Friday, December 26, 2014

The Best of 2014

2013 was an eventful year in my literary adventures. 2014...not so much.  I did go to two literary events in Charleston: Nina Foxx (which I helped bring to my local library) and Pearl Cleage during the MOJA Festival.  And as of this writing on Christmas Eve, I have only read 35 books, which is low for me.  Somehow, I lost my reading groove this year.  But I was able to select my favorite books of 2014.  So here they are (in no particular order).

Anybody's Daughter: This book was one of my book club selections earlier in the year.  This book about a teen girl who is kidnapped and is forced into the world of sex slavery and trafficking (and the efforts of her uncle and his girlfriend to get her back) was a great read. No wonder it won the NAACP Image Award for Best Fiction of 2013! And it reminded me of the stories I heard about sex trafficking in a conference I was at a few months before I read the book.

The Prodigal Son: This is one of my favorite books from the Curtis Black series! This book about Curtis' sons Matthew (poor, poor Matthew) and Dillon (which I am convinced that's not his son, but that may be addressed in another book) was a great page turner. I can't wait to read the next book of this series that comes out next summer which will feature daughter Alicia (and I hope she goes back to the former drug dealer).

What's Done In The Dark: I should have known something was up when my friend Flash text me and said something to the effect of  "You need to read ReShonda's book. It is so good." Since I was on vacation, I decided to read it. MAN LISTEN. I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN. ReShonda Tate Billingsley out did herself with this book about a woman who sleeps with her BFF's husband...and he dies of a heart attack!  I later recommended the book to a woman who goes to the same hairdresser as I do.  When I saw her a few weeks later, she told me she had read the book and couldn't put it down either!

An Untamed State: This book was another book club selection, even though I didn't make it to the meeting where the book was discussed (dang flat tire). Even though this book took me a while to read, I was really enthralled with the story about a woman who was kidnapped and held hostage in her father's homeland of Haiti.  I am currently reading author Roxane Gay's book of essays, Bad Feminist.

Big Little Lies: I read Liane Moriarty's last hit, The Husband's Secret, and though it was OK.  But Big Little Lies, which was about three mothers whose kids are in the same Kindergarten class, was really good.  And wait until you find out the big little lie!

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace:  How can one man was able to survive the streets of Newark, graduate from Yale, and yet died on the same streets?  This is what Jeff Hobbs wanted to find out about his former roommate Robert Peace.  This nonfiction work read like a fiction book and kept my attention the whole time.

And I have a some honorable mentions: A Pinch of Ooh La La, Shake Down the Stars, Redefining Realness, I've Never Been To Vegas, But My Luggage Has, The Single Woman and Cosby: His Life and Times. I read the Cosby biography before the sexual allegations came out (again), but in my honest opinion I believe the author was shut down when he asked Cosby about them (this was an authorized book). Autumn Jackson barely got a page, so you know the allegations wasn't going to be in the book.  It will be interesting to see how the paperback version will reflect recent events.

I don't know what literary events I will be going to in the new year.  Delta will have another national convention in July and there will be another National Book Club Conference in Atlanta in August.   Delta is also doing regional author tours, with the one for my region happening in late January in Raleigh, NC.  I will just play it by ear.  Enjoy the rest of your holiday season and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mailbox Monday 12/22/14

Look what came and arrived under the tree for today's Mailbox Monday!

The book on the left, Driving the King, came from Harper Books.  This book will come out in January.

The book on the right, Brown Girl Dreaming,came from Rock Inked! As many of you know, this book just won the National Book Award for Young Adult Fiction!

Are you interested in any of these books? Hit me up in the comments section! Thanks to those who provided the books! Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Book News You Can Use 12/19/14

Relax in Paradise Norman Bridwell.

The last of the Best of 2014 lists: Book Riot, Flavorwire (fiction and nonfiction), The Guardian (selected by authors), The O Magazine and Booklist.  BuzzFeed even did a Best of 2014 list of women authors.

Author Kalisha Buckhanon also list her favorite books of 2014.

A new Judy Bloom book is coming out in June!

Here are some African-American books to add to your TBR list in the new year.

PW also featured some recently released and upcoming African-American books for you to check out.  Which ones do you plan to check out?

Farai Chideya talks to Lalita Tademy about her new book, why she quit her job to write and how she got married at 55.  There's hope for me after all!

Ceiling has been found! David Oyelowo has joined the cast of the movie adaptation of Americanah!

Publishers Weekly talked to six book industry professionals on how important diversity is in the book industry.

This story claims that Wal-Mart is looking to buy the Nook brand from Barnes and Noble. YUCK.

A new kid's tablet will be coming out in March.

A new study shows that British public libraries should emulate coffee shops. Do they know that cost money, which is something British libraries haven't had in a while?

The Serial podcast is over.  Here are some true crime books and audiobooks to check out.  Anything Ann Rule is good!

There will be no book news for the next two weeks because of the holidays (duh). There will be a Mailbox Monday this Monday (the 22nd) and my Best of 2014 on the 26th.   Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Book News You Can Use 12/12/14

Congratulations to all of the NAACP Image Award nominees! To find the literary nominees, scroll towards the bottom.

Congratulations also go out to Mitchell S. Jackson, who won the Ernest J. Gaines Award and Tiphanie Yanique for winning the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize!

Gillian Flynn got a Golden Globe nomination for her Gone Girl screenplay!

More Best of 2014 lists: The Daily Beast (fiction, biographies and memoirs), The Root (fiction and nonfiction), Entertainment Weekly (fiction and nonfiction), Vulture, NewsweekThe Atlantic (some of their books weren't released this year) and Shelf Awareness.

We are already looking forward to books we want to read in 2015.

A former Occupy Wall Street activist lands a memoir deal.

Brits are upset that YouTube star Zoella used a ghostwriter for her book. they know how most books by celebrities get written?

Lena Dunham's publisher had to clarified that a pseudonym was used when she described that a guy raped her in college.

If you are a true crime fan (like me), you may enjoy some of these.

Rainbow Rowell announced that a new book will be released in October. Just in time for YA'LL Fest!

The Fault in Our Stars has been unbanned from middle schools in a city in California.

Jacqueline Woodson continues to get much love after her National Book Award win with an interview on NPR.

Here are three YA books that are set in Africa.

Two articles about minority science fiction and fantasy writers were posted. One was from BuzzFeed and the other was from The Guardian.

This article about the book world making excuses for their race problem nails it.

A publisher wanted an author to denounce her daughter's sexuality in her book. Really??!!

If you live in or visiting the New York City area next week, here's an awesome literary event!

Looking for a non-book gift for bookworm in your life? Here are some ideas. And some more.

For $99, you can own all of Dr. Seuss' books on an app.

The hangout in Harriet The Spy was recently honored as a literary landmark.

Every fan of the Baby-Sitters Club (including myself) would love and appreciate this article!

These emojis need to happen.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Book News You Can Use 12/5/14

Relax in Paradise Kent Haruf, Mark Strand,  P. D. James and Claudia Emerson.

Congratulations to all of the Morris Award nominees.

The Best of 2014 lists keep coming in with Slate (they also had an overlooked books list), BookPage, New York Times (they also have a children and YA list and have narrowed it down to 10),  Huffington PostNPRBuzzFeedPopSugar (over 200 books) and Time adding theirs.

GoodReads users also got a chance to vote for their favorites of 2014.

Was 2014 the year of the debut author?

Jacqueline Woodson addressed the National Book Award controversy in an essay in the New York Times.

Claudia Rankine didn't win the National Book Award for poetry, but she did get props from the New York Times. And spoke about the violent deaths of black men on PBS NewsHour.

Musician PJ Harvey is releasing a poetry book in the new year.

Vox suggested people read Men We Reaped as a book that will help the public understand the Ferguson protests.  You don't have to read it just because of that. You should read it because it's a good book.

Writers at the New York Times also made suggestions for books to read to help understand Ferguson. Both were written before the Eric Gardner grand jury results.

The President and the First Daughters got out of the White House and bought some books when they shopped during Small Business Saturday.

Maurice Sendak's estate is being controlled by his former housekeeper and some are not happy about it.

A Nigerian author wrote about how she would like to see African literature become more popular in Africa.

Here are five African novels to read before you die.

Publishers Weekly wrote about the growing diversity of romance novels.

Are you into science fiction and are looking for something to read over the holidays?  BuzzFeed has some suggestions.  And at least two of the authors are African-American.

Here are some new children's books to read in the new year.

Zoella did what the Jenner sisters wish they could have done....write a best seller.

Take part in the #giveabook challenge!

Need help finding someone a book for the holidays? Email the Penguin Hotline!

Karen Quinones Miller writes about the popularity of African-American book clubs.