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Bookjacket for  Assume nothing

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Assume nothing Assume nothing / Gar Anthony Haywood

When Andy Baumhower plows his van into ex-cop Joe Reddick's car late one night after dumping a body in the LA River, one of his three accomplices to murder thinks the best way to ensure Reddick's silence regarding the accident is to threaten his estranged wife and young son with a K-bar knife. Bad mistake. Because Joe Reddick's lived the nightmare of losing a family to a crazed killer once, and he's not going to let it happen again.


Bookjacket for  Assumption

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Assumption Assumption / Percival Everett

In the sleepy New Mexico backwater of Plata, Deputy Sheriff Ogden Walker spends his time humoring his portly boss, chasing vandals, and fly-fishing. But when a woman is murdered under strange circumstances, his life takes a turn for the worse. Over three disturbing cases, Walker scours the seedy underbelly of Denver, a ragtag hippie commune, and a fish hatchery. He is on the search for solutions to the questions he is foolish enough to ask. The answers, when they do come, are not the ones anyone expected.


Bookjacket for The autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

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The autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman The autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman / Ernest J. Gaines

Originally published in 1971, this novel spans 100 years of American history--from the early 1860s to the onset of the civil rights movement in the 1960s--in following the life of the elderly Jane Pittman, who witnessed those turbulent years. The television film won nine Emmy Awards.


Bookjacket for The best of everything

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The best of everything The best of everything / Kimberla Lawson Roby

The Reverend Curtis Black has made his share of mistakes, a fact his daughter Alicia is all too aware of. So she vows she’ll never follow in his footsteps. When Alicia marries Phillip, the assistant pastor of her daddy’s church, she knows she’s landed a good man. But Alicia also thinks she deserves every little thing her heart desires. Her out-of-control spending just might cost her much, much more than a few black marks on her credit report. 

Audiobook


Bookjacket for The blackbirds

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The blackbirds The blackbirds / Eric Jerome Dickey

They call themselves the "Blackbirds." Kwanzaa Brown, Indigo Abdulrahaman, Destiny Jones, and Erica Stockwell are four best friends who are closer than sisters, and will go to the ends of the earth for one another. Yet even their deep bond can't heal all wounds from their individual pasts, as the collegiate and post-collegiate women struggle with their own demons, drama, and desires.  


Bookjacket for  Charcoal Joe

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Charcoal Joe Charcoal Joe / Walter Mosley
 Picking up where Rose Gold left off in LA in the late 1960s, Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins finds his life in transition. He's ready to--finally--propose to his girlfriend, Bonnie Shay, and start a life together. And he's taken the money he got from the Rose Gold case and has, together with two partners, started a new detective agency. But, inevitably, a case gets in the way: Easy's friend Mouse introduces him to Rufus Tyler, a very old man everyone calls Charcoal Joe. Joe's friend's son, Seymour (young, bright, top of his class at Stanford), has been arrested and charged with the murder of a white man from Redondo Beach. Rufus tells Easy he will pay and pay well to see his nephew exonerated, but seeing as how Seymour was literally found standing over the man's dead body at his cabin home and the racially charged motives behind it, that might prove to be a tall order. 

Bookjacket for  Citizens Creek

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Citizens Creek Citizens Creek / Lalita Tademy

Buying his freedom after serving as a translator during the American Indian wars, Cow Tom builds a remarkable life and legacy that is sustained by his courageous granddaughter.


Bookjacket for The colour purple

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The colour purple The colour purple / Alice Walker

Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to "Mister," a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister's letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self. eBook

 


Bookjacket for  Dark reflections

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Dark reflections Dark reflections / Samuel R. Delany

 Better known for his groundbreaking sf, Delany here takes a rare detour into contemporary mainstream fiction. Drawing upon his own life circumstances, he follows the troubled career of Arnold Hawley, a gay, African American poet wrestling with obscurity while eking out a meager living in New York's East Village. Arnold's creative and personal struggles are recounted in three sections corresponding to stages of his life, presented in reverse, so that the book begins in his disillusioned elder years and ends with his ambitious youth. Against a backdrop of shifting American culture stretching backward from the present to the 1950s, Arnold wins a little-known poetry prize for his sixth book; stumbles into an unlikely marriage with a suicidal homeless girl; and explores awakening homosexual identity in an eye-opening encounter with a black delivery boy. Arnold's triple minority status as gay, black, and a poet inspires Delany's finely nuanced meditation on the challenges and the changing roles faced by society's outsiders in what is one of his most masterfully written novels to date.


Bookjacket for The dead man's wife

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The dead man's wife The dead man's wife / Solomon Jones

Awakening in the night covered in her murdered husband's blood with no knowledge of what happened, defense lawyer Andrea Wilson flees the police and turns for help to detective Mike Coletti, a man from her past who she entreats to help prove her innocence. By the author of The Gravedigger's Ball.

eAudiobook.


Bookjacket for The family business

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The family business The family business / Carl Weber with Eric Pete

The Duncan family, led by L.C. Duncan, spend their days as upstanding citizens running one of New York's most respected car dealerships; but by night, they're ruthless criminals who control most of the East Coast drug traffic. No matter whether they're on their day or night jobs, one thing is true about the Duncan family - drama follows them everywhere they go. Written by a dynamic duo of Essence bestselling authors, The Family Business is a page-turner that is not to be missed.

Checkout the prequel: Grand Opening.

 


Bookjacket for  Go tell it on the mountain

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Go tell it on the mountain Go tell it on the mountain / James Baldwin

Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time "Mountain," Baldwin said, "is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else." Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin's first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

 


Bookjacket for  God help the child

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God help the child God help the child / Toni Morrison
 
Morrison story traces the impact of childhood trauma on the lives of a beautiful multiracial woman, the man she loves, and the abused white girl who looks to her for help.
 
Audiobook

Bookjacket for  I almost forgot about you

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I almost forgot about you I almost forgot about you / Terry McMillan

Dr. Georgia Young's wonderful life--great friends, family, and successful career--aren't enough to keep her from feeling stuck and restless. When she decides to make some major changes in her life, quitting her job as an optometrist, and moving house, she finds herself on a wild journey that may or may not include a second chance at love. Like Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, I Almost Forgot About You will show legions of readers what can happen when you face your fears, take a chance, and open yourself up to life, love, and the possibility of a new direction.

Large Print, Audiobook.


Bookjacket for  If Beale Street could talk

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If Beale Street could talk If Beale Street could talk / James Baldwin

In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin's story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions -- affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.

 


Bookjacket for  Invisible man

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Invisible man Invisible man / Ralph Ellison

Tells the story of a man invisible 'simply because people refuse to see me'. In this book, the author, from his expulsion from a Southern college to a terrifying Harlem race riot - go far beyond the story of one individual.

Audiobook


Bookjacket for  Just wanna testify

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Just wanna testify Just wanna testify / Pearl Cleage

Atlanta's West End district has always been a haven and home to a coterie of unique characters -- artists and thinkers, dreamers and doers. Folks here know one another's names, keep their doors unlocked, and look out for their neighbors. Anyone planning to sell drugs, vandalize, or rob a little old lady should think twice before hitting this part of town. And Blue Hamilton, West End's unofficial mayor and longtime protector, will see to it that you do. He is also the man you pay your respects to if you're looking to set up shop in this urban enclave -- just ask Serena Mayflower, whom Blue sees striding down Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard wearing skin-tight black leather pants, thigh-high boots, and bright red lipstick. This tall, slender, ethereally beautiful woman and her four equally striking sisters make up the Too Fine Five, a quintet of international supermodels who have arrived in town for an Essence magazine photo shoot. But Blue’s gut tells him that there’s more to these Mayflower mademoiselles than their affection for full moons and Bloody Marys. With the help of his beloved Regina and their close friends and relations in West End, Blue vows to uncover the women’s secret intentions.

eBook


Bookjacket for A lesson before dying

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A lesson before dying A lesson before dying / Ernest J. Gaines

A young black named Jefferson is a reluctant party in a shoot-out in a liquor store in which the three other men involved are all killed, including the white store owner. Jefferson, the only survivor, is accused of murder. At the trial, the essence of the defense is that the accused, a lowly form of existence lacking even a modicum of intelligence, is incapable of premeditated murder. His lawyer argues: "Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair as this." But Jefferson is condemned to death." Grant Wiggins, who left his small rural black community to go to university, has returned to the plantation school to teach children whose lives promise to be not much better than Jefferson's. But he wonders whether he has the will to take off north or west like so many before him who knew it was the only way to climb out of a centuries-old rut. He is grappling with his own situation when Jefferson's godmother and Grant's aunt persuade Grant to impart something of himself, of his learning and pride, to Jefferson before his death - to prove the lawyer wrong.

eAudiobook,


Bookjacket for  Native son

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Native son Native son / Richard Wright

Wright's classic 1940 novel about a young African-American man who murders a white woman in 1930s Chicago is a truly remarkable literary accomplishment. Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.

 


Bookjacket for  No one in the world

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No one in the world No one in the world / E. Lynn Harris, RM Johnson

Following their parents' death, Cobi searches for and finds his brother, hoping to regain lost years.Meanwhile, Cobi navigates the pressures of society as he lives life in the closet. The stress comes to a head when he learns that in order to inherit the wealth of his father's estate and save the struggling family business, he must marry a woman before he turns thirty-five. The task becomes more convoluted when Cobi's sister proposes to pay Austen Greer, a once-successful and wealthy businesswoman who lost everything in the recession, to be Cobi's wife.Eric discovers Cobi is gay and promises to keep it a secret. Instead, he entrusts the information to his former prison cellmate, Blac, who endears himself to Cobi in hopes of securing a $150,000 loan from him to pay back a debt racked up by cocaine sales. As the clock runs down both on Blac's efforts to pay his deadly creditor and on Cobi's attempts to save the family company, rash moves are executed, family and friendship bonds are tested, and life-altering sacrifices are made.

eAudiobook


Bookjacket for  Now is the time to open your heart

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Now is the time to open your heart Now is the time to open your heart / Alice Walker

In this novel Alice Walker has created a work that ranks among her best achievements: the story of a woman's spiritual adventure that becomes a passage through time, a quest for self, and a collision with love. Kate has always been a wanderer. A well-published author, married many times, she has lived a life rich with explorations of the natural world and the human soul. Now, at fifty-seven, she leaves her lover, Yolo, to embark on a new excursion, one that begins on the Colorado River, proceeds through the past, and flows, inexorably, into the future. As Yolo begins his own parallel voyage, Kate encounters celibates and lovers, shamans and snakes, memories of family disaster and marital discord, and emerges at a place where nothing remains but love.

Large Print, Audiobook


Bookjacket for  Of blood and sorrow

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Of blood and sorrow Of blood and sorrow / Valerie Wilson Wesley

Newark, New Jersey, PI Tamara Hayle confronts the past in her eighth adventure. One day Lilah Love, whom Tamara met on a Jamaican vacation, comes to Tamara's office seeking help in reclaiming her daughter. Lilah's sister has taken the child because she believes Lilah is an unfit mother. Tamara refuses to help, but meanwhile, the child's grandfather, who also hopes to claim the child, attempts to hire her. Tamara accepts the grandfather's retainer, but the case quickly turns deadly when Lilah is murdered, and Tamara's teenage son, Jamal, is the last person to have seen her alive. As others die, Tamara must work to find the killer and the still-missing child, especially since her son is considered a suspect in Lilah's death. Tamara is a strong, independent woman whose family and personal lifeâ€"a subplot here involves her mixed feelings about her steady boyfriend and a man from her pastâ€"continue to vie for attention with her professional life.


Bookjacket for  Parable of the sower

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Parable of the sower Parable of the sower / Octavia E. Butler

When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death Lauren Olamina, a minister's young daughter, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny and the birth of a new faith.

Audiobook.


Bookjacket for The perfect marriage

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The perfect marriage The perfect marriage / Kimberla Lawson Roby

Watching her parents struggle with their drug addictions, their loss of control, and diminishing family unity, Mackenzie Shaw takes matters into her own hands.

Large Print


Bookjacket for  Red River

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Red River Red River / Lalita Tademy

The intertwining stories of two Louisiana families--three generations of African-American men--and their struggles to make a place for themselves in a country deeply divided in the aftermath of the Civil War and beyond.

Audiobook.


Bookjacket for The resurrection of Nat Turner, part 1

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The resurrection of Nat Turner, part 1 The resurrection of Nat Turner, part 1 / Sharon Ewell Foster

 The Resurrection of Nat Turner spans more than sixty years, sweeping from the majestic highlands of Ethiopia to the towns of Cross Keys and Jerusalem in Southampton County. Using extensive research, Sharon Ewell Foster breaks hallowed ground in this epic novel, revealing long-buried secrets about this tragic hero.

eAudio, Part 1

The resurrection of Nat Turner, part 2 (book)  eAudio part 2


Bookjacket for  See them now

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See them now See them now / Jamaica Kincaid

A marriage is revealed in all its joys and agonies. This piercing examination of the manifold ways in which the passing of time operates on the human consciousness unfolds gracefully, and Kincaid inhabits each of her characters as they move, in their own minds, between the present, the past, and the future.


Bookjacket for The sellout

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The sellout The sellout / Paul Beatty

Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist at Riverside Community College, he spent his childhood as the subject in psychological studies, classic experiments revised to include a racially-charged twist. He also grew up believing this pioneering work might result in a memoir that would solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed in a shoot out with the police, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that's left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral and some maudlin what-ifs. Fuelled by this injustice and the general disrepair of his down-trodden hometown, he sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident--the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins, our narrator initiates a course of action--one that includes reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school--destined to bring national attention. These outrageous events land him with a law suit heard by the Supreme Court, the latest in a series of cases revolving around the thorny issue of race in America. The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. 

 

Audiobook; eBook


Bookjacket for A sinful calling

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A sinful calling A sinful calling / Kimberla Lawson Roby

Two years ago, to everyone's surprise, Dillon Whitfield Black, the secret son of Reverend Curtis Black, boldly moved back home, married a woman named Raven, decided he was going to become a minister and then founded a church right in the center of his living room. Today he's pastor of an 1000-plus-member congregation, and new members are joining weekly. Sadly, behind closed doors, Dillon is far from being a saint. Dillon has become more like the man his father was thirty years ago consumed with money, power and lots of women. His family may have forgiven him, but they continue to keep their distance. Not Alicia, though. This daughter of Curtis Black joins Dillon's congregation, leaving her father's church behind. The family has forgiven Alicia for marrying Levi Cunningham, the former drug dealer she had an affair with, but once Alicia realizes they will never fully accept Levi, she decides to see her family less and less. But when Raven decides she wants a higher position in the church and Alicia hides a devastating secret, the entire family is affected in ways they don't see coming. In the end, no one will be able to trust anyone and for very good reason. 


Bookjacket for  Sisters and husbands

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Sisters and husbands Sisters and husbands / Connie Briscoe

It's ten years following Sisters & Lovers, and Beverly, now aged 39, is engaged to a man her family and friends agree is a great catch. Everyone is happy that Beverly will finally settle down, especially since this is her third engagement in the last five years -having backed out about two weeks before the wedding date for one reason or another. Julian, Beverly's fiancé, is the epitome of a good black man - gorgeous, loyal, trustworthy, successful, and very much in love with Beverly. Nothing could be better in the couple's lives than being in love and planning their wedding. That is, until Beverly's oldest sister's marriage falls apart, dampening the mood for what should have been the happiest time in her life. Now Beverly is forced to wonder if marriage really works, as she begins to second guess her own nuptials. Will Beverly stick it out? Or will her fears cloud her judgement once again?

eBook

 


Bookjacket for  Their eyes were watching God

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Their eyes were watching God Their eyes were watching God / Zora Neale Hurston

One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neale Hurston's beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose. A true literary wonder, Hurston's masterwork remains as relevant and affecting today as when it was first published -- perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature.

Audiobook.


Bookjacket for  Things I should have told my daughter

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Things I should have told my daughter Things I should have told my daughter / Pearl Cleage

In this inspiring memoir, the award-winning playwright and bestselling author of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day reminisces on the art of juggling marriage, motherhood, and politics while working to become a successful writer. In addition to being one of the most popular living playwrights in America, Pearl Cleage is a bestselling author with an Oprah Book Club pick and multiple awards to her credit. But there was a time when such stellar success seemed like a dream. In this revelatory and deeply personal work, Cleage takes readers back to the 1970s and '80s, retracing her struggles to hone her craft amidst personal and professional tumult.


Bookjacket for The Underground Railroad

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The Underground Railroad The Underground Railroad / Colson Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

Audiobook; Large Print;  eBook.


Bookjacket for  Who asked you?

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Who asked you? Who asked you? / Terry McMillan

Transplanted from New Orleans in her youth, Betty Jean (BJ) is now a middle-aged, well-established Angeleno, living in a racially diverse working-class neighborhood with her share of heartaches and hardships. She works for room service at a hotel and cares for her husband, a former UPS driver, as he succumbs to Alzheimer's. Her oldest son, a doctor, maintains his distance from the hood, which has taken its toll on another son (incarcerated) and a daughter (drug-addicted). BJ is now stuck raising her daughter's two sons amid worries about crumbling schools and neighborhood drug-dealing and gangbanging. Told from the perspectives of several of the characters, the novel offers an array of personalities and everyday life challenges within a story of close friends, family, and neighbors as they grow and change over many years. (Booklist review)

Audiobook. eAudiobook.


Bookjacket for The women of Brewster Place

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The women of Brewster Place The women of Brewster Place / Gloria Naylor

The women of Brewster Place are "hard-edged, soft-centered, brutally demanding, and easily pleased". In their stories, Gloria Naylor has created a community of women that has touched thousands of readers across the country. 

e-Audiobook

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