National Black Book Festival


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Black Kindle Rocks - Carl Weber/Eric Pete


It's been a few weeks since the “Part Time Job at the Asylum” Christmas party (I need to find a shorter name…how about “The Sanctuary,” it does have a horror movie sound to it, don’t you think?).  As I’ve stated before, a storm was brewing.  Nothing there stays calm for long.  
When I returned on Saturday, the woman who gave me a Secret Santa gift was fired.  She called out again one day last week and the manager, Kat, decided right then to fire the woman.  There appeared to have been many complaints from employees and customers of her rude treatment and her absences.  Kat contacted the owners, who forcefully stated, "Fire her and cut the bullshit."  Kat had been going back and forth on this, especially since the woman was given two warnings before. Kat, who does not have the gumption to really fire anyone, knew she had to do it or it was going to be her job.
Before Kat fired the woman, she showed up the next day and resigned. She then proceeded to write a few nasty e-mails to the company owners about the horrible condition of the place.  How the employees were always eating the food, serving free food to friends, and not cleaning up properly.  I don't disagree on some of those things, but I have seen her do the same things.  Yes, some of the employees do not clean as well as they should. When I come to work I bring some Clorox from home.  That cheap one dollar bleach they use does not work for me and I can’t stand a dirty kitchen.  Just can’t stand it.  I clean places there I don't think they know exist, but that's another story.  Oh, well, another one bites the dust. This place is beginning to look like "American Idol for part time jobs." Who can hang and who cannot.
I just finished reading Carl Weber and Eric Pete - The Family Business - $9.87.  When this book came out in February last year, I was there at his store, Urban Knowledge, listening to him and Eric and purchasing 10 books for friends and myself to get autographed.  I am a HUGE, BIG, FANATIC fan of Carl Weber and his story telling.  That's what it is, "Story telling" in the best layout ever.  Once I got home, I gingerly placed the book on the counter, stared at it, held it, and glided my fingers over the cover and binding.   I opened and smell it.  Then put it face front on the top shelf of my bookcase to view whenever I walked into my library.  I knew I would read it, but not yet.  I had to savor it for a long while, with salivating eagerness.  Waiting patiently for the right time to read it.  Then it was time.  Two weeks ago.  Why in the hell did I wait so long?  Weber’s next book, THE MAN IN 3B - $11.99 comes out January 29.  On February 1, he will be at Books A Million and I will be there, front roll, waiting and salivating. 
Carl Weber, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Pamela Samuels Young, Eric Jerome Dickey and many, many, many more authors, I buy their books, some 5 or 10 copies, and I hold mine until I know the date of their next book.  I cannot read Carl, Kimberla, Pamela as soon as I get it, because the thrill and ride is over.  It’s over too fast and I cannot wait, just cannot damn wait until the next book.  So I sit, watch, wait, like “Gollum/Smeagol from the Hobbit.  “My Precious, my precious!!!!!
The Duncan’s, run by the Patriarch, L.C. Duncan, his beautiful wife Chippy and their kids, run a successful car business.  There’s the out of control, who knows she is one of the American top model crazy ass daughter, Paris.  Ostentatious, son Rio who may or may not be gay.  Orlando, ladies man with just a small addiction problem, not necessarily drugs (Sonny Corleone – Godfather part 1).  Vegas, favorite son with some “jail issues (Michael Corleone).   A “Black Paris Hilton” daughter, London and her husband, Harris (Tom Hagen – Godfather part 1) who feels out of place in the family. 
If this sounds familiar, it is, it’s The Godfather – The African American version.  I love it.  Drama, secrets, mafia, Mexican cartels, wit, love and scandal with Carl Weber’s story telling touch.  You think you are reading just an average book of secrets, murders, etc from a soap opera, no ding dong way.  You are hit with the “What the hell, I did not see that coming.” The father, L. C. Duncan, wants to retire and give the business over to Orlando, but dirt starts flying and it’s sticking to everyone at the same time.  You can’t keep good secrets down; they are just too succulent to keep quiet.  You can also tell whose writing style is who.  Carl tells the story and Eric adds the flavor.  It’s like a Louisiana gumbo with kick ass Texas Pete Hot sauce.
The next books, “FAMILY BUSINESS 2” in September 2013.  “TO PARIS WITH LOVE continuation of the character Paris from Family Business” in December 2013 and “CHOIR DIRECTOR” in March 2014I also heard that there may be a TV show in 2014 based upon the Family Business saga.  I cannot, cannot, cannot wait to get my hands on his books, “my precious, my precious, I will wait for my precious.”  And remember, "It not personal, It's business."

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Black Kindle Rocks - Treasure Hernandez

The Xmas party at the “Aslyum” actually went well.  The party was scheduled Saturday at a local park, but was moved to the store due to the weather.  I could not believe it, but everyone, except two (the crazy woman I had to drag out of the store to stop her from fighting another girl) and one young lady who just did not have the money, brought presents for their secret Santa and a dish.   My secret Santa gift was $15.00 taped to a book:
TREASURE HERNANDEZ - “FLINT: BOOK 1 CHOOSING SIDES” - $5.99 - - - Welcome to Flint, Michigan, one of the roughest little cities in America, a place where the good die young, loyalty is a rarity, and everybody has a hustle. Malek Johnson’s hustle is the basketball court and he’s the best Flint’s projects has ever produced. He’s on his way to the University of Michigan, but not for long, because all the NBA scouts say he’s destined for the pros after a year or two of seasoning. He finds love in the super fine girl everyone calls Halleigh, and he promises her that he will take her out of the hood. When Halleigh’s virginity is traded in exchange for her mother’s drug tab, their dream spirals out of control and they are quickly separated and sucked into the life that they have so desperately tried to avoid. With no place to go, their destinies take them down separate paths. Malek becomes affiliated with the North Side’s biggest kingpin and Halleigh is manipulated into the streets by his South Side adversary. North versus South, love versus loyalty, and lies versus truth. What will they choose? Walk with Halleigh and Malek as they introduce you to a new struggle in a new city and a place called FLINT. 
I had brought the whole series when I was home in DC at a black book store in Iverson Mall in Maryland a few years ago.  I’m not into Street Lit as much as I use to be, but I am always trying to get young people to read.  It seems these types of books at least get them reading.  So, I buy them where ever I fine them and, sometimes to read for myself, but most times to give to young people.
I went back to that Black Book store in Iverson Mall in September and it was closed.  They sold urban street literature and I wanted to support them.  I do what I can, but it definitely was not enough and they closed the store.  That mall use to be the place to go.  It was graced with good stores and people with money, but way before the 2008 economic downturn, it became more and more like a “cheap hood mall.”  You know, clothes made in Taiwan or China cheaply with loud colors and tight, I mean tight on your behind.  Not my thing, but I wish the young people would get a grip and buy or own their own store with their on “hood” ornament design.  
I guess I should let that go, since I’m not in the age group and they think it’s tha’ bomb.  Iverson Mall reminds me of the mall in Columbia, SC when I went to see Carl Weber and his store, Urban Knowledge.  That Mall is also falling down more and more due to the economy, just as Iverson is.  Barely enough money to keep stores.  I guess that’s just about every where you go. 
OK, OK, I’m going to stop rambling on and get back to the Xmas Party at the Asylum.  My Secret Santa, Nancy, a middle age and very bitter black woman, gave me some candy, a key ring and Brittany Spears perfume.  LaVon, a Black, young, skinny, talks too damn "ghetto" fast, received my gift.  He pulled the money off the book and did not bother to even look at the book cover, just put it in his pocket.  In a way, that’s what I expected.  I am the one who asked him to tell me what he wanted and he wanted a sweat suit from a store in the mall, which I could not afford, so I gave him money to help defray the cost if he wanted to buy one.  The other young lady who was not able to give a gift, did read the book cover and asked if I could get her one.  You know I will and told her so.  She’s a very nice young woman with a 3 year old kid whose father left the picture (what else is new) and pregnant with another by the new boyfriend, (again what else is new).  Sorry to say the next time I saw her, she had an abortion.  Not going to judge.  I have never had an abortion, but I have never been in that situation where I had to think about it either.  Do you know that LaVon came a few hours later and asked me if I had ten dollars to lend him until pay day.  I said no and I found out later that he was short in buying some weed for the weekend.  As I've said, what else is new!
All in all, it was nice, calm and but I know a storm is coming, it always does. I do have one update.  I did get that part time job, but I don’t start until mid January or February.  Had to take computer test, training, ID pictures and drug tests.  I can wait because it will involve more time away from home.  Instead of working 6 to 7 hours on Saturdays and Sundays, I will be working 10 hours both days and traveling about an hour each way.  I'm going to do, the pay is double the hourly rate I make now at the Asylum.  I’m trying to move a bit faster on my Dave Ramsey plan to get these bills off my back.  I’m tired of being broke and I want out of this mess.  I need to get my money straight because I need to buy more books.  That’s my goal, buying more books and helping all African American authors as much as I can.   
Got to get one in for Black History Year
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN - TEAMS OF RIVALS - THE POLITICAL GENIUS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN - $11.48 - - - This is not an African American author, but I’m heading to the movies this evening to see Lincoln and I want to read the book the movie is based upon.  I just started reading it, at page 30 (I'm must be crazy, I'm reading four books at one time.  Don't you just love it!!! I do, so excited!!!!) This is also such a big part of our history that I got to see it and read it.  Tell me what you think of the move.