Here are 2012’s bestsellers for African American books (from Amazon.com).
- Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson
(Little, Brown and Company, 2012-11-12, Hardcover)
It’s Christmas Eve and Detective Alex Cross has been called out to catch someone who’s robbing his church’s poor box. That mission behind him, Alex returns home to celebrate with Bree, Nana, and his children. The tree decorating is barely underway before his phone rings again–a horrific hostage situation is quickly spiraling out of control. Away from his own family on the most precious of days, Alex calls upon every ounce of his training, creativity, and daring to save another family. Alex risks everything–and he may not make it back alive on this most sacred of family days. Alex Cross is a hero for our time, and never more so than in this story of family, action, and the deepest moral choices. MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALEX CROSS will be a holiday classic for years to come.
- The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0) by Ayana Mathis
(Knopf, 2012-12-06, Hardcover)
Ayana Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration through the trials of one unforgettable family. 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. Ayana Mathis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is her first novel.
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
(New Press, The, 2012-01-16, Paperback)
Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as “brave and bold,” this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a “call to action.”Called “stunning” by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David Levering Lewis, “invaluable” by the Daily Kos, “explosive” by Kirkus, and “profoundly necessary” by the Miami Herald, this updated and revised paperback edition of The New Jim Crow, now with a foreword by Cornel West, is a must-read for all people of conscience.
- Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson
(Random House, 2012-06-26, Hardcover)
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 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.
- It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership by Colin Powell
(Harper, 2012-05-22, Hardcover)
It Worked for Me is filled with vivid experiences and lessons learned that have shaped the legendary public service career of the four-star general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. At its heart are Powell’s “Thirteen Rules”—notes he gathered over the years and that now form the basis of his leadership presentations given throughout the world. Powell’s short but sweet rules—among them, “Get mad, then get over it” and “Share credit”—are illustrated by revealing personal stories that introduce and expand upon his principles for effective leadership: conviction, hard work, and, above all, respect for others. In work and in life, Powell writes, “it’s about how we touch and are touched by the people we meet. It’s all about the people.” A natural storyteller, Powell offers warm and engaging parables with wise advice on succeeding in the workplace and beyond. “Trust your people,” he counsels as he delegates presidential briefing responsibilities to two junior State Department desk officers. “Do your best—someone is watching,” he advises those just starting out, recalling his own teenage summer job mopping floors in a soda-bottling factory. Powell combines the insights he has gained serving in the top ranks of the military and in four presidential administrations with the lessons he’s learned from his immigrant-family upbringing in the Bronx, his training in the ROTC, and his growth as an Army officer. The result is a powerful portrait of a leader who is reflective, self-effacing, and grateful for the contributions of everyone he works with. Colin Powell’s It Worked for Me is bound to inspire, move, and surprise readers. Thoughtful and revealing, it is a brilliant and original blueprint for leadership.
- The Cartel 4 by Ashley and JaQuavis
(Kensington, 2012-11-01, Paperback)
[MP3CD audiobook format in vinyl case.] [Read by Cary Hite] New York Times bestselling authors Ashley and JaQuavis deliver the highly anticipated fourth installment of the wildly popular ‘Cartel’ series. You thought the Cartel was over, but Diamonds are forever . . . The Diamond family has survived murder, deceit, and betrayal. Through it all, they’re still standing tall, and a new era has begun. After surviving an attempt on her life, Breeze has moved into the queen’s position by Zyir’s side. Zyir has taken over the empire and locked down Miami’s streets; the world is in his hands. But there is always new blood ready to overthrow the throne. Young Carter has retired and moved away from the madness — that is, until he gets an unexpected visitor at his home. This person shakes up the whole family, causing chaos that threatens to bring down the Cartel for good. [*Produced by Buck 50 Productions]
- Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson
(Vision, 2012-11-20, Mass Market Paperback)
The only wayDetective Alex Cross is one of the first on the scene of the biggest case he’s ever been part of. The President’s son and daughter have been abducted from their school – an impossible crime, but somehow the kidnapper has done it. Alex does everything he can but is shunted to the fringes of the investigation. Someone powerful doesn’t want Cross too close.To stop Alex CrossA deadly contagion in the DC water supply threatens to cripple the capital, and Alex sees the looming shape of the most devastating attack the United States has ever experienced. He is already working flat-out on the abduction, and this massive assault pushes Cross completely over the edge.Is to kill himWith each hour that passes, the chance of finding the children alive diminishes. In an emotional private meeting, the First Lady asks Alex to please save her kids. Even the highest security clearance doesn’t get him any closer to the kidnapper – and Alex makes a desperate decision that goes against everything he believes. A full-throttle thriller with unstoppable action, unrestrained emotion, and relentless suspense, Kill Alex Cross is the most gripping Alex Cross novel James Patterson has ever written.
- Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery by Deborah Willis
(Temple University Press, 2012-12-05, Hardcover)
What freedom looked like for black Americans in the Civil War era
- Salvage the Bones: A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
(Bloomsbury USA, 2012-04-24, Paperback)
Winner of the 2011 National Book Award A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn’t show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting.As the twelve days that make up the novel’s framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family-motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce-pulls itself up to face another day. A big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bones is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.
- How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston
(Harper Paperbacks, 2012-10-30, Paperback)
Have you ever been called “too black” or “not black enough”? Have you ever befriended or worked with a black person? Have you ever heard of black people? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book is for you. Raised by a pro-black, Pan-Afrikan single mother during the crack years of 1980s Washington, DC, and educated at Sidwell Friends School and Harvard University, Baratunde Thurston has more than over thirty years’ experience being black. Now, through stories of his politically inspired Nigerian name, the heroics of his hippie mother, the murder of his drug-abusing father, and other revelatory black details, he shares with readers of all colors his wisdom and expertise in how to be black. Beyond memoir, this guidebook offers practical advice on everything from “How to Be the Black Friend” to “How to Be the (Next) Black President” to “How to Celebrate Black History Month.”
- An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny by Laura Schroff
(Howard Books, 2012-08-07, Paperback)
Stopping was never part of the plan . . . She was a successful ad sales rep in Manhattan. He was a homeless, eleven-year-old panhandler on the street. He asked for spare change; she kept walking. But then something stopped her in her tracks, and she went back. And she continued to go back, again and again. They met up nearly every week for years and built an unexpected, life-changing friendship that has today spanned almost three decades. Whatever made me notice him on that street corner so many years ago is clearly something that cannot be extinguished, no matter how relentless the forces aligned against it. Some may call it spirit. Some may call it heart. It drew me to him, as if we were bound by some invisible, unbreakable thread. And whatever it is, it binds us still.
- Home by Toni Morrison
(Knopf, 2012-05-08, Hardcover)
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.
- Dear Father, Dear Son: Two Lives… Eight Hours by Larry Elder
(WND Books, 2012-11-13, Hardcover)
The latest book by New York Times best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Larry Elder. “Dear Father, Dear Son” is a personal memoir of Elder’s troubled — one might even say tortured — relationship with his father, and the astonishing outcome that develops when Elder, at long last, confronts him. As reflected in the book’s subtitle — “Two Lives … Eight Hours” — one extraordinary, all- day conversation between Elder and his long- estranged father utterly transformed their relationship. “Dear Father, Dear Son” is the story of one man discovering a son he never really knew. And of the son finding a man, a friend, a father who had really been there all along.
- The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter
(Knopf, 2012-07-10, Hardcover)
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.
- The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
(Tribeca Books, 2012-06-22, Paperback)
This is a beautiful designed large format edition of the classic THE MIS-EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO by Carter G. Woodson. One of the most important books on education ever written.
- How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America by Otis Webb Brawley
(St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012-10-30, Paperback)
How We Do Harm exposes the underbelly of healthcare today—the overtreatment of the rich, the under treatment of the poor, the financial conflicts of interest that determine the care that physicians’ provide, insurance companies that don’t demand the best (or even the least expensive) care, and pharmaceutical companies concerned with selling drugs, regardless of whether they improve health or do harm. Dr. Otis Brawley is the chief medical and scientific officer of The American Cancer Society, an oncologist with a dazzling clinical, research, and policy career. How We Do Harm pulls back the curtain on how medicine is really practiced in America. Brawley tells of doctors who select treatment based on payment they will receive, rather than on demonstrated scientific results; hospitals and pharmaceutical companies that seek out patients to treat even if they are not actually ill (but as long as their insurance will pay); a public primed to swallow the latest pill, no matter the cost; and rising healthcare costs for unnecessary—and often unproven—treatments that we all pay for. Brawley calls for rational healthcare, healthcare drawn from results-based, scientifically justifiable treatments, and not just the peddling of hot new drugs.Brawley’s personal history – from a childhood in the gang-ridden streets of black Detroit, to the green hallways of Grady Memorial Hospital, the largest public hospital in the U.S., to the boardrooms of The American Cancer Society—results in a passionate view of medicine and the politics of illness in America – and a deep understanding of healthcare today. How We Do Harm is his well-reasoned manifesto for change.
- What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
(Candlewick, 2012-01-03, Hardcover)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball legend and the NBA’s alltime leading scorer, champions a lineupof little-known African-American inventors in this lively, kid-friendly book.Did you know that James West invented the microphone in your cell phone? That Fred Jones invented the refrigerated truck that makes supermarkets possible? Or that Dr. Percy Julian synthesized cortisone from soy, easing untold people’s pain? These are just some of the black inventors and innovators scoring big points in this dynamic look at several unsung heroes who shared a desire to improve people’s lives. Offering profiles with fast facts on flaps and framed by a funny contemporary story featuring two feisty twins, here is a nod to the minds behind the gamma electric cell and the ice-cream scoop, improvements to traffic lights, open-heart surgery, and more – inventors whose ingenuity and perseverance against great odds made our world safer, better, and brighter.
- Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me by R. Kelly
(SmileyBooks, 2012-06-28, Hardcover)
Who is R. Kelly? Three-time Grammy winner, who has sold more than 35 million records worldwide. Legendary writer and producer, who collaborated with such music icons as Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Jay-Z, and Aretha Franklin. Visionary cultural messenger, who created the hip hopera phenomenon Trapped in the Closet. Creative genius. Sex symbol. The man who puts the “R” in R&B. Through the iconic anthem “I Believe I Can Fly” and such sexy R&B mega-hits as “Bump N’ Grind,” “Ignition,” and “When a Woman’s Fed Up,” R. Kelly has proven to be one of the greatest musical talents of his generation. Yet his rollercoaster ride to the top has been as perilous as it has been exhilarating. In Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me, Kelly shares his life story through episodic tales and exclusive color photographs, exploring his meteoric rises and sudden falls. From the crippling learning disorder that rendered him unable to read or write, to the teacher/mentor who prophesized that his destiny was in music, not basketball, we follow his evolution from Chicago street performer to struggling L.A. musician and beyond. Kelly reveals his hard-won ascent to superstardom and his battle to move forward after legal and personal ordeals that threatened to destroy his life. Now back at the top, Kelly recounts the surprising twists and turns that have taken him to new heights of maturity and artistry. Part memoir, part keepsake, Soulacoaster unlocks the door to R. Kelly’s story as only he can tell it, promising his fans an intimate and unforgettable ride.