A list of the bestselling books to be released in February, just in time for Black History Month.
- Queen Sugar: A Novel by Natalie Baszile
( Pamela Dorman Books , 2/6/2014 , Hardcover )
Why exactly Charley Bordelon’s late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her eleven-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles. They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that’s mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart. Penguin has a rich tradition of publishing strong Southern debut fiction from Sue Monk Kidd to Kathryn Stockett to Beth Hoffman. In Queen Sugar, we now have a debut from the African American point of view. Stirring in its storytelling of one woman against the odds and initimate in its exploration of the complexities of contemporary southern life, Queen Sugar is an unforgettable tale of endurance and hope.
- South Beach Cartel – Part 1 by Nisa Santiago
( Melodrama Publishing , 2/4/2014 , Paperback )
TRIO OF TERROR Cartier Timmons is infuriated by the tragedy and vengeance inflicted upon her family. She’s making savage rounds through Miami until she can bring her own brand of hood justice to the cartel who messed with hers. After a reunion that seemed like a dream come true, Citi and her mother Ashanti clash heads in a power struggle. Ashanti plays her position as the head chick in charge, and Citi is ostracized from the family. With no money, she’s once again forced to make her way back to the throne. Apple is growing restless in Colombia with Kola and Eduardo. She’s tired of the controlling situation and wants to resume making money. Plus, she can’t let go of the idea of finding her daughter Peaches. The search takes her to Miami, where she runs into her old friend from New York, Cartier. When Apple, Cartier, and Citi meet up, there’s an instant realization that the three can take down their opponents and rule the MIA, inflict pain and taking their spots as the Queen B’s of Miami.
- The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation by David Brion Davis
( Knopf , 2/4/2014 , Hardcover )
From the revered historian, the long-awaited conclusion of the magisterial history of slavery and emancipation in Western culture that has been nearly fifty years in the making. David Brion Davis is one of the foremost historians of the twentieth century, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bancroft Prize, and nearly every award given by the historical profession. Now, with The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation, Davis brings his staggeringly ambitious, prizewinning trilogy on slavery in Western culture to a close. Once again, Davis offers original and penetrating insights into what slavery and emancipation meant to Americans. He explores how the Haitian Revolution respectively terrified and inspired white and black Americans, hovering over the antislavery debates like a bloodstained ghost, and he offers a surprising analysis of the complex and misunderstood significance of colonization—the project to move freed slaves back to Africa—to members of both races and all political persuasions. He vividly portrays the dehumanizing impact of slavery, as well as the generally unrecognized importance of freed slaves to abolition. Most of all, Davis presents the age of emancipation as a model for reform and as probably the greatest landmark of willed moral progress in human history.
- The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat (Vintage Contemporaries) by Edward Kelsey Moore
( Vintage , 2/4/2014 , Paperback )
Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat diner in Plainview, Indiana is home away from home for Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean. Dubbed The Supremes by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they’ve weathered life’s storms for over four decades and counseled one another through marriage and children, happiness and the blues. Now, however, they’re about to face their most challenging year yet. Proud, talented Clarice is struggling to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband’s humiliating infidelities; beautiful Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair; and fearless Odette is about to embark on the most terrifying battle of her life. With wit, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together three devoted allies in a warmhearted novel that celebrates female friendship and second chances.
- A Deeper Love Inside: The Porsche Santiaga Story by Sister Souljah
( Atria/Emily Bestler Books , 2/18/2014 , Paperback )
At last, mega-bestselling author Sister Souljah delivers the stunning sequel to The Coldest Winter Ever that fans have been eagerly waiting for. Frighteningly fierce, raw, and completely unpredictable, this coming-of-age adventure is woven with emotional intensity. A Deeper Love Inside is written in the words of Porsche Santiaga, Winter’s sharp-tongued, quick-witted younger sister. Porsche worships Winter. A natural born hustler, Porsche is also cut from the same cloth as her father, the infamous Ricky Santiaga. Passionate and loyal to the extreme, Porsche refuses to accept her new life in group homes, foster care, and juvenile detention after her wealthy family is torn apart. Porsche — unique, young, and beautiful — cries as much as she fights and uses whatever she has to reclaim her status. Unselfishly, she pushes to get back everything that ever belonged to her loving family.
- American Cocktail: A Colored Girl in the World by Anita Reynolds
( Harvard University Press , 2/24/2014 , Hardcover )
This is the rollicking, never-before-published memoir of a fascinating woman with an uncanny knack for being in the right place in the most interesting times. Of racially mixed heritage, Anita Reynolds was proudly African American but often passed for Indian, Mexican, or Creole. Actress, dancer, model, literary critic, psychologist, but above all free-spirited provocateur, she was, as her Parisian friends nicknamed her, an American cocktail. One of the first black stars of the silent era, she appeared in Hollywood movies with Rudolph Valentino, attended Charlie Chaplin’s anarchist meetings, and studied dance with Ruth St. Denis. She moved to New York in the 1920s and made a splash with both Harlem Renaissance elites and Greenwich Village bohemians. An émigré in Paris, she fell in with the Left Bank avant garde, befriending Antonin Artaud, Man Ray, and Pablo Picasso. Next, she took up residence as a journalist in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and witnessed firsthand the growing menace of fascism. In 1940, as the Nazi panzers closed in on Paris, Reynolds spent the final days before the French capitulation as a Red Cross nurse, afterward making a mad dash for Lisbon to escape on the last ship departing Europe. In prose that perfectly captures the globetrotting nonchalance of its author, American Cocktail presents a stimulating, unforgettable self-portrait of a truly extraordinary woman.
- Scalawag: A White Southerner’s Journey through Segregation to Human Rights Activism by Edward H. Peeples
( University of Virginia Press , 2/21/2014 , Hardcover )
Scalawag tells the surprising story of a white working-class boy who became an unlikely civil rights activist. Born in 1935 in Richmond, where he was sent to segregated churches and schools, Ed Peeples was taught the ethos and lore of white supremacy by every adult in his young life. That message came with an equally cruel one—that, as the child of a wage-earning single mother, he was destined for failure.But by age nineteen Peeples became what the whites in his world called a traitor to the race. Pushed by a lone teacher to think critically, Peeples found his way to the black freedom struggle and began a long life of activism. He challenged racism in his U.S. Navy unit and engaged in sit-ins and community organizing. Later, as a university professor, he agitated for good jobs, health care, and decent housing for all, pushed for the creation of African American studies courses at his university, and worked toward equal treatment for women, prison reform, and more. Peeples did most of his human rights work in his native Virginia, and his story reveals how institutional racism pervaded the Upper South as much as the Deep South.Covering fifty years’ participation in the long civil rights movement, Peeples’s gripping story brings to life an unsung activist culture to which countless forgotten individuals contributed, over time expanding their commitment from civil rights to other causes. This engrossing, witty tale of escape from what once seemed certain fate invites readers to reflect on how moral courage can transform a life.
- Fortune & Fame: A Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray
( Touchstone , 2/25/2014 , Paperback )
Jasmine Cox Larson Bush and Rachel Jackson Adams have been through a lot together—from fighting for their husbands to become the head of the American Baptist Coalition to getting mixed up in a terrible murder. Now the frenemies have found themselves the stars of First Ladies, a much-anticipated new reality television show. Jasmine balks at the idea of airing her dirty laundry on national TV, but Rachel sees it as the perfect opportunity to take her brand to the next level. And if Rachel is in, so is Jasmine. All the cast members are women of God—how much drama can there be? Rachel and Jasmine know their own pasts are murky, but they’ll seem like choir girls when the secrets and sins of the others come to light. The two will once again have to form an unholy alliance to go up against these so-called Godly women who see the show as their chance to take them down—at any cost.
- The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss by Charles W. Eagles
( The University of North Carolina Press , 2/1/2014 , Paperback )
When James Meredith enrolled as the first African American student at the University of Mississippi in 1962, the resulting riots produced more casualties than any other clash of the civil rights era. Eagles shows that the violence resulted from the university’s and the state’s long defiance of the civil rights movement and federal law. Ultimately, the price of such behavior–the price of defiance–was not only the murderous riot that rocked the nation and almost closed the university but also the nation’s enduring scorn for Ole Miss and Mississippi. Eagles paints a remarkable portrait of Meredith himself by describing his unusual family background, his personal values, and his service in the U.S. Air Force, all of which prepared him for his experience at Ole Miss.
- Malcolm X at Oxford Union: Racial Politics in a Global Era (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities) by Saladin Ambar
( Oxford University Press, USA , 2/10/2014 , Hardcover )
In 1964 Malcolm X was invited to debate at the Oxford Union Society at Oxford University. The topic of debate that evening was the infamous phrase from Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Republican Convention speech:Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. At a time when Malcolm was traveling widely and advocating on behalf of blacks in America and other nations, his thirty minute speech at the Oxford Union stands out as one of the great addresses of the civil rights era. Delivered just months before his assassination, the speech followed a period in which Malcolm had traveled throughout Africa and much of the Muslim world. The journey broadened his political thought to encompass decolonization, the revolutions underway in the developing world, and the relationship between American blacks and non-white populations across the globe-including England. Facing off against debaters in one of world’s most elite institutions, he delivered a revolutionary message that tackled a staggering array of issues: the nature of national identity; US foreign policy in the developing world; racial politics at home; the experiences of black immigrants in England; and the nature of power in the contemporary world. It represents a moment when his thought had advanced to its furthest point, shedding the parochial concerns of previous years for an increasingly global and humanist approach to ushering in social change. Set to publish near the fiftieth anniversary of his death, Malcolm X at Oxford Union will reshape our understanding not only of the man himself, but world politics both then and now.
- Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas by Emory Douglas
( Rizzoli , 2/4/2014 , Hardcover )
A reformatted and reduced price edition of the first book to show the provocative posters and groundbreaking graphics of the Black Panther Party. The Black Panther Party for Self Defense, formed in the aftermath of the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965, sounded a defiant cry for an end to the institutionalized subjugation of African Americans. The Black Panther newspaper was founded to articulate the party’s message, and artist Emory Douglas became the paper’s art director and later the party’s minister of culture. Douglas’s artistic talents and experience proved a powerful combination: his striking collages of photographs and his own drawings combined to create some of the era’s most iconic images. This landmark book brings together a remarkable lineup of party insiders who detail the crafting of the party’s visual identity.
- Plantation Church: How African American Religion Was Born in Caribbean Slavery by Noel Leo Erskine
( Oxford University Press, USA , 2/6/2014 , Paperback )
Noel Leo Erskine investigates the history of the Black Church as it developed both in the United States and the Caribbean after the arrival of enslaved Africans. Typically, when people talk about the Black Church they are referring to African-American churches in the U.S., but in fact, the majority of African slaves were brought to the Caribbean. It was there, Erskine argues, that the Black religious experience was born. The massive Afro-Caribbean population was able to establish a form of Christianity that preserved African Gods and practices, but fused them with Christian teachings, resulting in religions such as Cuba’s Santería. The Black religious experience in the U.S. was markedly different because African Americans were a political and cultural minority. The Plantation Church became a place of solace and resistance that provided its members with a sense of kinship, not only to each other but also to their ancestral past.Despite their common origins, the Caribbean and African American Church are almost never studied together. Plantation Church examines the parallel histories of these two strands of the Black Church, showing where their historical ties remain strong and where different circumstances have led them down unexpectedly divergent paths. The result will be a work that illuminates the histories, theologies, politics, and practices of both branches of the Black Church.
- Humbled (Urban Books) by Patricia Haley
( Urban Books , 2/25/2014 , Paperback )
- Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood by Carole Boston Weatherford
( Albert Whitman & Company , 2/1/2014 , Hardcover )
Take a walk through Harlem’s Sugar Hill and meet all the amazing people who made this neighborhood legendary. With upbeat rhyming, read-aloud text, Sugar Hill celebrates the Harlem neighborhood that successful African Americans first called home during the 1920s. Children raised in Sugar Hill not only looked up to these achievers but also experienced art and culture at home, at church, and in the community. Books, music lessons, and art classes expanded their horizons beyond the narrow limits of segregation. Includes brief biographies of jazz greats Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis; artists Aaron Douglas and Faith Ringgold; entertainers Lena Horne and the Nicholas Brothers; writer Zora Neale Hurston; civil rights leader W. E. B. DuBois and lawyer Thurgood Marshall.
- Willow by Tonya Cherie Hegamin
( Candlewick , 2/11/2014 , Hardcover )
In 1848, an educated slave girl faces an inconceivable choice — between bondage and freedom, family and love.On one side of the Mason-Dixon Line lives fifteen-year-old Willow, her master’s favorite servant. She’s been taught to read and has learned to write. She believes her master is good to her and fears the rebel slave runaways. On the other side of the line is seventeen-year-old Cato, a black man, free born. It’s his personal mission to sneak as many fugitive slaves to freedom as he can. Willow’s and Cato’s lives are about to intersect, with life-changing consequences for both of them. Tonya Cherie Hegamin’s moving coming-of-age story is a poignant meditation on the many ways a person can be enslaved, and the force of will needed to be truly emancipated.
- Game World by C.J. Farley
( Black Sheep , 2/4/2014 , Hardcover )
Dylan Rudee’s life is an epic fail. He’s bullied at school and plagued by seizures, until his videogame skills unlock a real-life fantasy world inside a new game. But now actual monsters are trying to kill him. In order to save his sister and his friends, Dylan must solve the game’s dangerous mystery in three days.
- Southern Cross the Dog by Bill Cheng
( Ecco , 2/4/2014 , Paperback )
In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O’Connor, Bill Cheng’s Southern Cross the Dog is an epic literary debut in which the bonds between three childhood friends are upended by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. In its aftermath, one young man must choose between the lure of the future and the claims of the past. Having lost virtually everything in the fearsome storm—home, family, first love—Robert Chatham embarks on an odyssey that takes him through the deep South, from the desperation of a refugee camp to the fiery and raucous brothel Hotel Beau-Miel and into the Mississippi hinterland, where he joins a crew hired to clear the swamp and build a dam. Along his journey he encounters piano-playing hustlers, ne’er-do-well Klansmen, well-intentioned whores, and a family of fur trappers, the L’Etangs, whose very existence is threatened by the swamp-clearing around them. The L’Etang brothers are fierce and wild but there is something soft about their cousin Frankie, possibly the only woman capable of penetrating Robert’s darkest places and overturning his conviction that he’s marked by the devil. Teeming with language that renders both the savage beauty and complex humanity of our shared past, Southern Cross the Dog is a tour de force that heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.
- Geographies of Liberation: The Making of an Afro-Arab Political Imaginary (The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture) by Alex Lubin
( The University of North Carolina Press , 2/10/2014 , Paperback )
In this absorbing transnational history, Alex Lubin reveals the vital connections between African American political thought and the people and nations of the Middle East. Spanning the 1850s through the present, and set against a backdrop of major political and cultural shifts around the world, the book demonstrates how international geopolitics, including the ascendance of liberal internationalism, established the conditions within which blacks imagined their freedom and, conversely, the ways in which various Middle Eastern groups have understood and used the African American freedom struggle to shape their own political movements. Lubin extends the framework of the black freedom struggle beyond the familiar geographies of the Atlantic world and sheds new light on the linked political, social, and intellectual imaginings of African Americans, Palestinians, Arabs, and Israeli Jews. This history of intellectual exchange, Lubin argues, has forged political connections that extend beyond national and racial boundaries.
- Harmony Cabins (A Finding Home Novel) by Regina Hart
( Dafina , 2/4/2014 , Mass Market Paperback )