National Black Book Festival

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Still miss my grandmother and our libraries


NUMBER 84 
I was off work today and I needed this day off.  I got an oil change, mammogram (ladies, please, please, please, please do not avoid this test.  It has and will continue to save lives.  Please, Please don’t ignore it), picked up heart worm pills for my dogie and finally my eye exam.  Needed new glasses since the second dog, my crazy self got another one, chewed them.  I got rid of the dog.  No, No, I did not kill it or have it put to sleep, I was able to give him to a family of four boys living on a large farm.  I don’t like that the older I get the more I need to wear glasses more.  I thought it was an "getting old thing," but found out from the doctor that because I have been reading so much and on the computer so much all day, my eyes are getting tired.  Hey, that's what she said.  Probably trying to make me feel better.  I don’t need glasses to drive or anything like that, but to read, I got to keep my body and eyes in check.  And since it was so beautiful with the sky milky white and light blue, soft wind and such quietness because many people were at work, I got a free frappuccion at Starbucks and sat outside and watch people go by.  Man, are we funny when we think no one is watch.
Older white woman walking up the street with dirty white socks and fish (yes, I wrote “fish), looking shoes.  It looked like she caught the fish, cleaned it and gutted it out  and shaped it into a slipper.  I kid you not!! I had to look it up on the Internet to see if I was tripping, I wasn’t.  I was just sitting down at the tables outside relaxing.  Not thinking, working, or worrying about anything.  After an hour of watching craziness, I went to Barnes & Noble and spent money I did not have.  Oh, well, will have to find some overtime or continue to work part time until I pay it off.  I brought a couple of magazines and two British TV comedies and HILL HARPER - THE WEALTH CURE: PUTTING MONEY IN ITS PLACE - $12.99  The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place - -  Hill is using his own life as an example to help us evaluate our values in order to lay and continue to have a sound financial picture.  I started reading it when I got home (Yes, I got books to read in the car, in the bedroom, living room, at work and any other place), I'm usually reading three or four at a time. 
There are lots of “money” books out there on how to save and such, but I'm a fan of Hill Harper and I figure I give it a chance to see if he is saying anything different.  He is and it's simple.  Not finish reading it yet, so I will update later.  I myself have been trying to save money for the next book festival, The 2011 National Book Festival on September 24th and the 25th at the National Mall in DC.  I cannot wait.  I miss home so much and I need to see my old neighborhood and my daughter.  

While in the book store walking around I got quiet and started to cry a little.  I grew up around libraries and book stores and being in that world makes me feel so rapturous.  I still to this day don’t know how to describe it.  I just walk in a library or book store and anything I may have been thinking or worrying about leaves my mind and I start to float like I’m standing on the sands of the beach and watching the water go back and forth over my feet.  Just quiet and very soft music in me.  I’m not doing a good job of describing it, maybe I will get better at it later.  For right now, it’s the only world where it’s just me and nothing or nobody else, just me and I miss my grandmother more on days like that.  She would stand next to me holding my hand and say nothing, just breathing along the same tide as me.  We are just standing there holding hands in the library and I miss that more that life itself.  I miss my other half, my life, my soul.  I just miss her.
When my daughter arrived, there were more bookstores than you can shake a stick at.  I use to take her to New York every year to visit Borders, Barnes & Noble, The Strand, where you could get first edition and good beat up paperbacks for $1.00, The Murder Ink, Mysterious Bookshop and Argosy Book Store which carried old and rare books.  I found a first edition Sherlock Holmes book there years ago.  My daughter and I would visit these stores and browse for hours and hours.  I remember the 2nd or third time I took her to the Borders on 5th Avenue and let her sit by herself in the children’s section.  I and other patrons in the store heard a scream and I ran because I knew that scream, it was my kid.  Got to the children’s section and she is screaming with joy because the latest Rug Rat book was out and they had the complete series.  She was in heaven and the book sellers asked me, “I have never seen a child act that over a book!! How did you get her to love reading and books so much?  You got a secret?"  “Nah, I said, it just started from the time she was in my womb and before that when my grandmother sparked and pushed the love of reading in me.”  “She just got the gift and I’m more than happy.”
We spent too much money in there.  When the receipt was printed out, the cashier just about dropped her self on the floor.  It was due to the fact that I did not flinch one inch about the total.  I did not care, those books I was buying for me and my kid was just the beginning and it hasn’t stop since.  
MARVA FARRIS - A CHANGE OF GRACE - 99 CENTS - - - Grace had been running from her past for years, and part of her believed that she could keep her secrets forever. But when her only two children reached adulthood they are eager to get to the bottom of things. As her youngest daughter Egypt prepares for her dream wedding, she wants to know the truth about the identity of her father. 
While the oldest, Kenya, struggles to understand Grace’s absence during her childhood. Kenya finally gets the opportunity to confront her mother when they drive from Charlotte, NC to Cleveland, OH (long drive if you ask me!) for Egypt’s wedding. Grace’s revelations are so surprising that they change the lives of everyone involved.  It’s always about secrets that are kept that catches up with you.  Is it worth it sometimes?

JAMES W. LEWIS - SELLOUT - 99 CENTS - - - I had the pleasure and honor to meet James in Houston at the NBBF and I had read his first book, A HARD MAN IS GOOD TO FIND - $3.99 A Hard Man Is Good To Find, which is funny as hell and the plot will have you guessing to the end.  After I profiled his book on my face book account, he had a contest on how many people would do that for his book.  I did not win the prize, I think it was a $50.00 gas card, but I did win this book with a personal autograph.  I’m reading it now and so far, it has my attention, interracial dating!  Didn’t I bring that up before? I will bring you up to date on it when I finish.  In the meantime, get the book, you will not be disappointed.  Here’s “Urban Diva “S.C.” review, “I have often said to myself when I see a black man with a white woman...Why? This is a question I believe we all as black women have ask ourselves. Now that I have a 19 year old son I think about this more, he is a college student and dates white and black women. Me, as a mother would love for him to marry a black woman, but his happiness is all that really matters..I guess. 
Well James W. Lewis did a wonderful job with this book... So after dealing with the tired/no good brothers who have cheated and hurt us time and time again is it enough to make a sister date a white man? Is she a Sellout if she does? And what about our black men who get tired of the black woman drama with her guards up, jealous, and not trusting, is that enough to make him date only white women? Does that make him a Sellout? What about the white woman who only dates black men? Sellout? And lets not forget about the white man who thinks and acts like a black man and loves black women? Is he a Sellout? 
But this book is so much more...I read it in a day because I could not put it down. It takes a turn that I did not expect and actually has you on the edge. I don’t want to give anything away because its a must read. I'm glad that I read this book because it hits home in so many ways...I tell my son all the time when dating white women "just because she likes you doesn’t mean her father does". 
This book actually made me think more about the word Sellout...does it actually mean racist? Can we actually be prejudice against our own? What a great job James W. Lewis...I wish you much success and I will always be a fan!”   I know I am a big fan and will continue to be.

Another one of my subscribers, who I am taking the honor to promote her book is CHICKI BROWN.  You don’t know how much I enjoy promoting a book, buying it and pushing it to people to buy, especially when I get to know the author.  It’s a BIG pleasure to do this.  Buy her books, you will not be disappointed.
CHICKI BROWN - HAVE YOU SEEN HER - $2.99 - - - Marcia Hadley, Santa Barbara, California socialite has been married for seven years to the heir of a family fortune. He sees to it that she has the finest home, cars and clothes. Yet that isn’t enough to keep Marcia from running.
Dani Reynolds, Atlantic City nightclub cocktail waitress works on her feet seven hours a night, five days a week for less than minimum wage in a crowded, smoky nightclub. She lives in an aging, run-down apartment, rides the city bus, and she’s happier than she’s ever been.  Marcia and Dani have more in common than anyone could imagine. They are the same woman.  Only Taylor Villanova, the club’s sexy bouncer can help her reconcile her two distinct persona's, face her greatest fear and discover a love greater than she’d ever imagined.

CHICKI BROWN - HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME - $2.99 - - - Seven very different singles – four women and three men – rent a New Jersey beach house for the summer: author Shontae Nichols, self-employed accountant and realtor, Linda Harris, Linda’s sister, hip-hop video dancer Kinnik Watkins, cosmetologist, Jovita Blassingame, Calculus professor Curtis “Doc” Whetstone, actor and drama instructor, Kip Lee, and new housemate, up and coming film actor, Devon Burke.
During their two month stay, romances bloom friendships are tested and when a tragedy strikes one of the housemates, they all learn the answer to the age-old question: Can men and women ever be just friends?  

CHICKI BROWN - HOLLYWOOD SWINGING - $2.99 - - - You know you at least like the title since it reminds you of the song by Kool & and Gang, old school song, but one of the best dancing and partying songs around.  
Newlywed author Shontae Nichols Burke is trying to adjust to her life in Hollywood as the wife of actor Devon Burke, one of the film industry’s brightest upcoming stars. She’s left her home and her friends and moved to Los Angeles. They both have blossoming careers. She’s attending movie premieres and living a life she only dreamed of.
Unknown to Shontae, someone else also believes Devon Burke is the love of her life. When this disturbed woman insinuates herself into their lives, Shontae learns that all Hollywood drama isn’t scripted and finds herself in a fight for her marriage that’s worthy of the big screen.

CHICKI BROWN - I CAN’T GET NEXT TO YOU - $2.99 - - - Rick Gardner never intended to visit one of Atlanta’s premiere strip clubs, but his fellow attorneys choose that venue to celebrate his latest courtroom victory. A born again Christian, Rick knows Dreamland is the last place he belongs. Still, he’s confident he can withstand the temptation. Until the beautiful woman sent to entertain them walks in. Oh, Oh!, why don’t they every learn!!
I just brought all four after reading the synopses of each.  I got to at least find out how Shontae and Devon met and married and how preacher boy survived strip joint down!!
Chicki appears to have some great and ding-dong good books out there, buy them, buy them now.

Got to stick on one for Black History Year.  
VALERIE WILSON WESLEY - EASIER TO KILL (TAMARA HAYLE MYSTERY) - $2.86 Hardcover - - - Here’s another author I found in 1998.  A black mystery woman writer.  I read all of this series and still want to re-read them again.  There are some black detectives you want to see over and over again like Virgil Tibbs (played originally by Sidney Poitier.  You remember the scene where he smacks the white guy face?  Love it!) and Shaft (Richard Roundtree), boy I need to go to bed and some good dreams!!!
Tamara is summoned by Mandy Magic to take a case that could lead to a substantial contribution to Jamal's college fund (Tamara’s son). Magic (formerly Starmanda Jackson) has the most popular radio talk show in Essex County and a lifestyle that a struggling PI could only envy. But as Tamara probes the fears of her new client, she begins to see that this talk show host's world is hardly wine and roses. Magic's second "cousin" and stylist, Tyrone Mason, has just been murdered, and now Magic is particularly unnerved by a mysterious note reading simply "Movin' On Up." As Tamara digs deeper, she suspects that these and other events are hinged to Magic's misspent youth and her relationship to such characters as Rufus Greene, a former pimp. Unfortunately, Magic and her adopted daughter, Taniqua, are unwilling to cooperate in their own PI's investigation. What drives the mystery for Hayle (and the reader), then, is a profound curiosity about Mandy Magic's apparently sordid past. What is she hiding, and why would she hire a private detective if she didn't want her secrets revealed?