January Top Five New Releases

Difficult Women by Roxane Guy
Pages: # 270
Released: January 3, 2017

Fiction | Short Story Collection |

Award-winning author and livewire talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with the widely acclaimed novel An Untamed State and the New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.

The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children and must negotiate the elder sister’s marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay gives voice to a chorus of unforgettable women in a scintillating collection reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.

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The Men of Brewster Place – Book Review

The Men of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor
Pages: 173
Published Date: 1998
African American Fiction | Literary Fiction | 

 

Gloria Naylor’s The Men of Brewster Place, is a sequel to her The Women of Brewster Place. As the title implies The Men of Brewster Place tells the story of inhabitants of Brewster Place from a male perspective. The men featured in The Men of Brewster Place stories are intertwined with the stories from the women in the first novel. In fact, it’s necessary to read the first novel to understand some of the men’s purpose in the sequel since it’s not obvious. The Men of Brewster Place let the reader into the past, present, and small glimpses into their futures of men whose lives are connected with Brewster Place.

“That wasn’t satisfying.” The first thought that crossed my mind as I read the last page and closed the book. The Men of Brewster Place didn’t live up to my expectation. The Women of Brewster Place was expertly done on three elements; writing, characters, and plots. The Men of Brewster Place delivered only on one element, the writing.

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The Perfect Marriage – Book Review

The Perfect MarriageThe Perfect Marriage by Kimberla The Score by Kiki Swinson
Narrator: Shay Moore
Length: 5 hours and 13 minutes
Release Date: January 1, 2013
African American Fiction | Christian Fiction | Women’s Fiction |

This review is going to start with a story to illustrate how I felt about The Perfect Marriage by Kimberla Lawson Roby. I could do the review without the story but… anyways.

You’re walking down the street returning home from a hards day work and pass by a neighborhood bakery. You once purchased a cupcake from the bakery and while it wasn’t the best cupcake of your life, it had promise. In the window you spot a small pretty cake and decide to buy it. You had a hard day and you deserve cake. You tell the clerk you want the cake in the window and she informs you it’s chocolate. Chocolate is not your favorite but you have made up your mind you want the chocolate cake you spotted in the window. You get home, make dinner and leave just enough room in your stomach to enjoy a healthy size of the cake your purchased from the neighborhood bakery. You take a minute to admire the beauty of, the nice and even buttercream frosting (your favorite) and the simple swirls decorating the top and sides. Your mouth waters a little because you know this cake will be moist and delicious. You take your knife and cut. You fail to notice the first cut reveals the cake was a little dry, excitement clouded your eyes. After cutting your slice you gleefully shove a large forkful into your mouth. The cake is dry, dry enough to make you wonder how long ago it sat in the store. And you could’ve made a better tasting cake from a store brought cake mix.

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The Score – Book Review

The Score by Kiki Swinson
Pages: 368
Published Date: January 26, 2015
African American Fiction | Urban Literature | Thriller | 

 

 Confession 1: I don’t normally read books are categorized as “Urban Literature”. In fact, I will admit when it comes to the “Urban Literature” subcategory of African-American fiction I discriminate, hard. 

 

 Confession 2: I have called “Urban Literature” several names including “Hood Lit”. 

 

Kiki Swinson’s The Score was my first swim in the Urban Lit category in years, close to decade. I swore off the genre after trying to read Candy Licker by Noire. I tried to read Family Business by Carl Weber and Eric Pete a roughly two years ago for my book club. I didn’t have high expectations for Family Business from the start and quit before the halfway point. This background in important because I tried to wipe my previous failed Urban Lit experiences from my mind and read The Score without bias. And I also tried to start the book with the same expectations I have for any other book, I will enjoy myself.

Did I enjoy The Score?
Yes, I did.

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New Book Release – Nonfiction (Feb 1 – 6)

The Parker SistersThe Parker Sisters: A Border Kidnapping by Lucy Maddox

Pages: 256
Released: February 1, 2016
Biography | History | Nonfiction | Slavery |

 

In 1851, Elizabeth Parker, a free black child in Chester County, Pennsylvania, was bound and gagged, snatched from a local farm, and hurried off to a Baltimore slave pen. Two weeks later, her teenage sister, Rachel, was abducted from another Chester County farm. Because slave catchers could take fugitive slaves and free blacks across state lines to be sold, the border country of Pennsylvania/Maryland had become a dangerous place for most black people.

In The Parker Sisters, Lucy Maddox gives an eloquent, urgent account of the tragic kidnapping of these young women. Using archival news and courtroom reports, Maddox tells the larger story of the disastrous effect of the Fugitive Slave Act on the small farming communities of Chester County and the significant, widening consequences for the state and the nation.

The Parker Sisters is also a story about families whose lives and fates were deeply embedded in both the daily rounds of their community and the madness and violence consuming all of antebellum America. Maddox’s account of this horrific and startling crime reveals the strength and vulnerability of the Parker sisters and the African American population.

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