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AALBC Newsletter's New Book Recommendations, The Killens Review of Arts & Letters, and More - 5/19/2020


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MP30718 MyVanishingCountry AALBCAd-v1

From CNN analyst and one of the youngest state representatives in South Carolina history, My Vanishing Country by Bakari Sellers, an important book new memoir that illuminates the lives of America’s forgotten black working-class men and women.


Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams

Genesis Begins Again is a powerful, poignant, and ultimately empowering middle-grade novel that highlights issues sure to interest diverse young readers. What does “good hair” look like? What does “good skin” look like, and do they define beauty? Thirteen-year-old “new girl” in school, Genesis struggles to answer these questions even as she tries to find her place, accept the beauty of her dark complexion, and navigate her complicated family life. Read the full review ▶


The Killens Review of Arts & Letters (Killens Review) is published up to twice a year by the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY.

The publication is a peer-reviewed journal that seeks book reviews, essays, short stories, creative nonfiction, poetry, visual art, photographs, letters, and interviews related to the various cultural, sociopolitical, and historical experiences of writers and artists from the African Diaspora. The aim is to provide well-known and lesser-known authors as well as educators and students opportunities to create and expand the canon of literature produced by people of color. We welcome the works of poets, novelists, short story writers, playwrights, journalists, essayists, scholars, and yet-to-be-discovered writers of the African Diaspora.

The current issue of _Killens Review_is available for purchase from AALBC through our partnership with the Center for Black Literature. You won't find this collection of great art and literature anywhere else. Get your issue now!


We maintain a list of recently published and soon to be published books. Here are a few we think you’ll enjoy 


Telephone by Percival Everett

An astonishing new novel of loss and grief from “one of our culture’s preeminent novelists” —Los Angeles Times

Zach Wells is a perpetually dissatisfied geologist-slash-paleobiologist. Expert in a very narrow area—the geological history of a cave forty-four meters above the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon—he is a laconic man who plays chess with his daughter, trades puns with his wife while she does yoga, and dodges committee work at the college where he teaches.

After a field trip to the desert yields nothing more than a colleague with a tenure problem and a student with an unwelcome crush on him, Wells returns home to find his world crumbling … Powerless in the face of his daughter’s slow deterioration, he finds a mysterious note asking for help tucked into the pocket of a jacket he’s ordered off eBay. Desperate for someone to save, he sets off to New Mexico in secret on a quixotic rescue mission.


Twisted: The Tangled History of Black Hair Culture by Emma Dabiri

Despite increasingly liberal world views, black hair continues to be erased, appropriated, and stigmatized to the point of taboo. Through her personal and historical journey, Dabiri gleans insights into the way racism is coded in society’s perception of black hair—and how it is often used as an avenue for discrimination. Dabiri takes us from pre-colonial Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance, and into today’s Natural Hair Movement, exploring everything from women’s solidarity and friendship, to the criminalization of dreadlocks, to the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian’s braids.

Deeply researched and powerfully resonant, Twisted proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.


Welcome to the Party by Gabrielle Union, Illustrated by Ashley Evans

Welcome to the Party was inspired by the birth of, Kaavia James Union Wade, the daughter of award-winning actress Gabrielle Union and NBA superstar Dwyane Wade. The picture book is a festive and universal love letter from parents to little ones, perfect for welcoming a baby to the party of life!

It is an upbeat celebration of new life that you’ll want to enjoy with your tiny guest of honor over and over again. A great gift for all occasions, especially Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, baby showers, and birthdays.


Careful What You Click for by Mary B. Morrison

In her most riveting novel yet, AALBC and New York Times bestselling author Mary B. Morrison delivers an emotional rollercoaster of a tale of four very different friends chasing after their heart’s desires, no matter the cost.

For Jordan, Victoria, Kingston, and Chancelor, exciting, fast-paced Atlanta offers everything their hometowns couldn’t. But career success is easy compared to the city’s dating scene of users, losers, and gold diggers. So they decide online dating might just be the answer—as long as they take precautions, work their perfect odds-beating plan, and have each other’s backs. With luck, and prayers, they’ll fulfill their fantasies and find real love at the same time.


The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

“Namina Forna could be the Toni Morrison Of YA Fantasy.” —Refinery 29

The start of a bold and immersive West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice.

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.


The Struggle of Black Business w/ Troy Johnson
Thursday, May 21 | 4:00pm

We will discuss how Black businesses and many independent businesses struggle in a world dominated by a handful of ultra-powerful corporations.
The focus will be on web based businesses and how they are adversely impacted by the near monopolies of Facebook, am*zon, and Google and why we all should care. Click here to register.

All About Carter G. Woodson w/ Troy Johnson
Thursday, May 28 | 4:00pm

We will discuss the impact of Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month, and his seminal work, originally published in 1933, The Mis-education of the Negro. In Mis-education Woodson provided a critique of our educational system explaining why it has resulted in poor outcomes for Black people. His critique was unflinching and harsh. Would his words still resonate almost 90 years later? Click here to register.

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Dear Reader,

In addition to running AALBC, I teach a couple of college courses that have moved to fully online this semester. I was immediately reminded that the digital divide is still “a thing,” once courses went online. Many students simply do not have WiFi access and a laptop at home. Internet access, for them, is often just a smartphone.

Visitors to AALBC hit record levels in 2019, and 2020 is exceeding 2019. However, AALBC’s traffic has been impacted by the pandemic, as office, library, and school computer resources are less available to our visitors. Visitors to our website, via desktop or laptop computers, has dropped almost 30% from pre-pandemic levels. For the first time ever, smartphone visitors to the website exceeded desktop visitors in April reaching 56%.

AALBC is optimized for mobile devices, but it is your support and patronage that has made AALBC less impacted by the pandemic — in fact, books sales continue to increase each month. Sure there are slow downs in the book distribution and delivery chain, but customers have been completely understanding and patient during this period.

With all the loss and pain this pandemic has caused so many, I think if anything good comes out of it, it will be a keener understanding of who and what is most important to us. Again, I recognize and thank you for your business!

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


This Newsletter is Sponsored by Amistad

Consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.
★ AALBC.com eNewsletter – May 19, 2020 - Issue #292

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