National Black Book Festival


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Black History Year - March

Number 53

This pass weekend, I volunteered at the St. Andrews Friends of the Library Book Sale in Charleston, SC.  We made over $4,000 and it will go to helping the libraries continue to offer free classes and services.  I always state where I volunteer because I volunteer at so many places in and out of South Carolina and promote the authors who I talk about on my blog.  Its my way of giving back to what  so many of them have done for me.   I’m waiting to hear if they need volunteers at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, Virginia and just heard that I am a confirmed volunteer at the 2011 National Black Book Festival in Houston, Texas.  Got my plane ticket, now working on my hotel.  Hope it's just as cheap as the plane ticket.  A lot to volunteer at and I’m loving it.  

Now, since I am a few days behind, lets get to some cheap but good books.  The theme for today, “black women who kicked ass.”  I kinda like that!!!
SUSAN FALES-HILL - ONE FLIGHT UP - $11.99 - - - According to some reviewers, this is a Sex and the City for married women who do have it all, but I’m wondering how in the hell does that apply to me?  I will give it a try.  
What happens after happily-ever-after fades? Can the answer be found one flight up?  India, Abby, Esme, and Monique have all been friends since their days at Manhattan’s Sibley School for Girls. From the outside, these four women—all grown up now—seem to be living ideal lives, yet each finds herself suddenly craving more.  India Chumley is a whip-smart divorce lawyer who routinely declines the marriage proposals of her charming French boyfriend, Julien. She’s taking the first plunge by moving in with him, but she’s keeping her own apartment—and keeping it a secret from him.  Abby Rosenfeld Adams is an irrepressibly upbeat gallery owner who married her WASP college sweet heart, a passionate but tormented sculptor. When she suspects he is cheating on her, she realizes that perhaps there’s more to life than reassuring her husband of his artistic brilliance.  Esme Sarmiento Talbot is a Colombian Scarlett O’Hara, bored with her proper Connecticut life and her tame, all-American husband. In order to satisfy her sensuality, she escapes to Manhattan and distracts herself with casual encounters.  A card-carrying member of Harlem’s thriving buppie-ocracy and a successful gynecologist, Monique Dawkins-Dubois is married to a powerful but dull financier who barely notices her anymore. When an attractive coworker beckons, Monique can’t help but be flattered.  The most straitlaced of them all, India is dismayed by her friends’ illicit activities. That is, until her ex-fiancé, the love of her life and the destroyer of her heart, reappears in New York and she finds herself caught between the dependable man she thought was her future and the man she never quite let go of.  Dazzling and sexy, One Flight Up is an irresistible comedic romp through the boardrooms, bedrooms, and ballrooms of Manhattan and Paris.

She has another book out, ALWAYS WEAR JOY: MY MOTHER BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL - $9.99 - -  Josephine Premice, a beautiful and talented performer who never achieved the fame of contemporaries Diahann Carroll and Lena Horne, was equally dazzling as a wife and mother. Fales-Hill recalls the eclectic and effervescent family life spawned by her glamorous Haitian-born mother and a seafaring WASP father, circulating from Italy to New York's Upper West Side to Harlem to a wealthy Connecticut estate, with side trips to Broadway and Hollywood. Premice's career suffered as a result of the thin prospects for entertainers considered too black for the 1950s and not black enough for the opportunities that came later. Fales-Hill, a television producer, had her own struggles with stereotypical images of the black experience, which didn't include her privileged background or personal insecurities about her mixed racial heritage. She idealized her parents' marriage, overlooking her mother's profligacy and her father's philandering. But she fully appreciates the great joy and glamour of her mother, always outfitted in high heels and false eyelashes as well as other black divas and their gift for living an exuberant life. 

Now, for another woman who had it all, lost it, and getting her grove back, PAM GRIER - FOXY: MY LIFE IN THREE ACTS - $11.99 - - - You can’t tell me that the queen of the 1970s blaxploitation movies don’t have any juicy gossip and down right bad ass stories on the men and movies she loved, hated, killed (in movies), kicked their asses and all around “being bad.”  Oh, she got some stories.  

DIAHANN CARROLL - THE LEGS ARE THE LAST TO GO: AGING, ACTING, MARRYING, AND OTHER THINGS I LEARNED THE HARD WAY - $9.99 - - - She cannot be 70 years old, damn! that woman looks good!!  The book covers the usual about growing up and her marriages.  I still don’t get the Vic Damone thing!

JAMES GAVIN - STORMY WEATHER:THE LIFE OF LEAN HORNE - $9.99 - - - There are many books out there on her, but I think you will like this one as well.  He doesn’t add much that you don’t know already ready, but it’s a good read otherwise.


LISA Y. WATSON - WATCH YOUR BACK - $6.99 Paperback - - - Devon Mitchell's grandmother leaves him her art gallery.  Thus far he's been content to let things run themselves, until he discovers the gallery is being plagued by accidents and lost profits.  On a hiatus from the corporate life, Devon decides to go to DC and investigate from within.  He hires himself at his own gallery to be the new director.  The only problem is that the gallery already has an acting director, Jayde Seaton, who was promised the position.  Now Jayde's none too happy to discover that a man completely unsuitable for the job just got the corner office!

DOLEN PERKINS-VALDEZ - WRENCH - $9.99 - - - In her debut, Perkins-Valdez eloquently plunges into a dark period of American history, chronicling the lives of four slave women—Lizzie, Reenie, Sweet and Mawu—who are their masters' mistresses. The women meet when their owners vacation at the same summer resort in Ohio. There, they see free blacks for the first time and hear rumors of abolition, sparking their own desires to be free. For everyone but Lizzie, that is, who believes she is really in love with her master, and he with her. An extended flashback in the middle of the novel delves into Lizzie's life and vividly explores the complicated psychological dynamic between master and slave. Jumping back to the final summer in Ohio, the women all have a decision to make, will they run? Heart-wrenching, intriguing, original and suspenseful, this novel showcases Perkins-Valdez's ability to bring the unfortunate past to life.

ANN CHRISTOPHER - DEADLY PURSUIT - $4.47 - - - Tough men find their soft spots for smart, beautiful women in Christopher's (Redemption's Kiss - $4.25 - Kimani Romance Redemption's Kiss ) exciting romantic thriller. DEA agent Jack Parker, quietly masquerading as a fry cook, helps brilliant criminal defense lawyer Amara Clarke stop a carjacking. When footage of his heroics hits the TV news, it alerts Jack's longtime enemy, drug kingpin Kareem Gregory, to his location. Forced to take Amara along for her safety as he attempts to stay underground until Gregory's next trial, Jack struggles to fend off their mutual attraction and Amara's investigative instincts, hoping she can someday go back to leading a normal life. Meanwhile, Kareem digs into his own difficult relationship issues and conflicted sexual tension with his good-girl wife, Kira. Rough romance interleaves smoothly with bloody, lethal confrontation en route to a thrilling conclusion.

Got to stick on one for Black History Year.  

EDWARD P. JONES - LOST IN THE CITY - $9.99 - - - As someone who was born and raised in Washington, DC, I really enjoyed this book.  It reminded me so much on living on East Capital street in N.E., the DC Stadium, Anacostia, H.D. Woodson, Spingard high schools.  The small DGS grocery store where I would walk to and buy every day items for my grandmother and me.  My first bus trip with my grandmother, who got up real early, took a long bath, sprayed “Secret” deodorant and baby power all over her then get me ready by making me scrub my face and body with Ivory soap and put on very clean clothes of jeans and a T-shirt to take that long ride from 50th and East Capital street through Benning Road and Minnesota Avenue, over the bridge, to Union Station.  I got memories.
Young and old struggle for spiritual survival against the often crushing obstacles of the inner city in these 14 moving stories of African American life in Washington, D.C. Traveling street by street through the nation's capital, Jones introduces a wide range of characters, each of whom has a distinct way of keeping the faith. Betsy Ann Morgan, "The Girl Who Raised Pigeons," finds inspiration in the birds she cares for on the roof of her apartment building. Middle-aged Vivian Slater leads a hymn-singing group in "Gospel." The narrator of "The Store" labors to build up a neighborhood grocery; in "His Mother's House," Joyce Moses collects photographs and cares for the expensive home her young son has bought her with his crack earnings. Depicting characters who strive to preserve fragile bonds of family and community in a violent, tragic world, Jones writes knowingly of their nontraditional ways of caring for one another and themselves. His insightful portraits of young people and frank, unsensationalized depictions of horrifying social ills make this a poignant and promising first effort.