma
Anchor (May 08, 2007)
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ALLAH IS NOT OBLIGED TO BE FAIR ABOUT ALL THE THINGS HE DOES HERE ON EARTH.These are the words of the boy soldier Birahima in the final masterpiece by one of Africa’s most celebrated writers, Ahmadou Kourouma. When ten-year-old Birahima’s mother dies, he leaves his native village in the Ivory Coast, accompanied by the sorcerer and cook Yacouba, to search for his aunt Mahan. Crossing the border into Liberia, they are seized by rebels and forced into military service. Birahima is given a Kalashnikov, minimal rations of food, a small supply of dope and a tiny wage. Fighting in a chaotic civil war alongside many other boys, Birahima sees death, torture, dismemberment and madness but somehow manages to retain his own sanity. Raw and unforgettable, despairing yet filled with laughter, Allah Is Not Obliged reveals the ways in which children’s innocence and youth are compromised by war.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Ralph Ellison: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad Ralph Ellison: A Biography

by Arnold Rampersad
Knopf (Apr 24, 2007)
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The definitive biography of one of the most important American writers and cultural intellectuals of the twentieth century—Ralph Ellison, author of the masterpiece Invisible Man.

In 1953, Ellison’s explosive story of an innocent young black man’s often surreal search for truth and his identity won him the National Book Award for fiction and catapulted him to national prominence. Ellison went on to earn many other honors, including two presidential medals and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, but his failure to publish a second novel, despite years of striving, haunted him for the rest of his life. Now, as the first scholar given complete access to Ellison’s papers, Arnold Rampersad has written not only a reliable account of the main events of Ellison’s life but also a complex, authoritative portrait of an unusual artist and human being.

Born poor and soon fatherless in 1913, Ralph struggled both to belong to and to escape from the world of his childhood. We learn here about his sometimes happy, sometimes harrowing years growing up in Oklahoma City and attending Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Arriving in New York in 1936, he became a political radical before finally embracing the cosmopolitan intellectualism that would characterize his dazzling cultural essays, his eloquent interviews, and his historic novel. The second half of his long life brought both widespread critical acclaim and bitter disputes with many opponents, including black cultural nationalists outraged by what they saw as his elitism and misguided pride in his American citizenship.

This biography describes a man of magnetic personality who counted Saul Bellow, Langston Hughes, Robert Penn Warren, Richard Wright, Richard Wilbur, Albert Murray, and John Cheever among his closest friends; a man both admired and reviled, whose life and art were shaped mainly by his unyielding desire to produce magnificent art and by his resilient faith in the moral and cultural strength of America.

A magisterial biography of Ralph Waldo Ellison—a revelation of the man, the writer, and his times.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas by Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas

by Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher
Doubleday (Apr 24, 2007)
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SUPREME DISCOMFORT originated from a much-commented-upon profile of Clarence Thomas that appeared in an August 2002 issue of The Washington Post Magazine. In it, Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher, both Post staffers, both black, crafted a haunting portrait of an isolated and bitter man, savagely reviled by much of the black community, not entirely comfortable in white society, internally wounded by his passage from a broken family and rural poverty in Georgia to elite educational institutions to the pinnacle of judicial power. He has clearly never recovered from the searing experience of his Senate confirmation hearings and the "he said/she said" drama of the accusations of sexual harassment by Anita Hill.

SUPREME DISCOMFORT tracks the personal odyssey of perhaps the least understood man in Washington, from his poor childhood in Pin Point and Savannah, Georgia, to his educational experiences in a Catholic seminary and Holy Cross, to his law school years at Yale during the black power era, to his rise within the Republican political establishment. It offers a window into a man who straddles two different worlds and is uneasy in both—and whose divided personality and conservative political philosophy will deeply influence American life for years to come.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Cinder by Albert French Cinder

by Albert French
Harvill Secker (Apr 24, 2007)
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This title is set in Banes, Mississippi, 1938. The Catfish creek separates the Patch from the town, black from white. These worlds and their prejudices are hauntingly evoked in the rich accents of the American South. Cinder is a woman who belongs to neither, her beauty marking her out as different. Time passes slowly, and the inhabitants of Banes follow the same daily rhythm as they have done for years. Shorty sweeps up in Mister Macky’s store, then drinks his wages at LeRoy’s bar, men sit spitting outside the Rosey Gray, old people watch the world go by from their porches. But one quiet Sunday morning, when the bombs are dropped on Pearl Harbor, change comes to this small Mississippi town. Spanning four years, ""Cinder"" is the follow-up to Albert French’s outstanding novel, ""Billy"". It is at once the story of a woman whose life has been torn apart by tragedy, and the portrait of a town divided. It is about loss, community, history and the ties that bind.

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Click for more detail about Letters to a Young Brother: Manifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper Letters to a Young Brother: Manifest Your Destiny

by Hill Harper
Avery (Apr 19, 2007)
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Offering inspirational advice in a down-to-earth style, this unique compilation of letters provides wisdom, guidance, and heartfelt insight to help the reader chart their own path to success. Based on the author’s motivational speaking at inner-city schools across the country, the letters deal with the tough issues that face young people today. Bombarded with messages from music and the media, Harper set out to dispel the stereotypical image of success that young people receive today and instead emphasizes alternative views of what it truly means to be a successful male, such as educational and community achievements and self-respect. Intended to provide this frequently regarded “lost generation” of young men with wo