Thursday, December 31, 2015

An Open Letter to 2015

Dear 2015,

You started out so nice.  I thought you would be a continuation of the great year that was 2014.  And January and February started out pretty uneventful.  Then March rolled in.

One of my classmates from Burke and Carolina suddenly passed away.  And then my 90-year-old aunt died.  But I was gratefully that she lived to 90.

Then you stayed quiet....until the night of June 17.

I lost two friends that night. And so many of my friends lost relatives and friends.  It was so heartbreaking to go to funeral after funeral, wake after wake.  But Charleston, as always, came together.

And I was still reeling from that when I got that call from my stepfather on September 18 that would change my life forever.

I did not know that you would be the year that would take my mother from me.  There are days that I think that it's just a dream and that she will be calling me on the phone or walk in my house.

And it seemed like after that, everyone was experiencing a loss.  I know so many people who lost loved ones through illness, accidents and even violence.  I had one friend who loss his dad and two aunts in a matter of weeks.  Two more friends lost their mother due to violence the day after my mother died.

And you still weren't through.

In November, I had a health scare.  A routine mammogram turned out to be abnormal.  I'm 36.  My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 38.  I was scared out of my mind.  Thank God that the follow-up turned out OK and I was determined to be cancer-free.

Despite all the bumps and bruises, the tears and the stress headaches, this year has brought me closer to God.  I leaned on him more than I have ever had.  And he has given me the strength that I though I didn't have.

This year has also revealed the number of family, friends, coworkers and sorors who supported me during the most difficult time of my life.  If it wasn't for them, I don't know if I would have made it.

And a few awesome things happened this year.  Two of my cousins got married.  I met Hillary Clinton when she came to Charleston.  Tried some new food trucks (including 2 Fat 2 Fly). Got another new car (after the one I had for 15 years kicked the bucket).  And I got a chance to meet some awesome people, with some coming into my life after my mother passed.

I am so glad that you, 2015, are riding off to the sunset.  But I will take the lessons that you have given to 2016 and beyond.  I hope 2016 will treat me (and many others) a whole lot better than you did.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why I have been MIA....

On the evening of September 18, around 9ish, I was talking to my mother on the phone about the day's events.  I asked her if I got a package from Amazon.  She said I did and at the end of the conversation, I told her to go ahead and open it.

A few minutes later, she called back.  She thanked me for the cookbooks that she got for her birthday.  She was going to read one that night and the other one when she came home from work the next day.

Little did I know that would be the last time I would hear her voice.

Around 11, my stepfather called.  Paramedics had rushed my mother to the hospital.

Turns out she had suffered a massive aneurysm and based on where it was, there was nothing doctors could do.

On Monday, September 21, the day after her 59th birthday, my mother made her Heavenly transition.

I don't know if and when I will be back to the blog.  I hope you understand.  Please pray for me and my family.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Book News You Can Use 9/18/15

Congratulations to all of the National Book Award nominees!

The Man Booker Prize shortlist was announced this week.

The New York Times has created a fellowship in the memory of David Carr.

Maya Angelou's art collection sold for over $1 million.

Looking for some new African-American female authors to read?  Kalisha Buckhanon has some recommendations.

Legendary basketball star and author Kareem Abdul Jabbar is now trying his hand at fiction with a new book about Sherlock Holmes' brother.

Beverly Jenkins was featured in a recent Book Riot podcast.

Shout-out to romance writer Christine Jones, who started a new blog and podcast about African-American romance called Girl, Have You Read.

A woman wrote a book about hiking in the wild and it's not called Wild.

Girl on The Train author Paula Hawkins may be coming to a city near you!

A new publishing company has been started by a daughter of one of the Koch brothers. Yes, those wealthy brothers who fund Republican candidates (yuck).

Really, what ever happened to Google Books?

Amazon's not playing around with their new Kindle Fire tablets.

Toni Braxton will be staring in a Lifetime movie based on her autobiography, Unbreak My Heart.

There will soon be a film based off of one of Zadie Smith's novellas.

Help raise money for a movie based on Clarence Nero's book Cheekie: A Child Out of the Desire.

As a librarian, I can testify that weird things happen at the library.  Add feet-smelling people to the list.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Book News You Can Use 9/11/15

Relax in Paradise Rhoda Lerman and William Grier.

Congrats to the winners of the PEN Literary Awards!

Congrats also go out to the nominees of the Scotiabank-Giller Prize!

President Obama presented arts and humanities medals Thursday to several people in the arts. Stephen King, Jhumpa Lahari and Larry McMurthy were some of those who received awards.

I am still experiencing sadness from missing the Decatur Book Festival.  Looks like last Friday's main event with Roxane Gay and Erica Jong was tense.  Recaps are here and here.  And one writer from Book Riot got to attend the festivities.

The National Book Festival was also last weekend.  This video has Walter Mosley being interviewed by Book View Now host Rich Fahle and Kwame Alexander.

Two beloved children's books are celebrating anniversaries soon: Harold and the Purple Crayon and (one of my childhood favorites) Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.

A fully illustrated version of the first Harry Potter book will be released soon.

Negroland, which was released this week, continues to get a lot of press.  Read more herehere and here.

I work at a medical college (who has had their issues with diversity), so this book about being an African-American physician caught my interest.

While writing The Turner House, Angela Flournoy found inspiration from Zora Neale Hurston.

Naomi Jackson was interviewed for Mosaic Magazine.

An Asian family is protesting a white poet's use of a Chinese name, saying that the name came from one of the poet's former classmates.

Jabari Asim was recently cleared in a unusual, but not surprising, traffic citation case.

Censorship fail #1: New Zealand officials banned a YA book. Yes, the book has been banned from the whole country.

Censorship fail #2: A woman in Tennessee wants to ban The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks from her son's school because the book was too pornographic.  What book was she reading?

Censorship win: Remember the story about the parent who had Some Girls Are banned from one of the Charleston high schools and there was a drive to get the book in the hands of teenagers in the area?  Nearly 1,000 copies were donated and are currently being issued out in several of the public libraries in town.  Read about it here.

James Patterson will be visiting Baltimore and will donate 25,000 books.

Looks like Harper Lee was working on a novel that was based on a real crime.  The new mystery is whether she finished it.

Grace Jones is not here for most of today's pop stars.  Do they even know who she is?

Wendell Pierce did an interview for CBC Radio (like NPR but for the Canadians), in which he discussed how important the arts are to the recovery of New Orleans.

Bob Woodward is not finished with Watergate. He's releasing a book on the aid who released President Nixon's secret tapes.

This bookstore in Alabama only sells autographed copies.  I may need to visit there one day.

As poet and author Dwayne Betts can tell you, one book can change your life. Even in prison.

Picture is from this Facebook fan page.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Book News You Can Use 9/4/15

As some of you who have followed my Twitter feed know, I was trying very hard to get to the Decatur Book Festival this weekend. Not only because the awesomeness that is Roxane Gay is going to be there, but there will be a lot of authors I haven't seen in person.  But the universe was trying to tell me otherwise.  Got a medical bill that was almost $200.  Hotels were hard to come by (especially with DragonCon and Atlanta Black Pride Weekend going on and being Labor Day weekend).  And then the unthinkable happened: the car I've had for almost 15 years broke down. Just decided to stop in the middle of the street.  So instead of going to the book festival, I will probably be at a car dealership to buy a new car.  And why did I just find out on Tuesday that Roxane was in Savannah last night? *tears*

Relax in Paradise Oliver Sacks, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Wes Craven and Noah Davis.

Unless her unfinished works are in a closet, there are no other works from Harper Lee.

Speaking of To Kill a Mockingbird, a writer gives his thoughts on why so many people were disappointed with Go Set A Watchman.

Another author is writing a Jimmy Carter biography.

The man that wrote the children's book that is suppose to help children sleep got a three-book deal.

In time for the holidays, Mariah Carey is releasing a children's book based on her most famous Christmas song.

The new James Bond author caught the wrath of the Internet when he said that Idris Elba was "too street" to play Bond in a movie.

One of Octavia Butler's books is being developed for a TV show.

Wendell Pierce just released a book about how he got involved in the recovery efforts of New Orleans after Katrina.

Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg is releasing a comic book about Black feminism.

Leah Dunham wrote a short story to be published on a newsletter she is starting.

Look out for these musical biographies and autobiographies this fall, including one on Beyonce and one on Grace Jones.

Speaking of Grace Jones, here is an excerpt from her autobiography, which is coming out later this month.

Fall is coming in a few weeks, which means that websites and magazines are coming out with their fall reading lists, like this one.

Note to college students: if you want to disagree with what your professor wants you to read, fine. But at least read the book before you speak out against it.

Brad Meltzer was able to find a kidney for one of his high school teachers.

Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Mailbox Monday 8/31/15

New books came in the mail last week, so it's time for another edition of Mailbox Monday!

Two of the books featured today are ARCs from Harper Books for books that will be released in October.  The other is a book I won on Facebook several weeks ago through DAW.

All The Stars in Heaven
The Book of Phoenix

Do you see any books that you would like to read?  Hit me up on the comments section!  Thanks to the publishers for the books!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Book News You Can Use 8/28/15

Relax in Paradise Tony Gleaton and Soror Amelia Boynton Robinson.

This year's Hugo Awards brought a whole lot of drama.  And here's a nice little reminder that women have always been in science-fiction.

People who live in Harper Lee's hometown are concerned about the lawyer who has been handling her affairs.

An African-American book club was removed from a Napa wine train tour.  The company apologized, but the damage has already been done.

This article talks about the history of African-American romance novels.

African-American editor and publisher Dawn Davis talks about her career in the publishing industry.

Jonathan Alter is working on a biography of President Jimmy Carter.

Model Beverly Johnson's memoir was released this week.  Here is an interview with Time.

One book that has been getting press is the memoir Negroland.  Read about it here and here.

Another book that has been getting press (and a brand new movie deal) is the YA book Everything Everything.

Lisbeth Salander lives!

Tina McElroy Ansa was not here for You Don't Have to Live Like This.

Poet Claudia Rankie interviewed Serena Williams for the New York Times and was interviewed for BuzzFeed.

Casting has started for the Girl on the Train movie, with the primary female roles already casted.

Some Duke freshmen refuse to read Fun House, citing religious beliefs.  At least it's the students and not parents and state legislators.

Tomorrow is the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Jesmyn Ward reflects on survival since the storm hit her beloved Gulf Coast.

In non-book news, tomorrow is also Michael Jackson's birthday!  Happy Birthday to the King of Pop!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Book News You Can Use 8/21/15

Relax in Paradise Julian Bond and Russell Poole.

Congrats to the nominees of the First Novel Prize and the St. Francis College Literary Prize!

Sir Elton is not here for banning LGBT books.

Other writers are not here for Jonathan Franzen's recent comments.

Remember the story about Pat Conroy opening a gym?  A medical scare inspired him to live a healthier life, which eventually lead him to open the gym.

Attica Locke talks about writing for books and for the small screen.

Here is a new review of The Turner House.

This fantasy book written by an African-American man (and with an African-American narrator) sounds interesting.

R.L. Stine says he doesn't like to read nonfiction books.

One writer admitted that she hasn't read most of the classics.  I feel you, sister.

A new children's book claims to get children to sleep in minutes and people say it works.

Soccer star Cari Lloyd will be releasing a memoir.

Ballerina Michaela DePrince's memoir will be adapted for a featured film!

Mat Johnson's Loving Day will be adapted for a comedy on Showtime!

The guy who plays Howard on The Big Bang Theory (and his wife) will be developing shows for Warner Brothers, including a show based on new YA book Legacy of Kings.

Here are some tips on how to read more books.

Literary pillows!

Jackson, we forgive you.

Julian Bond quote is from Colorlines.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mailbox Monday 8/17/15

More books came in the mail, so it's time for another edition of Mailbox Monday!

These books arrived in the mail two weeks ago, but I'm just now getting around writing about them.  All three books are from Harper Books and will be released next month.

The Art of Memoir
Where Everybody Looks Like Me
A Free State

Do you see any books that you may be interested in?  Hit me up in the comments section!  Thanks Harper for the ARCs!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Book News You Can Use 8/14/15

Today's Friday Reads is God Help The Child by Toni Morrison.  My book club is meeting for the first time in a while on Sunday and this is the book that was selected.  I'm more than half-way through and I'm still trying to figure out where this book's going.  It seems like several of the members have read it and enjoyed it. At least the place we're having the meeting has awesome food.

Relax in Paradise Ann McGovern, Brook Stephenson and David Nobbs.

A 100-year-old J. R. R. Tolkien book will be published.

Another deceased author that will also have his work published is Truman Capote.  There will also be a book about his friendship with Harper Lee.

Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay TOGETHER in one article, interviewing each other.

Roxane is also working on a Young Adult novel that will be released in 2017.

James McBride's next book will be about James Brown.

Romance writer Beverly Jenkins talks about her frustration when she starting writing historical African-American romance novels.

Naomi Jackson has been getting a lot of press about The Star Side of Bird Hill (here and here).  She also wrote an essay about her feelings regarding the high-profile deaths of African-American women (including one that I knew personally).

The Iceburg Slim biography has also been getting a lot of press (here, here and here).

And one more book that is getting some press (and which I found out about this week) is Bright Lights (here and here).

Nalo Hopkinson's new book got a review in NPR.

The Hairdresser of Harare will finally be released in the United States! Here's a review.

The TV adaptation of Let The Church Say Amen will finally see the light of day on August 29. Here is a preview.

Just Kids and The Notebook are being developed for TV.

A writer talked about her love for the Baby-Sitters Club (and her chance encounter with Ann M. Martin).

One barber is giving away free back-to-school haircuts as long as his clients read to him.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Book News You Can Use 8/7/15

Relax in Paradise Carol Brown Janeaway and Alan Cheuse.

Congrats to the nominees of the African-American Literary Awards Show!

Publishers Weekly has suggestions on what you should read this fall.

NPR was able to compile 100 great romance novels based on listeners' and readers' recommendations.

A bookstore is giving refunds for those who didn't like Go Set A Watchman.

A female author got a rude awaking when she tried to publish a book in her name and a male nom de plume.  Guess who got the most inquiries?

Judy Blume came to the rescue of a man who accidentally gave away his wife's copy of "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret."

Steve Hamilton left his publisher a few weeks before his new book came out, based on (what he felt was) lack of publicity for the new book.  Luckily he was able to find a new publisher.

N.K. Jemisim was able to get a review for her new book in the New York Times!

Walter Mosley writes about how Louisiana has influenced his writing.

Someone vandalized the tombstone of Alex Haley's grandmother, Queen.

Holly Black is writing and releasing a Young Adult trilogy.

A popular South African book is coming to the big screen. Hopefully it will make it to the United States!

Uncle Luke has a book. Yes, that Uncle Luke.

Want some literary-inspired art?  Here you go!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Book News You Can Use 7/31/15

Book News out of Charleston this week: A woman wrote a letter to the local paper's editor complaining about a book her daughter (who will be a freshman at one of the local high schools) had to read for English class.  Her complaint was that it was too vulgar and that the book should be off the summer reading list (even though the child could have read another book off the list).  To make a long story short, she got her way and the school pulled the book almost three weeks before school starts.  One, if her daughter doesn't know some of that stuff that's mentioned in the book, she will by the time she graduates.  And if I was a kid or a parent of a kid who read that book and it was pulled from the reading list, I would be ticked.  Just because one parent has a problem with it doesn't mean that other parents feel the same way.  Here are reactions from the local library's YA department and the author of the book.  There is a campaign to raise money to buy copies of the book for students if they want it.  Thank God I have a mother who allowed me to read what I wanted to read as a teen and figured I could handle it.

Relax in Paradise to the undisputed Queen of True Crime, Ann Rule. I made that up but I truly doubt  people will disagree.  Writer Michelle Dean composed a tribute and tells why we true crime fans loved Ann so much.  Investigative Discovery will have a marathon featuring episodes of shows Ann was on tomorrow morning.

Congrats to the winners of the RITA Awards!

Congrats go to the nominees of the Booker Prize!

Congrats to Cheris Hodges for her Jessie Redmon Fauset Award nomination!

There's no link, but congrats also go out to Soror Victoria Christopher Murray for winning the Osceola Award during Delta Sigma Theta's National Convention this week. It goes to a soror that has made significant contributions to the arts.

See Kwame Alexander's Newbery Award acceptance speech here.

Happy 50th Birthday J. K Rowling!

Between her thoughts on the Sandra Bland case and Bill Cosby's (alleged) victims, Roxane Gay has been writing her butt off.

What happens when a African-American children's writer and a former President have a conversation?

Lauren Francis-Sharma and Dolen Perkins-Valdez talk about the tradition of storytelling, among other things, here.

Angela Flournoy talks about her success in the publishing industry.

N.K. Jemisin talks about how it's like to be an African-American female writing fantasy and science fiction.

Here are two stories (here and here) about the new book The Sisters Are Alright.

The author of the new biography about Iceburg Slim gives a synopsis of the writer.

The documentary about Sonia Sanchez will premiere tomorrow in Philadelphia.

The movie adaptation of Room will be released in October.

Michael B. Jordan will star in the movie adaptation of Just Mercy.

Reading Rainbow is coming to Netflix!

I have been enjoying a series of short stories imagining how the Huxtables would react if Cliff died.

This writer talks about how The Baby-Sittters' Club (especially Stacey) help her cope with being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

Here's a wonderful story about how a mailman helped a boy get books after the kid asked for junk mail.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Goodbye, South Carolina Book Festival

South Carolina Book Festival in 2012
News came out of Columbia yesterday that the South Carolina Book Festival is no more.  Instead, the state Humanities Council decided that it would be best to do author events across the state.  To be honest with you, I have not been to the state book festival since 2012 when they brought Kimberla Lawson Roby, Zane and Eric Jerome Dickey.  I was in Chicago last year and the other two years they didn't bring people that interested me enough to roll out of bed and drive almost two hours to Columbia.  There were a lot of things I think they did wrong, which lead to the book festival being the thing of the past.
  • Inviting the same people OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I can see them inviting Dorothea Benton Frank every year because she comes out with a new book every year.  But inviting Pat Conroy (and some others) just for the hell of it got old.
  • NOT ENOUGH DIVERSITY.  There were some years (like this one) you can count how many African-American authors they had with one hand.  And Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans? Whatever.  I know the festival was moved it to May from February because they were trying to get more authors before they went to BEA, but it seem like they had more minority authors when it was in February.
  • The Humanities Council also didn't try to expand their audience.  Yeah, it's good catering to middle-aged and older white people and families with small children.  But what about the rest of us?  And they always had the book festival on the same weekend as the Columbia Black Expo except for this year, when it conflicted with the African-American rodeo.  Both of those events were next door at the Colonial Life Arena.  And they hardly ever got any Young Adult authors, which would have drew the teens.  Why do they think YA'LL Fest gets bigger every year?
  • And last (but not least), the loss of two of their biggest sponsors, Books-A-Million and Barnes and Noble.  And I know how people feel about Amazon and big book stores.  The Humanities Council made it seem like they dropped the big book stores to support indie book stores in the state.  But one of my friends think it might have been the other way around and the big book stores dropped them.  It's still bad because the box stores (especially BAM) were the ones that brought the few minority authors they were getting.
I hope that the Humanities Council eventually brings back the book festival or that others start their own festivals.  It's sad that they couldn't improve on a wonderful event that many people enjoyed for almost 20 years.  And I hope that the council's future initiatives work out for the benefit of the people of South Carolina.

Book News You Can Use 7/24/15

Relax in Paradise Chenjerai Hove, E. L. Doctorow and Tom Moore.

Prayers go out to Alan Cheuse, who was seriously injured in a car crash.

Congrats to Deborah Johnson for winning the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction!

Is Go Set a Watchman an indictment of the limits of liberalism?

Sebastian Junger is writing a book about how solders deal with stress after returning from wars.

Pledged, a book about how it goes down in (mostly white) sororities, has been recently updated.  Author Alexandra Robbins talks about how some sororities deal with sexual assault claims.

Reshonda Tate Billingsley talks about stereotypes and violence while promoting her new book Mama's Boy.

Edwidge Danicat talks about how she wrote her first Young Adult novel.

Toni Morrison talks about the inspiration behind The Bluest Eye.

Nigerian author Dillibe Onyema talks about the many authors that have come from his home country.

A new book discusses the impact of the late 60s-early 70s PBS show Soul.

Thanks to a lady and her neighbors, Franklin from Peanuts was created.

Here are some diverse fantasy books.

Hey Taylor, try to relate on what Onika was saying by reading these diverse feminism books. Maybe it will also inspire you to squash your beef with Katy.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Book News You Can Use 7/17/15

Congrats to Tracey K. Smith, who was named director of Princeton's Program in Creative Writing!

Ida B. Wells was honored with a Google Doodle yesterday.

Is there a third Harper Lee novel out there?  A fourth?

A Charleston native spoke about his feelings after reading Go Set A Watchman and how it relates to his family and life.  And Jabari Asim has been rethinking his thoughts on To Kill a Mockingbird.

Another book that received a lot of hype this week was Ta-Neishi Coates' new book, Between the World and Me.  Based on his Facebook post, Dr. Cornell West wasn't a fan (and Michael Eric Dyson told him to get over it).  And this guy from the New York Times missed the damn point.

Booksellers and authors are demanding the federal government investigate Amazon over anti-trust violations.

Publishers Weekly is already talking about fall releases.  And The Million has also dropped their list of books to look forward for the rest of the year.

Speaking of Publishers Weekly, Naomi Jackson was named a writer to watch this fall.

One of my favorite female singer-songwriters, Carly Simon, is releasing her memoir this fall.  Surprisingly, the publisher that her father co-founded is not publishing the book.

Kelis is showing off her cooking skills in a new cookbook.  No word on whether the book will have milkshake recipes.

Hoda Kotb is releasing another book of inspirational stories.

Spike is developing five new dramas, with one based off of a Walter Mosley book.  Crossing fingers this one will see the light of day.

Here are some books to help talk to your kids about prejudice.

The Harlem Book Festival is this weekend and discussions will be aired on C-SPAN2.

Remember the UGA football player who joined a book club?  He wrote a children's book to celebrate the love of reading.  Even a Gamecock like me can get behind this.

Speaking of Gamecocks and children's books, two former football players wrote a children's book to promote literacy and celebrate (the real) USC. #justachicken #notatrojan

If you drink coffee, tea or whatever type of drink you would like to put in mugs, here are some mugs with literary themes.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Book News You Can Use 7/10/15

Many people are awaiting Tuesday's release of Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman, which is the "sequel" for To Kill A Mockingbird.  PBS will be showing the American Masters episode chronicling Harper's life tonight and will include an update about the new book.  Here is a picture of Harper receiving a finished copy of the book.  And you can read the first chapter here.

Relax in Paradise James Tate.

Congrats to the Andrew Carnegie Award winners!

Congrats to Chimamanda Ngzoi Adichie, who is expecting a little one!

Congrats to Lawrence Hill, who was honored with the Order of Canada.

The huge news that is coming out of my home state is that the Confederate Flag is FINALLY off the Statehouse grounds. THANK GOD. This recent interview of Percival Everett (who is releasing a short story collection) and his thoughts on the Confederate Flag were…interesting.

Speaking of the flag coming down, poet Nikky Finney wrote a passage to commemorate this day.

Here is a review of TaNehisa Coates' upcoming book.

In honor of Malala Yousafzai's 18th birthday this weekend, she is putting a spotlight on global education.  Use the hashtag #booksnotbullets in your social media accounts with a picture of you and your favorite book to show your support.

Will Waiting to Exhale become a musical?

Incoming college freshman are reading some interesting books for the summer. I hope Duke doesn't catch hell for reading Fun House like College of Charleston did.

Got a kid who loves to read? Here is some ways to motive them to enhance their love of reading.

I just finished reading Judy Blume's new book.  Here are some recommended books of hers for every age.

How well do you remember the Baby-Sitters Club? I got 4 out of 7!

I had outgrown Goosebumps by the time they came out (I was into Fear Street), but I know a lot of people are excited for the Goosebumps movie!
Pearl Thompson is proof that it's never too late to get a library card.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Hello!  I'm still in recovery mode from what's been happening in Charleston the last few weeks.  I'll be back next Friday with the return of Book News.  Have a safe and happy holiday!

Picture is from Healthline.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Donations in Memory of the Emanuel Nine

Program at the Charleston NPHC Prayer Vigil on Saturday
Several of you have asked about ways you would like to help the families of the Emanuel Nine or donate funds in their memories.  Here is a short list (which will probably grow in the next few days) on ways you can help.

Picture I took at Mother Emanuel when I visited the church on Tuesday

The biggest fund is the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.  This fund will help family members with funeral and burial expenses.  Any remaining money will go to the AME Church, in which the leadership will determine how to use it.  There are three ways to donate:

1. By check to:
Mother Emanuel Hope Fund
c/o City of Charleston
Post Office Box 304
Charleston, SC 29402

2. Stop by any Wells Fargo Bank nationwide and make a donation.

3. And texting 'prayforcharleston' to 843-606-5995 or going to  Passcode is FAMILY.

Another fund that was started is the Lowcountry Unity Fund. The Unity Fund will be used to address racism and economic inequality in the African American community. It will be run by the Coastal Community Foundation and you can donate to the fund on their website.  The foundation will also oversee the Mother Emanuel AME Scholarship Endowment, which will be used towards scholarships for students in the African-American community.  The endowment was started by the InterTech Group and the Zucker family.

You can also donate to Mother Emanuel directly at

Lowcountry Ministries has started a fund in memory of the Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney. These funds will be used to support local initiatives that the reverend was passionate about. There are three ways to donate:

1. By check to:
Lowcountry Ministries – Reverend Pinckney Fund
c/o The Palmetto Project
6296 Rivers Avenue #100
North Charleston, SC 29406

2. By donation online at

3. And texting 'prayforcharleston' to 843-606-5995 or going to Passcode is PINCKNEY.

Charleston Southern University has started a fund in memory of Sharonda Singleton.  Funds will go towards educational expenses for her son Chris (who is a student and plays baseball for the school) and any remaining funds will go to a baseball enrichment center that will be named in Sharonda's memory.  You can donate to the Singleton Memorial Fund at or by mail at:

Charleston Southern University
Advancement Office
PO Box 118087
Charleston, SC 29423
(address the check to Singleton Memorial Fund on the memo section)

A tribute to Cynthia at the Main Library
There are three ways to honor Cynthia Hurd, who was a librarian at Charleston County Public Library for over 30 years.

1. CCPL has set up a fund in Cynthia's memory.  The money will go towards educational programs at the St. Andrews and John L. Dart libraries (she was a manager at both libraries during her career).  You can donate through PayPal through this link or mail a check to:

Charleston County Public Library 
 c/o Cynthia Graham Hurd Memorial Fund
 68 Calhoun Street
 Charleston, SC 29401

2. The Charleston Friends of the Library, which is the nonprofit organization that supports CCPL, will also accept donations in her memory. You will have to tell them that it's in memory of Cynthia Hurd and they will set aside the money raised for programs at St. Andrews and Dart.  You can donate on their website or mail it to the previous address (instead of Charleston County Public Library, use Charleston Friends of the Library).

3. Cynthia's brother and his family has started a fund to provide books at Freedom Schools in the Charlotte area (where they live).  Click here to donate.

Again, thanks for all of the messages, support and prayers that my city and I has received over the last week.  Funerals started yesterday and will go on until the middle of next week.  Please keep the families and friends of the victims in your thoughts and prayers as they say goodbye to their loved ones and as they begin life under a new normal.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Prayers for Charleston

Hey ya'll.

Today's normally the day I post Book News You Can Use, but not today.

As many of you had heard, my hometown was struck by an unthinkable tragedy Wednesday night. Nine people were shot and killed at (Mother) Emanuel A.M.E. Church, right in the heart of downtown Charleston.

Some of you may have also heard that I knew three of the victims.  The pastor was a state senator who represented the area that my parents live in. Another was the manager of the library that I often go to and would have conversations about library issues and life in general.  And one was a member of my beloved Delta and was in my alumnae chapter.

Many of my friends and neighbors lost loved ones during this tragedy.  And our area has gone through so much already this year, with the killing of Walter Scott (who several of my family members knew), a killing of a mother who was driving her car and just left a Mother's Day celebration, another woman who was killed in her car while she was on the way to visit her son, an attempted killing of a cop, Caitlyn the dog (because animal cruelty leads up to harming adults) and two young people (including a 5-year-old) shot and paralyzed - one being at the wrong place at the wrong time and the other seeking help from cops.

Please keep everyone who was affected in your thoughts and prayers.  Yesterday was rough and the next few days will be hard for everyone.  Thanks to everyone who has reached out to me on Facebook and Twitter, checking in on me. I really appreciate it. My community and I will remain #charlestonstrong.

Picture is from Fried Green Pickles.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mailbox Monday 6/15/15

More books came in the mail last week so it's time for another edition of Mailbox Monday!

All of the books today came from Harper Books.  Two will be released in July and everyone knows the third book.

Crooked Heart
You Don't Have to Live Like This
To Kill a Mockingbird (to reread in time for the release of Go Set a Watchman)

Do you see any books that you would like to read? Hit me up in the comments section! Thanks to Harper for the ARCs!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Book News You Can Use 6/12/15

Relax in Paradise Vincent Bugliosi.

Congratulations to the winners of the Nebula Awards!

Congratulations also go out to Juan Felipe Herrera, who was named U.S. Poet Laureate!

I hope the person who stole the new 50 Shades of Crap Gray manuscript did the world a favor and threw it in the recycling bin.

The new Robert Galbraith book has a cover and a release date.

The Fault in Our Stars was the best-selling e-book of 2014.

Authors, just stay away from Goodreads reviews.

Kim Kardashian impersonator Glee star Naya Rivera landed a memoir deal.

A new book about Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina Brown says that Whitney was extorted over a possible lesbian affair and gives theories on what happened to Bobbi Kristina.

A cover has been released for Sara Bareilles' book.

I already had mixed feeling about making movies based off the Flyy Girl series (because the first one is the only one worthy of a movie), but I really can't see Sanaa Lathan as Tracey.

A TV show based on Manology will be on OWN next year, with authors Tyrese and Rev. Run hosting.  If Rev. Run was hosting, I would be for it because his advice in the book was good. Tyrese on the other hand...#sideeye

Why didn't anyone tell me that the Invisible Life musical is now a reality and will be at the Apollo this month?

Comic and South Carolina native Aziz Ansari will be in Charleston July 11 to promote his new book, Modern Romance.

NPR is looking for your favorite romances in books!

An employee at TOR Books spoke out about racism and sexism among the science fiction book community on her personal Facebook page. Her boss didn't like it and responded. Most of  the science fiction community was hot, hot, hot and supported the employee.

Author Farai Chideya compared the suicide of Kalief Browder to Ota Benga (while referencing Spetacle).

A memoir was released about a man's journey with his dreadlocks while dealing with the politics of African-American hair.

Looking a summer reading challenge? Written Magazine has a 30 Books in 90 Days challenge.

More summer reading suggestions for the teens and tweens!

An Alabama attorney has launched an effort to have libraries in barbershops.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Ultimate Betrayal

I received an ARC from Grand Central Publishing and Netgalley.  Opinions are my own.

Drama in the Black Family continues in Kimberla Lawson Roby's new book, The Ultimate Betrayal, which is out TODAY!  This book focuses on Alicia, Curtis' oldest daughter, and her best friend Melanie.

Alicia is engaged to Phillip, her first husband.  They broke up years ago because of Alicia's addiction to shopping and her affair with Levi, a drug dealer.  Levi's been locked up for a few years and now he's out of prison. And wants Alicia back.  Will she stay faithful to Phillip or will the Black genes kick in and cause her to be unfaithful again?

Melanie has a weight problem. Or so she thinks. She's the ideal weight for her height, but constantly thinks that she's fat.  Will her weight problems cause her to loose her marriage and her life?  And what's up with the money that her husband Brad keeps taking out of the bank account?

If you are a fan of Kimberla's previous books, you will not be disappointed.  There are some twists and turns in this book that you will enjoy. But I am going to go on a little rant about the ending of one of the story lines without (hopefully) giving it away.

SOMETHING REALLY BAD happens to one of the main characters in this book.  The ending left me feeling like I just watched the end of a Tyler Perry movie, where someone does something bad and even something worst happens to them (if you have seen Temptation, you know what I'm talking about).  Did this person do something bad? Yes.  Did they deserve what they got at the end of the book? NO. I understand there are consequences for your actions, but I don't agree that they should be that drastic and that's God's way of punishing you.

On the other hand, I have been getting bad vibes from another character in this book since The Best of Everything.  I remember talking to a friend about this character after The Best of Everything was released and she said though that the character was nice. I totally disagreed with her.  There was always something fishy about that character.  Looks like this character's true colors come out in this book and I was right all along!

Like I said before, if you are a fan of the dealings of the Black Family, this book is for you!  If you are in South Carolina (or nearby), Kimberla will be at the Sandhills Books-A-Million in Columbia this Thursday at 6:30 p.m.  I won't be able to go due to work obligations, but I hope that a big crowd shows up (after seeing Eric Jerome Dickey there a few weeks ago, I don't think that's going to be a problem).  Happy Reading!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Mailbox Monday 6/8/15

More books came in the mail last week, so it's time for another edition of Mailbox Monday!

I was suppose to receive both of today's featured books from Harper Books several months ago when ARCs were available.  Since they ran out of the ARCs, I was able to get the finished copies!  They are:

Pleasantville (the sequel to Black Water Rising, which I loved several years ago)
Finding Samuel Lowe (which was written by a soror)

Do you see any books you would like to read? Hit me up in the comments section!  Thanks to Harper for the books!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Book News You Can Use 6/5/15

Congrats to Jacqueline Woodson for being named Young People's Poet Laureate!

Congrats also go out to Ali Smith for winning the Baileys Women Prize!

Flannery O'Connor was recently honored with her own USPS stamp.

Be on the lookout for a signed copy of To Kill A Mockingbird that is missing from Blue Bicycle Bookstore.

Maybe the book will show up in the auction where Harper Lee's letters are being sold.

Judy Blume gave some advice to the people of the Internet.

Why is there another 50 Shades of Crap Gray book coming out?

Showrunner Shonda Rhimes will be releasing her memoir in November.

Also working on their memoirs are Gabourey Sidibe and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Speaking of possible memoirs, publishing insiders are wondering how much a Bruce Caitlyn Jenner memoir would be worth.

Wendell Pierce's book about Katrina and New Orleans' recovery now has a cover.

Pharrell's book for children also has a cover (with lots of happy kids).

Essence Magazine featured the recent Anguilla Lit Festival.  I would like to go one year!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's father was recently kidnapped in her native Nigeria.

British writer Malorie Blackman had to develop a thick skin when she was the country's Children's Laureate.

Recent Mailbox Monday feature Spectacle was featured in The Grio.

The blog formally known as Reads for Pleasure is now Read in Colour.

Even though school's out (at least here in South Carolina), you can donate books to teachers and librarians through a new program called BookMentors.

Here are some books your teen or tween can read while they are enjoying their summer break.

Picture is from this website.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mailbox Monday 6/1/15

Another book came in the mail last week, so it's time for another edition of Mailbox Monday!  Today's book is one I've been waiting for and it was released last week.  I received an ARC of Balm from Harper Books.  As you may know, this book has been on several summer reads lists.

Is this a book you are interested in reading?  Hit me up in the comments section!  Thanks Harper for the ARC!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Book News You Can Use 5/29/15

The New York Times came out with their summer reading recommendations last weekend. And it was an epic fail. THERE WERE NO BOOKS WRITTEN BY PEOPLE OF COLOR ON THE LIST. SERIOUSLY?!   Of course, the Internet universe ripped the publication apart about the lack of authors of color on their list.  Read this one from Roxane Gay. And this one from Gawker.  There have been a ton of diverse summer reads lists created since then (including The Root and The Grio, which I will address those lists in another post), but BuzzFeed's list was one of the best. And the Los Angeles Times also did a good job.  And with BEA and BookCon this week I know there will be a lot of think pieces on the lack of diversity in publishing coming in the next few days.

Relax in Paradise Hugh Ambrose and Tanith Lee.

James Patterson's domination in the literary world continues with his new imprint for kids.

Mat Johnson's new book was released this week and it was reviewed in the New York Times (but wasn't good enough to get on their summer list).  And he told people to kiss his biracial behind.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wants women and girls to forget about being liked by others.

Gloria Steinem is will be releasing her first book in over 20 years this fall.

Tina McElroy Ansa talks about memories about her childhood homes and their porches in this essay.

I love this series of photos featuring homeless patrons using public libraries.

A new music library in South Korea has 10,000 records. Not CDs. Not MP3s. Records.