National Black Book Festival


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yep, it's still Black History Year

Number 59

I went to church on Sunday and I try my very best to go to church every Sunday to pray for myself, family, friends, co-workers, and the whole world.  It keeps me going during the week to help, pray, not get angry or depressed and try all over again to be the best Christian I can be, but there are times, my Lord knows there are times, I want to kick some but.  GOD knows me.  He knows me better than I know myself.  I turn the other cheek when someone slaps me (not physically, but mentally) because there are times it just easier to given in than fight.  I don’t mean, let them slap you down and upside up just because!  No, on the contrary, that’s when I go into my “I will slap your ass from one side of this state to another and then back again.”  Well, you get my point.  

There are just times when you wonder what people are thinking and why they continue to do what they know in their hearts is wrong.  Wrong to them and wrong to the other person.  Why would you scream and holler at your co-workers in an office full of people because you did not like what you thought was heard from so and so.  Did they hurt you physically or mentally?  So, you are going to go and act just like them, stupid.  That’s not a battle or war, that’s wasting your energy and spirit.  It’s get’s you no where!  Words do hurt, but do they really hurt?  Are you that insecure about what someone is saying about you?  Will it change your appearance or mental state of mind?  Maybe it will, but how.  Isn’t it better to let it go?  You are not of this earth, just in it for a very, very short time.  Enjoy your life.  Living happier to me is the best revenge.  Yeah, yeah, you don’t want to hear this, but you know it’s true.  Don’t let the devil in.  You know he is waiting on you!!  
Onward, Books!!  Now, that’s a place where no one can touch me except my GOD.  He knows what I love - - Books, Kids and Reading!!!

REBECCA SKLOOT - THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS - $9.99 - - - You may not want to read a book that’s 400 pages long, but you may want to learn how an African American saved your life by giving up her cells.  

Quote from Amazon - “From a single, abbreviated life grew a seemingly immortal line of cells that made some of the most crucial innovations in modern science possible. And from that same life, and those cells, Rebecca Skloot has fashioned in, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” a fascinating and moving story of medicine and family, of how life is sustained in laboratories and in memory. Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five in Baltimore, a poor African American migrant from the tobacco farms of Virginia, who died from a cruelly aggressive cancer at the age of 30 in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her knowledge or consent, as was the custom then, turned out to provide one of the holy grails of mid-century biology: human cells that could survive, even thrive, in the lab. Known as HeLa cells, their stunning potency gave scientists a building block for countless breakthroughs, beginning with the cure for polio. Meanwhile, Henrietta's family continued to live in poverty and frequently poor health, and their discovery decades later of her unknowing contribution, and her cells' strange survival, left them full of pride, anger, and suspicion. For a decade, Skloot doggedly but compassionately gathered the threads of these stories, slowly gaining the trust of the family while helping them learn the truth about Henrietta, and with their aid she tells a rich and haunting story that asks the questions, Who owns our bodies? And who carries our memories?”  

ISABEL WILKERSON - THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS - $14.99 - - - Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building a new, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done. 
Rhonda Bowen - Man Enough For Me - $7.60 - - - You know, some of these Christian fiction are good stories.  You may think of Carl Weber (Bishop T. K. Wilson.  I’m still tripping on Charlene, Monique, and that Diva of demons Lisa Mae and the Nair hair removal!!!).  Or Kimberla Lawson Roby (Reverend Curtis Black).  Man, oh! Man, who will ever forget that preacher!!!!)These Christian books are rocking with stories you can relate to and don’t believe how people are really tripping when it comes to the Lord.  My God, my God!
Ms. Bowen's debut sends a clear message that people need to "let God lead you right to where he wants you to be," wrapped in a sweet Christian romance package. Jules, hospital publicist by day and gospel promoter by night, takes up with Germaine, owner of a record shop and nightclub. Her friends and mother are impressed, but Jules worries about her choices when an event at the record shop suggests that Germaine's morals aren't all they could be. The sassy dialogue flows well, but the descriptions of people and places sound stilted. Religious musings outnumber snuggles and kisses, and the thin plot leaves Germaine squeaky clean and available to Jules as she realigns the rest of her life to her true purpose. 

J. D. MASON - THIS FIRE DOWN IN MY SOUL - $9.99 - - - The ladies of Hope Filled Christian Center spend more time serving other women's husbands than they do serving the Lord in Mason's fourth novel, a soap opera–like tale about the bad choices smart women make for love and companionship. Holier-than-thou Faye Watkins is married to the pastor of one of the largest churches in Dallas. She has a psychology degree and counsels the women of her husband's church, mostly about their problems with men. Among her charges is Renee Turner, a bohemian interior decorator who leads the church's singles' ministry. Renee breaks a long romantic dry spell with a client's husband, which has some negative consequence. Elise Clayton, a choir member and real estate agent, would do anything to get Jay, a married-with-kids truck driver, to leave his wife. And newly empty-nested Tess Martin wishes she had the strength to leave her philandering husband, Jesse, a church deacon who sleeps with everyone but her. Readers of commercial African-American fiction who haven't yet discovered Mason would do well to pick up this steamy cautionary tale. 
J. D. MASON - YOU GOTTA SIN TO GET SAVED - $9.99 - - - 2008 Reesy Braxton, 35, has finally found her birth mother, after alienating her husband, distressing her adoptive mother, and upsetting her sister, Connie, who isn’t happy about finding the mother who deserted them. Charlotte Rogers often thinks about the two children she had to leave behind, and she clings to her third daughter, Cammy. Mason takes a straightforward tale and spins it into an emotionally complex story with unexpected twists. Multiple points of view and flashbacks offer insights along the way as each member of this broken African American family comes into focus—Reesy, who’s raising her two sons as well as Connie’s daughter; Connie, who stops her string of abortions and has a baby, only to give it away; Cammy, who feels responsible for her unstable mother; and Charlotte herself, thrilled to hear from her long-gone daughters but unsure of how to reconnect. Graphic sex and violence stun the reader into realizing how much these women have been through. 
J. D. MASON - THAT DEVIL’S NO FRIEND OF MINE - $9.99 - - - Despite the assumptions associated with his first name, Bishop Fontaine is not an official of the church. He is, however, a successful and influential undertaker, and his death causes a ripple effect. His best friend and partner, Lamar Brown, has always desired Bishop’s daughter, Kristine. With Bishop gone, so is the only roadblock keeping Lamar from pursuing his obsession. Tragically, Lamar’s wife, Rhonda, knows her husband’s intentions. Bishop mentored Cole, who’s up for his second middleweight-boxing championship fight. He warned Cole against his wife, Nora, a sadomasochistic supermodel, and his predictions have come true. Singer Fitzgerald knew Bishop as her sugar daddy, but she is also the object of unrequited love.
J. D. MASON - SOMEBODY PICK UP MY PIECES - $11.99 - - - The fierce fourth appearance of the Rodgers women (after You Gotta Sin to Get Saved) finds matriarch Charlotte Rogers confronted with her worst nightmare: the reappearance of Uncle Lamont Williams. Twenty-seven years earlier, Uncle killed Charlotte's lover and savagely beat her. Now he's out of prison and eager to reconnect. Turns out, years ago, Uncle used young Charlotte to pay off a debt, and now Charlotte is a bitter woman whose youngest daughter, Cammy, recently lost a child in a car accident. Unable to cope, Cammy leaves her husband and moves to Denver to be closer to her older sisters, Connie and Clarice, who are having romantic problems. Mason vividly explores the roller-coaster relationships the chronically unhappy Charlotte has with her daughters and captures Charlotte's desperation as she contends with Uncle, leading to a bone-chilling if paradoxically uplifting ending. 
TIFFANY L. WARREN - WHAT A SISTA SHOULD DO - $8.99 - - - A powerful and spiritually satisfying novel from a compelling new voice about three courageous women who must confront the harsh realities of their lives through faith and prayer. Pam Lyons has a husband who places more trust in money and marijuana than in God. Yvonne Hastings is a minister's wife whose husband's infidelity and physical abuse brings their marriage to a crossroads. Taylor Johnson is a single mother who is looking for a good Christian man to help raise her son, but is unable to rid herself of the guilt left over from her promiscuous past. The secret of Taylor's child's paternity is the catalyst for the tumultuous relationship between the three women. Together, they will learn unforgettable lessons about love, forgiveness, prayer, and sisterhood.
Got to stick on one for Black History Year.

COLSON WHITEHEAD - THE INTUITIONIST: A NOVEL - $10.20 Paperback - - - A dizzyingly-high-concept debut of genuine originality, despite its indebtedness to a specific source, ironically echoes and amusingly inverts Ralph Ellison's classic Invisible Man. In a deftly plotted mystery and quest tale that's also a teasing intellectual adventure, Whitehead traces the continuing education of Lila Mae Watson, the first black woman graduate of the Institute for Vertical Transport and thus first of her race and gender to be employed by the Department of Elevator Inspectors. In a ``famous city'' that appears to be a future New York, Lila Mae compiles a perfect safety record working as an ``Intuitionist'' inspector who, through meditation, ``senses'' the condition of the elevators she's assigned. But after an episode of “total free-fall” in one of “her'” elevators leads to an elaborate investigation, Lila Mae is drawn into conflict with one of the Elevator Guild's “Empiricists,'” those who, unlike Intuitionists, focus their attention on literal mechanical failures. Furthermore , it's an election year for the Guild, pitting Intuitionist candidate Orville Lever against crafty Empiricist Frank Chancre, who has surreptitiously enlisted the muscle of mobster Johnny Shush. Hoping to escape these distractions while proving herself innocent, Lila Mae goes “underground” and makes some dangerous discoveries about the ideas and the life of Intuitionisms founder, James Fulton, a visionary known to have been working on a “black box” that would revolutionize elevator construction and alter the nature of urban life forever. Lila Mae's odyssey involves her further with such mysterious characters as Fulton's former housemaid and lover, her circumspect “house nigger” colleague Pompey, a charmer named Natchez, who claims he's Fulton's nephew, and sinister Internal Affairs investigator Bart Arbogast. Whitehead skillfully orchestrates these nourish particulars together with an enormity of technical-mechanical detail and resonant meditations on social and racial issues, bringing all into a man y-leveled narrative equally effective as detective story and philosophical novel. Ralph Ellison would be proud.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Yeah I'm sticking to Black History Year!!!

Number 58
Do you know how hard it is to convince Black people that an education is their future.  As I have told you many times before, I volunteer at book fairs, book conferences, on the Board of Directors of two libraries in two states, work full time and part time (The part time job is to buy more and more books. The full time job is to pay for bills, especially the “what in the hell happen to my electric bill?” “Did someone else move into my house and didn’t let me know that they had the heat on 24/7.”  The water bill, food bill, gas for the car, “That’s another "what in the hell happen to gas prices.”  “I brought gas on Sunday after church for $3.31 and when I drove by that same gas station the next day on Monday , it was up to $3.39 cents.  “Did yaw hear me, $3.39 cents in 24 hours!!! Damn!  My kid's college tuition and stuff I should not have brought and regret and now have to pay for it, that's why I'm on the Dave Ramsey - MORE THAN ENOUGH: PROVEN KEYS TO STRENGTHENING YOUR FAMILY AND BUILDING FINANCIAL PEACE - $12.00  More than Enough: The Ten Keys to Changing Your Financial DestinypastedGraphic.pdf and Michelle Singletary - THE POWER TO PROSPER - 21 DAYS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM - $9.99 plans The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial FreedompastedGraphic_1.pdf.  I’m getting out of debt in two years, unless the government shuts down.  Now, that’s another story.  
I've said to much, let's move on.  As I was saying, trying to get black folks to go back or to college and get that degree.  I have been preaching that for years,  way before the economy went south and north.  My grandmother, great-grandmother, great-aunt and mother told me over and over and over again, get that degree.  “I don’t give a crap if it's in garbage collection, just get it!”.  "If you think this economy is going to stay good", this was told to me from birth until my grandmother died in 1989, "you got another thing coming."  “What goes up! will come down!! "Get a degree, get a good job or you will become another "dependent on the gov'ment to help you died early," "and since you do not have a choice, because I (we) will whoop your hind pot until it falls off and will whoop your hind pot until you turn another race, you have no choice!!!
"Then why the hell ask me to do it?"  What was I thinking when I talked back!  They whooped my but from the kitchen to the bottom of the closet in the bedroom.  I've never talked back again, even today!  I’m scared!  Now, here I am trying to talk to these kids (ages 12 to 50) to get that education, even an AA is something, just get it.  Time is here.  Time has come and gone.  We are losing the battle to get our kids educated and ready for the future.  They can use the iPhone, play those video games and talk smack, but they cannot read, write and calculate on how not to get into debt with credit cards and mortgages you cannot afford.  We have got to help these kids/adults. 
Folks, we got kids graduating from college and no job but big student loan bills.  Yes, Yes, I just said get a degree and it cost big money, but there are plenty of 2 year schools that do not cost an arm, leg and teeth.  We got 20 to 65 years old looking for jobs in fields that changed drastically.  We got kids/adults depressed, without love or support or limited money.  We have got to help each other out.  We are losing the battle!!! Help me, help them.  Buy books.  Read books to your kids.  Give books to friends, neighbors, kids on the street.  Tell them about your life and how you made it.  Write about your life in a book.  Volunteer or become a mentor.  Tell then about GOD and how he has pulled you thru some very rough times.  Don't stop, even when that knuckled head get on your last nerve, keep giving, you will blessed beyond your dreams.
OK, I have run my mouth again.  On to books:

The following books are not in e-format, but you can still order it from Amazon or your favorite book website.  Just get the books and spread the world.  Not everyone will like Urban.  Some say it's too raw and too ghetto, but I used these same books to get adults I was teaching in English and math, how to read and calculate their money.  It worked.  They were even surprised that there are books about them and their world. I was able to stick some Shakespeare and Ralph Ellison in too! I got them hook on books. 
JVICTOR BLACK - THE SORCERER’S MASK - $12.95 - - - All he wanted was to love, but falling in love was his one mistake. Dumped by his fiancee, self made art entrepreneur, Jasson (what is this about adding another “s” to a name?) Vaughn, hides behind his work until his best friend, Ramon introduces him to beautiful hotel executive, Marisa Saunders. But the passionate love affair soon becomes a race against time when his new love is kidnapped. Now Jasson must decide to help drug enforcement agents or give a ruthless drug lord what he wants. With the help of his best friend, Jasson sets out to save the woman he loves. Circumstances, however, are not what they seem as Jasson comes face to face again with love's treachery.
PHEARE ALEXANDER - STR8 LACED - $14.95 - - - Reviewed from Jennifer CoissierePheare Alexander is a suspense thriller that pulls you into the story from the very first page and releases you at the last word on the last page. As I read about the abduction of Dr. Jocelyn Reynolds and the aftermath, I found myself second guessing what I believed was truly taking place in the characters' lives. McClaine Henry, a woman with some serious mental issues, kidnaps Jocelyn, keeping her away from her family and friends for two months. Nine years after the abduction, Jocelyn's best friend, Karen, disappears bringing Jocelyn back into the world of her psychotic abductor. The experience Jocelyn had with McClaine helps her to think like the person who has taken Karen. When a wife disappears, the first person everyone suspects is the husband. Could it be that Karen's husband, Byron, did not want to accept the fact that she wanted a divorce? Will she ever be found? 
Ms. Alexander had me wrapped up in the minds of Jocelyn. I thought I knew who did what and the reason behind it, but I was so wrong. When everything was finally revealed I had to pick my chin up off the floor. All the clues were there, but I was slow at putting them together. The characters and the setting were well developed and easy to imagine. If I could suggest one thing to Ms. Alexander, it would be to have the book edited a little more. The mistakes did not take away from the story, but in all fairness it took away from my rating of five stars. I recommend Str8 Laced to readers of suspense thrillers, psychodrama, and mystery. 
DIJORN MOSS - MY FATHER’S HOUSE (URBAN CHRISTIAN) - $11.21 - - - What happens on Sunday is only a glimpse into the life of a church's shepherd. As both spiritual leader and confidant, newly appointed Pastor Timothy Wells must overcome his insecurities to keep Gethsemane Community Church from folding. But it won't be an easy task. In addition to his pastoral duties, Timothy must also take on the challenge of offering godly counsel to some of his members through their darkest hours. And with a jealous associate pastor and his conniving wife waiting in the wings, Pastor Wells must rely heavily on his faith if he is to rebuild his father's house.
PAT SIMMONS - TALK TO ME - $6.99 - - - Noel Richardson is perfect, but degrees, wealth, and good genes don't define a man. The CEO of a St. Louis non-profit organization, Noel doesn't respond when women whisper compliments behind his back. It's only God's voice Noel hears.  His life has been anything but easy since surviving a fireworks explosion that killed his best friend and shatters his hearing. That's in his past. He's learned to co-exist between two worlds, hearing and Deaf.  Living in the Deaf community isn't easy. There are constant reminders that Noel is a distinct outsider.  For years, his Sunday morning worship consisted of tele-evangelists. Spiritually, he was dying from the lack of fellowship. What could he do? Very few churches had what he needed. Then Noel stumbles across an invitation flashing on a portable sign:  Thanksgiving service. All are welcome. Deaf ministry provided.  Once inside God's Grace Church, he's captivated by Interpreter Mackenzie Norton's graceful hands. To Noel, Mackenzie's exquisite, a steadfast believer, and head strong. With her, Noel can hear the impossible.  
NIKITA LYNETTE NICHOLS - A MAN’S WORTH (URBAN CHRISTIAN) - $6.99 - - - Randall Loomis and Pastor Cordell Bryson were as close as two blood brothers could ever be. Like peas in a pod, their friendship was unbreakable until Amaryllis Price stepped onto the scene. The moment Randall set his eyes on her, all heck broke loose. Who knew that a woman's beauty and sex appeal could cause a God fearing, faithful church going, dedicated man, to literally lose everything that's dear to him?  In this tantalizing, yet heartwarming novel, Randall finds out the hard way, that beauty is only skin deep and everything that looks good to him may not necessarily be good for him.  Amaryllis has a goal; to steal Randall's heart, kill his integrity, and ultimately destroy his relationships with God, his pastor, and mother. But it is Cordell Bryson who steps on the battlefield and war for his best friend's soul. Will Cordell's constant praying, lectures, and sermons, written especially for Randall, keep him from feasting at the devil's table?
NIKITA LYNETTE NICHOLS - AMARYLLIS (URBAN CHRISTIAN) - $10.17 - - - In this sequel to “A Man's Worth”, the feisty, hot to trot, and unsaved Amaryllis Price continues to wreak havoc.  After witnessing Randall Loomis drive off into the sunset with his new wife and family, Amaryllis starts a new chapter in life and moves to Las Vegas to live with her sister, Attorney at Law Michelle Denise Price.  Michelle is saved and sanctified, and she's also engaged to Minister James Bradley. It doesn't take long for Amaryllis to set a new goal. Envying the attention and affection James showers on her sister, Amaryllis puts a plan in motion to destroy Michelle's fairy tale relationship and claim James as her own. But will God's plan intervene?
LAWANNA DAMOS - HATED . . . WITH A PASSION - $15.00 - - - Watch out! this sister has a gun in her hand on the book cover!! - - - Passion Coley began life with the world at her fingertips, due to her father's wealth. When her father was arrested and sentenced to 10 years, she and her mother went from riches to rags within a matter of months. Passion was often left in her grandfather's care which was a big mistake. After being molested and other traumatic events at home, she was placed into foster care where she met her best friend and worst enemy. When she met Dru Tidwell, her life seemed to be changing for the better. With his New York/Miamities, they reigned over the streets of Youngstown. Unbeknown to Dru, she caught him cheating with the only person she trusted in the world and plotted to secretly destroy them and conquer the game all at once, but her plan backfired, leaving Passion to make a devastating, life altering decision that threatened to ruin her career and take her off the streets permanently. Ride with Passion as she attempts to beat the odds. Will she succeed or succumb to the rough streets of Youngstown, Ohio?
TONY LINDSAY - ONE DEAD PREACHER: (DAVID PRICE MYSTERIES) - $6.99 - - - Security Firm CEO David Price is living the rewards of hard work and determination. Single, self-employed and satisfied with his life, he has it all. Things couldn't be better. That is, until he meets sexy vixen Sugar Greer, a married woman with a dark history that she must hide and he vows to protect. When its all over, David and his client are left with blood on their hands. Caught in a cultic web of abuse, theft, and murder, David must get back on the streets to clear his name, a journey that will lead him to “One Dead Preacher”! 
TONY LINDSAY - ONE DEAD LAWYER: DAVID PRICE MYSTERIES - $6.99 - - - Security escort David Price is back after his adventures in One Dead Preacher, and he's gotten himself into another tight situation. With the reappearance of family in his life, even more is at stake for him now. When a prominent lawyer, (whom David suspects is a murderer) turns up dead, David is, once again, in the middle of the drama. Tony Lindsay doesn't disappoint fans of suspense and drama with this second book in the David Price Mystery Series.
TONY LINDSAY - CHASIN’ IT - $14.95 - - - Chasin' It is not quite what it seems. It's the story of Terri Parish, a show girl, forger and drug kingpin's kept lover. She is also a transvestite. A love story twisted with jealousy, addiction, denial, obsession and deception, Chasin' It is a fast-paced tale that runs from Caesar's stage in Las Vegas to prison in Illinois. Can a man really be a woman? Well, in Chasin' It the reader will truly find out.  Once a Las Vegas headliner, Terri Parish has aspirations that don't quit fit into the life of an ex-offender. Terri desires the lights of a Vegas stage and the admiration of fans. Seeking the glamour life on the streets of Chicago leads Terri into a life where all that glitters is not platinum.  Chicago's cold streets are hard teachers and their lessons for Terri are many; from matters of the heart to feeding an addiction, this is a rite of passage tale like no other; lessons learned here are wisdom earned. This book has very explicit scenes and has a parental warning on the cover.

Got to stick on one for Black History Year.

BRIAN KEITH JACKSON - THE QUEEN OF HARLEM: A NOVEL - $14.99 - - - Jackson's latest novel is the story of a young man who retreats from wealth and privilege in order to discover his true self. As an African-American raised in mostly white Southern suburbs, Mason feels out of place surrounded by people his own color. Determined to change that, he re-baptizes himself Malik and adopts a new persona in an attempt to experience "real" black culture. He moves to Harlem, lies about waiting tables while living off a generous allowance, engages in unsophisticated philosophizing and absorbs life lessons from Carmen England, an enigmatic society diva who seems to be something of a fabrication herself. Of course, Mason's duplicity leads to complications he never anticipated, and he realizes that he cannot be himself while playing at being someone else. But Mason's original motivation is never explored in any depth, and his abandonment of his false identity has more to do with winning an affluent young woman than with any new wisdom or contrition. Discovering one's true self by experimenting with an invented self is not a new idea; Jackson's innovation is to take his protagonist to Harlem, but setting alone is not enough to carry a novel. Mason resides in Harlem, but he never really lives there. The representation of this rich, storied neighborhood is no more enlightening than the view out-of-towners have from a tour bus. I wonder why?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Black History Year - Yeah, Yeah, It's still March

Number 57

It has been a long day, but hey, I’m home and updating my blog.  I return to volunteering at the library tomorrow after work.  I love, love, love working at the library.  I find so many books and always wish I had more time to read them.  There’s an older white gentleman who hangs out at the library.  At first, I thought we was just one of the many homeless people hanging out at the library during cold weather, but this man comes in with dirty clothes, missing teeth, uncombed hair and smelling like a fish that was just pulled out of the Harbor in New York, no damn idea what is in that water, except some dead bodies.  This man literally stinks to high heaven.  He has noticed me almost two or three times a week in the library and he also noticed me taking big stacks of books out.  He approached me one day and suggested I read Carolyn Hart, “Death on Demand Mystery series,” and Alice Kimberly’s The Ghost and Mrs. McClure (Haunted Bookshop Mystery) series.  He said he noted how I read lots of mysteries as well as many Urban and fiction African American authors.

The man floored me to death.  His knowledge of books by every type of author is amazing.  Now, when I come to the library, I always say Hi, and he gives me another author to try out.  No, he does not limit himself to just white authors.  He covers every type he can find.  
We now have a contest going on as to who can read all of the books in the library by the end of the year.  I will lose, since I work during the day, but about two weeks ago, I caught up with the amount of books he read and we just talked and talked.  I even took him to Starbucks and brought him a muffin and coffee.  We sat and talked for so long, that it became very late, which caused me to be late for work the next morning.  It was interesting to say the least and it took me a while to get use to his smell.  Isn’t it sad that we still judge people by the way they look (Or in this case, smell!). I, like so many others, thought he was a lazy bum, but that has since changed.  He is just a happy bum who read books.  
You never know, that could be me one day with gas being over three dollars a gallon and damn milk and cookies is costing more!!  Oh, well, on to books and such:
Asha May,  together with her mentor Debbie Allen, Idris Elba and Lance Gross have created an excellent TV series Milk + Honey. Idris and the Brown Paper Dolls company (Chicagoans and Howard U, FAMU & Spellman grads Dana Gills, Asha Kamali May, and Jeanette McDuffie) have been working on this series for over 3 years.  The show was created to showcase diverse images of women of color that are rarely seen on the big or small screen, and also to create more opportunities for black actors.

The "Milk + Honey" scripted series will soon be seen on all platforms and is looking to get picked up by a TV network. They need 1 million views of the trailer which is posted on the website

Please check it out and forward to your friends!
TV is getting black again.  Angela Basset will play a special agent in charge of an elite police unit on ABCs - IDENTITY.  Taraji P. Henson will play a detective on CBSs - PERSON OF INTEREST and Kerry Washington takes on the role of high-powered publicist on ABCs - DAMAGE CONTROL.  
Not many African Americans on TV since Cosby left, so let’s give these shows a try and see if they have done better.  Let me know what you think. 
CI CI FOSTER - SUNNY RAIN - $2.99 - - - Social worker Natalie’s and husband Bryce’s opposite schedules makes it difficult to have a normal marriage. When she seeks solace in the arms of an older man, her troubled past resurfaces to haunt her.  Monica will stop at nothing to win back the love of her ex-husband, Ray. Can their love survive Ray’s new baggage and drained bank account? Or is she pumping herself up for another let down?  Armed with a bodacious booty and razor sharp tongue, men can’t get enough of Leslie. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. That is, until she meets Derrick. He is fine in every sense of the word. The only problem is he knows it!

TINA BROOKS McKINNEY - SNAPPED - $7.99 - - - To Merlin Mills, his family ceased to exist when his father turned his back on him, and he had to make some drastic changes in order to survive. Now, nine years later, his family is back, and their existence threatens his once stable relationship with his new wife. If Merlin wants to hold on to her, he must face the demons he’s conveniently forgotten and put them in their proper perspective. Can he undo the damage caused by his omission, or will he snap under the pressure? Gavin Mills always despised his twin brother, but now the fact that they are mirror images might work to his advantage. When Gavin gets a taste of Merlin’s wife, he decides he has to have her, no matter the consequences.  Gina Meadows took in the children of her common law husband, Ronald, mainly because she feels guilty that she is unable to conceive. Imagine her surprise when she discovers she’s pregnant. It could be just the thing she and Ronald need to rekindle their relationship or it could spell disaster. With so many demons still plaguing them, this family reunion will be anything but easy.

TRACY BROWN - SNAPPED: A NOVEL - $9.99 - - - In Brown's latest, four New York friends find money doesn't buy happiness and love doesn't either, especially when it's confused with lust. Latoya Blake's a fashionista realtor who's flamboyantly single and distrustful of men because of a horrific secret in her past. Dominique Storms has a successful music industry job and a lovely 13-year-old daughter, but she's obsessed with an incarcerated man. Former model Camille Bingham is married to Frankie B., the trusted associate of a dying Manhattan crime lord, Doug Nobles, and she rightfully suspects her honey's getting far too close to Doug's daughter, Gillian, who's poised to take over after her father dies and Baron, her dangerously out-of-control brother, is out of the way. Camille's younger sister, Misa, yearns to be rich like her sis, but is a neglectful single mother of a three-year-old pursuing a relationship with the sadistic Baron. Brown makes these desperate women amazingly sympathetic even as they make foolish choices, and the same goes for Frankie B., despite his appalling mistreatment of Camille. It all adds up to some seriously twisted problems leading to some cliffhanging shockeroos that undoubtedly mean a sequel is on its way.

ANNETTE GORDON-REED - $9.99 - THE HEMINGSES OF MONTICELLO: AN AMERICAN FAMILY - - - This epic work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826. It brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson but also their children and Hemings's siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson's wife, Martha. The Hemingses of Monticello sets the family's compelling saga against the backdrop of Revolutionary America, Paris on the eve of its own revolution, 1790s Philadelphia, and plantation life at Monticello. Much anticipated, this book promises to be the most important history of an American slave family ever written.

HEIDI W. DURROW - THE GIRL WHO FELL FROM THE SKY - $7.45 - - - Rachel Morse (the girl in question) wonders about being "tender-headed." It's how her grandmother chides her for wincing at having her hair brushed, but it's also a way of understanding how Rachel grapples with the world in which she landed. Her parents, a Danish woman and an African-American G.I., tried to hold her and her siblings aloft from questions of race, and their failure there is both tragic and tenderly wrought. After sustaining an unimaginable trauma, Rachel resumes her life as a black girl, an identity she quickly learns to adopt but at heart is always reconciling with the life she knew before. Heidi W. Durrow bolsters her story with a chorus of voices that often see what Rachel can't--this is particularly true in the case of Brick, the only witness to her fall. There's a poetry to these characters that draws you into their lives, making for a beautiful and earnest coming-of-age novel that speaks as eloquently to teens as it does to adults. 

Got to stick on one for Black History Year.

NELLA LARSEN - PASSING - $2.99 - - - The heroine of Passing takes an elevator from the infernal August Chicago streets to the breezy rooftop of the heavenly Drayton Hotel, "wafted upward on a magic carpet to another world, pleasant, quiet, and strangely remote from the sizzling one that she had left below." Irene is black, but like her author, the Danish-African American Nella Larsen (a star of the 1920s to mid-1930s Harlem Renaissance and the first black woman to win a Guggenheim creative-writing award), she can "pass" in white society. Yet one woman in the tea room, "fair and golden, like a sunlit day," keeps staring at her, and eventually introduces herself as Irene's childhood friend Clare, who left their hometown 12 years before when her father died. Clare's father had been born "on the left hand"--he was the product of a legal marriage between a white man and a black woman and therefore cut off from his inheritance. So she was raised penniless by white racist relatives, and now she passes as white. Even Clare's violent white husband is in the dark about her past, though he teases her about her tan and affectionately calls her "Nig." He laughingly explains: "When we were first married, she was white as--as--well as white as a lily. But I declare she's getting darker and darker." As Larsen makes clear, Passing can also mean dying, and Clare is in peril of losing her identity and her life.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Black History Year - Still in March

Number 56

I’m in the mood for some Vampire.  Everyone else is doing it with the Twilight Series.  My girlfriend and I last year went to the Cinebarre theater, where you can eat and drink while watching a movie and sat thru a marathon of the Twilight series, part 1, 2 and 3.  We were so drunk by the time we saw the current movie, Eclipse, that I still don’t remember what happen.  Just got a little horny seeing those two boys, Edward and Jacob.  Why are they so young and white?  Why can’t I have one of them to take home and train the way I want a man?  Why, oh why.  
When the fourth one comes out in November, we are going to do it again.  It’s starts at 6pm thru 3am.  We will be OK, we will drink enough beer and coffee to keep us awake and the bathrooms are close by.  The opening one will be shown outside, which means I will lay my but down and probably fall asleep.  Cannot wait.  I’m on Team Edward Teams.  To bad they are young and white.  I would have like a young and black one.  
When was the last time you did a marathon movie fest?  Come on, you know you did them when you were young, by young I mean under 70 but over 18.  Hey, 30 is the new 20, 40 is the new 30, 50 is the new 40 and 60 is the new 50 and so on.  I have seen enough women and men to know, DAMN!!! I want to look like that when I grow up, well, you can’t have everything, but I’m sure going to damn try! Tina Turner, Diana Carroll, Diana Ross, Victoria Rowell, Iman, Natalie Cole (She really looks good after so much drama with drugs and illness),  Vanessa L. Williams of Ugly Betty and now on that show Desperate Housewives, which is about time they put a serious black women on the show to show them how to really create some drama.  They did have Alfre Woodard and she did look good, but I'm not a fan of the show, so I'm limited as to what is has been or going on now.  These black women have it all and I want some of it, don’t you!
Let’s start our Vampire lust!!!
L. A. BANKS - MINION: A VAMPIRE HUNTRESS LEGEND - $7.99 June 2003 - 1st - - - Damali Richards is a rising star of Warriors of Light Records, -but her fans would never guess that she is also the most important vampire hunter in a millennium. However, unfortunately for the inexperienced young huntress, the vampires and demons have both discovered her existence. An age-old war escalates to unprecedented heights of violence as the dark forces strive to slay Damali before she comes of age and gains her full powers.
Damali is a vampire-killing martial artist, and Minion presents an epic struggle between good and evil, yet the novel neglects to include a climactic battle between Damali and the bad guys (or much of a climax at all; a sequel is obviously forthcoming). Another problem is that Damali's teacher withholds crucial information from not only the huntress, but also her guardians, who should have learned everything many years ago. In contrast, the characters frequently tell each other things they already know.
THE BITTEN (VAMPIRE HUNTRESS LEGEND) - $7.99 January 2005 - 4th- - - The fourth Vampire Huntress book opens with Damali Richards happy and in the arms of her lover, master vampire Carlos Rivera. Their romantic getaway ends with a shocking revelation: Damali is becoming a vampire. Distressed, Carlos takes Damali back to her friends, hoping that the seer Marlene can reverse the process. Carlos is forced to leave Damali to return to the Vampire Council, which greets him with distressing news: a master vampire has stolen a key to a powerful seal that could enable him to destroy the sun. The council wants the key in its keeping and threatens Damali's life to compel Carlos to get the key for it. Carlos turns to a human associate, detective Berkfield, for help in finding the key, while Damali's friends perform a ritual to keep her from becoming a full-fledged vampire. The stakes have never been higher, and the excitement and tension are palpable in this installment of Banks' complex, sexy series.
THE THIRTEENTH (VAMPIRE HUNTRESS LEGENDS) - $7.99 - FINAL IN SERIES - - - Reviewed by Candace Link “C Janine” - The Thirteenth is the twelfth and final story in L. A. Banks' Vampire Huntress Legends series. I know it's fiction (and I must admit that I was hooked from the moment I saw the Sankofa tattooed at the base of Damali'striskaidekaphobia (morbid fear of the number 13.  Some say it’s superstition and related to Friday the 13th) was because the series was ending, not the emotional roller coaster Banks delivered as the team took it to the streets in Jerusalem, dodging daywalkers and zombies. Having become personally attached to every member of the team, I tried unsuccessfully to read slowly, but the fast-paced action was right out of a Roland Emmerich or Jerry Bruckheimer film. Fallon Nuit, Sebastian, Lilith, and Vlad Dracula turn up the heat on the team once they realize Damali is pregnant. Seeking to exploit this perceived weakness, the One Who Shall Remain Nameless, breaks the sixth seal. Ride or die, the Neteru team, tried by the fire, comes out pure gold with the help from the council of Neteru Kings and Queens and Warrior angels. When the dust clears, Banks leaves it to Yaya to bring peace to the steadfast, but mystified adults (and I was one of them), making the words of Isaiah 11:6 ring clear: "and a little child shall lead them." 
OK, that’s enough of vampire for now, I’m only on book three and I got to catch up.
Got to stick on one for Black History Year.  
OMAR TYREE, DONNA HILL, MONICA JACKSON, KEVIN S. BROCKENBROUGH, LINDA ADDISON, and ANGELA C. ALLEN - DARK THIRST - $10.99 - - - I know you are surprised that Omar and Donna are writing vampire, but this is different.  
Psychically commanding vampires, both men and women, both willing and unwilling killers, seduce unwitting humans and lead them to the slaughter. The majority of the stories share themes of beauty, power and the desire for love or approval—themes that Monica Jackson's "The Ultimate Diet" riffs on wonderfully as the obese Keeshia, rather than beginning another diet, figures out how to turn into a vampire so she can be slender and irresistible, just like her beautiful serial-killing neighbor. Donna Hill's "The Touch" follows Selena, a masseuse who uses sensual touch and sex to sate her desire for humans so she will not feed on them, as she begins to lose control of her urge for blood. Kevin S. Brockenbrough's outstanding "The Family Business" mixes vampires and werewolves with the real monsters—wife beaters and uncaring neighbors—as Shelly agrees to become a werewolf like the men in her family to get back at her abusive husband, only to have him return from the dead as a vampire eager for payback. The vampires are all ultimately alone, even as they reach out to the humanity that they themselves lack.