National Black Book Festival

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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.