National Black Book Festival


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Black History Year - Yeah!!! It's April

Number 61
I know, I know, the budget was passed and we can continue to work until September 30 and then the 2012 budget.  I am not going to get into all that right now.  You have TV, newspapers, and “specialist” or “experts," as they call themselves, analyzing the hell out of it, so I will stick to what will make us and keep us happy.  Books and more Books, but with a cheap price.
I will stay, however, on the high price of milk and gas.  I’m sorry; it still bugs the hell out of me.  “Let it go, grasshopper, let it go!!!” 
PERSIA WALKER – BLACK ORCHID BLUES - $9.99 - - - The cover of the book is beautifully illustrated and the sister (drag queen) looks serious.  In Walker's exuberant third Harlem Renaissance mystery (after 2008's Darkness and the Devil Behind Me Darkness and the Devil Behind Me: A Lanie Price Mystery (The Lanie Price Mysteries), new performing sensation Queenie Lovetree, a six-foot-three drag queen who bills himself as the "Black Orchid," approaches Lanie Price, the Harlem Chronicle's society columnist, at the Cinnamon Club. Queenie wants Lanie to profile him, but a man in a Stetson and trench coat, armed with a Tommy gun, interrupts their conversation and forces Queenie to leave the club. Lanie's involvement in the search for Queenie brings her into conflict with her editor, Sam Delaney, and Det. John Blackie and into contact with such diverse denizens of 1920s Harlem as notorious loan shark Stax Murphy and transvestite Jack-a-Lee Talbot. This dark, sexy novel takes readers from the homes of Striver's Row professionals to the Faggots' Ball, Harlem's "largest drag ball of the year," as Lanie struggles to make sense of the kidnapper's increasingly bizarre behavior.
TRICE HICKMAN – UNEXPECTED INTERRUPTIONS - $9.69 - - - What happens when a young woman falls for two men, one black, one white, both determined in their pursuit for her affections?....Unexpected Interruptions follows the journey of Victoria Small, a smart, savvy sister who's fresh off a year-long, self-imposed hiatus--from men! Now that she's ready to start dating again, she gets more than she bargained for when Ted Thornton and Parker Brightwood enter her life. Ted, a powerful blue-eyed CEO, is drawn to Victoria, igniting a friendship that both delights and shocks her out of her comfort zone. Then she meets Parker, a talented surgeon who showers her with tenderness, helping to mend her once-broken heart. In her struggle to rationalize her growing feelings for the white man who loves her, and forge ahead in her relationship with the ebony prince who fulfills her, she resurrects a painful secret she thought she'd buried long ago, and finds herself doing things she never thought she'd do. Along the way she's joined by a colorful cast of friends and foes as she tests the boundaries of love, race, class and where she fits in.
TRACY PRICE-THOMPSON and TaRESSA STOVALL – MY BLUE SUED SHOES: FOUR NOVELLAS $9.99 - - - The titular footwear connects these overtly inspiring tales of African-American women recovering from domestic violence in the latest effort from Price-Thompson. Desiree Cooper's opener, "Breakin' It Down," features a pair of blue suede tennis shoes that help TV host "CC" Smart, a Norfolk, Va. single mom, face the consequences of putting her career over the needs of her daughter. In Price-Thompson's "Brotherly Love," a social worker gives a pair of slingbacks to an abused teen who has aborted her baby. Stilettos become a good luck charm for an Atlanta TV news anchor accused of trying to kill her husband and his pregnant girlfriend in Stovall's "Breakin' Dishes." And Elizabeth Atkins's "The Wrong Side of Mr. Right" hits a profound closing note when a pair of old Jamaican wedding slippers inspires a woman to face the reality of her abusive Prince Charming. The perfunctory prose of all involved disappoints, but their accumulated efforts and shared subjects matter makes for a moving collection.
L. A. BANKS – SURRENDER THE DARK - $7.99 - - - Celeste Jackson has fought all her life against a fog of hallucination and substance abuse, but it’s not until she meets her protector, Azrael, an angel who has left the safety of the Light, that she learns of the evil forces that have been trying to ruin her, and why. A fierce battle for control of the mortal realm is brewing and only Celeste, with the help of the Remnant, her half-human, half-angel brethren, can stand in the way. Together, Celeste and Azrael must gather an army of sensitive’s to defeat the dark powers that have ruled humanity for centuries, but time is running out. If Azrael surrenders to his growing desire for Celeste, he risks being trapped among humanity forever. But the longer he stays, the harder she is to resist. To save the world, Celeste must draw on her own dark experiences with addiction to help Azrael overcome the one temptation that could possibly make him an eternal prisoner—his obsession with her.

WILLIAM FREDRICK COOPER – ONE SEASON (IN PINSTRIPES): A MEMOIR - $9.99 - - - Author William Fredrick Cooper has experienced the loss of employment, painful character assaults on his literary journey and the painful truth that he must reinvent his life. Humbling himself before God and allowing the painful process of spiritual and emotional growth, an amazing journey begins. Taking a job as a maintenance attendant during the inaugural season at the new Yankee Stadium, his dreams start to come true. Connecting with colleagues, celebrities and players while rekindling a childhood love of sports, Cooper moves on from pain and loss with a championship season for the ages. In One Season (in Pinstripes)

My Girl is Back!!!!!
NIKKI TURNER – HEARTBREAK OF A HUSTLER’S WIFE - $9.99 - - -  Yarni Taylor is a successful corporate attorney who wants nothing more than for her husband, Des, to renounce his hustlin’ ways and commit to his life as a pastor—especially after someone tries to kill him. But Des isn’t ready to abandon his old habits just yet. He has to find out who is behind the murder attempt, and he wonders if the brazen robbery that took place during one of his church services is related in any way. But before he or Yarni can regain their footing, a young woman shows up on their doorstep—Desember Day, the eighteen-year-old daughter Des never knew he had. And, unfortunately, she takes after her father, so trouble isn’t far behind. 

With their lives on the line, Yarni must sacrifice everything and take it out of the office and back to the streets to save her husband and her family from their checkered but intricately connected pasts.

I went to see SISTER SOULJAH – MIDNIGHT AND THE MEANING OF LOVE - $12.99 at Books A Million in Charleston, SC and I enjoyed her.  She is one of those writers who has lived all over the world as a black woman who knows the games inside out, but that hair doo, the two pomp pomp sticking out on the side of her head kept me looking at them instead of concentrating on what she was saying.  Either way, I am a fan and will continue to be one.  The girl is awe-inspiring. 

Powerful and sensual, Midnight is an intelligent, fierce fighter and Ninjutsu-trained ninja warrior. He attracts attention wherever he goes but remains unmoved by it and focuses on protecting his mother and sister and regaining his family’s fortunes. When Midnight, a devout Muslim, takes sixteen-year-old Akemi from Japan as his wife, they look forward to building a life together, but their tumultuous teenage marriage is interrupted when Akemi is kidnapped and taken back to Japan by her own father, even though the marriage was consummated and well underway.

“There’s not one drop of inferiority in my blood,” Midnight says as he first secures his mother, Umma, and sister, Naja, before setting off on a global journey to reclaim his wife. Midnight must travel across three countries and numerous cultures in his attempt to defeat his opponent. Along this magnificent journey he meets people who change him forever, even as he changes them. He encounters temptations he never would have imagined and takes risks that many a lesser man would say no to, all for the women he loves and is sworn to protect.

E. N. JOY – LOVE, HONOR, OR STAY (NEW DAY DIVAS) - $7.99 - - - Now that Deborah has finally let go of the past that haunted her for so many years, is she ready to grab hold of love? The handsome Lynox Chase certainly hopes so, as he tries everything to win Deborah's heart. Even though she believes in her heart that Lynox is the husband God has for her, there still seems to be a barrier separating the two. 

The ringing of the wedding bells between Paige and Blake can still be heard echoing, but will the roar of temptation rear its ugly head when Paige begins to find comfort in the least-expected old friend?

Just when Tamarra manages to put out one fire, yet another one sparks. When a relative of the person who committed an unspeakable act against Tamarra tries to strike up a relationship with her, what really strikes up is the largest blaze imaginable. Tamarra doesn't even have faith that God can get this one under control.

ReSHONDA TATE BILLINGSLEY – A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND - $9.99 - - - Investigative journalist Ava Cole is shocked when her news magazine folds and she's assigned to dig up celebrity dirt for its tabloid sister publication, the National Star, where "if you get killed trying to gather a story for them, they'll send flowers to your funeral, then send another reporter to finish the story." She's surprisingly quick to embrace the lavish lifestyle her new job affords as she jets down to Aruba to cover superstar India Wright's wedding. As Ava works to expose the secrets at the heart of pop culture's most sizzling romance, she heads into her own perilous love triangle with Julian, India's sexy manager, and Cliff, a handsome colleague at the Star. Billingsley's engaging voice will keep readers turning the pages and savoring each scandalous revelation.

DELANEY DIAMOND – THE ARRANGEMENT - $3.99 - - - Ah! Sucks now, we got us a man from Brazil.  Let’s dance!!! Brazilian millionaire, Leonardo da Silva, is still seething from when his African-American wife, Alexa, walked out on him four months ago. Now she’s in his office asking for a business loan to help her brother. Instead of a loan, he’s willing to give her the money, but only if she resumes her role as his wife for the next two months. She reluctantly agrees, and she soon finds herself wishing their arrangement was permanent. But when she finds out about Leonardo’s betrayal, there may be no way for them to mend their broken marriage.
Got to stick one in for Black History Year:
MANNING MARABLE – MALCOLM X: A LIFE OF REINVENTION - $14.99.   On a very sad note, Mr. Marable, Professor of public affairs, history and African American Studies at Columbia University, died April 1. He is a well know writer of Black history and he is another that we will miss.  

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story; he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties. Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.