{2015 New Releases} Week 37: Sept 7-13

Fiction

The New Middle by Bonita ThompsonThe New Middle by:Bonita Thompson
Five middle-aged characters face the randomness of fate while learning to let go of the past in this compelling, contemporary tale that illuminates the joys and woes of midlife.
Five middle-aged characters face the randomness of fate while learning to let go of the past in this compelling, contemporary tale that illuminates the joys and woes of midlife.

The parents of two lovely teenage daughters, Dianne and Torrick feel blessed and secure. But behind the façade of their seemingly ideal life, the couple’s once rock-solid marriage is slowly beginning to crumble. Dianne becomes overwhelmed by the emotional ups and downs of menopause, while Torrick becomes more and more distracted by the demands of his private security business. Will the couple find a way to repair what’s been broken, or will their restlessness tear the family apart?

Jacqueline is a savvy, stunningly attractive consultant at a high-profile company. Single and childless, her life is shaped by her success. When a close friend dies of cancer, she starts to feel the isolation of reaching midlife without a family. Uncharacteristically vulnerable, she makes a decision that transforms her life in more ways than one…

Phoebe has spent the better part of her life traveling the world. When the housing market collapses and she loses her sprawling beach bungalow, she moves in with her goddaughter. Then a new man, Joseph, enters her life, but Phoebe feels she’s out of his league. As a friendship develops between them, she starts to feel pangs of regret for giving her child up for adoption. Can Joseph, a lonely widower and father of two, offer any help, or will Phoebe be left on her own to deal with her regrets of the past?

From marriage, children, and career, to being single, widowed, facing death, and reinventing oneself, this character-driven tale explores the depth of regret, loneliness, isolation, and angst. Whether or not you’ve reached midlife, The New Middle is a compelling novel that will have you laughing and crying alongside its unforgettable characters until the very end.
Release:9/8/15
Click version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Paperback)

Luxe by Ashley AntoinetteLuxe by:Ashley Antoinette
A brand new series from New York Times bestselling author Ashley Antoinette.

Bleu Montclair knew as a young girl that she would one day escape the hard streets of Flint, Michigan, and when her prayers are answered in the form of a scholarship to UCLA, Bleu knows she’s struck gold. But soon after arriving, all her dreams begin to fall apart. Temptations abound in the form of cars, clothes, booze, drugs, and Bleu cannot keep up. When her roommate gives her the opportunity to make a lot of money fast, Beu goes all in—and heads straight down a path of violence and addiction that only her newest protector, Iman, can save her from.

Safe under the wing of the head of the West Coast’s biggest drug empire, Bleu can concentrate on getting clean and staying safe. But when the sins of Bleu’s past come back to haunt her, she will have to fight to fix the mess she’s created—or give in completely to self-destruction…
Release:9/8/15
Click version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Paperback)

A Most Precious Pearl by Piper HuguleyA Most Precious Pearl by:Piper Hughley
They’re cut from different cloths…but their hearts are a perfect fit.

Migrations of the Heart, Book 2

Asa Caldwell returned from the Great War with nothing to show for it—as in nothing below his left knee. Forget about the journalism career he loved. His story is over. Done.

Yet he finds the strength to journey to Winslow, Georgia, to get Ruby Bledsoe Morson’s sister out of trouble. Before he can bring Mags Bledsoe home, though, a spate of mysterious attacks reawakens his investigative instincts.

During the war, Mags did her duty to God and country by stepping into a management role at the textile mill. Now she’s been shuffled back to the rank and file—and Asa has her hard-earned job. Not only is the infernal man doing everything wrong, her plan for revenge against the mill owner who lynched her childhood sweetheart is farther out of reach than ever.

As they clash over almost everything, Mags begins to set fire to Asa’s soul, bright enough to dim the memory of the killing fields of France. Enough to give him a new mission in life—to make her feel the same way.

Warning: Contains a wounded warrior who’s done with fighting…and one feisty woman who makes him snap to attention.
Release:9/8/15
Click version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Paperback)

Non-Fiction

Black Silent Majority by Michael Javen FortnerBlack Silent Majority:The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment by:Michael Javen Fortner
Aggressive policing and draconian sentencing have disproportionately imprisoned millions of African Americans for drug-related offenses. Michael Javen Fortner shows that in the 1970’s these punitive policies toward addicts and pushers enjoyed the support of many working-class and middle-class blacks, angry about the chaos in their own neighborhoods.

Often seen as a political sop to the racial fears of white voters, aggressive policing and draconian sentencing for illegal drug possession and related crimes have led to the imprisonment of millions of African Americans—far in excess of their representation in the population as a whole. Michael Javen Fortner shows in this eye-opening account that these punitive policies also enjoyed the support of many working-class and middle-class blacks, who were angry about decline and disorder in their communities. Black Silent Majority uncovers the role African Americans played in creating today’s system of mass incarceration.

Current anti-drug policies are based on a set of controversial laws first adopted in New York in the early 1970s and championed by the state’s Republican governor, Nelson Rockefeller. Fortner traces how many blacks in New York came to believe that the rehabilitation-focused liberal policies of the 1960s had failed. Faced with economic malaise and rising rates of addiction and crime, they blamed addicts and pushers. By 1973, the outcry from grassroots activists and civic leaders in Harlem calling for drastic measures presented Rockefeller with a welcome opportunity to crack down on crime and boost his political career. New York became the first state to mandate long prison sentences for selling or possessing narcotics.

Black Silent Majority lays bare the tangled roots of a pernicious system. America’s drug policies, while in part a manifestation of the conservative movement, are also a product of black America’s confrontation with crime and chaos in its own neighborhoods.
Release:9/7/15
Click version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Hardcover)

Negroland by Margo JeffersonNegroland by:Margo Jefferson
At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac—here is a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, and American culture through the prism of the author’s rarefied upbringing and education among a black elite concerned with distancing itself from whites and the black generality while tirelessly measuring itself against both.

Born in upper-crust black Chicago—her father was for years head of pediatrics at Provident, at the time the nation’s oldest black hospital; her mother was a socialite—Margo Jefferson has spent most of her life among (call them what you will) the colored aristocracy, the colored elite, the blue-vein society. Since the nineteenth century they have stood apart, these inhabitants of Negroland, “a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty.”

Reckoning with the strictures and demands of Negroland at crucial historical moments—the civil rights movement, the dawn of feminism, the fallacy of postracial America—Jefferson brilliantly charts the twists and turns of a life informed by psychological and moral contradictions. Aware as it is of heart-wrenching despair and depression, this book is a triumphant paean to the grace of perseverance.
Release:9/8/15
Click version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Hardcover)

The Wind in the Reeds by Wendell PierceThe Wind in the Reeds : A Storm, A Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken by:Wendell Pierce
From acclaimed actor and producer Wendell Pierce, an insightful and poignant portrait of family, New Orleans and the transforming power of art.

On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina barreled into New Orleans, devastating many of the city’s neighborhoods, including Pontchartrain Park, the home of Wendell Pierce’s family and the first African American middle-class subdivision in New Orleans. The hurricane breached many of the city’s levees, and the resulting flooding submerged Pontchartrain Park under as much as 20 feet of water. Katrina left New Orleans later that day, but for the next three days the water kept relentlessly gushing into the city, plunging eighty percent of New Orleans under water. Nearly 1,500 people were killed. Half the houses in the city had four feet of water in them—or more. There was no electricity or clean water in the city; looting and the breakdown of civil order soon followed. Tens of thousands of New Orleanians were stranded in the city, with no way out; many more evacuees were displaced, with no way back in.

Pierce and his family were some of the lucky ones: They survived and were able to ride out the storm at a relative’s house 70 miles away. When they were finally allowed to return, they found their family home in tatters, their neighborhood decimated. Heartbroken but resilient, Pierce vowed to help rebuild, and not just his family’s home, but all of Pontchartrain Park.

In this powerful and redemptive narrative, Pierce brings together the stories of his family, his city, and his history, why they are all worth saving and the critical importance art played in reuniting and revitalizing this unique American city.
Release:9/8/15
Click version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Hardcover)

Suffrage Reconstructed by Laura E. FreeSuffrage Reconstructed: Gender, Race, and Voting Rights in the Civil War Era by:Laura E. Free
Suffrage Reconstructed offers a new interpretation of the Civil War–era remaking of American democracy, placing African American activists and women’s rights advocates at the heart of nineteenth-century American conversations about public policy, civil rights, and the franchise.

The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified on July 9, 1868, identified all legitimate voters as “male.” In so doing, it added gender-specific language to the U.S. Constitution for the first time. Suffrage Reconstructed is the first book to consider how and why the amendment’s authors made this decision. Vividly detailing congressional floor bickering and activist campaigning, Laura E. Free takes readers into the pre- and postwar fights over precisely who should have the right to vote. Free demonstrates that all men, black and white, were the ultimate victors of these fights, as gender became the single most important marker of voting rights during Reconstruction.

Free argues that the Fourteenth Amendment’s language was shaped by three key groups: African American activists who used ideas about manhood to claim black men’s right to the ballot, postwar congressmen who sought to justify enfranchising southern black men, and women’s rights advocates who began to petition Congress for the ballot for the first time as the Amendment was being drafted. To prevent women’s inadvertent enfranchisement, and to incorporate formerly disfranchised black men into the voting polity, the Fourteenth Amendment’s congressional authors turned to gender to define the new American voter. Faced with this exclusion some woman suffragists, most notably Elizabeth Cady Stanton, turned to rhetorical racism in order to mount a campaign against sex as a determinant of one’s capacity to vote. Stanton’s actions caused a rift with Frederick Douglass and a schism in the fledgling woman suffrage movement. By integrating gender analysis and political history, Suffrage Reconstructed offers a new interpretation of the Civil War–era remaking of American democracy, placing African American activists and women’s rights advocates at the heart of nineteenth-century American conversations about public policy, civil rights, and the franchise.
Release:9/8/15
Click version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Hardcover)

Birth of an Industry by Nicholas SammondBirth of an Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation by:Nicholas Sammond
Nicholas Sammond argues that early cartoons are a key components to blackface minstrelsy and that cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat are not like minstrels, but are minstrels. Cartoons have played on racial anxieties, naturalized racial formations, committed symbolic racial violence, and help perpetuate blackface minstrelsy.

In Birth of an Industry, Nicholas Sammond describes how popular early American cartoon characters were derived from blackface minstrelsy. He charts the industrialization of animation in the early twentieth century, its representation in the cartoons themselves, and how important blackface minstrels were to that performance, standing in for the frustrations of animation workers. Cherished cartoon characters, such as Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat, were conceived and developed using blackface minstrelsy’s visual and performative conventions: these characters are not like minstrels; they are minstrels. They play out the social, cultural, political, and racial anxieties and desires that link race to the laboring body, just as live minstrel show performers did. Carefully examining how early animation helped to naturalize virulent racial formations, Sammond explores how cartoons used laughter and sentimentality to make those stereotypes seem not only less cruel, but actually pleasurable. Although the visible links between cartoon characters and the minstrel stage faded long ago, Sammond shows how important those links are to thinking about animation then and now, and about how cartoons continue to help to illuminate the central place of race in American cultural and social life.
Release:9/11/15
Click version to purchase: (Hardcover) or (Paperback)

Saved for a Purpose by James A. JosephSaved for a Purpose: A Journey from Private Virtues to Public Values by: James A. Joseph
In his ethical autobiography, James A. Joseph—who was active in the Civil Rights Movement, an executive of a Fortune 500 company, the Undersecretary of the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa—shares the development of his philosophies of morality and leadership.

The son of a minister, James A. Joseph grew up in Louisiana’s Cajun country, where his parents taught him the value of education and the importance of serving others. These lessons inspired him to follow a career path that came to include working in senior executive or advisory positions for four United States Presidents and with the legendary Nelson Mandela to build a new democracy in Southern Africa. Saved for a Purpose is Joseph’s ethical autobiography, in which he shares his moral philosophy and his insights on leadership.

In an engaging and personal style, Joseph shows how his commitment to applying moral and ethical principles to large groups and institutions played out in his work in the civil rights movement in Alabama and as a college chaplain in California in the turbulent 1960s. His time later as vice president of the Cummins Engine Company provided an opportunity to promote corporate ethics, and his tenure as Under Secretary of the Interior in the Carter Administration underscored the difficulty and weight of making the right decisions while balancing good policy analysis with transcendent moral principles.

In 1996 President Clinton selected Joseph to become the United States Ambassador to South Africa. His recollections of working with Nelson Mandela, whom he describes as a noble and practical politician, and his observations about what he learned from Desmond Tutu and others about reconciliation contain some of the book’s most poignant passages.

Saved for a Purpose is unique, as Joseph combines his insights from working to integrate values into America’s public and private sectors with his long engagement with ethics as an academic discipline and as a practical guide for social behavior. Ultimately, it reflects Joseph’s passionate search for values that go beyond the personal to include the ethical imperatives that should be applied to the communal.
Release:9/11/15
Click version to purchase: (Hardcover)

Children

It's Tough to Lose Your Balloon by Jarrett J. KrosoczkaIt’s Tough to Loose Your Balloon by:Jarrett Krosozka
Lost balloons. Melted ice cream. Babysitters.

Life as a kid can be pretty daunting. But don’t let these troubles get you down. With the right attitude, a hurdle can become a hammock and an obstacle can become an opportunity!

Veteran picture book creator Jarrett J. Krosoczka teaches kids to look on the bright side of things. With lively illustrations and spot-on humor, It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon champions resilience and helps children navigate childhood indignities while making them laugh at the same time.
Release:9/8/15
Click version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Hardcover)

Cooking

A Real Southern Cook by Dora CharlesA Real Southern Cook: In Her Savannah Kitchen by:Dora Charles
In her first cookbook, a revered former cook at Savannah’s most renowned restaurant divulges her locally famous Savannah recipes—many of them never written down before—and those of her family and friends.

Hundreds of thousands of people have made a trip to dine on the exceptional food cooked by Dora Charles at Savannah’s most famous restaurant. Now, the woman who was barraged by editors and agents to tell her story invites us into her home to taste the food she loves best.

These are the intensely satisfying dishes at the heart of Dora’s beloved Savannah: Shrimp and Rice; Simple Smoky Okra; Buttermilk Cornbread from her grandmother; and of course, a truly incomparable Fried Chicken. Each dish has a “secret ingredient” for a burst of flavor: mayonnaise in the biscuits; Savannah Seasoning in her Gone to Glory Potato Salad; sugar-glazed bacon in her deviled eggs. All the cornerstones of the Southern table are here, from Out-of-This-World Smothered Catfish to desserts like a jaw-dropping Very Red Velvet Cake.

With moving dignity, Dora describes her motherless upbringing in Savannah, the hard life of her family, whose memories stretched back to slave times, learning to cook at age six, and the years she worked at the restaurant. “Talking About” boxes impart Dora’s cooking wisdom, and evocative photos of Savannah and the Low Country set the scene.
Release: 9/8/15
Click version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Hardcover)

Re-Release

Protest at Selma by David J. GarrowProtest at Selma: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by:David J. Garrow
A thorough and insightful account of the historic 1965 civil rights protest at Selma, Alabama, from the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning biography Bearing the Cross

Vivid descriptions of violence and courageous acts fill David Garrow’s account of the momentous 1965 protest at Selma, Alabama, in which the author illuminates the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in organizing the demonstrations that led to the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Beyond a mere narration of events, Garrow provides an in-depth look at the political strategy of King and of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He explains how King’s awareness of media coverage of the protests—especially reports of white violence against peaceful African American protestors—would elicit sympathy for the cause and lead to dramatic legislative change. Garrow’s analysis of these tactics and of the news reports surrounding these events provides a deeper understanding of how civil rights activists utilized a nonviolent approach to achieve success in the face of great opposition and ultimately effected monumental political change.
Release:9/8/15
Click version to purchase: (Paperback)

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