Category Archives: Bestselling African American Authors

New books by bestselling and recognized black authors are featured at the Books of Soul site.

Essence Magazine, August 2014

Essence Magazine’s Book Features for August 2014

Essence Magazine’s book features for August 2014, highlighting an interview with Patrik Henry Bass (“The Zero Degree Zombie Zone”) and an article on Steve Harvey and Lisa Nichols (“Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success”):



The Zero Degree Zombie Zone
Patrik Henry Bass (Author), Jerry Craft (Illustrator)

Scholastic Press
August 26, 2014

Shy fourth-grader Bakari Katari Johnson is having a bad day. He’s always coming up against Tariq Thomas, the most popular kid in their class, and today is no different. On top of that, Bakari has found a strange ring that appears to have magical powers–and the people from the ring’s fantastical other world want it back! Can Bakari and his best friend Wardell stave off the intruders’ attempts, keep the ring safe, and stand up to Tariq and his pal Keisha, all before the school bell rings?

Media celebrity and Essence Magazine entertainment producer, Patrik Henry Bass delivers adventure, fun, fantasy and friendship in this illustrated action-packed adventure starring an African American boy hero and his classmates.

I Know What You’re Thinking: Using the Four Codes of Reading People to Improve Your Life
by Lillian Glass

Wiley
May 2, 2003

Knowing how to read people– picking up on and interpreting their hidden cues– is a tremendous asset for virtually anything you do. In I Know What You’re Thinking, psychologist, bestselling author, and communications expert Dr. Lillian Glass helps you develop a tremendous new set of skills that will make you more perceptive, more powerful, and more successful. As she has done for her numerous clients, Dr. Glass shows you– step by step– how to gain the power to know the truth about people. Through simple quizzes and easy-to-follow exercises, you’ll learn to improve your judgment of others and make better decisions while projecting confidence, sincerity, and strength. With this fun, down-to-earth guide, you’ll be able to look anyone in the eye with a quiet self-assurance that says I Know What You’re Thinking.

You Say More Than You Think: A 7-Day Plan for Using the New Body Language to Get What You Want
by Janine Driver

Harmony
January 4, 2011

Now You’re Talking!
Do you want to be bulletproof at work, secure in your relationship, and content in your own skin? If so, it’s more important than ever to be aware of what your body is saying to the outside world. Unfortunately, most of what you’ve heard from other body language experts is wrong, and, as a result, your actions may be hurting, not helping, you.

With sass and a keen eye, media favorite Janine Driver teaches you the skills she used every day to stay alive during her fifteen years as a body-language expert at the ATF. Janine’s 7-day plan and her 7-second solutions teach you dozens of body language fixes to turn any interpersonal situation to your advantage. She reveals methods here that other experts refuse to share with the public, and she debunks major myths other experts swear are fact:

Giving more eye contact is key when you’re trying to impress someone. Not necessarily true. It’s actually more important where you point your belly button. This small body shift communicates true interest more powerfully than constant eye contact.

The ‘steeple” hand gesture will give you the upper hand during negotiations and business meetings. Wrong. Driver has seen this overbearing gesture backfire more often than not. Instead, she suggests two new steeples that give you power without making you seem overly aggressive: the Basketball Steeple and the A-OK Two-Fingered Steeple.

Happy people command power and attention by smiling just before they meet new people. Studies have shown that people who do this are viewed as Beta Leaders. Alpha leaders smile once they shake your hand and hear your name.

At a time when every advantage counts — and first impressions matter more than ever — this is the book to help you really get your message across.

Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life’s Riches
Steve Harvey

Amistad
September 9, 2014
Hardcover

In his phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Steve Harvey told women what it takes to succeed in love. Now, he tells everyone how to succeed in life, giving you the keys to fulfill your purpose.

Countless books on success tell you what you need to get that you don’t already possess. In Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success, Steve Harvey tells you how to achieve your dreams using the gift you already have. Every one of us was born with a gift endowed by our creator — something you do the best at with very little effort. While it can be like someone else’s, your gift is yours alone. No one can take it away. You are the only one who can use it — or waste it.

Steve shows how that gift holds your greatest chance at success, and the fulfillment of your life’s mission and purpose. He helps you learn to define your gift — whether it’s being a problem solver, a people-connector, a whiz with numbers, or having an eye for colors. He makes clear that your job is not your gift; you may use it in your work, but it can also be used in your marriage or relationship, your community, and throughout every aspect of your life. Throughout, he provides a set of principles that will help you direct your gift. “The scriptures say your gift will make room for you and put you in the presence of great men,” Steve reminds us. This book is your roadmap to identifying your gift, acknowledging it, perfecting it, connecting it to a vehicle, and riding it to success. Because Success is the gift you already have.”

Funny yet firm, told in Steve’s warm and insightful voice, and peppered with anecdotes from his own life, practical advice, and truthful insights, this essential guide can help you transform your life and achieve everything you were born to.

Ebony Magazine, August 2014

Ebony Magazine’s Book Features for August 2014

Ebony Magazine’s book selections for August 2014, featuring their “Great Book Club Finds” (Angela Burt-Murray’s “Games Divas Play,” Dwayne Alexander Smith’s “Forty Acres,” and Wayne Pharr’s “Nine Lives of a Black Panther: A Story of Survival,” Zane’s “The Other Side of the Pillow”):

Games Divas Play (A Diva Mystery Novel)

by Angela Burt-Murray

Thomas & Mercer
July 29, 2014
Paperback

An ambitious entertainment reporter, millionaire basketball player, desperate wife, scandalous groupie, and murderous stalker. Games Divas Play takes you inside the high-stakes world of professional sports, where everyone plays to win.

When Nia Bullock lands a job as editor-in-chief of the hot new magazine and web site DivaDish, she finds that her platinum dreams can quickly turn into a nightmare. Battling backstabbing colleagues and reeling from murderous threats, she must turn to an ex-boyfriend for help.

Vanessa King, the first lady of the NBA, is looking for a fresh start with her husband, Marcus, the new star point guard for the New York Gladiators who’s as popular with the ladies as he is with hoops fans. Since marrying her college sweetheart, Vanessa has learned to deal with life with a professional athlete — the groupies, the paparazzi, and the unchecked ego of a man the sports world puts on a pedestal.

When Laila James, self-proclaimed “Golden Goddess,” sets her sights on Marcus and shops a reality show based on their affair — and then a dangerous stalker threatens his family — Vanessa turns to her best friend Nia to save her marriage and her life.

In the first book in the Diva Mystery series, three women engage in a ruthless battle for love and the limelight, and soon learn what it really takes to stay on top.



Forty Acres: A Thriller

Dwayne Alexander Smith

Atria Books
July 1, 2014

What if overcoming the legacy of American slavery meant bringing back that very institution? A young black attorney is thrown headlong into controversial issues of race and power in this page-turning and provocative new novel.

Martin Grey, a smart, talented black lawyer working out of a storefront in Queens, becomes friendly with a group of some of the most powerful, wealthy, and esteemed black men in America. He’s dazzled by what they’e accomplished, and they seem to think he has the potential to be as successful as they are. They invite him for a weekend away from it all — no wives, no cell phones, no talk of business. But far from home and cut off from everyone he loves, he discovers a disturbing secret that challenges some of his deepest convictions.

Martin finds out that his glittering new friends are part of a secret society dedicated to the preservation of the institution of slavery — but this time around, the black men are called “Master.” Joining them seems to guarantee a future without limits; rebuking them almost certainly guarantees his death. Trapped inside a picture-perfect, make-believe world that is home to a frightening reality, Martin must find a way out that will allow him to stay alive without becoming the very thing he hates.

A novel of rage and compassion, good and evil, trust and betrayal, Forty Acres is the thought-provoking story of one man’s desperate attempt to escape the clutches of a terrifying new moral order.

Nine Lives of a Black Panther: A Story of Survival
by Wayne Pharr

Chicago Review Press
July 1, 2014
Hardcover

In the early morning hours of December 8, 1969, three hundred officers of the newly created elite paramilitary tactical unit known as SWAT initiated a violent battle with a handful of Los Angeles-based members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP). Five hours and five thousand rounds of ammunition later, three SWAT team members and three Black Panthers lay wounded. From a tactical standpoint, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) considered the encounter a disaster. For the Panthers and the community that supported them, the shootout symbolized a victory. A key contributor to that victory was the nineteen-year-old rank-and-file member of the BPP Wayne Pharr.

Nine Lives of a Black Panther tells Wayne’s riveting story of the Los Angeles branch of the BPP and gives a blow-by-blow account of how it prepared for and survived the massive military-style attack. Because of his dedication to the black liberation struggle, Wayne was hunted, beaten, and almost killed by the LAPD in four separate events. Here he reveals how the branch survived attacks such as these, and also why BPP cofounder Huey P. Newton expelled the entire Southern California chapter and deemed it “too dangerous to remain a part of the national organization.

The Los Angeles branch was the proving ground for some of the most beloved and colorful characters in Panther lore, including Bunchy Carter, Masai Hewitt, Geronimo “ji-Jaga” Pratt, and Elaine Brown. Nine Lives fills in a missing piece of Black Panther history, while making clear why black Los Angeles was home to two of the most devastating riots in the history of urban America. But it also eloquently relates one man’s triumph over police terror, internal warfare, and personal demons. It will doubtless soon take its place among the classics of black militant literature.

The Other Side of the Pillow
by Zane

Atria Books
August 5, 2014
Hardcover

The New York Times bestselling Queen of Erotica, Zane is back with a new novel about a testy love affair that emerges between a woman who’s had enough and a man who’s had it all.

Jemistry Daniels is a bitter woman and not trying to hide it. Even though she is beautiful, intelligent, and makes six figures a year as a high school principal in Washington, DC, one man after another has failed her. So she decides to give up and join the party by adapting the entire “friends with benefits” mentality with a couple of men that she beds on the regular but refuses to hold any kind of real conversation with, in fear that she might actually catch feelings.

Everything is going according to plan until she meets Dr. Tevin Harris, a prominent vascular surgeon, one night at a poetry slam. Tevin listens to her deliver her male-bashing poem and instead of steering away from her like most men with any common sense would do, he asks her out. Tevin has been casually dating for years, ever since his failed marriage to Estella. They had suffered several miscarriages and the emotional pain had become too much for either one of them to bear and still wake up with each other every morning.

Opening up, gaining trust, tearing down barriers, and ultimately, having the audacity to love again is not easy for either Jemistry or Tevin. It takes a lot of transparency, emotional honesty, and patience to even begin to build a life together by helping each other rebuild what has been broken. The Other Side of the Pillow examines, explores, and exposes what it means to truly fall in love. It proves that true love stories do not have a happy ending. True love stories never end at all.

Rose Gold: An Easy Rawlins Mystery by Walter Mosley

Doubleday
September 23, 2014
Hardcover

Rose Gold is two colors, one woman, and a big headache.

In this new mystery set in the Patty Hearst era of radical black nationalism and political abductions, a black ex-boxer self-named Uhuru Nolica, the leader of a revolutionary cell called Scorched Earth, has kidnapped Rosemary Goldsmith, the daughter of a weapons manufacturer, from her dorm at UC Santa Barbara. If they don’t receive the money, weapons, and apology they demand, “Rose Gold” will die — horribly and publicly. So the FBI, the State Department, and the LAPD turn to Easy Rawlins, the one man who can cross the necessary borders to resolve this dangerous standoff.

With twelve previous adventures since 1990, Easy Rawlins is one of the small handful of private eyes in contemporary crime fiction who can be called immortal.

Ebony Magazine July 2014

Ebony Magazine’s Book Features for July 2014

Ebony Magazine’s book selections for July 2014, featuring their “Summer Must-Reads” (J.J. Murray’s “Until I Saw Your Smile,” Gillian Royes’ “The Sea Grape Tree,” and Tiphanie Yamique’s “Land of Love and Drowning”), Toni Braxton’s memoir “Unbreak My Heart,” and T.D. Jakes’ “Instinct”:

Michael Jackson, Inc.: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of a Billion-Dollar Empire

by Zack O’Malley Greenburg

Atria Books, June 3, 2014, Hardcover

The surprising rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches story of how Michael Jackson grew a billion-dollar business.

Michael Jackson is known by many as the greatest entertainer of all time, but he was also a revolutionary when it came to business. In addition to famously buying the Beatles’ publishing catalogue, Jackson was one of the first pop stars to launch his own clothing line, record label, sneakers, and video games — creating a fundamental shift in the monetization of fame and paving the way for entertainer-entrepreneurs like Jay Z and Diddy. All told, Jackson earned more than $1.1 billion in his solo career, and the assets he built in life have earned more than $700 million in the five years since his death — more than any other solo music act over that time.

Michael Jackson, Inc. reveals the incredible rise, fall, and rise again of Michael Jackson’s fortune — driven by the unmatched perfectionism of the King of Pop. Forbes senior editor Zack O’Malley Greenburg uncovers never-before-told stories from interviews with more than 100 people, including music industry veterans Berry Gordy, John Branca, and Walter Yetnikoff; artists 50 Cent, Sheryl Crow, and Jon Bon Jovi; and members of the Jackson family. Other insights come from court documents and Jackson’s private notes, some of them previously unpublished. Through Greenburg’s novelistic telling, a clear picture emerges of Jackson’s early years, his rise to international superstardom, his decline — fueled by demons internal and external, as well as the dissolution of the team that helped him execute his best business moves — and, finally, his financial life after death.

Underlying Jackson’s unique history is the complex but universal tale of the effects of wealth and fame on the human psyche. A valuable case study for generations of entertainers to come and for anyone interested in show business, Michael Jackson, Inc. tells the story of a man whose financial feats, once obscured by his late-life travails, have become an enduring legacy.

Listen Out Loud: A Life in Music–Managing McCartney, Madonna, and Michael Jackson

Ron Weisner

Lyons Press, June 3, 2014, Hardcover

Even hardcore music fans don’t know the name Ron Weisner . . . but they should. A high-powered manager for over four decades, Ron worked alongside Madonna, Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood, Gladys Knight, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, and, most notably, Michael Jackson. He saw the King of Pop through his game-changing multi-platinum albums Thriller and Off the Wall. He watched M.J.’s prickly father Joe run roughshod over both his son and industry execs. He fought back as the industry tried to steer Jackson in a musical direction that would have derailed his career. And he saw Michael suffer through devastating press coverage that turned the troubled singer’s world upside down.

Featuring an introduction from Quincy Jones and commentary from Winwood, Knight, and some behind-the-scenes record label power brokers, Weisner’s illuminating memoir Listen Out Loud underscores the destructive changes to the industry during his forty-year career, including the shift in focus from artistic integrity to the pursuit of cold hard numbers. It’s an intimate glimpse into the music world from a man with a keen eye, sharp ears, and a big heart.

Until I Saw Your Smile by J.J. Murray

Kensington, May 27, 2014, Paperback

At Smith’s Sweet Treats and Coffee, you’ll find Brooklyn’s best house blend and the freshest homemade pastries. It’s more than a business to owner Angela Smith. It’s her home and her refuge–one she stands to lose thanks to her gouging landlord. Then a new regular offers to cover her rent increase if Angela lets him meet his clients there. If Matthew McConnell weren’t such a persuasive lawyer–and so sweet, funny, and sexy–she wouldn’t dream of letting him in.

Since he left a high-paying, soul-sucking legal firm to go solo, Matthew has been striking out, professionally and personally. The best part of his love life is regaling Angela with date-from-hell stories over steaming, fragrant coffee. Behind her captivating smile is a smart, sensual woman he’d love to get close to. And when a secret from her past is suddenly exposed, he gets a chance to prove he’s the man she needs, in every way that matters. . .

The Sea Grape Tree: A Novel (Shad Myers)
Gillian Royes

Atria Books, July 1, 2014, Paperback

Set in a sun-kissed Caribbean paradise, this third book in the Shad detective series explores a love triangle gone wrong — and how class divisions create a perfect storm of trouble.

Sarah, a talented but shy artist from England, arrives at the perfect getaway — a small fishing village in Largo Bay, Jamaica. There she falls in love with Danny, a wealthy investor with a hotel in Largo Bay. Soon Sarah runs afoul of her host as well as Danny’s local lover, and her fate, as well as that of Danny’s hotel, become endangered.

Meanwhile, Shad Myers — bartender by trade, investigator by vocation, and unofficial sheriff of Largo Bay — has another set of problems to solve, alongside his friend Eric, an American who owns the bar. The two friends entertain a new potential investor in their quest to rebuild their hotel left in ruins by a hurricane. Eric wants to make Shad a partner in the business, not just a worker. But first the two must overcome the class divisions that make it difficult for local partners in the business to accept Shad’s new, more important role.

With a delicious blend of suspense and soul, The Sea Grape Tree explores the class divisions in Jamaica — and what happens when a love triangle becomes life threatening. Gillian Royes once again delivers a vivid, thought-provoking novel with passion and punch that is sure to leave her fans wanting more.

Land of Love and Drowning: A Novel by Tiphanie Yanique

Riverhead Hardcover, July 10, 2014, Hardcover

A major debut from an award-winning writer—an epic family saga set against the magic and the rhythms of the Virgin Islands.

In the early 1900s, the Virgin Islands are transferred from Danish to American rule, and an important ship sinks into the Caribbean Sea. Orphaned by the shipwreck are two sisters and their half brother, now faced with an uncertain identity and future. Each of them is unusually beautiful, and each is in possession of a particular magic that will either sink or save them.

Chronicling three generations of an island family from 1916 to the 1970s, Land of Love and Drowning is a novel of love and magic, set against the emergence of Saint Thomas into the modern world. Uniquely imagined, with echoes of Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garci­a Marquez, and the author’s own Caribbean family history, the story is told in a language and rhythm that evoke an entire world and way of life and love. Following the Bradshaw family through sixty years of fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, love affairs, curses, magical gifts, loyalties, births, deaths, and triumphs, Land of Love and Drowning is a gorgeous, vibrant debut by an exciting, prizewinning young writer.

The African-American Guide to Divorce & Drama: Breaking Up Without Breaking Down
by Lester L. Barclay

Khari Publishing Ltd, June 27, 2013, Hardcover

The first-ever comprehensive book on divorce tailored specifically for the black community, The African-American Guide to Divorce & Drama is a 277-page guide that skillfully shepherds readers through the often painful process of separation and divorce, while seeking to minimize the “drama” and trauma for them and their children. Its message focuses primarily on divorce and non-marital separation, alongside custody, visitation, child support, financial disputes, and related issues in the context of African-American cultural and social realities.

Get Married This Year: 365 Days to “I Do” by Dr. Janet Blair Page

Adams Media, December 18, 2011, Hardcover

Forget waiting for Mr. Right! You can go out and find “The One” yourself when you follow this plan. Celebrated relationship expert Dr. Janet Blair Page has distilled the very best of her acclaimed dating class at Emory University — the one covered by CNN, FOX, Good Morning America, and The Early Show — into this one-of-a-kind book. She’s helped bring thousands of singles true love — and now it’s your turn!

Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison
Nell Bernstein

New Press, The June 3, 2014, Hardcover

When teenagers scuffle during a basketball game, they are typically benched. But when Will got into it on the court, he and his rival were sprayed in the face at close range by a chemical similar to Mace, denied a shower for twenty-four hours, and then locked in solitary confinement for a month.

One in three American children will be arrested by the time they are twenty-three, and many will spend time locked inside horrific detention centers that defy everything we know about how to rehabilitate young offenders. In a clear-eyed indictment of the juvenile justice system run amok, award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein shows that there is no right way to lock up a child. The very act of isolation denies delinquent children the thing that is most essential to their growth and rehabilitation: positive relationships with caring adults.

Bernstein introduces us to youth across the nation who have suffered violence and psychological torture at the hands of the state. She presents these youths all as fully realized people, not victims. As they describe in their own voices their fight to maintain their humanity and protect their individuality in environments that would deny both, these young people offer a hopeful alternative to the doomed effort to reform a system that should only be dismantled.

Burning Down the House is a clarion call to shut down our nation’s brutal and counterproductive juvenile prisons and bring our children home.

Forever an Ex: A Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray



Touchstone
June 17, 2014
Paperback

Three Los Angeles women who’ve helped each other overcome heartbreak are reunited eight years later when their troublesome exes come back into the picture in this follow up to Victoria Christopher Murray‘s bestselling novel The Ex Files.

Sheridan, Kendall, and Asia first bonded when they met seven years ago at a church prayer support group and now, their friendship has blossomed into a strong sisterhood. They’ve helped each other through the tragedies of their breakups and together, they’ve celebrated their triumphs. But now, their exes are back, wreaking havoc on lives they’ve work so hard to rebuild.

Sheridan has found love again after her ex-husband left her for a man. But old wounds are reopened when her ex-husband appears with his fiance’s woman! And all of Sheridan’s insecurities and doubts come rushing back. Kendall’s former husband is now married to Kendall’s sister, Sabrina. And though Kendall has refused to interact with either one in the last seven years, she’s forced to reunite with Sabrina when their father is diagnosed with cancer. Asia has done her best to move away from her married boyfriend, a former star with the LA Lakers. But when they share a kiss, old desires are rekindled and Asia decides that it’s time for her and Bobby Johnson to get back together again.

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

Flatiron Books
September 2, 2014
Hardcover

After film critic Gene Siskel asked her, “What do you know for sure?” Oprah Winfrey began writing the “What I Know For Sure” column in O, The Oprah Magazine. Saying that the question offered her a way to take “stock of her life,” Oprah has penned one column a month over the last fourteen years, years in which she retired The Oprah Winfrey Show (the highest-rated program of its kind in history), launched her own television network, became America’s only black billionaire, was awarded an honorary degree from Harvard University and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, watched friends and colleagues come and go, lost beloved pets and adopted new ones, and celebrated milestone birthdays. Throughout it all, she’s continued to offer her profound and inspiring words of wisdom in her “What I Know For Sure” column in O, The Oprah Magazine.

Now, for the first time, these thoughtful gems have been revised, updated, and collected in What I Know For Sure, a beautiful book packed with insight and revelation from Oprah Winfrey. Organized by theme — joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power — these essays offer a rare and powerful glimpse into the mind of one of the world’s most extraordinary women. Candid, moving, exhilarating, uplifting, and dynamic, the words Oprah shares in What I Know For Sure shimmer with the sort of wisdom and truth that readers will turn to again and again.

The Root’s Summer Reading List

The Root’s book selections for the Summer of 2014, featuring “Book of Hours” by Kevin Young, “Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson” by Barbara Ransby, “Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II” by Farah Jasmine Griffin:

Book of Hours: Poems by Kevin Young

A decade after the sudden and tragic loss of his father, we witness the unfolding of grief. “In the night I brush / my teeth with a razor,” he tells us, in one of the collection’s piercing two-line poems. Capturing the strange silence of bereavement (“Not the storm / but the calm / that slays me”), Kevin Young acknowledges, even celebrates, life’s passages, his loss transformed and tempered in a sequence about the birth of his son: in “Crowning,” he delivers what is surely one of the most powerful birth poems written by a man, describing “her face / full of fire, then groaning your face / out like a flower, blood-bloom,/ crocused into air.” Ending this book of both birth and grief, the gorgeous title sequence brings acceptance, asking “What good/are wishes if they aren’t / used up?” while understanding “How to listen / to what’s gone.” Young’s frank music speaks directly to the reader in these elemental poems, reminding us that the right words can both comfort us and enlarge our understanding of life’s mysteries.

Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson by Barbara Ransby

Eslanda “Essie” Cardozo Goode Robeson lived a colorful and amazing life. Her career and commitments took her many places: colonial Africa in 1936, the front lines of the Spanish Civil War, the founding meeting of the United Nations, Nazi-occupied Berlin, Stalin’s Russia, and China two months after Mao’s revolution. She was a woman of unusual accomplishment — an anthropologist, a prolific journalist, a tireless advocate of women’s rights, an outspoken anti-colonial and antiracist activist, and an internationally sought-after speaker. Yet historians for the most part have confined Essie to the role of Mrs. Paul Robeson, a wife hidden in the large shadow cast by her famous husband. In this masterful book, biographer Barbara Ransby refocuses attention on Essie, one of the most important and fascinating black women of the twentieth century.

Chronicling Essie’s eventful life, the book explores her influence on her husband’s early career and how she later achieved her own unique political voice. Essie’s friendships with a host of literary icons and world leaders, her renown as a fierce defender of justice, her defiant testimony before Senator Joseph McCarthy’s infamous anti-communist committee, and her unconventional open marriage that endured for over 40 years—all are brought to light in the pages of this inspiring biography. Essie’s indomitable personality shines through, as do her contributions to United States and twentieth-century world history.

Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II
by Farah Jasmine Griffin

As World War II raged overseas, Harlem witnessed a battle of its own. Brimming with creative and political energy, the neighborhood’s diverse array of artists and activists took advantage of a brief period of progressivism during the war years to launch a bold cultural offensive aimed at winning democracy for all Americans, regardless of race or gender. Ardent believers in America’s promise, these men and women helped to lay the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement before Cold War politics and anti-Communist fervor temporarily froze their dreams at the dawn of the postwar era.

In Harlem Nocturne, esteemed scholar Farah Jasmine Griffin tells the stories of three black female artists whose creative and political efforts fueled this historic movement for change: choreographer and dancer Pearl Primus, composer and pianist Mary Lou Williams, and novelist Ann Petry. Like many African Americans in the city at the time, these women weren’t native New Yorkers, but the metropolis and its vibrant cultural scene gave them the space to flourish and the freedom to express their political concerns. Pearl Primus performed nightly at the legendary Cafe Society, the first racially integrated club in New York, where she debuted dances of social protest that drew on long-buried African traditions and the dances of former slaves in the South. Williams, meanwhile, was a major figure in the emergence of bebop, collaborating with Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Bud Powell and premiering her groundbreaking Zodiac Suite at the legendary performance space Town Hall. And Ann Petry conveyed the struggles of working-class black women to a national audience with her acclaimed novel The Street, which sold over a million copies — a first for a female African American author.

A rich biography of three artists and the city that inspired them, Harlem Nocturne captures a period of unprecedented vitality and progress for African Americans and women, revealing a cultural movement and a historical moment whose influence endures today.


The Cutting Season: A Novel by Attica Locke

Attica Locke‘s breathtaking debut novel, Black Water Rising, won resounding acclaim from major publications coast-to-coast and from respected crime fiction masters like James Ellroy and George Pelecanos, earning this exciting new author comparisons to Dennis Lehane, Scott Turow, and Walter Mosley. Locke returns with The Cutting Season, a second novel easily as gripping and powerful as her first — a heart-pounding thriller that interweaves two murder mysteries, one on Belle Vie, a historic landmark in the middle of Lousiana’s Sugar Cane country, and one involving a slave gone missing more than one hundred years earlier. Black Water Rising was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, an Edgar Award, and an NAACP Image Award, and was short-listed for the Orange Prize in the U.K. The Cutting Season has been selected by bestselling author Dennis Lehane as the first pick for his new line of books at HarperCollins.

Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward

“We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped.” — Harriet Tubman

In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life — to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth — and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.

Jesmyn grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi. She writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the men who can do no right and the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent. She bravely tells her story, revisiting the agonizing losses of her only brother and her friends. As the sole member of her family to leave home and pursue higher education, she writes about this parallel American universe with the objectivity distance provides and the intimacy of utter familiarity. A brutal world rendered beautifully, Jesmyn Ward’s memoir will sit comfortably alongside Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying, Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life, and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Essence Magazine, June-2014

Essence Magazine’s Book Features for June 2014

Essence Magazine’s book selections for June 2014, featuring their “Summer Reading Challenge” (Wendy Williams’ “Hold Me in Contempt,” Walter Mosley’s “Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore,” Morowa Yejide’s “Time of the Locust,” Cynthia Bond’s “Ruby,” Lauren Francis-Sharma’s’s “‘Til the Well Runs Dry,” and Elizabeth Nunez’ “Not for Everyday Use”), Toni Braxton’s memoir “Unbreak My Heart,” and T.D. Jakes’ “Instinct”:

Hold Me in Contempt: A Romance by Wendy Williams

Move over 50 Shades, there’s a new romance in town. Superstar Wendy Williams brings on the heat in her first ever, no-holds-barred, down and dirty, romance novel.

Kimberly Kind is trying to get beyond her roots. A successful, beautiful, smart lawyer, she’s finally finding direction in her life and getting out of the streets. But a terrible accident threatens to throw her carefully laid plans off course. Now Kim’s hiding a huge secret — one that could threaten everything.

Enter King. A perfect mix of Justin Timberlake and David Beckham, the man oozes sex and has more swagger than anyone Kim’s ever met. Their chemistry is off the charts. But after passion-filled nights, the intensity of their emotions takes both of them by surprise.

Love was not supposed to be an option. Now it’s the only thing holding them together. When their pasts come back with a vengeance, can love possibly be enough?

Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore: A Novel by Walter Mosley

In this scorching, mournful, often explicit, and never less than moving literary novel by the famed creator of the Easy Rawlins series, Debbie Dare, a black porn queen, has to come to terms with her sordid life in the adult entertainment industry after her tomcatting husband dies in a hot tub. Electrocuted. With another woman in there with him. Debbie decides she just isn’t going to “do it anymore.” But executing her exit strategy from the porn world is a wrenching and far from simple process.

Millions of men (and no doubt many women) have watched famed black porn queen Debbie Dare — she of the blond wig and blue contacts — “do it” on television and computer screens every which way with every combination of partners the mind of man can imagine. But one day an unexpected and thunderous on-set orgasm catches Debbie unawares, and when she returns to the mansion she shares with her husband, insatiable former porn star and “film producer” Theon Pinkney, she discovers that he’s died in a case of hot tub electrocution, “auditioning” an aspiring “starlet.” Burdened with massive debts that her husband incurred, and which various L.A. heavies want to collect on, Debbie must reckon with a life spent in the peculiar subculture of the pornography industry and her estrangement from her family and the child she had to give up. She’s done with porn, but her options for what might come next include the possibility of suicide. Debbie . . . is a portrait of a ransacked but resilient soul in search of salvation and a cure for grief.

Time of the Locust: A Novel by Morowa Yejide

Travel into the heart and mind of an extraordinary autistic boy in this deeply imaginative debut novel of a mother’s devotion, a father’s punishment, and the power of love.

Sephiri is an autistic boy who lives in a world of his own making, where he dwells among imagined sea creatures that help him process information in the “real world” in which he is forced to live. But lately he has been having dreams of a mysterious place, and he starts creating fantastical sketches of this strange, inner world.

Brenda, Sephiri’s mother, struggles with raising her challenged child alone. Her only wish is to connect with him — a smile on his face would be a triumph. Meanwhile, Sephiri’s father, Horus, is sentenced to life in prison, making life even lonelier for Brenda and Sephiri. Yet prison is still not enough to separate father and son. In the seventh year of his imprisonment and the height of his isolation, Horus develops supernatural mental abilities that allow him to reach his son. Memory and yearning carry him outside his body, and through the realities of their ordeals and dreamscape, Horus and Sephiri find each other — and find hope in ways never imagined.

Deftly portrayed by the remarkable and talented up-and-comer Morowa Yejide, Time of the Locust is a brilliant narrative about the psychological realms of solitude, youth, and wonder. At its heart, this is a harrowing, surreal, and redemptive journey to the union of a family.

Ruby: A Novel by Cynthia Bond

The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her — this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city–the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village–all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby Bell finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom’s Juke, to Celia Jennings’s kitchen where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.

‘Til the Well Runs Dry: A Novel by Lauren Francis-Sharma

A glorious and moving multi-generational, multicultural saga that begins in the 1940s and sweeps through the 1960′s in Trinidad and the United States.

Lauren Francis-Sharma‘s ‘Til the Well Runs Dry opens in a seaside village in the north of Trinidad where young Marcia Garcia, a gifted and smart-mouthed 16-year-old seamstress, lives alone, raising two small boys and guarding a family secret. When she meets Farouk Karam, an ambitious young policeman (so taken with Marcia that he elicits the help of a tea-brewing obeah woman to guarantee her ardor), the risks and rewards in Marcia’s life amplify forever.

On an island rich with laughter, Calypso, Carnival, cricket, beaches and salty air, sweet fruits and spicy stews, the novel follows Marcia and Farouk from their amusing and passionate courtship through personal and historical events that threaten Marcia’s secret, entangle the couple and their children in a scandal, and endanger the future for all of them.

‘Til the Well Runs Dry tells the twinned stories of a spirited woman’s love for one man and her bottomless devotion to her children. For readers who cherish the previously untold stories of women’s lives, here is a story of grit and imperfection and love that has not been told before.

Not for Everyday Use: A Memoir by Elizabeth Nunez

Tracing the four days from the moment she gets the call that every immigrant fears to the burial of her mother, Elizabeth Nunez tells the haunting story of her lifelong struggle to cope with the consequences of the “sterner stuff” of her parents’ ambitions for their children and her mother’s seemingly unbreakable conviction that displays of affection are not for everyday use.

But Nunez sympathizes with her parents, whose happiness is constrained by the oppressive strictures of colonialism, by the Catholic Church’s prohibition of artificial birth control which her mother obeys, terrified by the threat of eternal damnation (her mother gets pregnant fourteen times: nine live births and five miscarriages which almost kill her), and by what Malcolm Gladwell refers to as the “privilege of skin color” in his mother’s Caribbean island homeland where “the brown-skinned classes…came to fetishize their lightness.” Still, a fierce love holds this family together, and the passionate, though complex, love Nunez’s parents have for each other will remind readers of the passion between the aging lovers in Gabriel Garcia Marquez‘s Love in the Time of Cholera. Written in exquisite prose by a writer the New York Times Book Review calls “a master at pacing and plotting,” Not for Everyday Use is a page-turner that readers will find impossible to put down.

Unbreak My Heart: A Memoir by Toni Braxton

In this heartfelt memoir, six-time Grammy Award-winning artist and star of WE TV’s reality hit, Braxton Family Values, Toni Braxton writes about her personal life decisions and their impact on her health, family and career.

While Braxton appears to be living a gilded life — selling 60 million records, appearing in sold-out Las Vegas performances and hit shows like “Dancing with the Stars,” and starring in her own reality series — hers is in fact a tumultuous story, a tale of triumph over a life filled with obstacles, including two bankruptcy filings. The mother of an autistic child, Braxton long feared that her son’s condition might be karmic retribution for earlier life choices, some of which will shock fans. But when heart ailments began plaguing her at the age of 41 and she was diagnosed with Lupus, Braxton knew she had to move beyond the self-recrimination and take charge of her own healing.

Intensely honest and deeply inspirational, Unbreak My Heart is the never-before-told story of the measures Braxton took to make herself and her family whole again.

Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive by T. D. Jakes

Modern life can seem like being lost in a jungle. With distractions and dangers emerging from every direction, it’s easy to lose focus. Over time, we lose touch with one of our most powerful, purposeful, God-given attributes–the desire to be fruitful and multiply, what Bishop T. D. Jakes calls our “instinct for increase.”

Combining historical, cultural, and personal examples with biblical insights, in INSTINCT, Bishop Jakes outlines how to re-discover your natural aptitudes and re-claim the wisdom of your past experiences. When attuned to divinely inspired instincts, you will become in sync with the opportunities life presents and discover a fresh abundance of resources. Knowing when to close a deal, when to take a risk, and when to listen to your heart will become possible when you’re in touch with the instincts that God gave you.

Bishop T.D. Jakes — iconic preacher, bestselling author, and entrepreneur–has inspired millions of people around the world. Here he writes from the peak of his personal power about how to experience the satisfaction of a life well lived. If you long to conquer the jungles of life, INSTINCT offers the personal and professional tools needed to navigate your course successfully and according to God’s design.

Back Home with the Neelys: Comfort Food from Our Southern Kitchen to Yours

Back Home with the Neelys: Comfort Food from Our Southern Kitchen to Yours
by Pat Neely (Author), Gina Neely (Author), Ann Volkwein (Author)

For Pat and Gina Neely the secret to a truly happy home is a lively mix of food and family. In their new book, the best-selling authors draw on their down-home roots and revisit the classic Southern recipes that have been passed down through generations. We’re drawn into the kitchens of their mothers and grandmothers and back to a time when produce was picked in the backyard garden and catfish was caught on afternoon fishing trips with Grandpa. In their signature style, Pat and Gina have taken the dishes they were raised on and updated them for today’s kitchens.

Inside you’ll find 100 recipes, including Small Batch Strawberry Jam (best when eaten with Easy Buttermilk and Cream Biscuits), Bourbon French Toast, Crunchy Fried Okra, Skillet Corn Bread, Grilled Succotash, Skillet Roasted Chicken, and Brunswick Stew (which combines a little of everything in your fridge).

Pat and Gina believe good food leads to good times and Back Home with the Neelys is sure to bring back fond memories of the tradition, history, and flavors that are present in every family.

Murder at Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey

Accra’s hotshot Detective Inspector Darko Dawson returns to solve a complex mystery that will take him out of the city to the beautiful coasts of Ghana, where a grim double-murder seems to have larger political implications.

At Cape Three Points on the beautiful Ghanaian coast, a canoe washes up at an oil rig site. The two bodies in the canoe — who turn out to be a prominent, wealthy, middle-aged married couple — have obviously been murdered; the way Mr. Smith-Aidoo has been gruesomely decapitated suggests the killer was trying to send a specific message — but what, and to whom, is a mystery. The Smith-Aidoos, pillars in their community, are mourned by everyone, but especially by their niece Sapphire, a successful pediatric surgeon in Ghana’s capital, Accra. She is not happy that months have passed since the murder and the rural police have made no headway.

When the Ghanaian federal police finally agree to get involved, Detective Inspector Darko Dawson of the Accra police force is sent out to Cape Three Points to investigate. Pretty as the coast is, he is not happy to be sent away from his wife and two sons, the younger of whom is recovering from a heart operation. And the more he learns about the case, the more convoluted and dangerous it becomes. Three Points has long been inhabited by tribal villages of subsistence fishers, but real estate entrepreneurs and wealthy oil companies have been trying to bribe the tribes to move out. Dawson roots out a host of motives for murder, ranging from personal vendettas to corporate conspiracies.

2014 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books began in 1996 with a simple goal: to bring together the people who create books with the people who love to read them. The Festival was an immediate success and has evolved to include live bands, poetry readings, chef demos, cultural entertainment and artists creating their work on-site. There’s also a photography exhibit, film screenings followed by Q&A’s and discussion panels on some of today’s hottest topics.

Festival of Books
Saturday, April 12 | 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday, April 13 | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission is free!
Only indoor Conversations, Book Prizes and Festival After Dark require tickets. – See more at: http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/fob-info/#sthash.Rq2uqVvw.dpuf

Book Prizes Ceremony
Friday, April 11 | 7:30 p.m.
Bovard Auditorium

Festival After Dark
Saturday, April 12 | 8 p.m.
Bovard Auditorium
LOCATION

USC Campus
University of Southern California
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089
- See more at: http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/fob-info/#sthash.Rq2uqVvw.dpuf

Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple by Russell Simmons

Master entrepreneur, original hip-hop mogul, and New York Times bestselling author Russell Simmons shares the most fundamental key to success — meditation — and guides readers to use stillness as a powerful tool to access their potential.

In the New York Times bestseller Super Rich, Russell Simmons proved that to be rich is more than just having money in the bank — wealth is about balance, joy, and conscientious living.

In Success Through Stillness, Simmons shows the connection between inner peace and outward success through interviews with other successful leaders in various industries, and how learning to be still has been instrumental in his own career. Simmons attributes his meditation practice with changing his life for the better and says that there is no “bad” way to meditate, only different forms for different people.

In this highly anticipated new book, Russell Simmons guides readers into finding greater clarity and focus, and explains how to be healthier in both mind and body. Simmons’ breaks down what he’s learned from masters of meditation into a guide that is accessible to those unfamiliar with the practice.

Twisted by N’Tyse

Twisted Vows of Seduction (Twisted Series)

Strebor Books, 12/10/2013, Paperback

Some secrets aren’t meant to be kept.

In this scandalously provocative soap-drama series, deceit, seduction, and a tempestuous affair intertwines the lives of lascivious lovers who will go above and beyond to keep their sexual trysts a secret, but the curse of temptation will lead to revelations that may result in their own demise.     
Still mourning the death of his lover, Denise, Greg Adams conspires to leave his wife. He believes that Denise has come back to him in the form of a woman named Naomi Brooks, and he can’t forget her. But there’s one problem–his wife is going to honor every line in their wedding vows until death does them part.

Naomi Brooks, a recovering alcoholic, enters into an orchestrated affair to deceive Greg by creating the perfect illusion. Will the plan work or will she find herself a victim in a twisted game?

A long-term torrid affair with her best friend’s husband, Jeff, has scarred Nadine Collins for life. Nadine decides she must take a vow of celibacy to cleanse her spirit. While her journey seems impossible, she can see a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s only one problem–she’s still not over Jeff, now a divorcé living life in the fast lane.

Ménage, an aspiring actress, has her sights set on Hollywood. She will do anything to ensure her rise to the top, including robbing Jeff of all the life insurance money he collected after his wife died. But a blast from the past slows her down. When Jeff comes running to her rescue, it proves to be the perfect setup.

The real twisted games are just beginning.

Twisted Seduction: A Novel (Twisted Series)

Strebor Books, 11/26/2013, Mass Market Paperback

An erotic, drama-laced journey into the lives of two best friends who will stop at nothing to have the man of their dreams—even when the cost of betrayal has a price tag neither of them is ready to pay.

Thirty-two-year-old Denise Jackson seems to have everything a woman could want: a lovely home in the posh Dallas suburbs, a fancy car, a caring husband, and a beautiful nine-year-old daughter. Yet Denise feels incomplete. She pretends to be happily married as she allows her husband and best friend to carry on an affair so that she can get better acquainted with a millionaire client. But when Denise’s husband discovers he isn’t the father of their child, all her carefully built lies come tumbling down.

Twisted Seduction lures readers into an orchestrated web of raw emotion, deceit, infidelity, and sex that makes for an exhilarating read.

The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style by Nelson George



William Morrow,
March 25, 2014,
Hardcover
An authoritative history of the groundbreaking syndicated television show that has become an icon of American pop culture, from acclaimed author and filmmaker Nelson George, “the most accomplished black music critic of his generation” (Washington Post Book World).

When it debuted in October 1971, seven years after the Civil Rights Act, Soul Train boldly went where no variety show had gone before, showcasing the cultural preferences of young African-Americans and the sounds that defined their lives: R&B, funk, jazz, disco, and gospel music. The brainchild of radio announcer Don Cornelius, the show’s producer and host, Soul Train featured a diverse range of stars, from James Brown and David Bowie to Christine Aguilera and R. Kelly; Marvin Gaye and Elton John to the New Kids on the Block and Stevie Wonder.

The Hippest Trip in America tells the full story of this pop culture phenomenon that appealed not only to blacks, but to a wide crossover audience as well. Famous dancers like Rosie Perez and Jody Watley, performers such as Aretha Franklin, Al Green, and Barry White, and Cornelius himself share their memories, offering insights into the show and its time — a period of extraordinary social and political change. Colorful and pulsating, The Hippest Trip In America is a fascinating portrait of a revered cultural institution that has left an indelible mark on our national consciousness.

Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel by Helen Oyeyemi



Riverhead,
March 6, 2014,
Hardcover




Riverhead Trade,
November 6, 2012,
Paperback
From the prizewinning author of Mr. Fox, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity.

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty — the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.

Essence Magazine Cover, February 2014

Essence Magazine’s Book Features for February 2014

Essence Magazine’s book selections for February 2014, featuring Southern novels “Queen Sugar” (Louisiana), “The Secret of Magic” (Mississippi), and “The Invention of Wings” (South Carolina):


Pamela Dorman Books, February 6, 2014, Hardcover

Viking Adult, 2/6/2014, Kindle Edition

Queen Sugar: A Novel by Natalie Baszile

A mother-daughter story of reinvention—about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana

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.


Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, January 21, 2014, Hardcover

Putnam Adult, 1/21/2014, Kindle Edition

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson

In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South.

Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country. As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest.

Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past. The Secret of Magic brilliantly explores the power of stories and those who tell them.


Viking Adult, January 7, 2014, Hardcover

Viking Adult, 1/7/2014, Kindle Edition

The Secret Life of Bees
The Tenth-Anniversary Edition
Penguin Books, November 23, 2011, Paperback

The Invention of Wings: With Notes by Sue Monk Kidd

From the celebrated author of “The Secret Life of Bees,” a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world — and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

The Real Thing by Brenda Jackson



Mass Market Paperback
March 4, 2014
Harlequin

What happens when a pretend boyfriend wants more than make-believe? Find out in this Westmoreland novel from New York Times bestselling author Brenda Jackson!

No red-blooded man turns down the chance to escort gorgeous Trinity Matthews — and Adrian Westmoreland is definitely red-blooded. For her, he’ll pretend to be her man. But keeping his hands to himself? That is impossible. A Westmoreland always keeps his word, but how long before Adrian turns this fake affair into something real?

Upcoming Bestsellers for February 2014

A list of the bestselling books to be released in February, just in time for Black History Month.

  1. 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.

     

  2. 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.

     

  3. 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.

     

  4. 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.

     

  5. 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.

     

  6. 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.

     

  7. 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.

     

  8. 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.

     

  9. 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.

     

  10. 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.

     

  11. 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.

     

  12. 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.

     

  13. Humbled (Urban Books) by Patricia Haley
    ( Urban Books , 2/25/2014 , Paperback )

     

  14. 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.

     

  15. 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.

     

  16. 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.

     

  17. 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.

     

  18. 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.

     

  19. Harmony Cabins (A Finding Home Novel) by Regina Hart
    ( Dafina , 2/4/2014 , Mass Market Paperback )

     

Bestselling Books in January 2014

The bestselling African American books by or about African Americans, published in January 2014, from Amazon.com.

  1. The Wars of Reconstruction: The Brief, Violent History of America’s Most Progressive Era by Douglas R. Egerton
    ( Bloomsbury Press , 1/21/2014 , Hardcover )
    By 1870, just five years after Confederate surrender and thirteen years after the Dred Scott decision ruled blacks ineligible for citizenship, Congressional action had ended slavery and given the vote to black men. That same year, Hiram Revels and Joseph Hayne Rainey became the first African-American U.S. senator and congressman respectively. In South Carolina, only twenty years after the death of arch-secessionist John C. Calhoun, a black man, Jasper J. Wright, took a seat on the state’s Supreme Court. Not even the most optimistic abolitionists had thought such milestones would occur in their lifetimes. The brief years of Reconstruction marked the United States’ most progressive moment prior to the civil rights movement. Previous histories of Reconstruction have focused on Washington politics. But in this sweeping, prodigiously researched narrative, Douglas Egerton brings a much bigger, even more dramatic story into view, exploring state and local politics and tracing the struggles of some fifteen hundred African-American officeholders, in both the North and South, who fought entrenched white resistance. Tragically, their movement was met by ruthless violence—not just riotous mobs, but also targeted assassination. With stark evidence, Egerton shows that Reconstruction, often cast as a “failure” or a doomed experiment, was rolled back by murderous force. The Wars of Reconstruction is a major and provocative contribution to American history.

     

  2. Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-first Century by Monique W. Morris
    ( New Press, The , 1/28/2014 , Paperback )
    A comprehensive guide filled with contemporary facts and figures on African Americans—is an essential reference for anyone attempting to fathom the complex state of our nation. With fascinating and often surprising information on everything from incarceration rates, lending practices, and the arts to marriage, voting habits, and green jobs, the contextualized material in this book will better attune readers to telling trends while challenging commonly held, yet often misguided, perceptions. A compilation that at once highlights measures of incredible progress and enumerates the disparate impacts of social policies and practices, this book is a critical tool for advocates, educators, and policy makers. Black Stats offers indispensable information that is sure to enlighten discussions and provoke debates about the quality of Black life in the United States today—and help chart the path to a better future.There are less than a quarter-million Black public school teachers in the U.S.—representing just 7 percent of all teachers in public schools.Approximately half of the Black population in the United States lives in neighborhoods that have no White residents.In the five years before the Great Recession, the number of Black-owned businesses in the United States increased by 61 percent.A 2010 study found that 41 percent of Black youth feel that rap music videos should be more political.There are no Black owners or presidents of an NFL franchise team.78 percent of Black Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, compared with 56 percent of White Americans.

     

  3. Still The Baddest Bitch (Bitch Series) by Joy Deja King
    ( A King Production , 1/29/2014 , Paperback )
    Aaliyah Mills Carter has to step up and watch the throne, to prove she has what it takes to be the Baddest Bitch. Chaos has always surrounded her family but now death may have hit too close to home. There are so many questions but not enough answers. Aaliyah is determined to find out if she’s been sleeping with the enemy and has Precious Cummings finally ran out of lives? Find out in Still The Baddest Bitch.

     

  4. How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson
    ( Dial , 1/14/2014 , Hardcover )
    A powerful and thought-provoking Civil Rights era memoir from one of America’s most celebrated poets.   Looking back on her childhood in the 1950s, Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson tells the story of her development as an artist and young woman through fifty eye-opening poems. Readers are given an intimate portrait of her growing self-awareness and artistic inspiration along with a larger view of the world around her: racial tensions, the Cold War era, and the first stirrings of the feminist movement.   A first-person account of African-American history, this is a book to study, discuss, and treasure.

     

  5. Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life by Dr. Joe Brewster
    ( Spiegel & Grau , 1/14/2014 , Paperback )
    Regardless of how wealthy or poor their parents are, all black boys must confront and surmount the “achievement gap”: a divide that shows up not only in our sons’ test scores, but in their social and emotional development, their physical well-being, and their outlook on life. As children, they score as high on cognitive tests as their peers, but at some point, the gap emerges. Why?   This is the question Joe Brewster, M.D., and Michèle Stephenson asked when their own son, Idris, began struggling in a new school. As they filmed his experiences for their award-winning documentary American Promise, they met an array of researchers who had not only identified the reasons for the gap, but had come up with practical, innovative solutions to close it. In Promises Kept, they explain   • how to influence your son’s brain before he’s even born • how to tell the difference between authoritarian and authoritative discipline—and why it matters • how to create an educational program for your son that matches his needs • how to prepare him for explicit and implicit racism in school and in the wider world • how to help your child develop resilience, self-discipline, emotional intelligence, and a positive outlook that will last a lifetime

     

  6. The Logic of American Politics, 6th Edition by Samuel Kernell
    ( CQ Press , 1/10/2014 , Paperback )
    After observing the strains of intense partisanship and divided government, many Americans are wondering what logic, if any, can be found in politics. The new Sixth Edition of The Logic of American Politics reaffirms this best-seller’s place as the most accessible smart book on the market. Consistently praised for its engaging narrative, the book hooks students with great storytelling while arming them with a toolkit of institutional design concepts-command, veto, agenda control, voting rules, delegation.

     

  7. His Day Is Done: A Nelson Mandela Tribute by Maya Angelou
    ( Random House , 1/21/2014 , Hardcover )
    He was a son of Africa who became father to a nation and, for billions of people around the world, a beacon of hope, courage, and perseverance in the face of opposition. Now, acclaimed poet Maya Angelou honors the life and remarkable soul of Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and Nobel laureate.   In His Day is Done, Angelou delivers an authentically heartfelt and elegant tribute to Mandela, who stood as David to the mighty Goliath of Apartheid and who, after twenty-seven years of unjust imprisonment on the notorious Robben Island, emerged with “His stupendous heart intact / His gargantuan will / Hale and hearty” to lead his people into a new era.   This poignant work of gratitude and remembrance offers condolences to the resilient people of South Africa on the loss of their beloved “Madiba” and celebrates a man like no other, whose life and work changed the world.

     

  8. The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson
    ( Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam , 1/21/2014 , Hardcover )
    In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South.   Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country.   As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest. Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past. The Secret of Magic brilliantly explores the power of stories and those who tell them.  

     

  9. Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell
    ( Chronicle Books , 1/14/2014 , Hardcover )
    In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine’s powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.

     

  10. Without Mercy: The Stunning True Story of Race, Crime, and Corruption in the Deep South by David Beasley
    ( St. Martin’s Press , 1/28/2014 , Hardcover )
    On December 9, 1938, the state of Georgia executed six black men in eighty-one  minutes in  Tattnall Prison’s electric chair. The executions were a record for the state that still stands today. The new prison, built with funds from FDR’s New Deal, as well as the fact that the men were tried and executed rather than lynched were thought to be a sign of progress. They were anything but. While those men were arrested, convicted, sentenced, and executed in as little as six weeks—E. D. Rivers, the governor of the state, oversaw a pardon racket for white killers and criminals, allowed the Ku Klux Klan to infiltrate his administration, and bankrupted the state. Race and wealth were all that determined whether or not a man lived or died. There was no progress. There was no justice.
    David Beasley’s Without Mercy is the harrowing true story of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the violent death throes of the Klan, but most of all it is the story of the stunning injustice of these executions and how they have seared distrust of the legal system into the consciousness of the Deep South, and it is a story that will forever be a testament to the death penalty’s appalling inequality that continues to plague our nation

     

  11. Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America by Tonya Bolden
    ( Harry N. Abrams , 1/7/2014 , Hardcover )
      Sarah Rector was once famously hailed as “the richest black girl in America.” Set against the backdrop of American history, her tale encompasses the creation of Indian Territory, the making of Oklahoma, and the establishment of black towns and oil-rich boomtowns. Rector acquired her fortune at the age of eleven. This is both her story and that of children just like her: one filled with ups and downs amid bizarre goings-on and crimes perpetrated by greedy and corrupt adults. From a trove of primary documents, including court and census records and interviews with family members, author Tonya Bolden painstakingly pieces together the events of Sarah’s life and the lives of those around her.

     

  12. Dirty Divorce part 4 by Miss KP
    ( Life Changing Books , 1/20/2014 , Paperback )
    The Dirty Divorce Trilogy has been a wild ride and readers just can t get enough of the Sanchez family drama. In Dirty Divorce Part 4 the offsprings of Rich Sanchez, Juan and Denie don t disappoint. Juan is determined to become his own man speeding through the fast lane of money, cars, and women. As he dominates the industry his father once ruled, he soon learns that being top dog carries a heavy price tag. While Juan constantly lives trying to dodge his demise, Denie stares death straight in the face as she keeps secrets buried to stay the baddest chick in the DMV. Denie is willing to put others at risk in order to live the life she s become accustomed to. While Juan and Denie grow up repeating the vicious cycle Rich created, someone familiar watches in the shadows for revenge to ruin the Sanchez empire. Relationships are tested, lives are lost, and loyalty goes out the window as the Sanchez family battles to stay on top of the game that ruined them from the start.

     

  13. Little Green: An Easy Rawlins Novel (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) by Walter Mosley
    ( Vintage , 1/28/2014 , Paperback )
    In Little Green, Walter Mosley’s acclaimed detective Easy Rawlins returns from the brink of death to investigate the dark side of that haven for Los Angeles hippies, the Sunset Strip. He’s soon back in top form, cruising the gloriously psychedelic mean streets of L.A. with his murderous sidekick, Mouse. They’ve been hired to look for a young black man, Evander “Little Green” Noon, who disappeared during an acid trip. Fueled by an elixir called Gator’s Blood, Easy experiences a physical, spiritual, and emotional resurrection, but peace and love soon give way to murder and mayhem.

     

  14. Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms by Nicholas Johnson
    ( Prometheus Books , 1/14/2014 , Paperback )
    Chronicling the under-appreciated black tradition of bearing arms for self-defense, this book presents an array of examples reaching back to the pre—Civil War era that demonstrate a willingness of African American men and women to use firearms when necessary to defend their families and communities. From Frederick Douglass’s advice to keep “a good revolver” handy as defense against slave catchers to the armed self-protection of Monroe, North Carolina, blacks against the KKK chronicled in Robert Williams’s Negroes with Guns, it is clear that owning firearms was commonplace in the black community.     Nicholas Johnson points out that this story has been submerged because it is hard to reconcile with the dominant narrative of nonviolence during the civil rights era. His book, however, resolves that tension by showing how the black tradition of arms maintained and demanded a critical distinction between private self-defense and political violence.      Johnson also addresses the unavoidable issue of young black men with guns and the toll that gun violence takes on many in the inner city. He shows how complicated this issue is by highlighting the surprising diversity of views on gun ownership in the black community. In fact, recent Supreme Court affirmations of the right to bear arms resulted from cases led by black plaintiffs.     Surprising and informative, this well-researched book strips away many stock assumptions of conventional wisdom on the issue of guns and the black freedom struggle.

     

  15. Foreign Gods, Inc. by Okey Ndibe
    ( Soho Press , 1/14/2014 , Hardcover )
    Foreign Gods, Inc., tells the story of Ike, a New York-based Nigerian cab driver who sets out to steal the statue of an ancient war deity from his home village and sell it to a New York gallery. Ike’s plan is fueled by desperation. Despite a degree in economics from a major American college, his strong accent has barred him from the corporate world. Forced to eke out a living as a cab driver, he is unable to manage the emotional and material needs of a temperamental African American bride and a widowed mother demanding financial support. When he turns to gambling, his mounting losses compound his woes. And so he travels back to Nigeria to steal the statue, where he has to deal with old friends, family, and a mounting conflict between those in the village who worship the deity, and those who practice Christianity. A meditation on the dreams, promises and frustrations of the immigrant life in America; the nature and impact of religious conflicts; an examination of the ways in which modern culture creates or heightens infatuation with the exotic, including the desire to own strange objects and hanker after ineffable illusions; and an exploration of the shifting nature of memory, Foreign Gods is a brilliant work of fiction that illuminates our globally interconnected world like no other.

     

  16. Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana Byrd
    ( St. Martin’s Griffin , 1/28/2014 , Paperback )
    Two world wars, the Civil Rights movement, and a Jheri curl later, Blacks in America continue to have a complex and convoluted relationship with their hair. From the antebellum practice of shaving the head in an attempt to pass as a free person to the 1998 uproar over a White third-grade teacher’s reading of the book Nappy Hair, the issues surrounding Black hair continue to linger as we enter the twenty-first century.Hair Story is a historical and anecdotal exploration of Black Americans’ tangled hair roots. A chronological look at the culture and politics behind the ever-changing state of Black hair from fifteenth-century Africa to the present-day United States, it ties the personal to the political and the popular.
    Read about:
    * Why Black American slaves used items like axle grease and eel skin to straighten their hair.
    * How a Mexican chemist straightened Black hair using his formula for turning sheep’s wool into a minklike fur.
    * How the Afro evolved from militant style to mainstream fashion trend.
    * What prompted the creation of the Jheri curl and the popular style’s fall from grace.
    * The story behind Bo Derek’s controversial cornrows and the range of reactions they garnered.
    Major figures in the history of Black hair are presented, from early hair-care entrepreneurs Annie Turnbo Malone and Madam C. J. Walker to unintended hair heroes like Angela Davis and Bob Marley. Celebrities, stylists, and cultural critics weigh in on the burgeoning sociopolitical issues surrounding Black hair, from the historically loaded terms good and bad hair, to Black hair in the workplace, to mainstream society’s misrepresentation and misunderstanding of kinky locks. Hair Story is the book that Black Americans can use as a benchmark for tracing a unique aspect of their history, and it’s a book that people of all races will celebrate as the reference guide for understanding Black hair.

     

  17. Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz
    ( Atheneum Books for Young Readers , 1/7/2014 , Hardcover )
    Malcolm X grew to be one of America’s most influential figures. But first, he was a boy named Malcolm Little. Written by his daughter, this inspiring picture book biography celebrates a vision of freedom and justice.Bolstered by the love and wisdom of his large, warm family, young Malcolm Little was a natural born leader. But when confronted with intolerance and a series of tragedies, Malcolm’s optimism and faith were threatened. He had to learn how to be strong and how to hold on to his individuality. He had to learn self-reliance. Together with acclaimed illustrator AG Ford, Ilyasah Shabazz gives us a unique glimpse into the childhood of her father, Malcolm X, with a lyrical story that carries a message that resonates still today—that we must all strive to live to our highest potential.

     

  18. Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons by Sylviane A. Diouf
    ( NYU Press , 1/17/2014 , Hardcover )
    Over more than two centuries men, women, and children escaped from slavery to make the Southern wilderness their home. They hid in the mountains of Virginia and the low swamps of South Carolina; they stayed in the neighborhood or paddled their way to secluded places; they buried themselves underground or built comfortable settlements. Known as maroons, they lived on their own or set up communities in swamps or other areas where they were not likely to be discovered. Although well-known, feared, celebrated or demonized at the time, the maroons whose stories are the subject of this book have been forgotten, overlooked by academic research that has focused on the Caribbean and Latin America. Who the American maroons were, what led them to choose this way of life over alternatives, what forms of marronage they created, what their individual and collective lives were like, how they organized themselves to survive, and how their particular story fits into the larger narrative of slave resistance are questions that this book seeks to answer. To survive, the American maroons reinvented themselves, defied slave society, enforced their own definition of freedom and dared create their own alternative to what the country had delineated as being black men and women’s proper place. Audacious, self-confident, autonomous, sometimes self-sufficient, always self-governing; their very existence was a repudiation of the basic tenets of slavery. Sylviane A. Diouf is an award-winning historian specializing in the history of the African Diaspora, African Muslims, the slave trade and slavery. She is the author of Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas (NYU Press, 2013) and Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America, and the editor of Fighting the Slave Trade: West African Strategies.

     

  19. The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
    ( Roaring Brook Press , 1/21/2014 , Hardcover )
    An astonishing civil rights story from Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin. On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution. This is a fascinating story of the prejudice that faced black men and women in America’s armed forces during World War II, and a nuanced look at those who gave their lives in service of a country where they lacked the most basic rights.

     

  20. Baby Momma 3 (Urban Books) by Ni’chelle Genovese
    ( Urban Books , 1/28/2014 , Paperback )

     

The Secret History of Las Vegas: A Novel by Chris Abani



Paperback
January 7, 2014
Penguin Books
Before he can retire, Las Vegas detective Salazar is determined to solve a recent spate of murders. When he encounters a pair of conjoined twins with a container of blood near their car, he’s sure he has apprehended the killers, and enlists the help of Dr. Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in the study of psychopaths. As Sunil tries to crack the twins, the implications of his research grow darker. Haunted by his betrayal of loved ones back home during apartheid, he seeks solace in the love of Asia, a prostitute with hopes of escaping that life. But Sunil’s own troubled past is fast on his heels in the form of a would-be assassin.

Suspenseful through the last page, The Secret History of Las Vegas is Chris Abani‘s most accomplished work to date, with his trademark visionary prose and a striking compassion for the inner lives of outsiders.