{2015 New Releases} Week 42: Oct 12-18

Fiction

Grant Park by Leonard Pitts, Jr.Grant Park by:Leonard Pitts, Jr.
Grant Park is a page-turning and provocative look at black and white relations in contemporary America, blending the absurd and the poignant in a powerfully well-crafted narrative that showcases Pitts’s gift for telling emotionally wrenching stories.

Grant Park begins in 1968, with Martin Luther King’s final days in Memphis. The story then moves to the eve of the 2008 election, and cuts between the two eras. Disillusioned columnist Malcolm Toussaint, fueled by yet another report of unarmed black men killed by police, hacks into his newspaper’s server to post an incendiary column that had been rejected by his editors. Toussaint then disappears, and his longtime editor, Bob Carson, is summarily fired within hours of the column’s publication.

While a furious Carson tries to find Toussaint—while simultaneously dealing with the reappearance of a lost love from his days as a 60s activist—Toussaint is abducted by two white supremacists plotting to explode a bomb at Barack Obama’s planned rally in Chicago’s Grant Park. Toussaint and Carson are forced to remember the choices they made as young men, when both their lives were changed profoundly by their work in the civil rights movement.
Release: 10/13/15
Click Version to purchase: (Hardcover) or (Kindle Release 10/19)

Glimmer in the Darkness (Forgiveness) by Nicole HamptonGlimmer in the Darkness (Forgiveness) by:Nicole Hampton
For Shannon Johnson, full-time wife, mom and freelance writer, life as she knew it changed one spring afternoon with the ringing of her doorbell. On the other side stood Vaneetra James, former mistress of Shannon s husband, Daniel. With two sons, Shannon resisted the urge to leave Daniel in order to keep her family intact. However, she refused to deal with the issues resulting from Daniel s extramarital affair. When Shannon thought her life couldn t get any worse, a tragic turn of events in Vaneetra s life turned Shannon s already fractured world upside down, sending her marriage into an even deeper peril. Feeling desperate and trapped, Shannon made a series of rash decisions that landed her in the arms of another man, bringing her already fragile world crashing downward. Having to come to grips with the reality that the man she once thought was extraordinary was just ordinary, she had to trudge the road of forgiveness, while learning to love again and accept what she never imagined could ever exist.
Release: 10/13/15
Click Version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Paperback)

Black President 2 by Brenda HamptonBlack President 2: The World Will Never Be The Same by:Brenda Hampton
Novel writing, MADE FOR TELEVISION. In Episode 2, things are shaking up at the White House, especially with a new Black President occupying the Oval Office. Stephen C. Jefferson and his wife, Raynetta, are real forces to be reckoned with. While he’s busy trying to get Congress in line to create new gun control legislation, she’s actively working to keep her trail of lies a secret. The president’s mother is also back on the scene, and her drinking habits have switched to high gear. Without a doubt, he has his hands full with her, as well as with his multiple enemies. One who comes in the form of a reporter he’s been “entertaining,” and by any means necessary, she now wants the president to face his demise. She’s definitely not the only one, and as secret service fails to do their job, their open-door policy puts the president in a position where he’ll be forced to save his own life.
Release: 10/13/15
Click Version to purchase: (Kindle)

Non-Fiction

Prince of Darkness by Shane WhitePrince of Darkness by:Shane White
The amazing and forgotten story of Wall Street’s first black millionaire in pre-Civil War New York.

In the middle decades of the nineteenth century Jeremiah G. Hamilton was a well-known figure on Wall Street. Cornelius Vanderbilt, America’s first tycoon, came to respect, grudgingly, his one-time opponent. The day after Vanderbilt’s death on January 4, 1877, an almost full-page obituary on the front of the National Republican acknowledged that, in the context of his Wall Street share transactions, “There was only one man who ever fought the Commodore to the end, and that was Jeremiah Hamilton.”

What Vanderbilt’s obituary failed to mention, perhaps as contemporaries already knew it well, was that Hamilton was African American. Hamilton, although his origins were lowly, possibly slave, was reportedly the richest black man in the United States, possessing a fortune of $2 million, or in excess of two hundred and $50 million in today’s currency.

In this groundbreaking and vivid account, eminent historian Shane White reveals the larger than life story of a man who defied every convention of his time. He wheeled and dealed in the lily white business world, he married a white woman, he bought a mansion in rural New Jersey, he owned railroad stock on trains he was not legally allowed to ride, and generally set his white contemporaries teeth on edge when he wasn’t just plain outsmarting them. An important contribution to American history, the Hamilton’s life offers a way into considering, from the unusual perspective of a black man.
Release: 10/13/15
Click Version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Hardcover)

Wake Up Happy by Michael StrahanWake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life by:Michael Strahan
From America’s favorite football player turned morning talk show host—a man who makes just about everything look easy—a mélange of stories and motivational advice to inspire the reader to turn up the heat and go from good to great in pursuit of their personal ambitions.

Michael Strahan spent his childhood on a military base in Europe, where community meant everything, and life, though idyllic, was different. For one, when people referenced football they meant soccer. So when Michael’s father suggested he work toward a college scholarship by playing football in Texas, where tens of thousands of people show up for a weekend game, the odds were long. Yet he did, indeed, land a scholarship and from there a draft into the NFL where he scaled the league’s heights, broke records, and helped his team win the Super Bowl as a result of which he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. How? By developing “Strahan’s Rules”—a mix of mental discipline, positive thinking, and a sense of play. He also used the Rules to forge a successful post pro-ball career as cohost with Kelly Ripa on Live!—a position for which he was considered the longshot—and much more.

In Wake Up Happy, Michael shares personal stories about how he gets and stays motivated and how readers can do the same in their quest to attain their life goals.

Here are a few of “Strahan’s Rules”:

1) Listen to other people, but don’t take their opinions for fact. Have your own experiences. Draw your own conclusions.

2) You can’t change other people but you can change how you act around them. Usually, that’s more than enough.

3) Don’t pre-judge. Help can—and will—come from the most unexpected places. Be open to everything around you.

Inspiring and chock full of advice that will help the reader make significant strides toward pursuing his or her dream, Wake Up Happy is a book no one, young or old, male or female will want to miss.
Release: 10/13/15
Click Version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Hardcover)

Race Among Friends by Marianne ModicaRace among Friends: Exploring Race at a Suburban School by: Marianne Modica
Many saw the 2008 election of Barack Obama as a sign that America had moved past the issue of race, that a colorblind society was finally within reach. But as Marianne Modica reveals in Race Among Friends, attempts to be colorblind do not end racism—in fact, ignoring race increases the likelihood that racism will occur in our schools and in society.

This intriguing volume focuses on a “racially friendly” suburban charter school called Excellence Academy, highlighting the ways that students and teachers think about race and act out racial identity. Modica finds that even in an environment where students of all racial backgrounds work and play together harmoniously, race affects the daily experiences of students and teachers in profound but unexamined ways. Some teachers, she notes, feared that talking about race in the classroom would open them to charges of racism, so they avoided the topic. And rather than generate honest and constructive conversations about race, student friendships opened the door for insensitive racial comments by whites, resentment and silence by blacks, and racially biased administrative practices. In the end, the school’s friendly environment did not promote—and may have hindered—serious discussion of race and racial inequity.

The desire to ignore race in favor of a “colorblind society,” Modica writes, has become an entrenched part of American culture. But as Race Among Friends shows, when race becomes a taboo subject, it has serious ramifications for students and teachers of all ethnic origins.
Release: 10/13/15
Click Version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Hardcover)  or (Paperback)

The New Negro in the Old South by Gabriel A. BriggsThe New Negro in the Old South (The American Literatures Initiative) by:Gabriel A. Briggs
Standard narratives of early twentieth-century African American history credit the Great Migration of southern blacks to northern metropolises for the emergence of the New Negro, an educated, upwardly mobile sophisticate very different from his forebears. Yet this conventional history overlooks the cultural accomplishments of an earlier generation, in the black communities that flourished within southern cities immediately after Reconstruction.

In this groundbreaking historical study, Gabriel A. Briggs makes the compelling case that the New Negro first emerged long before the Great Migration to the North. The New Negro in the Old South reconstructs the vibrant black community that developed in Nashville after the Civil War, demonstrating how it played a pivotal role in shaping the economic, intellectual, social, and political lives of African Americans in subsequent decades. Drawing from extensive archival research, Briggs investigates what made Nashville so unique and reveals how it served as a formative environment for major black intellectuals like Sutton Griggs and W.E.B. Du Bois.

The New Negro in the Old South makes the past come alive as it vividly recounts little-remembered episodes in black history, from the migration of Colored Infantry veterans in the late 1860s to the Fisk University protests of 1925. Along the way, it gives readers a new appreciation for the sophistication, determination, and bravery of African Americans in the decades between the Civil War and the Harlem Renaissance.
Release: 10/13/15
Click Version to purchase: (Hardcover) or (Paperback)

Find Me Unafraid by Kennedy Odede and Jessica PosnerFind Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in an African Slum by:Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner
Find Me Unafraid tells the uncommon love story between two uncommon people whose collaboration sparked a successful movement to transform the lives of vulnerable girls and the urban poor.

This is the story of two young people from completely different worlds: Kennedy Odede from Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, and Jessica Posner from Denver, Colorado. Kennedy foraged for food, lived on the street, and taught himself to read with old newspapers. When an American volunteer gave him the work of Mandela, Garvey, and King, teen-aged Kennedy decided he was going to change his life and his community. He bought a soccer ball and started a youth empowerment group he called Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO). Then in 2007, Wesleyan undergraduate Jessica Posner spent a semester abroad in Kenya working with SHOFCO. Breaking all convention, she decided to live in Kibera with Kennedy, and they fell in love. Their connection persisted, and Jessica helped Kennedy to escape political violence and fulfill his lifelong dream of an education, at Wesleyan University.

The alchemy of their remarkable union has drawn the support of community members and celebrities alike—The Clintons, Mia Farrow, and Nicholas Kristof are among their fans—and their work has changed the lives of many of Kibera’s most vulnerable population: its girls. Jess and Kennedy founded Kibera’s first tuition-free school for girls, a large, bright blue building, which stands as a bastion of hope in what once felt like a hopeless place. But Jessica and Kennedy are just getting started, they have expanded their model to connect essential services like health care, clean water, and economic empowerment programs. They’ve opened an identical project in Mathare, Kenya’s second largest slum, and intend to expand their remarkably successful program for change.

Ultimately this is a love story about a fight against poverty and hopelessness, the transformation made possible by a true love, and the power of young people to have a deep impact on the world.
Release: 10/13/15
Click Version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Hardcover)

Leap Before You Look by Helen Molesworth and Ruth EricksonLeap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957 by:Helen Molesworth and Ruth Erickson
A dynamic new look at the legendary college that was a major incubator of the arts in mid-century America.

In 1933, John Rice founded Black Mountain College in North Carolina as an experiment in making artistic experience central to learning. Though it operated for only 24 years, this pioneering school played a significant role in fostering avant-garde art, music, dance, and poetry, and an astonishing number of important artists taught or studied there. Among the instructors were Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Karen Karnes, M. C. Richards, and Willem de Kooning, and students included Ruth Asawa, Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly.

Leap Before You Look is a singular exploration of this legendary school and of the work of the artists who spent time there. Scholars from a variety of fields contribute original essays about diverse aspects of the College—spanning everything from its farm program to the influence of Bauhaus principles—and about the people and ideas that gave it such a lasting impact. In addition, catalogue entries highlight selected works, including writings, musical compositions, visual arts, and crafts. The book’s fresh approach and rich illustration program convey the atmosphere of creativity and experimentation that was unique to Black Mountain College, and that served as an inspiration to so many. This timely volume will be essential reading for anyone interested in the College and its enduring legacy.
Release: 10/13/15
Click Version to purchase: (Hardcover)

Aiming for Pensacola by Matthew J. ClavinAiming for Pensacola: Fugitive Slaves on the Atlantic and Southern Frontiers by:Matthew J. Clavin
Before the Civil War, slaves who managed to escape almost always made their way northward along the Underground Railroad. Matthew Clavin recovers the story of fugitive slaves who sought freedom by paradoxically sojourning deeper into the American South toward an unlikely destination: the small seaport of Pensacola, Florida, a gateway to freedom.
Release: 10/12/15
Click Version to purchase:  (Kindle) or (Hardcover)

If Someone Says 'You Complete Me,' RUN! by Whoopi GoldbergIf Someone Says “You Complete Me,” RUN!: Whoopi’s Big Book of Relationships by:Whoopi Goldberg
From the provocative and hilarious EGOT winner, bestselling author, and host of The View, Whoopi Goldberg, comes the perfect antidote to all those outdated relationship advice books in the world, weighing in on why marriage isn’t for everybody, and how the life you want shouldn’t be the life everyone else expects you to have.

Whoopi Goldberg has been an electrifying, envelope-pushing public figure of many stripes: acclaimed actor, comedienne, singer, songwriter, author, political activist and talk show host. Now, Whoopi will speak openly about why marriage isn’t for everyone, how being alone can be satisfying, and how what’s most important is understanding who you are and what makes you happy. Wise, funny, and conversation-starting, Whoopi’s message is sure to resonate with the millions of people who struggle with relationships every day.

Goldberg says: “I get to hear from a lot of different people about relationships and this got me trying to figure out why the divorce rate is SO high. It occurred to me that as one who has done it badly often, I might have some insight. It’s hard to really know the other person’s agenda, but if someone says ‘you complete me’…RUN!!!”
Release: 10/13/15
Click Version to purchase: (Kindle) or (Hardcover)

The DNA of Achievers by Mathew KnowlesThe DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals by:Mathew Knowles
The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals is intended to be a business-oriented, motivational and inspirational book all rolled into one. As the title suggests, it will focus on characteristics that are common among successful people from all walks of life.

Throughout his long career, Mr. Knowles has encountered individuals who have motivated, inspired and contributed to his success. The author’s goal is to recount illustrative true-life experiences of ten traits commonly shared by successful people. His personal top ten are: 1) Passion; 2) Vision; 3) Work Ethic; 4) Team Building; 5) Planning; 6) Talk-to-Do Ratio; 7) Learning from Failure; 8) Giving Back; 9) Risk-taking; and 10) Thinking Outside the Box.
As a self-made success story who became one of the top entertainment managers in the music industry, the author embodies all of these traits.

The DNA of Achievers features nearly 30 inspirational essays by luminaries in all areas of entrepreneurship, entertainment, sports and philanthropy. Not to mention a singer or two!
Release: 10/13/15
Click Version to purchase: (Kindle)

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