National Black Book Festival


Monday, June 27, 2011

Love Houston!!! and Love Books!!!


Another more exciting part of my trip, other than Earth, Wind and Fire!!!! I’m still screaming about Verdine White!!!! and you know this was coming, a visit to the local library.  Houston, and yes I counted them and looked them up to see how far in walking distance from the hotel they were before I left for my trip, has over 20 libraries.  Yes, over 20 libraries.  Some are for specific subjects, such as “Small Business Development Library,” “Library Management Svc,” and others.  I walked to the library two blocks from the hotel. 
Can you believe I got that lucky.  I was in Heaven.  Their computer center has 25 computers and you stand up to use them, like standing at a bar.  I guess this keeps the guest from taking up too much allotted time.  You sign in and wait until your number is reflected on the monitor on the wall.  Such advance technology.  I signed up just watch to the monitor and look it over.  We do not have anything like that in Charleston or my home town of DC, if I remember.  It is two story gray building with glass door entrance.  The building has a very modern look from a distance like a museum.  Inside, a large displaying area of pictures and/or paintings from various photographers and artist.  That week, they had black and white photographs of high school kids from the 70s in a band, learning a instrument or being instructed by a teacher or local jazz band.  You look at those pictures and remember what it was like to have a big Afro Bush.  How did we really comb that nappy hair?  The first floor has the computer center as I stated before and a large fiction/non-fiction selections.  They had books in that area that I had not seen in years.  The second floor was filled with many and various children and youth books.  Your child would be impressed.  They also have a Friends of the Library and I joined that as well as join the library.  My card is valid for a year, which means I will be back a few more times.  Got to find cheap flying deals!!! and I will find them!!!
STEPHANIE MORRIS - STAKING HIS CLAIM - $5.99 - Remember a few blogs back I was talking about interracial dating.  Here’s another writer I met at the National Black Book Festival (NBBF) and when you check out her web page,, you will noticed many of her books has a black women and a white man.  Whoa!!!! your horses!!! (Am I becoming a cowgirl!!).  If you like BRENDA JACKSON, FRANCIS RAY and other romance writers, add Ms. Morris to your list.  I just finish reading STAKING HIS CLAIM and I know, I know, you are saying, “please, another romance book, but this time with a “white guy.”!!! “I do not think so!!  Give it a chance.  Her writing is fast, smooth and yes, it does have a happy ending.  You know you want a “happy” ending to your own life, so add some of her books to your library.  It just might get you to thinking about, “maybe,” “maybe.”
Leslie, a girl left pregnant, broke and hurt by a “but-hole,” is heading back home to get a job and raise the child by herself in Casselton, North Dakota.  There exist such a place and yes, black folks live there.  
During a severe snow storm (Is there any other?), her car breaks down.  She finds a house with a light on and knocks on the door, Blake (White guy with Iraq issues lives there), of course, what else would it be.  He sees her and says, under his breath, “Who in the hell could be out in weather like this this?  “Now, come on?” you know what’s going to happen next.  They are now stuck at his house for three days due to the storm.  “Come on!!!”  I knew that was coming!!!, but wait, when she first enters the house and she sees his blue eyes, her insides start to shake and shimmer just as his insides start glazing over her body, until he finds she is pregnant.  She ignores her feelings at first sight, because she is pregnant by the guy who dumped her, and he is white too and don’t see a need to get involved in another man.  They do get involved and it’s cute and soft.  
Ms. Morris romance book may seem like an old Harlequin/Silhouette book with the cover of a woman’s hair blowing in the wind leaning against a guy with his shirt off.  I don’t ever remember my hair blowing in the wind leaning against a guy with his shirt off, but, I got some serious nappy hair.  Maybe it doesn’t work for nippiness.  After seeing this book cover with Leslie standing with her arms crossed and Blake standing there looking like a some Italian mob guy in the Sopranos and the back drop of a log cabin covered in snow, I just thought this was just another cookie romance book to read quick while on the plane, train or bus.  I was right and wrong.  It’s a good old fashioned story with a happy ending.  It was like have a great glass of wine, soft, supple and slow to go down, but I like it.   I’m on a roll now, the next book.
Ashley Bennett is a physical therapist burnt out from the job because of all of the rich, spoiled patients she has had to put up with. She moves back to San Angelo, TX (Oh! Oh! there’s my favorite city again, Houston!!!) to be closer to her family and friends. She has made enough money to live comfortably for a little while until she decides what she wants to do. Unfortunately things don’t go as she planned. Upon stopping by the hospital where she started out in physical therapy, she runs into her old mentor. While there, her help is enlisted for a patient who needs her expertise. When she finds out the new patient is Christopher Morgan, her world is sent into a tailspin. She and Chris have a history. They have been friends since the age of five, and she had kept a secret from him. It is a secret that could rock the foundation of their friendship. She is in love with him.
Christopher Morgan feels like he is having the worst luck in the world lately. His mother is an awful meddlesome matchmaker distracting him from being able to find the woman of his dreams on his own. It only gets worse when his horse training session goes awry and he ends up in the hospital. To top it all off he is told his new physical therapist is Ashley Bennett, his childhood friend and the woman he has secretly been in love with for years. He had no idea she was back in town, but now that he does he doesn't plan to let her go.  Is this cute or what!!! You are probably going, Get Real!!!
STEPHANIE MORRIS -  HER EVERY FANTASY (THE SMITH SISTERS) - $5.99 - - - Kayla Smith is looking for a man that can satisfy her every need (I’m looking too sister!!!) and she has found him only he doesn’t want the job. James Feldon has suffered through a messy marriage and has the scars to prove it. He isn’t ready to become involved with another. Although he didn’t realize how difficult that would be until Kayla became his teenage daughter's teacher. To make matters worse, all four of his children have decided that they want a new mother, and they have chosen Kayla putting a completely different spin on his carefully laid out plan.
Now wait a damn minute!!! How come this crap’ola romance don’t happen to me!!! Where have I been?
R. M. JOHNSON - KEEPING THE SECRET - $2.99 - - - Lauren is a beautiful cheerleader, in love with Ebban, a star high school basketball player. But is it true love if they haven’t made love? Lauren pushes Ebban to consummate their relationship, but he hesitates and won’t tell her why. Meanwhile, Ebban is engaging in behavior he knows he shouldn’t be, and hates himself for it. It’s a terrible secret he keeps from Lauren, and his family and prays they’ll never discover it. But when Sebastian, Lauren’s best friend, is grabbed and brutally beaten, he decides to get revenge by digging up dirt and blackmailing the boys who assaulted him. Unfortunately, those boys happen to be Ebban and his teammates. One by one, Sebastian sets each boy up, and takes him out. Now, the closer Sebastian comes to discovering Ebban’s involvement in the horrific beating, the closer he comes to revealing Ebban’s tortured secret, and telling Lauren. If found out, everything, and everyone Ebban holds dear could be lost
Got to stick on one for Black History Year.  
While having our monthly Literary Divas of the LowCountry book club meeting, someone asked who wrote the book “The Wedding.”  Well, here it is and it’s one of her best.
DOROTHY WEST - THE WEDDING:  A NOVEL - $9.99 - - - You may have seen the TV movie version in 1988 with Halle Berry, Lynn Whitfield, Carl Lumbly, Charlayne Woodard. a little known actor, Deji LaRay who has played in CSI:NY, Without a Trace, Lincoln Heights, Charmed and other TV shows.  He is very good and of course not enough of our young black actors in TV and movies.
We should band all movies unless they have a black actor.  Even a small part is enough to get me to the theatre.  Hey, that’s just me.  I love all kinds of movies fro the 40s to now, and I am always looking for that black actor in it.  I’m weird like that and love it.  Now, here’s what The Wedding is about and I do have the original book.  
The tranquility of a late summer weekend in 1953 is shattered by a tragic accident in this spare, affecting novel by one of the last surviving members of the Harlem Renaissance. The Oval, the exclusive black enclave on Martha's Vineyard, prepares for the marriage of Shelby Coles, daughter of one of the community's most admired couples. Shelby's choice of white jazz musician Meade Wyler awakens dormant but unresolved racial issues in her family, which includes her physician father, enduring a loveless but socially proper union; her mother, confronting a dwindling pool of partners for her discreet affairs, and her great-grandmother, who dreams of escaping her ambivalence by returning to her aristocratic Southern roots. The arrival of black artisan Lute McNeil upsets the precarious equilibrium of the Oval when his aggressive pursuit of Shelby leads to disaster. Through the ancestral histories of the Coles family, West (The Living Is Easy) subtly reveals the ways in which color can burden and codify behavior. The author makes her points with a delicate hand, maneuvering with confidence and ease through a sometimes incendiary subject. Populated by appealing characters who wrestle with the nuances of race at every stage of their lives, West's first novel in 45 years is a triumph.