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June's Bestselling Books, Recent Book Reviews, Recommended Reads, and More


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64 Bestselling Books for May/June - 2022

Our bestsellers list has been published continuously since 1998 and is the most visible list focused on Black Books in existence. Spread the word about our list; don’t let one or two lists, we don’t control, determine which books are important.


Fiction: Sales were led by preorders for Running to Fall: A Novel written by Kalisha Buckhanon and published by AALBC Publishing (Sept 6, 2022) Essence magazine selected Running to Fall for their “18 New Books We Can’t Wait To Read This Summer” list.


Nonfiction: The Enneagram for Black Liberation: Return to Who You Are Beneath the Armor You Carry by Chichi Agorom was the #1 bestselling fiction book. It was followed by the 2022 Pulitzer Prize winning memoir, Chasing Me to My Grave: An Artist’s Memoir of the Jim Crow South by Winfred Rembert.


Children’s Books: Sailing Commitment Around the World with Captain Bill Pinkney is the top book in the children’s category. Written by Captain Bill Pinkney with illustrations by Pamela C. Rice, the picture book for early readers tells the story of Captain Pinkney’s historic solo sail around the world in 1990.


Poetry: Collections by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, Ai Ogawa, Langston Hughes, and Nikki Giovanni make our list this period and ensure there is poetry everyone can enjoy.

Check Out All 64 Bestselling Books ▶


Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation by Linda Villarosa

“Since the first African enslaved men, women, and children reached American shores, there has been a Black-white divide in who survives, how they live, and who dies, from birth to end of life,” the author writes. “Despite decades of social, economic, and educational progress and what has unquestionably been the rise of a robust Black middle class, racial disparities have remained intact. Yes, something about being Black is creating a health crisis, and that something is racism. It is the American problem in need of an American solution.”


Dr. Freeman said to look deeper, and Villarosa does this to startling effect, beginning with the tragic fate of the Reif sisters, who were taken from their Montgomery, Alabama home in 1973 and sterilized by a government clinic. It didn’t matter that Minnie Lee Rief was 14 or that her younger sister, Mary Alice, was 12. They couldn’t read or write. The author further adds that about 100,000 to 150,000 poor women, mostly Black, were sterilized with government programs over decades. More ▶


Post-Traumatic by Chantal V. Johnson

Chantal Johnson’s debut novel, Post-Traumatic, confronts the emotional toll of sexual assault, a real-life survivor narrative, with the prickly residue of mental demons. Her main character, Vivian is a lawyer who advocates for those deemed deranged at a New York City psychiatric facility. This confidant, smart attorney, a hip 30-something, believes the state is the enemy of the people, convinced that profit and power are designed to keep patients off-balanced and helpless. Also, she believes the doctors and nurses want to keep the ill inside the institution and her job is to get them out, to provide expertise for them to avoid the iron grip of the hospital.


Usually, the tough issue of rape is a staple of crime fiction or memoir, but this is the rare work of fiction that tackles sexual violence in the African American community, beyond the gritty streets of the ghetto. Black women are often the forgotten survivors of rape. More ▶


The Untold Stories of Reverse Racism by Rodney Cloud Hill

Hill welcomes readers into a work of fiction based on historical facts, a work in which he adroitly flips the script—presenting racism in reverse. In this shift, the “dominant race” (Whites/Europeans) becomes the oppressed and the “inferior race” (Blacks/Africans) is now the oppressor. References, experiences, perspectives, and belief systems are flipped—hence, for example, the title Blackwash, instead of Whitewash. Names of individuals, places, events, laws, and so on, are altered to fit this fictional stage. However, the facts that shore up this imaginary scenario are only too real. More ▶


Sister Mother Warrior by Vanessa Riley

Acclaimed author of Island Queen Vanessa Riley brings readers a vivid, sweeping novel of the Haitian Revolution based on the true-life stories of two extraordinary women: the first Empress of Haiti, Marie-Claire Bonheur, and Gran Toya, a West African-born warrior who helped lead the rebellion that drove out the French and freed the enslaved people of Haiti. Gran Toya: Born in West Africa, Abdaraya Toya was one of the legendary minos—women called “Dahomeyan Amazons” by the Europeans—who were specially chosen female warriors consecrated to the King of Dahomey.


Betrayed by an enemy, kidnapped, and sold into slavery, Toya wound up in the French colony of Saint Domingue, where she became a force to be reckoned with on its sugar plantations: a healer and an authority figure among the enslaved. Among the motherless children she helped raise was a man who would become the revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines. More ▶


Carl Weber’s Kingpins: Brooklyn by Brandie Davis

In the Eighties and Nineties, Wesley Evans, better known as Ruby, was Brooklyn’s wealthiest, longest reigning kingpin. Accomplishing all it took to make history, including rubbing elbows with celebrities and expanding his businesses out of state, he avoided all the bounties put on his head and NYPD’s handcuffs.


Ruby set the bar in Brooklyn, and when he finally became a legit family man, he left behind rules that would ensure not only success, but also humility, for the kings who would follow him. More ▶


Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle by Shannen Dee Williams


In Subversive Habits, Shannen Dee Williams provides the first full history of Black Catholic nuns in the United States, hailing them as the forgotten prophets of Catholicism and democracy.


Drawing on oral histories and previously sealed Church records, Williams demonstrates how master narratives of women’s religious life and Catholic commitments to racial and gender justice fundamentally change when the lives and experiences of African American nuns are taken seriously. For Black Catholic women and girls, embracing the celibate religious state constituted a radical act of resistance to white supremacy and the sexual terrorism built into chattel slavery and segregation. More ▶


Truth Check Created by The Center for Black Health & Equity

Black communities are constantly flooded with misinformation on social media in the form of hoaxes, false claims, and flat-out lies. With the simple click of a button — a like, a share, a comment — fake and harmful info in your newsfeed can spread out of control. Truth Check is about arming ourselves with the tools we need to stop the spread of misinformation.


Jenifer Lewis composed a compelling song explaining the importance of checking your news sources Watch her Video ▶


Dear Troy,


Your support is crucial to helping us improve AALBC..com. Your paid subscriptions, book purchases, suggestions, engagement on the site, social sharing, advertisements, and feedback help support AALBC’s mission of celebrating Black culture through books.


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


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★ AALBC.com eNewsletter – July 13, 2022 - Issue #363

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