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Monday, February 24, 2014

#BookReview: Bedrock Faith by Eric Charles May

Synopsis: After fourteen years in prison, Gerald “Stew Pot” Reeves, age thirty-one, returns home to live with his mom in Parkland, a black middle-class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. A frightening delinquent before being sent away (his infamies included butchering a neighbor’s cat, torching another neighbor’s garage, and terrorizing the locals with a scary pit bull named Hitler), his return sends Parkland residents into a religiously infused tailspin, which only increases when Stew Pot announces that he experienced a religious awakening in prison. Most neighbors are skeptical of this claim, with one notable exception: Mrs. Motley, a widowed retiree and the Reeves’s next-door neighbor who loans Stew Pot a Bible, which is seen by Stew Pot and many in the community as a friendly gesture.
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

#BookReview: Twisted Sisters by Jen Lancaster

Synopsis: Reagan Bishop is a pusher. A licensed psychologist who stars on the Wendy Winsberg cable breakout show I Need a Push, Reagan helps participants become their best selves by urging them to overcome obstacles and change behaviors. An overachiever, Reagan is used to delivering results.

Despite her overwhelming professional success, Reagan never seems to earn her family’s respect. Her younger sister, Geri, is and always will be the Bishop family favorite. When a national network buys Reagan’s show, the pressures for unreasonably quick results and higher ratings mount. But Reagan’s a clinician, not a magician, and fears witnessing her own personal failings in prime time. (And seriously? Her family will never let her hear the end of it.) Desperate to make the show work and keep her family at bay, Reagan actually listens when the show’s New Age healer offers an unconventional solution….
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Monday, February 17, 2014

#BookReview: In Dependence by Sarah Ladipo Manyika

Synopsis:  It is the early-sixties when a young Tayo Ajayi sails to England from Nigeria to take up a scholarship at Oxford University. In this city of dreaming spires, he finds himself among a generation high on visions of a new and better world. The whole world seems ablaze with change: independence at home, the Civil Rights movement and the first tremors of cultural and sexual revolutions.

It is then that Tayo meets Vanessa Richardson, the beautiful daughter of an ex-colonial officer. In Dependence is Tayo and Vanessa's story of a brave but bittersweet love affair. It is the story of two people struggling to find themselves and each other - a story of passion and idealism, courage and betrayal, and the universal desire to fall, madly, deeply, in love
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Friday, February 14, 2014

#ComingAttractions: Books I Can't Wait to Read (Winter/Spring 2014)

Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina
Misty Copeland
On Sale Date: March 4, 2014

Summary:  In this deeply felt and beautifully written memoir, Misty Copeland reveals her inspiring and at times heartbreaking journey to become the third African-American soloist in the history of the American Ballet Theatre.




Boy, Snow, Bird
Helen Oyeyemi
On Sale Date: March 4, 2014

Summary:  In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.




Safe With Me
Amy Hatvany
On Sale Date: March 4, 2014

Summary:  The screech of tires brought Hannah Scott’s world as she knew it to a devastating end. Even a year after she signed the papers to donate her daughter’s organs, Hannah is still reeling with grief when she unexpectedly stumbles into the life of the Bell family, whose child, Maddie, survived only because hers had died. Mesmerized by this fragile connection to her own daughter and afraid to reveal who she actually is, Hannah develops a surprising friendship with Maddie’s mother, Olivia.



Every Day is for the Thief
Teju Cole
On Sale Date: March 25, 2014

Summary:  Visiting Lagos after many years away, Teju Cole's unnamed narrator rediscovers his hometown as both a foreigner and a local. A young writer uncertain of what he wants to say, the man moves through tableaus of life in one of the most dynamic cities in the world: he hears the muezzin's call to prayer in the early morning light, and listens to John Coltrane during the late afternoon heat. He witnesses teenagers diligently perpetrating e-mail frauds from internet cafes, longs after a woman reading Michael Ondaatje on a public bus, and visits the impoverished National Museum. Along the way, he reconnects with old school friends and his family, who force him to ask himself profound questions of personal and national history. Over long, wandering days, the narrator compares present-day Lagos to the Lagos of his memory, and in doing so reveals changes that have taken place in himself.



Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs
Pearl Cleage
On Sale Date: April 8, 2014

Summary:  Though born and raised in Detroit, it was in Atlanta that Cleage encountered the forces that would most shape her experience. Married to Michael Lomax, now head of the United Negro College Fund, she worked with Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first African-American mayor. Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs charts not only the political fights, but also the pull she began to feel to focus on her own passions, including writing—a pull that led her away from Lomax as she grappled with ideas of feminism and self-fulfillment. This fascinating memoir follows her journey from a columnist for a local weekly (bought by Larry Flynt) to a playwright and Hollywood script writer, an artist at the crossroads of culture and politics whose circle came to include luminaries like Richard Pryor, Avery Brooks, Phylicia Rashad, Shirley Franklin, and Jesse Jackson. By the time Oprah Winfrey picked What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day as a favorite, Cleage had long since arrived as a writer of renown.


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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

#BookReview: Sycamore Row by John Grisham

Synopsis: Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier.
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Monday, February 10, 2014

#BookReview: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

Synopsis: Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town—with Brown, who believes he’s a girl.
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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

#BookReview: Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

Synopsis: Maybe it was those extra five pounds I’d gained. Maybe it was because I was about to turn the same age my mother was when I lost her. Maybe it was because after almost twenty years of marriage my husband and I seemed to be running out of things to say to each other.

But when the anonymous online study called “Marriage in the 21st Century” showed up in my inbox, I had no idea how profoundly it would change my life. It wasn’t long before I was assigned both a pseudonym (Wife 22) and a caseworker (Researcher 101).
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Monday, February 3, 2014

#BookReview: The Mommy Group by Reon Laudat

Synopsis: The Mommy Group explores the lives of four women coping with the complexities of love, friendship, finances, and motherhood. Nicole must fight her attraction to the married father of her child. Courtney must tell her husband that their savings have dwindled due to her lavish spending. And there's the hot ex, who wants her back in his bed. Penny-pinching workaholic Taryn must fend off the rival gunning for the same promotion. Jessica is elated with her first pregnancy until she receives shocking news challenging long-held beliefs.

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