Thursday, March 2, 2017

#ReadSoulLit 2017 Book Finds

While participating in #ReadSoulLit I found some awesome readers who were also participating. I love following other readers because I always discover new to me authors to add to my TBR wish lists. I am sharing some of the books that I discovered and the readers who highlighted them so that you can follow them on Instagram and bust your book budgets too! 



I found all three of these books on @danidanydanie's Instagram account. 


Black Girl in Paris wends its way around the mythology of Paris as a city that has called out to African-American artists. Like James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, and Josephine Baker before her, Youngblood's heroine leaves her home, in the American South, nurturing a dream of finding artistic emancipation in the City of Light. She experiments freely, inhabiting different incarnations - artist's model, poet's helper, au pair, teacher, thief, and lover - to keep body and soul together, to stay afloat, heal the wounds of her broken heart, discover her sexual self, and, finally, to wrestle her dreams of becoming a writer into reality.


When Gabriel Lynch moves with his mother and brother from a brownstone in Baltimore to a dirt-floor hovel on a homestead in Kansas, he is not pleased. He does not dislike his new stepfather, a former slave, but he has no desire to submit to a life of drudgery and toil on the untamed prairie. So he joins up with a motley crew headed for Texas only to be sucked into an ever-westward wandering replete with a mindless violence he can neither abet nor avoid–a terrifying trek he penitently fears may never allow for a safe return. 


Written over a span of twelve years, and edited by Toni Morrison, who calls Those Bones Are Not My Child the author's magnum opus, Bambara's last novel leaves us with an enduring and revelatory chronicle of an American nightmare.

In a suspenseful novel of uncommon depth and intensity, Toni Cade Bambara renders a harrowing portrait of a city under siege. Having elected its first black mayor in 1980, Atlanta  projected an image of political progressiveness and prosperity. But between September 1979 and June 1981, more than forty black children were kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and brutally murdered throughout "The City Too Busy to Hate."        

A separated mother of three holding down several jobs, Zala Spencer has managed to survive on the margins of a flourishing economy until she awakens the morning of Sunday, July 20, 1980, to find her teenage son Sonny missing. As the hours turn into days, Zala realizes that Sonny is among the many cases of missing children just beginning to attract national attention. Growing increasingly disillusioned with the authorities, who respond to Sonny's disappearance with cold indifference, Zala and her estranged husband embark on a desperate search. Through the eyes of a family seized by anguish and terror, we watch a city roiling with political, racial, and class tensions.


Percival Everett was featured by @4artbookslife, Valerie Wilson Wesley was featured by @urbrightside, and Delicious Foods was featured by @renareads. The Valerie Wilson Wesley feature reminded me that I had bought some mysteries that were written by an AA author that I have sitting on shelf and haven't read yet. I'll have to do a feature on those soon! 


I Am Not Sidney Poitier is an irresistible comic novel from the master storyteller Percival Everett, and an irreverent take on race, class, and identity in America

I was, in life, to be a gambler, a risk-taker, a swashbuckler, a knight. I accepted, then and there, my place in the world. I was a fighter of windmills. I was a chaser of whales. I was Not Sidney Poitier.

Not Sidney Poitier is an amiable young man in an absurd country. The sudden death of his mother orphans him at age eleven, leaving him with an unfortunate name, an uncanny resemblance to the famous actor, and, perhaps more fortunate, a staggering number of shares in the Turner Broadcasting Corporation.

Percival Everett's hilarious new novel follows Not Sidney's tumultuous life, as the social hierarchy scrambles to balance his skin color with his fabulous wealth. Maturing under the less-than watchful eye of his adopted foster father, Ted Turner, Not gets arrested in rural Georgia for driving while black, sparks a dinnertable explosion at the home of his manipulative girlfriend, and sleuths a murder case in Smut Eye, Alabama, all while navigating the recurrent communication problem: "What's your name?" a kid would ask. "Not Sidney," I would say. "Okay, then what is it?"


A tough and savvy Newark cop-turned-P.I., Tamara Hoyle is a sister with a mission: to raise her kid right in a mean town. But now the post has come knocking -- bringing trouble to her door in the person of her "dog" of a former husband, DeWayne.

Suspicious "accidents" have claimed the lives of two of DeWayne's sons from different marriages. And though good sense warns Tamara to steer clear of her charming, lowdown ex, she has little choice but to offer him her investigative expertise -- because a killer may now be drawing fatally close to home -- to Tamara's only son.


Held captive by her employers--and by her own demons--on a mysterious farm, a widow struggles to reunite with her young son in this uniquely American story of freedom, perseverance, and survival.

Darlene, once an exemplary wife and a loving mother to her young son, Eddie, finds herself devastated by the unforeseen death of her husband. Unable to cope with her grief, she turns to drugs, and quickly forms an addiction. One day she disappears without a trace.

Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Eddie, now left behind in a panic-stricken search for her, Darlene has been lured away with false promises of a good job and a rosy life. A shady company named Delicious Foods shuttles her to a remote farm, where she is held captive, performing hard labor in the fields to pay off the supposed debt for her food, lodging, and the constant stream of drugs the farm provides to her and the other unfortunates imprisoned there.

In Delicious Foods, James Hannaham tells the gripping story of three unforgettable characters: a mother, her son, and the drug that threatens to destroy them. Through Darlene's haunted struggle to reunite with Eddie, through the efforts of both to triumph over those who would enslave them, and through the irreverent and mischievous voice of the drug that narrates Darlene's travails, Hannaham's daring and shape-shifting prose infuses this harrowing experience with grace and humor.

The desperate circumstances that test the unshakeable bond between this mother and son unfold into myth, and Hannaham's treatment of their ordeal spills over with compassion. Along the way we experience a tale at once contemporary and historical that wrestles with timeless questions of love and freedom, forgiveness and redemption, tenacity and the will to survive. 


Wading Home was featured by @buythebook2017, Memory of Kin by @themachineshop_auntfranne, and The House at Sugar Beach by @booksovertv


When Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, chef and widower Simon Fortier knows how he plans to face the storm--riding it out inside his long-time home in the city's Treme neighborhood, just as he has through so many storms before. But when the levees break and the city is torn apart, Simon disappears. His son, Julian, a celebrated jazz trumpeter, rushes home to a New Orleans he left years before to search for his father. As Julian crisscrosses the city, fearing the worst, he reconnects with Sylvia, Simon’s companion of many years; Parmenter, his father's erstwhile business partner and one of the most successful restaurateurs in New Orleans; and Velmyra, the woman Julian left behind when he moved to New York. Julian’s search for Simon deepens as he finds himself drawn into the troubled history of Silver Creek, the extravagantly beautiful piece of land where his father grew up, and closer once again to Velmyra. As he tries to come to grips with his father's likely fate, Julian slowly gains a deeper, richer understanding of his father and the city he loved so much, while unraveling the mysteries of Silver Creek.


Critic, essayist, and anthologist Mary Helen Washington has chosen as the theme of her newest collection "the family as a living mystery." She selected nineteen stories and twelve poems by some of this century's leading black authors that oblige the reader to observe the complexities of the family in new and provocative ways.


Journalist Helene Cooper examines the violent past of her home country Liberia and the effects of its 1980 military coup in this deeply personal memoir and finalist for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award.

Helene Cooper is “Congo,” a descendant of two Liberian dynasties—traced back to the first ship of freemen that set sail from New York in 1820 to found Monrovia. Helene grew up at Sugar Beach, a twenty-two-room mansion by the sea. Her childhood was filled with servants, flashy cars, a villa in Spain, and a farmhouse up-country. It was also an African childhood, filled with knock foot games and hot pepper soup, heartmen and neegee. When Helene was eight, the Coopers took in a foster child—a common custom among the Liberian elite. Eunice, a Bassa girl, suddenly became known as “Mrs. Cooper’s daughter.” 

For years the Cooper daughters—Helene, her sister Marlene, and Eunice—blissfully enjoyed the trappings of wealth and advantage. But Liberia was like an unwatched pot of water left boiling on the stove. And on April 12, 1980, a group of soldiers staged a coup d'├ętat, assassinating President William Tolbert and executing his cabinet. The Coopers and the entire Congo class were now the hunted, being imprisoned, shot, tortured, and raped. After a brutal daylight attack by a ragtag crew of soldiers, Helene, Marlene, and their mother fled Sugar Beach, and then Liberia, for America. They left Eunice behind.

A world away, Helene tried to assimilate as an American teenager. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill she found her passion in journalism, eventually becoming a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She reported from every part of the globe—except Africa—as Liberia descended into war-torn, third-world hell.

In 2003, a near-death experience in Iraq convinced Helene that Liberia—and Eunice—could wait no longer. At once a deeply personal memoir and an examination of a violent and stratified country, The House at Sugar Beach tells of tragedy, forgiveness, and transcendence with unflinching honesty and a survivor's gentle humor. And at its heart, it is a story of Helene Cooper’s long voyage home.

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