Thursday, September 17, 2009

Say You're One Of Them

Uwem Akpan's stunning stories humanize the perils of poverty and violence so piercingly that few readers will feel they've ever encountered Africa so immediately. The eight-year-old narrator of "An Ex-Mas Feast" needs only enough money to buy books and pay fees in order to attend school. Even when his twelve-year-old sister takes to the streets to raise these meager funds, his dream can't be granted. Food comes first. His family lives in a street shanty in Nairobi, Kenya, but their way of both loving and taking advantage of each other strikes a universal chord.
In the second of his stories published in a New Yorker special fiction issue, Akpan takes us far beyond what we thought we knew about the tribal conflict in Rwanda. The story is told by a young girl, who, with her little brother, witnesses the worst possible scenario between parents. They are asked to do the previously unimaginable in order to protect their children. This singular collection will also take the reader inside Nigeria, Benin, and Ethiopia, revealing in beautiful prose the harsh consequences for children of life in Africa.
Akpan's voice is a literary miracle, rendering lives of almost unimaginable deprivation and terror into stories that are nothing short of transcendent. MORE
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Queen of the Court: An Autobiography by Serena Williams

From gang violence to an inspiring trip to Ghana, the life of the younger Williams sister has been about much more than tennis, says Tim Adams
"You know I was always really very, very good," Venus said at the time, grinning. "Serena, on the other hand, wasn't very good at all. She was small, really slim and the racket was way too big for her. Hopeless. She started playing especially good tennis at around 15, which was soon enough – I mean, she won the US Open two years later – but still it was quite late compared to me." She then summed up the distinction in shorthand: "You know," she said, "I was always Venus …"

Serena, though, as this memoir makes clear, wasn't always Serena. Her book allows us to see how the younger half of the greatest sister act sport has known came out of the shadow of "V" through a process of intense self-invention. Serena recalls at one point how she was once asked how many grand slam titles she thought she would have won had Venus, her greatest rival, not stood in her way. She answered that she did not think she would have won any at all; Venus was her spur – her great advantage in life was that she knew from a very early age that if she could just beat her sister then she could beat anybody in the world.

She learnt through this to be at her best when everything was against her. Throughout her career, Serena has been in the habit of writing down inspirational words on Post-it notes and sticking them to her racket bag. Sometimes they read like text messages from Martin Luther King: "Show no emotion," she will write, "UR black and U can endure anything. Endure. Persevere. Stand tall." Or: "Be strong. Be black. Now's your time 2 shine. Be confident. They want to see you angry. Be angry, but don't let them see it."More

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

We Are In Transition

We ask that you bear with us as we continue to make the necessary changes to The African American Book Review.
Thank You.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Steve Harvey's Book Is Headed To The Big Screen

Cover of "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a M...Cover via Amazon Gems has acquired rights to turn comedian Steve Harvey's book "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" into a feature.

Harvey wrote the humorous book of advice for women seeking to better understand their male counterparts, an exercise inspired by a segment on Harvey's syndicated morning radio show.

Will Packer will produce, and Harvey will be exec producer. Screen Gems prexy Clint Culpepper will begin canvassing writers to hear different pitches for an ensemble comedy about romantic relationships. Culpepper first worked with Harvey when the latter acted in "You Got Served.""Steve has always provided an easily relatable perspective on men, the way they view women and their seemingly complex but surprisingly simple emotional needs," Culpepper said. Culpepper and Packer flew to Dallas on Sunday to close the deal with Harvey.

Packer recently produced "Obsessed," is shooting "Takers" and prepping a remake of "The Big Chill" for Screen Gems. MORE

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Friday, July 31, 2009

To Tell The Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B.Wells

Born to slaves in 1862, Ida B. Wells became a fearless antilynching crusader, women’s rights advocate, and journalist. Wells’s refusal to accept any compromise on racial inequality caused her to be labeled a “dangerous radical” in her day but made her a model for later civil rights activists as well as a powerful witness to the troubled racial politics of her era. In the richly illustratedTo Tell the Truth Freely, the historian Mia Bay vividly captures Wells’s legacy and life, from her childhood in Mississippi to her early career in late nineteenth-century Memphis and her later life in Progressive-era Chicago.

Wells’s fight for racial and gender justice began in 1883, when she was a young schoolteacher who traveled to her rural schoolhouse by rail. Forcibly ejected from her seat on a train one day on account of her race, Wells immediately sued the railroad. Though she ultimately lost her case on appeal in the Supreme Court of Tennessee, the published account of her legal challenge to Jim Crow changed her life, propelling her into a career as an outspoken journalist and social activist. Also a fierce critic of the racial violence that marked her era, Wells went on to launch a crusade against lynching that took her across the United States and eventually to Britain. Though she helped found the NAACP in 1910 after resettling in Chicago, she would not remain a member for long. Always militant in her quest for racial justice, Wells rejected not only Booker T. Washington’s accommodationism but also the moderating influence of white reformers within the early NAACP. The life of Ida B. Wells and her enduring achievements are dramatically recovered in Mia Bay’s To Tell the Truth Freely.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

NeNe Leakes New Book: Never Make The Same Mistake Twice

Outrageous, captivating, and unafraid to tell it like it is, Nene Leakes shares her wild journey from a scandalous past to the pinnacle of reality television stardom. Lauded by her fans for her refreshing honesty, infectiously genuine style, and clever sense of humor, Nene is an empowered, self-made woman who has not forgotten where she came from and knows exactly where she wants to go.

In this straight-talking and provocative memoir Nene charts her journey from family black sheep to single mother to making good and realizing her dreams. With her charm and bold, self-possessed voice, Nene tackles her painful childhood; the abuse she suffered at the hands of a violent boyfriend; her struggle to support her firstborn son; and her path to true love, self-acceptance, and pride.

In Never Make the Same Mistake Twice, Nene dishes on her cast mates; takes on the rumors about her past; and shares hard-earned and inspiring life lessons in her fierce, no-nonsense, and irreverent style.

Product Details
Touchstone, August 2009
Hardcover, 240 pages
ISBN-10: 1-4391-6730-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-4391-6730-4
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E. Lynn Harris New Novel To be Published This Fall

E. Lynn Harris' book tour will go forward in honor of the author.

Harris honor: E. Lynn Harris wanted to do a "thank you" tour this fall, meeting with fans in small cities to get back to promoting his novels on a "grass-roots level," says Karen Hunter, whose Pocket Books imprint will publish his novel Mama Dearest in September. MORE

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Author E. Lynn Harris Dies at Age 54

Long before the secret world of closeted black gay men came to light in America, bestselling author E. Lynn Harris introduced a generation of black women to the phenomenon known as the "down low."

Harris endeared such characters to readers who were otherwise unfamiliar with them, using themes and backdrops familiar to urban professionals, conditioned by their upbringings, their church leaders or their friends to condemn and criticize homosexuality in the African-American community. A proud Razorback cheerleader at the University of Arkansas who struggled with his own sexuality before becoming a pioneer of gay black fiction, Harris died Thursday at age 54 while promoting his latest book in Los Angeles.

Publicist Laura Gilmore said Harris died Thursday night after being stricken at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, and a cause of death had not been determined. She said Harris, who lived in Atlanta, fell ill on a train to Los Angeles a few days ago and blacked out for a few minutes, but seemed fine after that.

An improbable and inspirational success story, Harris worked for a decade as an IBM executive before taking up writing, selling the novel "Invisible Life" from his car as he visited salons and beauty parlors around Atlanta. He had unprecedented success for an openly gay black author and his strength as a romance writer led some to call him the "male Terry McMillan."

In 15 years, Harris became the genre's most successful author, penning 11 titles, ten of them New York Times bestsellers. More than four million of his books are in print.

McMillan had just spoken to Harris about a week ago, to tell him she would pay tribute to him in her upcoming book by having a character read one of his titles, "And This Too Shall Pass."

"He was thrilled," McMillan said. "I loved his spirit and generosity. I loved that he found his own niche in the world of fiction, and I'm grateful to have known him. This just breaks my heart."

He went on to mainstream success with works such as the novel "Love of My Own" and the memoir "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted." MORE
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stephen L. Carter Loves to Keep His Readers Guessing

Yale Law School professor Stephen L. Carter leads a double life — his best-selling novels include The Emperor of Ocean Park and New England White. His latest, Jericho's Fall (Knopf, $25.95), revolves around Jericho Ainsley, a disgraced and dying former CIA director, and his onetime lover. Carter, 54, spoke with USA TODAY from his office in New Haven.More
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Author Details Story of Incarcerated Vocal Group

It sounds like a film script: five African-American men incarcerated at the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville during the '40s and '50s form a vocal group and release a hit record. But the story is true.

The blues quintet, dubbed The Prisonaires, was led by Johnny Bragg, who was serving 594 years for multiple counts of rape, and included William Stewart, serving 99 years for witnessing the murder of a man; Marcel Sanders, facing one to five years for involuntary manslaughter; Ed Thurman, serving 99 years for murdering a man who killed his dog; and John Drue Jr., serving three years for larceny.

They made history with their song, "Just Walkin' in the Rain," which was released on Sun Records in 1953.

Jay Warner, a six-time Grammy-winning music publisher and the founder of National League Music recounts The Prisonaires story in "Just Walkin' in the Rain: The True Story of the Prisonaires: the Convict Pioneers of R&B and Rock & Roll" (Renaissance Books, $25).

The tale is complex and inspiring as it deals with the issues of civil rights and prison reform, but its main focus is on the relationship between Bragg and the governor of the time, Frank Clement.

"It's really two men from opposite ends of the social and political spectrum who find a need in each other.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Bestselling Authors To Attend 2009 National Book Festival

Washington, D.C. (CNS) - A bevy of bestselling authors will be on hand to make presentations at the ninth annual 2009 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. The popular event will be held on Saturday, September 26 at the National Mall.

Bestselling authors David Baldacci, John Grisham, John Irving, Julia Alvarez, Judy Blume, Ken Burns, Gwen Ifill and Jodi Picoult will all be attending the festival. Celebrity chef Paula Deen will also be there to present.

The event is organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, with President Barack Obama and first Lady Michelle Obama acting as Honorary Chairs. Last year, the festival had over 120,000 people attend and is free and open to the public.More
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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Book News:Touré Writing Book About 'Post-Blackness' For Free Press

Touré Writing Book About 'Post-Blackness' For Free Press
Rolling Stone contributing editor, TV personality and compulsive Twitter-er Touré has signed a deal with Free Press to write a book about “post-blackness.” The book, titled Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness, was described in a deal memo posted on Publishers Lunch as a “treatise” on black identity in the age of Obama, based on interviews with dozens of “black American artists, writers and thinkers.” >MORE
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Book News: Jay-Z Close to Book Deal With Spiegel & Grau

Jay-Z Close to Book Deal With Spiegel & Grau

Jay-Z is close to finalizing a book deal with the Spiegel & Grau imprint of Random House. The literary agent repping the rapper, Matthew Guma, had no comment, but sources say the book will consist of Jay-Z commenting on and telling the stories behind his lyrics.

Sources said that when Mr. Guma originally approached editors and publishers earlier this summer, he was talking about doing a bundle of three books: One was going to be a traditional memoir, one was going to be a business book, and the third was the one that Spiegel & Grau ended up acquiring.

This will be the first book by Jay-Z, who famously claims never to write down his lyrics on paper. When it will be published is unknown. The multiplatinum-selling rapper's next album, The Blueprint III, is scheduled for release on Sept. 11, 2009. More
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stormy Weather

The Life of Lena Horne
By James Gavin (Atria Books; 598 pages, $27)

For most of her life, Lena Horne has been a very angry woman. She may have given as good as she got for many of her 92 years, but as related in James Gavin's definitive new biography, she had reason enough.

"Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne" takes its title from her signature song, but in the beginning, it wasn't even her song: It was Ethel Waters', and the older star's resentment of Horne during the making of the groundbreaking film "Cabin in the Sky" would presage Horne's own iciness years later toward younger singer-actresses like Diahann Carroll.

Although Horne was born and raised in a middle-class family, her early life was no walk in the park. Her mother was an actress who frequently left Lena to be raised by her grandparents. At school, she was taunted by other black kids for the lightness of her skin. "In her first memoir," Gavin writes, "Horne recalled their abuse. 'Yaller! Yaller!' they chanted. 'Got a white daddy! Shame! Shame!' " Gavin tells us she tried to darken her skin by spending time in the sun, but she also felt self-conscious about the way she talked: "At her grandmother's home, to use anything but textbook English was grounds for punishments. But [other African Americans] talked in thick southern accents, using Negro dialect. A confusion overtook her that she never quite lost." MORE
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Book Festival Hosts Pulitzer Prize Winner

The Third Annual African-American Book Festival features author Annette Gordon-Reed, among others.
Prominent writer Annette Gordon-Reed, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family," was one of several authors who spoke Saturday during the well-attended African American Book Festival in East Austin.

The third annual festival was held at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center and the Carver Branch of the Austin Public Library. Carla Harris, an executive at Morgan Stanley, and fiction writer Bernice McFadden were among speakers at the six-hour festival. MORE
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Books Written By Micheal Jackson

There may be thousands of books written about Michael Jackson, but only three have ever been written by Micheal Jackson. Below are the three books that Michael Jackson wrote and are featured here as a tribute to his legacy.

Please note that the information given regarding the publisher, year of publication, ISBN number, and number of pages refers to the U.S. version and there may be differences in other versions.
'Moonwalk', by Michael Jackson, will always be a classic must-read for any MJ fan. Published in 1988, this autobiography was written by Michael after being encouraged to do so by his friend, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. It is an account of his life up until 1988 when he still lived at Hayvenhurst, his Encino, California home. This wonderful book, written in an upbeat tone, has 6 chapters and includes beautiful color and black and white photos. Michael dedicated it to Fred Astaire.

Publisher: DoubleDay (division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., New York, USA)
Year of publication: 1988
ISBN number: 0-7493-1338-2
Number of pages: 283
Languages the book is available in: English, Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish (publisher: Plaza & Janés)

Dancing The Dream
'Dancing The Dream', by Michael Jackson, published in 1992 and dedicated to Michael's mother is an extraordinary book and very dear to Michael's heart. It is filled with inspirational essays and poems written by Michael himself. The writing is lovely and every time you read a passage or poem you can see new dimensions and find more to think about. The poetry and prose are complex and thought provoking and every bit as moving as any song or melody we love by Michael. The book has lovely color and black and white photos with an amazing introduction by Elizabeth Taylor. Many people have reported reading some of the poems aloud to others and winning great acclaim and new Michael Jackson fans each time.

Publisher: DoubleDay (division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., New York, USA)
Year of publication: July 1992
ISBN number: 0-385-42277-6
Number of pages: 149
Languages the book is available in: English, Chinese, German

Moonwalker - The Storybook
'Moonwalker Storybook', a 74-page book illustrated with scenes from the screenplay by David Newman. Michael, Katy, Sean and Zeke are four good friends enjoying a game of soccer when their lives are suddenly endangered by the diabolical Mr. Big, an evil mastermind who kidnaps Katy and is determined to destroy anything or anyone standing in the way of his evil dreams - even Michael. Speeding cars, hot dancing and amazing chases are all part of the fun and excitement of 'Moonwalker'. A movie to remember and a story you'll want to read again and again. Actually a great find for all the "Moonwalker-lovers" since the book has been out of print for many years now.

Publisher: Doubleday (division of The Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., New York, USA)
Year of publication: 1988
ISBN number: 0-385-26154-3
Number of pages: 74
Languages the book is available in: English, Japanese
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Satchel :The Life and Times of an American Legend

This Baseball Patriarch Could Really Pitch Himself

How fast could Satchel Paige throw a baseball? It’s hard to know because there were no radar guns to measure ball velocity when Leroy Paige, better known as Satchel, became a pitching star of the Negro Leagues in the 1930s. In his discerning, empathetic and hype-free new Paige biography, Larry Tye cites the eyewitness account of one of the white reporters who finally began paying attention to Paige in 1934: “All you can see is something like a thin line of pipe smoke.”
When asked if he threw that fast consistently, Paige, who would become famed for choice aphorisms, replied: “No, sir. I do it all the time.”
How many teams did he play for? In another of the authoritative assessments that enliven “Satchel” Mr. Tye weighs the amount of barnstorming done by Paige and notes that this tireless, Bunyanesque athlete found places to play no matter what the season. MORE
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The Secret Olivia Told Me Is Worthy of a Second Look

The Secret Olivia Told Me, a picture book about a friend who spills a secret and watches it spin out of control, published by Just Us Books, illustrated by Nancy Devard and written by N. Joy, won a 2008 Coretta Scott King Honor Book award for illustration.
This is the first Coretta Scott King Honor Book award for Just Us Books, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, as well as the first for Nancy Devard.
“Nancy is a talented artist who brings a distinct and fresh approach to the books she illustrates,” says Wade Hudson, president and CEO, Just Us Books. “We’re excited for her and proud of this distinct accomplishment that she earned so early in her publishing career.”
A native of West Philadelphia, Nancy Devard began drawing at age three. She earned a BA in Electrical Engineering Technology and minored in art at Temple University. After a brief career in engineering, she turned her talents to her true passion: art. She worked for Hallmark as a staff illustrator in its Mahogany division, and has illustrated two books for the educational market. The Secret Olivia Told Me is her first trade picture book. Devard created the silhouetted illustrations featured in The Secret Olivia Told Me using Adobe Illustrator. A versatile artist, she also paints and does graphic design. MORE
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Michael Thomas Wins Literary's Largest Fiction Award For Man Gone Down

Debut Novelist Michael Thomas Wins EU100,000 Irish Book Award

U.S. author Michael Thomas won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his debut novel, collecting 100,000 euros ($140,880) in what is billed as the world’s richest prize for a single work of fiction.

Thomas was honored at a reception at Dublin’s Mansion House today for “Man Gone Down,” about a once-promising Harvard student who is now broke and trying to raise money to keep his family together.

The unnamed African-American first-person narrator “will stay with readers for a long time,” the judges said in a statement. “He lingers because this extraordinary novel comes to us from a writer of enthralling voice and startling insight.”

Boston-born Thomas, who now lives in New York with his wife and three children, overcame competition from seven other finalists, including Junot Diaz for “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” which has already won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Critics Circle award, and David Leavitt for “The Indian Clerk.”

In all, there were four Americans on the shortlist, as well as authors born in France, India, Norway and Pakistan. The only other U.S. writer to win the award was Edward P. Jones in 2005 for “The Known World.” MORE
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Attica Locke's Black Water Rising

New Voices: Author Attica Locke
The author is out with a mystery about a young black lawyer who gets entangled in a murder case.
The book: Black Water Rising, Harper, 427 pp., $25.99.

What it's about: In 1981, a young black attorney gets entangled in a murder case after he rescues a white woman from the waters of a Houston bayou.

Why it's notable: The opening scenes are inspired by an actual event: When she was 10, Locke's family was on a boat trip on the bayou when they heard a woman scream, and then shots were fired. MORE
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Mildred Riley, 91 and Still Writing

Author Mildred Riley Believes in Keeping Fantasies Alive
Twenty years ago, a publisher rejected Mildred Riley’s romance novel about African-Americans because “black people don’t read.”
Riley, a retired psychiatric nurse, knew otherwise and proved the publisher wrong. Now 91, she just published her 13th romance novel featuring African-American characters.

Like the happy endings of her stories, Riley inspires a sense of optimism and possibility.“When I retired, I said, ‘I’m going to write a book and I’m going to take flying lessons.’ Everyone cracked up when they heard,” she said, laughing. “I didn’t follow through on the flying lessons, and at 91, I don’t think I’d pass the physical. But I’ll keep writing as long as I’m able.”

Looking 20 years younger than her age, Riley is likely to be penning many more stories. With the publication last month of the paperback “All I’ll Ever Need” and the e-book “Fit to Be Tied,” she’s now editing “The Doctor’s Wife,” her 14th book, which, like the others, reflects her curiosity about the human heart and experience.
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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Book News: Red and Me by Bill Russell

My Coach, My Lifelong Friend

Bill Russell knew his personal power and how to use it. In that sense, he was his father’s son, inspired by the independence, self-confidence and strength he had observed growing up. Russell would say that his father always had “a plan,” meaning he was always a step or two ahead of everyone else. In basketball, Russell demonstrated the same gift and thus reconceptualized the game. Defense had once been an afterthought; Russell saw it as the key to offense and a builder of team morale. Players were told never to leave their feet on defense; with Russell’s advent, jumping to block a shot became an accepted part of the game. Big men were thought to lack mobility; for Russell, finesse and footwork became more important than strength. At his core, Russell knew that he was different from other players — that he was an innovator and that his very identity depended on dominating the game.MORE
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Book News: Quest For Justice

Book Showcases the Rise of American Attorney
Quest for Justice: Louis A. Bedford Jr. and the Struggle for Equal Rights in Texas by Darwin Payne, a communications professor at Southern Methodist University who has previously written biographies of writers Owen Wister and Frederick Lewis Allen and U.S. District Judge Sarah Hughes. In this book, he tells the story of Louis Bedford, a well-known African-American lawyer in Dallas who broke a racial barrier by becoming a municipal judge in 1966. Through the prism of Bedford’s experience, Payne offers a window into the experiences of African-Americans in North Texas in the mid-20th century.More
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Book News: Before I Forget

Before I Forget
Leonard Pitts Jr.
In this masterful first novel, Leonard Pitts, Jr.—already long acclaimed for his Pulitzer Prize winning work as a columnist—steps forward as a major new voice in fiction.
Before I Forget is the story of these three generations of black men bound by blood, and by histories of mutual love, fear, and frustration—gives Pitts the opportunity to explore the painful truths of black men's lives, especially as they play out in the fraught relations of fathers and sons. As Mo tries to reach out to the increasingly tuned-out Trey (who himself has become an unwed teenaged father), he realizes that the burden of grief and anger he carries over his own father has everything to do with the struggles he encounters with his son.

Before I Forget is the work not only of a masterful new voice in American fiction, but of a man who knows inside and out the difficulties facing black men as they grapple with their roles as fathers—and more than anything, the crucial importance of fulfilling that role in all of their lives. This is one of the most important debut novels of 2009, by a writer certain to win a much acclaim for his fiction as for his highly regarded journalism. MORE
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Book News: In The Black: Live Faithfully, Prosper Financially

'In The Black': A Financial How-to With African Americans in Mind
To be able to fund your dreams is firmly within your control. That's the empowering message of AaronW. Smith, a financial planner and author of In The Black: Live Faithfully, Prosper Financially.
It's a matter of identifying your personal values, setting goals, discipline and ramping up your financial literacy. Add a spoonful of religious faith, too. Smith, a 15-year-plus veteran in the financial services field, has carefully assembled this straightforward financial-planning guide to lend a hand. The how-to advice shouts out to anyone who is trying to get traction in his or her financial world, regardless of income or debt level.
His core audience, however, is the African-American community. Smith is forthright about his modus operandi. He kicks off the book by stating, "This work was written to address African Americans in a Christian context, but one need not be of a particular religion or race to benefit from it."MORE
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Book News: Vegan Soul Kitchen

Book Offers Soul Food Recipes Without Meat

No bacon or bacon grease. No butter or cheese. No ham, for heaven's sakes.
How was I going to cook up some down-home soul food without my favorite Southern seasonings?

When I told the family I was trying recipes from "Vegan Soul Kitchen" (Da Capo, $18.95), by West Coast eco-chef Bryant Terry, they were skeptical that I could come up with satisfying Southern dishes without using animal products.
Or, as my daughter put it, "without any of the stuff that tastes good."
But the recipes in Terry's new book, subtitled "Fresh, Healthy and Creative African-American Cuisine," did in fact sound good, and goodness knows we could all stand to cut down on fat and calories. MORE
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Awards & Honors

Sketching Success

As a boy in 1951, he worked part time in a newsstand outside Rowell's department store at Germantown and Chelten, where, from behind the counter, he'd sketch the displays in the shop window.
Now, that 12-year-old sketch artist is an internationally acclaimed illustrator with more than 100 children's books to his credit. You've likely seen his work on the cover of Nightjohn, by Gary Paulsen, or JD, by Mari Evans.
Jerry Pinkney, 70 and living in Westchester County, N.Y., will return to his roots to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival, which begins tomorrow evening. MORE
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Books In The News

African-American Romance Writers Come Into Their Own

Another beach-read season is upon us, but this summer's book list reflects changes in the publishing industry. Over the past year, new efforts have been made to identify and promote the most popular - and steamiest - page-turners by African-American authors.
Until recently, mass-market books with romantic or sexual content by black writers have been lumped together under the label "African-American romance." A look at the titles under that heading on reveals everything from suspense to erotica to family drama.
But as works under the "black romance" umbrella gain popularity, the book world has become more interested in collecting accurate sales data by subgenre, and promoting the works and writers that can bring in the bucks.
For the most popular authors of traditional romance, such as Brenda Jackson and Rochelle Alers, this means lucrative new book deals. For others, such as Mary B. Morrison and Carl Weber, it's about taking their tales to Hollywood. More
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Book News

Elsie B. Washington, a Novelist, Dies at 66

Elsie B. Washington, whose 1980 book, “Entwined Destinies,” is widely considered the first black romance novel, died on May 5 in Manhattan. She was 66 and had lived in Yonkers in recent years.
The cause was multiple sclerosis and cancer, her brother, James E. Peterson, said.
The 575th title in Dell’s Candlelight Romance series, “Entwined Destinies” was published under the pen name Rosalind Welles. It tells the story of a beautiful young black woman, a magazine correspondent, who after many travails finds love with a tall, dashing black man, an oil company executive. MORE
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Marvely Brown's The Naked Truth

The Naked Truth by Marvelyn Brown
Young Beautiful, and HIV Positive
The surprisingly hopeful story of how a straight, nonpromiscuous, everyday girl contracted HIV and how she manages to stay upbeat, inspired, and more positive about life than ever before
At nineteen years of age, Marvelyn Brown was lying in a stark white hospital bed at Tennessee Christian Medical Center, feeling hopeless. A former top track and basketball athlete, she was in the best shape of her life, but she was battling a sudden illness in the intensive care unit. Doctors had no idea what was going on. It never occurred to Brown that she might be HIV positive.
Having unprotected sex with her Prince Charming had set into swift motion a set of circumstances that not only landed her in the fight of her life, but also alienated her from her community. Rather than give up, however, Brown found a reason to fight and a reason to live. MORE
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Our Book Bag Is Open

What's Inside Our Book Bag? It's The Kindle 2 Of Course!
Debra Jago Trice
It's's Electronic Book Reader, the Kindle 2 and it's perfect for Summer as it can hold up to 1500 books inside. If you want to know why we chose it as a must have for our Book Bag, then you'll need to read our indepth Review of the Kindle 2 coming later this week!
Our review will feature photos and an depth look at the Kindle2 that's taking the book world by storm.
We will answer the question that's on everyone's mind:
Why do I need a Kindle2?
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Books In The News

Washington Finds Writer For Brothers
Matthew Sand to write Denzel film

Denzel Washington has lined up a writer for Brothers In Arms, his long in-development directorial project about the only African-American tank unit to fight in Europe during World War II. Matthew Sand will write a new version of the script on what sounds like a an interesting true story.
The 761st Tank Battalion overcame prejudice and became a key part of the post-D-Day offensive move east through Europe, spearheading the Battle of the Bulge and proving themselves to their comrades and a more racist era. Their story was captured in a non-fiction book by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar yes, the NBA star MORE
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Poetic Moment

With White House Poetry Jam, a New Era Is Spoken For
Perhaps for the first time ever, the White House jammed and slammed last night.
Poets and playwrights, actors and musicians packed the ornate East Room, delivering cool jazz and glorious spoken-word poetry, sprinkling a bit of hip-hop and a bit of the heroic couplet. And through it all, the president and the first lady watched -- and applauded.
"We're here to celebrate the power of words," President Obama said. Words "help us appreciate beauty and also understand pain. They inspire us to action." He introduced the first lady as his poet. MORE
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Book News

Connie Briscoe Brings Back Her Trailblazing 'Sisters'
ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — With a sea-green sleeveless shell showing off first-lady-worthy biceps, Connie Briscoe could be Michelle Obama's older sister-in-arms.The author of five best-selling novels about black women's lives and loves, Briscoe is a serene presence in the family room of her spacious home in semi-rural Howard County. Fifteen years ago, Briscoe struck publishing gold with her debut, Sisters & Lovers. Like Terry McMillan with her 1992 sensation Waiting to Exhale, Briscoe introduced America to an invisible woman — people like Briscoe. Instead of the abused, impoverished heroines of novels such as Alice Walker's The Color Purple, Briscoe's page-turner starred middle-class black overachievers who were hungry for love and the American dream. MORE
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Book News

Michelle Obama, First Lady of Fashion, Celebrated in New Book
As Michelle Obama nears her first 100 days as First Lady, a new book celebrates her fabulous fashion choices. “It’s her journey to the White House through the filter of her style,” says former fashion mag editor-in-chief Mandi Norwood, author of “Michelle Style: Celebrating the First Lady of Fashion” (William Morrow, $19.99) out May 5, which chronicles Mrs. O’s signature looks — from the belted purple sheath dress she wore on the night her husband got the nomination, to the $148 White House/Black Market black-and-white print dress she bought off the rack.
“Each outfit has a story around it,” says Norwood, who recalls the yellow J.Crew ensemble the First Lady wore on Jay Leno — which she purchased online for under $340. MORE
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Book News

Ualbany Criminal Justice Professor Brings Reality To Her Crime Fiction
Frankie Bailey knows a thing or two about crime writing. As a criminal justice professor at the University at Albany and an avid crime fiction author — she writes the Lizzie Stuart Mystery series — she knows both the realities and fantasies of the genre.

Her 2008 book, "African American Mystery Writers," is an overview produced after reading 139 books, surveying readers online and interviewing authors and scholars. The historical survey begins with the first crime African-Americans wrote about — slavery — and continues to contemporary writers such as Walter Mosley. MORE
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The Author Speaks: Colson Whitehead on Sag Harbor

Colson Whitehead Talks About His New Book " Sag Harbor"
 When an Author speaks about their book, it's a voice full of reasoning as they explain how it was to write the book that they once  lived. Join us as we enjoy the voice of Colson Whitehead as he takes on a leisurely stroll around the Long Island Town of Sag Harbor.
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Book News

Celebs Set to Visit the 2009 African American Pavillion at the BEA
National ( - Starring Wesley Snipes, "Blade" and the new film "Zulu Mech 1"; Zane, New York Times Bestselling Author; Omarosa, (The Apprentice), "The Bitch Switch: Knowing How to Turn It On and Off"; Sybil Wilkes, The Tom Joyner Show, Sybil's Book Club (Live Interviews) in The Pavilion, Saturday, May 30, 12:00 Noon -1:00PM; The Tom Joyner Foundation, Thomas Joyner, Jr.; Mary B. Morrison, New York Times Bestselling Author; Omar Tyree, New York Times Bestselling Author; Nikki Turner, New York Times Bestselling Author; Brenda L. Thomas, Essence Bestselling Author; Carol Mackey, Black Expressions Book Club; Terrie Williams, Essence Bestselling Author; Wade and Cheryl Hudson, Just Us Books; George Fraser; Max Rodriguez; Irene Smalls; Dante Lee, along with Brother G., The Shades of Memnon Book Series and Co-Creator of "Zulu Mech 1"; Mshindo Kuumba 1, Co-Creator of "Charles the Chef" and Co-Creator of "Zulu Mech 1."

Featuring Buffie The Body, Vixon Icon; Mildred Muhammad, Scared Silent-The DC Sniper; Dana Dane, Numbers; The Street Life Series By Kevin Weeks; Bruce George - West Coast Biz; Peggy Brooks - Bertram & Barbara Seals Nevergold; The Latin Temptress; The Divine Expressions Book Club; Helen L. Edwards; Freedom Speaks Diaspora; Kevin Weeks; Dawayne Williams; Raji Cooler; Sherri Glover; Shayla Price; Robin Ayele; Kamau & Aquila Butler. MORE
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Book News

New Book Gives Voice To Last Surviving Children Of Slaves

Many books and films over the last 150 years have explored the social impact that slavery has had on race relations in America. In “Sugar of the Crop: My Journey to Find the Children of Slaves,” author Sana Butler makes an important contribution to the topic by looking at how the lives of the last surviving children born to slaves evolved after the abolition of slavery.
The recently released book chronicles Butler’s 10-year journey to conduct interviews with these survivors and record their stories. Most were in their 90s at the time of their interviews. All have since passed away. MORE
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Book News

74th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Winners Announced
Works Address Issues of Race and Culture, Opening and Challenging Minds

The Cleveland Foundation today announced the winners of the 2009 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. They are:
-- Louise Erdrich, "The Plague of Doves" (Harper Collins)
-- Nam Le, "The Boat" (Knopf)
-- Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Hemingses of Monticello" (W.W. Norton)
-- Paule Marshall - Lifetime Achievement Award
"These 2009 Anisfield-Wolf winners are notable for the thoughtful way each author addresses the provocative and complex issues of race and cultural diversity. Each work is distinct, yet collectively they share an unyielding faith in the essential humanity of their subjects," said Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, who serves as jury chair. "The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards continue to be internationally recognized for shining a light on the many layers of ethnicity and identity in an increasingly cosmopolitan world." MORE
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Book News

Africa’s First Female President Shares Life Story
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the 23rd elected president of Liberia, is Africa's first female elected president. In her political and personal memoir, “This Child Will Be Great,” Sirleaf shows her determination and courage through stories about her happy childhood and unhappy marriage, and gives an inside look at a country that is working to rebuild itself. MORE

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book News

At 38, Ford Jr. Pens Memoir
When Harold Ford Jr. delivered the keynote address at the 2000 Democratic Party convention, the young, charismatic African-American congressman from Memphis was seen as the party’s next rising star.
People began to mention him as a contender to become the country’s first black president.
Ford will describe the lessons he learned from that episode and everything that came next in his 320-page memoir, “More Davids Than Goliaths,” slated for publication in December. He’ll be 39 when his book is published by Crown, a division of Random House. Ford will describe the lessons he learned from that episode and everything that came next in his 320-page memoir, “More Davids Than Goliaths,” slated for publication in December. He’ll be 39 when his book is published by Crown, a division of Random House.More
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Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

Drama of Congolese, Story of Hemingses Win Pulitzers
April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Lynn Nottage’s “Ruined,” a brutal drama about the plight of Congolese women, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama today, while two books of African-American history were awarded prizes.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 'Ruined' by Lynn Nottage wins Pulitzer; Chicago Play Again Snags Top Honor (
Brooklyn writer Lynn Nottage wins Pulitzer MORE

Annette Gordon-Reed’s “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family” (Norton), a history of the family of Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson’s slave and the mother of several of his children, won the history prize, having already won the National Book Award for nonfiction. The award for general nonfiction went to “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans From the Civil War to World War II,” by Douglas A. Blackmon (Doubleday). More
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:Rutgers University, Newark, Professor Annette Gordon-Reed Receives 2009 Pulitizer Prize in History for The Hemingses Of Monticello: An American Family More
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Book News

MCLA Commencement to Feature Musician, Author McBride
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Author, composer and screenwriter James McBride will deliver the keynote address at this year's commencement exercises at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
Graduation will be held Sunday, May 16, at 11 a.m. in the Amsler Campus Center gymnasium.
McBride will receive an honorary doctoral degree from the college along with local educator and 9/11 foundation founder Sarah "Sally" Goodrich and alumnus Brian K. Fitzgerald, executive director of the Business-Higher Education Forum. In recognition of their awards, the honorary degree recipients will have books placed in MCLA's Freel Library in their names.
McBride's landmark memoir "The Color of Water" is considered an American classic and is read in schools and universities across the United States. More than two million copies of the book have sold worldwide. In 2008, his debut novel, "Miracle at St. Anna," was translated into a major motion picture, which was directed by American film icon Spike Lee.His latest novel, "Song Yet Sung," was released in paperback in January 2009. MORE
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Monday, March 30, 2009

A Word For Writers

Plenary Publishing Seeks Emerging African-American Literary Talent
Plenary Publishing is currently seeking manuscripts of African-American interest. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a sales and distribution office in Charleston, South Carolina, the company will publish fiction and non-fiction books of African-American interest.
Plenary’s mission is to develop and to publish stories that depict the depth and beauty of the African-American community. In doing so, the company seeks to enhance the depiction of African-Americans, inspire its target audience to actively improve their lifestyles and create new opportunities for authors of color.
Plenary will publish books in several fiction genres, including: contemporary fiction, children and juvenile literature, Christian/inspirational fiction, romance and mystery/thriller/suspense. Non-fiction areas of interest are business/career/finance, family and relationships, health and wellness, gender-specific issues, political and social issues, crime and justice and Christian/inspirational topics. More
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