September 2012’s Bestselling African American Books

Here are the upcoming bestsellers for African American books (from Amazon.com).

  1. The Cutting Season: A Novel by Attica Locke
    (Harper, 2012-09-18, Hardcover)
    In Black Water Rising, Attica Locke delivered one of the most stunning and sure-handed fiction debuts in recent memory, garnering effusive critical praise, several award nominations, and passionate reader response. Now Locke returns with The Cutting Season, a riveting thriller that intertwines two murders separated across more than a century. Caren Gray manages Belle Vie, a sprawling antebellum plantation that sits between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where the past and the present coexist uneasily. The estate’s owners have turned the place into an eerie tourist attraction, complete with full-dress re-enactments and carefully restored slave quarters. Outside the gates, a corporation with ambitious plans has been busy snapping up land from struggling families who have been growing sugar cane for generations, and now replacing local employees with illegal laborers. Tensions mount when the body of a female migrant worker is found in a shallow grave on the edge of the property, her throat cut clean. As the investigation gets under way, the list of suspects grows. But when fresh evidence comes to light and the sheriff’s department zeros in on a person of interest, Caren has a bad feeling that the police are chasing the wrong leads. Putting herself at risk, she ventures into dangerous territory as she unearths startling new facts about a very old mystery—the long-ago disappearance of a former slave—that has unsettling ties to the current murder. In pursuit of the truth about Belle Vie’s history and her own, Caren discovers secrets about both cases—ones that an increasingly desperate killer will stop at nothing to keep buried. Taut, hauntingly resonant, and beautifully written, The Cutting Season is at once a thoughtful meditation on how America reckons its past with its future, and a high-octane page-turner that unfolds with tremendous skill and vision. With her rare gift for depicting human nature in all its complexities, Attica Locke demonstrates once again that she is “destined for literary stardom” (Dallas Morning News).

     

  2. Trouble & Triumph: A Novel of Power & Beauty by Tip “T.I.” Harris
    (William Morrow, 2012-09-18, Hardcover)
    Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist, music producer, and actor T.I. and his bestselling celebrity collaborator, David Ritz, continue the explosive story of Power and Beauty that began in the street-lit epic Power & Beauty. When his mother, Charlotte, was killed, Paul “Power” Clay and his closest friend, Tanya “Beauty” Long, fell under the spell of a savvy and ruthless Atlanta businessman named Slim, who promised to protect them. Wise beyond her years, Beauty always knew that the only person she could rely on was herself. It didn’t take long for the levelheaded young woman to recognize the simmering violence beneath Slim’s street charm. But getting away from him wasn’t easy, and it came at a heartbreaking price: turning her back on Power. Escaping to the glamorous catwalks of the Big Apple, she’s worked her breathtaking good looks and quick wit to build a thriving fashion business. Despite her success, she’s still haunted by the pain of leaving Power behind. Money and new men cannot erase the memory of the true love she denied. To Power, Slim’s world held everything he thought he wanted: women, wealth, power, authority. He discovered too late that Slim Simmons isn’t just a businessman—he’s a ruthless killer who will turn on anyone he thinks is getting in his way. He is the monster who murdered Charlotte. Now, he controls the fate of her only son. But neither Slim nor Power count on Beauty. Like Slim, she is a master who will manipulate, seduce, and sacrifice to get what she wants. She’s never let anything stop her from fulfilling her desires, and she will broker a dangerous bargain to save the only man she’s ever loved. But is saving Power worth sacrificing herself—body and soul? Will his youthful ambitions lead him to redemption—or deeper into the darkness? Will they both become everything they swore they’d never be? A tale of gangstas and sistas, money masters and politicians, that moves across the globe from Paris to New York, Atlanta to Tokyo, the Caribbean to California, Trouble & Triumph is a hip-hop mash-up of loyalty, betrayal, revenge, desire, greed, family, politics, and absolution—and of two unforgettable young star-crossed lovers from the streets who will risk everything for their dreams . . . and for each other.

     

  3. The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America by Edward J. Blum
    (The University of North Carolina Press, 2012-09-21, Hardcover)
    How is it that in America the image of Jesus Christ has been used both to justify the atrocities of white supremacy and to inspire the righteousness of civil rights crusades? In The Color of Christ, Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey weave a tapestry of American dreams and visions–from witch hunts to web pages, Harlem to Hollywood, slave cabins to South Park, Mormon revelations to Indian reservations–to show how Americans remade the Son of God visually time and again into a sacred symbol of their greatest aspirations, deepest terrors, and mightiest strivings for racial power and justice. The Color of Christ uncovers how, in a country founded by Puritans who destroyed depictions of Jesus, Americans came to believe in the whiteness of Christ. Some envisioned a white Christ who would sanctify the exploitation of Native Americans and African Americans and bless imperial expansion. Many others gazed at a messiah, not necessarily white, who was willing and able to confront white supremacy. The color of Christ still symbolizes America’s most combustible divisions, revealing the power and malleability of race and religion from colonial times to the presidency of Barack Obama.

     

  4. Every Little Thing: Based on the song ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley by Bob Marley
    (Chronicle Books, 2012-09-12, Hardcover)
    Bob Marley’s songs are known the world over for their powerful message of love, peace, and harmony. Now a whole new generation can discover one of his most joyous songs in this reassuring picture book adaptation written by his daughter Cedella and exuberantly illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. This upbeat story reminds children that the sun will always come out after the rain and mistakes are easily forgiven with a hug. Every family will relate to this universal story of one boy who won’t let anything get him down, as long as he has the help of three very special little birds. Including all the lyrics of the original song plus new verses, this cheerful book will bring a smile to faces of all ages—because every little thing’s gonna be all right!

     

  5. A Gangster and A Gentleman by Kiki Swinson
    (Dafina, 2012-09-25, Paperback)

     

  6. Murder Was the Case by Kiki Swinson
    (Melodrama Pub, 2012-09-18, Paperback)

     

  7. Surrender to a Donovan (Kimani Romance) by A.C. Arthur
    (Harlequin Kimani, 2012-09-18, Mass Market Paperback)
    Sean Donovan is a man on a mission—to discover who is behind the popular relationship column that has transformed his family-owned magazine into Miami’s hippest glossy. But Tate Dennison isn’t the sassy columnist the hardworking bachelor expected. Nor is he prepared for the flash fire of passion the stunning single mother arouses.…The hunky magazine executive wants to mix business with pleasure, but Tate has one hard and fast rule: never fall for the boss! The once-burned advice columnist has no intention of becoming the devastatingly attractive playboy’s latest conquest. But what woman can resist Sean’s charms? Once she’s sampled his kisses, can Tate protect her heart—even when a sabotage plot threatens the Donovan empire and their possible future together?

     

  8. My Destiny (Arabesque) by Adrianne Byrd
    (Harlequin Kimani Arabesque, 2012-09-18, Mass Market Paperback)
    When it comes to matchmaking, will two longtime friends put their relationship on the line for the sake of love?For ten years lawyer Destiny Brockman saw her carefree—but very, very fine—neighbor Miles Stafford as just a good friend. After all, she was totally focused on her career and he was the type of brother who put the P in player. So when she swore up and down that there were no good men in Atlanta, Miles proposes a friendly wager. They would set each other up on a date with the perfect match. But the undeniable attraction between them that’s been simmering for years could put Destiny in danger of losing the bet…and winning the sweetest reward.

     

  9. Divine Intervention (Hallelujah Love) by Lutishia Lovely
    (Dafina, 2012-09-25, Paperback)

     

  10. Seduction’s Shift (Shadow Shifters) by A.C. Arthur
    (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 2012-09-25, Mass Market Paperback)
    Seduction’s Shift A.C. Arthur They hide their true nature from the world—part man and part animal—sworn to defend the human race against the untamed beasts among them… She was his first love, his only love. But trying to rescue his beautiful Ary from captivity is one wild risk no man should take. Luckily, Nick Delgado is no ordinary man. His work in the urban jungle as a high-powered litigator has only fueled his ferocity, enflamed his passion—and sharpened his claws—to protect his mate. Ary is a born healer who has devoted her life to the tribe—and her heart to Nick. But when the fierce  and sadistic Sabar turns his jaguar eyes upon her, Ary becomes the unwilling pawn in a deadly game of shifting alliances. One man wants to use her talents to enslave humanity. The other wants to free her from their natural enemy. If Nick hopes to save Ary, he must unleash the beast within—and fight for the woman he loves…

     

  11. The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves’ Civil War by David S. Cecelski
    (The University of North Carolina Press, 2012-09-29, Hardcover)
    Abraham H. Galloway (1837-70) was a fiery young slave rebel, radical abolitionist, and Union spy who rose out of bondage to become one of the most significant and stirring black leaders in the South during the Civil War. Throughout his brief, mercurial life, Galloway fought against slavery and injustice. He risked his life behind enemy lines, recruited black soldiers for the North, and fought racism in the Union army’s ranks. He also stood at the forefront of an African American political movement that flourished in the Union-occupied parts of North Carolina, even leading a historic delegation of black southerners to the White House to meet with President Lincoln and to demand the full rights of citizenship. He later became one of the first black men elected to the North Carolina legislature. Long hidden from history, Galloway’s story reveals a war unfamiliar to most of us. As David Cecelski writes, “Galloway’s Civil War was a slave insurgency, a war of liberation that was the culmination of generations of perseverance and faith.” This riveting portrait illuminates Galloway’s life and deepens our insight into the Civil War and Reconstruction as experienced by African Americans in the South.

     

  12. Pym: A Novel by Mat Johnson
    (Spiegel & Grau, 2012-09-04, Paperback)
    “THE SHARPEST AND MOST UNUSUAL STORY I READ LAST YEAR . . . [Mat] Johnson’s satirical vision roves as freely as Kurt Vonnegut’s and is colored with the same sort of passionate humanitarianism.”—Maud Newton, New York Times MagazineNAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Vanity Fair • Houston Chronicle • The Seattle Times • Salon • National Post • The A.V. Club  Recently canned professor of American literature Chris Jaynes has just made a startling discovery: the manuscript of a crude slave narrative that confirms the reality of Edgar Allan Poe’s strange and only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Determined to seek out Tsalal, the remote island of pure and utter blackness that Poe describes, Jaynes convenes an all-black crew of six to follow Pym’s trail to the South Pole, armed 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. Thus begins an epic journey by an unlikely band of adventurers under the permafrost of Antarctica, beneath the surface of American history, and behind one of literature’s great mysteries.   “Outrageously entertaining, [Pym] brilliantly re-imagines and extends Edgar Allan Poe’s enigmatic and unsettling Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. . . . Part social satire, part meditation on race in America, part metafiction and, just as important, a rollicking fantasy adventure . . . reminiscent of Philip Roth in its seemingly effortless blend of the serious, comic and fantastic.”—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post“Blisteringly funny.”—Laura Miller, Salon“Relentlessly entertaining.”—The New York Times Book Review “Imagine Kurt Vonnegut having a beer with Ralph Ellison and Jules Verne.”—Vanity Fair “Screamingly funny . . . Reading Pym is like opening a big can of whoop-ass and then marveling—gleefully—at all the mayhem that ensues.”—Houston Chronicle

     

  13. Ancient Nubia: African Kingdoms on the Nile by
    (The American University in Cairo Press, 2012-09-06, Hardcover)
    For most of the modern world, ancient Nubia seems an unknown and enigmatic land. Only a handful of archaeologists have studied its history or unearthed the Nubian cities, temples, and cemeteries that once dotted the landscape of southern Egypt and northern Sudan. Nubia’s remote setting in the midst of an inhospitable desert, with access by river blocked by impassable rapids, has lent it not only an air of mystery, but also isolated it from exploration. Over the past century, particularly during this last generation, scholars have begun to focus more attention on the fascinating cultures of ancient Nubia, ironically prompted by the construction of large dams that have flooded vast tracts of the ancient land.This book attempts to document some of what has recently been discovered about ancient Nubia, with its remarkable history, architecture, and culture, and thereby to give us a picture of this rich, but unfamiliar, African legacy.

     

  14. Between Heaven and Here by Susan Straight
    (McSweeney’s, 2012-09-12, Hardcover)
    In August in Rio Seco, California, the ground is too hard to bury a body. But Glorette Picard is dead, and across the canal, out in the orange groves, they’ll gather shovels and pickaxes and soak the dirt until they can lay her coffin down. First, someone needs to find her son Victor, who memorizes SAT words to avoid the guys selling rock, and someone needs to tell her uncle Enrique, who will be the one to hunt down her killer, and someone needs to brush out her perfect crown of hair and paint her cracked toenails. As the residents of this dry-creek town prepare to bury their own, it becomes clear that Glorette’s life and death are deeply entangled with the dark history of the city and the untouchable beauty that, finally, killed her.

     

  15. Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color by Nina G. Jablonski
    (University of California Press, 2012-09-27, Hardcover)
    Living Color is the first book to investigate the social history of skin color from prehistory to the present, showing how our body’s most visible trait influences our social interactions in profound and complex ways. In a fascinating and wide-ranging discussion, Nina G. Jablonski begins with the biology and evolution of skin pigmentation, explaining how skin color changed as humans moved around the globe. She explores the relationship between melanin pigment and sunlight, and examines the consequences of rapid migrations, vacations, and other lifestyle choices that can create mismatches between our skin color and our environment.Richly illustrated, this book explains why skin color has come to be a biological trait with great social meaning– a product of evolution perceived by culture. It considers how we form impressions of others, how we create and use stereotypes, how negative stereotypes about dark skin developed and have played out through history–including being a basis for the transatlantic slave trade. Offering examples of how attitudes about skin color differ in the U.S., Brazil, India, and South Africa, Jablonski suggests that a knowledge of the evolution and social importance of skin color can help eliminate color-based discrimination and racism.

     

  16. Lesson in Romance (Kimani Romance) by Harmony Evans
    (Harlequin Kimani, 2012-09-18, Mass Market Paperback)
    Alex Dovington is a man with a secret. The internationally famous jazz musician never learned to read. If the world—and his legions of fans—knew, it would be a disaster. When he learns Cara Williams has been hired to teach him, he is reluctant to follow the plan. The sultry teacher will be given only three days to teach the music legend everything she knows. But the instructor becomes the student when Alex turns their mountaintop classroom into a sensual duet of passion.Cara will do anything to keep the doors of her Harlem literacy center open. Even tutor the scandalously handsome saxophone player at his romantic weekend retreat. Alex may be schooling her in the fine art of lovemaking, but Cara has her own secret—one that could tear them apart forever.…

     

  17. After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa by Douglas Foster
    (Liveright, 2012-09-10, Hardcover)
    The most important historical and journalistic portrait to date of a teetering nation whose destiny will determine the fate of a continent.A brutally honest exposé, After Mandela provides a sobering portrait of a country caught between a democratic future and a political meltdown. Recent works have focused primarily on Nelson Mandela’s transcendent story. But Douglas Foster, a leading South Africa authority with early, unprecedented access to President Zuma and to the next generation in the Mandela family, traces the nation’s entire post-apartheid arc, from its celebrated beginnings under “Madiba” to Thabo Mbeki’s tumultuous rule to the ferocious battle between Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. Foster tells this story not only from the point of view of the emerging black elite but also, drawing on hundreds of rare interviews over a six-year period, from the perspectives of ordinary citizens, including an HIV-infected teenager living outside Johannesburg and a homeless orphan in Cape Town. This is the long-awaited, revisionist account of a country whose recent history has been not just neglected but largely ignored by the West. 8 pages of illustrations

     

  18. Champagne Kisses (Kimani Romance) by Zuri Day
    (Harlequin Kimani, 2012-09-18, Mass Market Paperback)
    An heir to Southern California’s most fabled vineyard, Donovan Drake works as hard as he plays. Betrayed by love in the past, the consummate bachelor prides himself on never committing to one woman. But Marissa Hayes isn’t just any woman. And Donovan has just two weeks to show the guarded, voluptuous beauty exactly what she’s been missing.…Falling for her boss is number one on Marissa’s list of don’ts. But from the moment she experiences Donovan’s intoxicating touch, her heart tells her something else. Slowly but surely, his seduction is breaking down her defenses. Is their passion as fleeting as her brief stay at Donovan’s fabulous resort? Or have they found a love as timeless as the finest wine—strong enough to withstand anything, even a threat from Marissa’s past?

     

  19. Evidence of Desire (Kimani Romance) by Pamela Yaye
    (Harlequin Kimani, 2012-09-18, Mass Market Paperback)
    Azure Ellison may have undergone a total makeover, but she never expects to be romanced by Harper Hamilton, her former prep school friend. The ambitious journalist is after a career-making story about Harper’s powerful Philadelphia family. But the charismatic attorney wants something from Azure in return: her vow to become his lawful wife in a marriage of convenience!Harper can’t believe the girl he once knew has transformed into this stunning, successful beauty. The longtime bachelor has his own reasons for proposing, but Azure has awakened a desire he’s determined to consummate. With the paparazzi eager for the wedding of the year, Harper is ready to start his honeymoon. Until a breaking scandal about the Hamilton dynasty threatens his marriage to the woman he now wants to have and to hold forever…

     

  20. One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir by Binyavanga Wainaina
    (Graywolf Press, 2012-09-04, Paperback)
    “A Kenyan Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man . . . suffused by a love affair with language.”—Publishers Weekly, Top Ten Books of 2011In this vivid and compelling memoir, Binyavanga Wainaina tumbles through his middle-class Kenyan childhood out of kilter with the world around him. In One Day I Will Write About This Place, named a 2011 New York Times notable book, Wainaina brilliantly evokes family, tribe, and nationhood in joyous, ecstatic language.

     

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