National Black Book Festival


Sunday, August 14, 2011

More on NBBC

I am still unpacking and going thru my massive purchase of books from my trip to the National Book Club Conference.  It’s so much, but I’m loving every feel and smell of each book.  I did buy them in e-book format as well so that I can carry them either way and still be happy as a drunken clam.  Life is good, real good!!!

On Friday, my book club members and I started our morning at the Bebe Moore Campbell Memorial Award honoring TINA McELROY ANSA and an acknowledgement from R. M. JOHNSON for E. LYNN HARRIS.  Just as with L. A. Banks, we will miss them and will continue to miss them.  I met all of them before and they did more to add to my life and I am more than grateful that I got a chance to talk and meet with them as well as buy and promote their books.  Ms. Ansa and Mr. Johnson talked about Bebe and E. Lynn like they were their best friend and adviser.  At one point, Mrs. Ansa had to choked back tears because she remembered so much about their friendship.  R. M. Johnson informed us that this man helped him to become a better writer, husband and friend.    Buy all of their books, you don’t have to be gay or straight or anything, you just have to be human.  The experiences they write about includes everyone, not just blacks, but all.  They got it right thru their books and you can feel it.  You will enjoy the hell out of them, take my word for it.  
I’m going to give you Ms. Campbell book listing and tomorrow will give you E. L.Harris.  Once again, you will no way be disappointed.  

As I told you earlier, there were so many authors and so many books it will take me a few blogs to get thru to all of them, but all in all, you will love it and I mean love it!!!!  

You may not be in the mood to read Mrs. Campbell's books, but at least try one of them and then get back to your other “I’m in the mood” book or books.  
BEBE MOORE CAMPBELL - YOUR BLUES AIN’T LIKE MINE: A NOVEL - $12.50 Hardcover - - - I read this book years ago when it came out and it was just about the time, 1995, that I was very hungry for books by black authors and just happen to see her book in the store.  Not many stores for a while carried books by black authors, you had to hunt and stalk the bookstore owners to get more.  That was my trade, stalking book store owners to get with the program and sell books by us.  I’m still doing it today, even at Barnes and Noble.  You don’t think I’m going to let them sly just because Borders closed?  No ding dong way!!!  It was also the time my history class was going over the Emmett Till case.  It is not an easy read, just like people are not too happy with “The Help” book and movie.  Either way, times have changed, but times have not changed.  Campbell does give both sides, whites and blacks who are dirt poor in Mississippi, some humanness, some compassion.  
Moving quickly and believably from the eve of integration in rural Mississippi to the present-day street gangs in Chicago's housing projects, Campbell captures the gulf between pre-and post-civil rights America; her story, starting with the murder of a young black man whose trial, argued before an all-white jury (Does it remind you of John Grishman's A Time To kill - A Time to Kill: A Novel?  Then the movie with Samuel Jackson?  Locate that movie and tell me if this book does not reminds you of something), captures national attention, shows us how far we have come and yet suggests we have not come so far after all. When word gets out that black teenager Armstrong Todd was talking French to Lily Cox, the Cox men kill him. Clayton Pinochet, the local newspaper reporter whose father is the most powerful and reactionary man in town, secretly tips off the national press; the men are arrested for what in previous times would have been a permissible crime. Their acquittal makes it clear that the system doesn't provide justice, and life never returns to normal for anyone. There are details, such as the advent of TV, the polio vaccine, a Faulkner novel, Vietnam, women's lib and Oprah!, which add to the richness of the story. 
Your Blues Ain't Like Mine (Hardcover)

SINGING IN THE COMEBACK CHOIR - $11.70 Paperback - - - Maxine McCoy has made it. She has overcome the odds she faced as a black woman from a working-class Philadelphia neighborhood to become a successful television producer in Los Angeles. She loves her hardworking, ambitious husband and is pregnant with her first child. She does worry, though, that the shows she produces are of no social value. But even this concern drops away when she receives a phone call from the caretaker of her seventy-year-old grandmother and learns she has to return to Philadelphia. Orphaned at an early age, Maxine grew up with her grandmother Lindy, a singing star. Lindy is now a smoking, drinking, embittered women whose glorious voice has atrophied from disuse, and the house that used to swing with laughter and music is dim and lifeless. Lindy's once striving neighborhood has become a blighted, crime-infested area. Yet after a few days there, Maxine realizes that Lindy and Sydenham Street itself have been the source of her own strength and success, and she is moved to help both reclaim their glory. 
WHAT YOU OWE ME - $6.00 Paperback - - - Los Angeles, l945: When Hosanna Clark, newly arrived from the farm fields of Texas, befriends Holocaust survivor Gilda Rosenstein, she opens the door to a new life for them both. Using Gilda's knowledge of cosmetics and Hosanna's energy and determination, they begin producing a line of lipsticks and lotions for black women. The two are more than partners: They are dear friends.
Then Gilda suddenly disappears, taking all the assets. Hosanna is doubly betrayed: financially ruined and emotionally bereft. When, years later, she passes away, her small cosmetics company dies with her. But Hosanna leaves behind a daughter steeped in her mother's pain: Matriece is as smart and driven as her mother and savvy enough to recognize that white firms are competing not only for black consumer dollars but for black professional talent as well. When Gilda's huge cosmetics conglomerate hires her to launch a line of black beauty products, Matriece takes on a mission to collect her mother's debt.
What You Owe Me is a stunning account of the changes we have seen in white attitudes toward blacks, but it is also a sensitive look at what betrayal-of friendship, of love-does to us all. Ultimately, it is a moving book about healing.
What You Owe Me

BROTHERS AND SISTERS - $10.25 Paperback - - - Struggling with her own personal issues after the Los Angeles riots, Esther Jackson, a black employee at a downtown bank, is heartened when a black man is hired as senior vice-president, until he sexually harasses her white friend and coworker. 
Brothers and Sisters
72 HOUR HOLD - $11.01 Paperback - - - Trina is eighteen and suffers from bi-polar disorder, making her paranoid, wild, and violent. Frightened by her own child, Keri searches for help, quickly learning that the mental health community can only offer her a seventy-two hour hold. After these three days Trina is off on her own again. Fed up with the bureaucracy and determined to save her daughter by any means necessary, Keri signs on for an illegal intervention known as The Program, launching them both on a terrifying journey.  You may not be aware, but the main reason this book was written was because Mrs. Campbell's daughter suffers from the bipolar disorder.  I'm sure it helped her right the system and understand the aliment. 
72 Hour Hold
SWEET SUMMER: GROWING UP WITH AND WITHOUT MY DAD - $10.95 Hardcover - - - A bittersweet evocation of a divided childhood, with its inevitable disappointments, family secrets, surprising discoveries, loneliness, and love, SWEET SUMMER also recalls, with breathless anticipation, living on the cusp of the social revolution of the 1960s. An achingly honest and beautiful reminder of the universal challenge of growing up and facing one's parents as an adult.
Sweet Summer : Growing up with and without My Dad
Got to stick on one for Black History Year.  
STOMPIN’ AT THE SAVOY - $13.25 Paperback - - - Children’s book - - - If you have any young children, I know they will enjoy you reading this to them.  The colors and the brightness of our people dancing and all of the famous jazz greats.  What do you think your child will ask afterwards?  “Can you tell me more and did you do the “swing” “lindy hop” or maybe you did some “break-dancing.”  You’ll figure out which.  
On the night before her big jazz dance recital, young Mindy has made up her mind not to go, she’s just too nervous. But when she finds herself transported to the Savoy Ballroom, she quickly changes her tune. Filled from wall to wall with legends of the swing era, the Savoy is a place where the dancers move like acrobats and the seats stay empty all night long. It’s an all-night party, and with all that fun going on around her, Mindy has no choice but to move her happy feet!  
After the book, get the movie "Happy Feet," end the night right!!!

Stompin' at the Savoy