“…women who refuse to wash their bras regularly need to be sat down and read their bill of personal rights. There are women who admit to only washing their bras once a year. WHO ARE YOU MONSTERS?… This is why I judge. Just because you can’t see the dirt doesn’t mean it’s not there. We can’t see gravity but here it is, holding us down like the ride-or-die partner of life. In what world does it make sense to go 365 days before washing any undergarment that has been worn? An entire year of invisible debris and skin flakes just sitting on and around and beneath your underwire as you walk the streets?”

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IMG_20160601_111839I spent 11 days with this book. Half of those days, I’ve dealt with some kind of ebola zika bird flu strep throat virus. So it’s just been me, my bed, Kleenex, and these nearly 600 pages on the life of Malcolm X (with a few Golden State Warrior wins and the 4th season of Homeland thrown in there, too).

Noted African American history professor and scholar, Manning Marable claimed these pages as his life’s work. After teaching The Autobiography of Malcolm X and noticing inconsistencies within the book, he decided to piece together Malcolm’s life from diary entries, interviews, FBI and police surveillance, meeting notes, letters, and a host of other primary sources. More than a decade of research, and this is the result. Released to a lot of controversy, due to salacious facts about Malcolm’s sexuality in his early years, his erratic and drama filled marriage to Dr. Betty Shabazz, and discrediting much of “The Autobiography…” as fictive in order to inspire the downtrodden and further Alex Haley’s republican ideals; it was also released to a lot of praise thanks to the meticulous and engaging examination of his life. There was almost too much personal information. Marable died from pneumonia three days before the book was released, leaving it impossible for him to defend this work. But even still, this book is a master biography, having won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 2012, and numerous other accolades.

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conceptionIt took a while to review this novel because the ending left me feeling so many different things, and I needed to sit and let them digest before I settled on a conclusion and shared it with the world.

Conception is the story of Shivana Montgomery, a poor teenager grappling with fitting in on the south side of Chicago with a struggling mother who takes her frustrations out on her whenever her mood shifts. Shivana makes money by babysitting for a woman who lives in her building who works nights while her husband sits around doing a combination of selling drugs and nothing at all. Soon his attention turns to Shivana, who succumbs to his manipulating ways. She is soon infatuated with him, and eventually becomes pregnant. Her impending motherhood sets off a series of explosive events in her building and within her family, with much of it centered on her decision to keep or terminate her baby.

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Black History Month is coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean the celebration of Black culture stops on March 1st. This short list of books focuses on parts of Black American life that rarely hit the mainstream. Included are titles for kids and teens, titles for families to enjoy together, and titles for adults interested in atypical examinations of our culture and history. Add these books to your library for the other ten months of the year.


This Is A Rope: A Story of the Great Migrationrope by Jaqueline Woodson: Jacqueline Woodson, author of the National Book Award winning, Newbery medal honored Brown Girl Dreaming, has a few other amazing books up her sleeve. This Is a Rope uses a jump rope to share the story of the Great Migration with readers, ages 5-8:

“The story of one family’s journey north during the Great Migration starts with a little girl in South Carolina who finds a rope under a tree one summer. She has no idea the rope will become part of her family’s history. 

The rope is used to frame a thoughtful and moving story as readers follow the little girl’s journey. During the time of the Great Migration, millions of African American families relocated from the South, seeking better opportunities. With grace and poignancy, Woodson’s lilting storytelling and Ransome’s masterful oil paintings of country and city life tell a rich story of a family adapting to change as they hold on to the past and embrace the future.” (source)

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The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

February 16, 2015

When I heard Lawrence Hill’s novel, The Book of Negroes, was being adapted for a three part miniseries, I immediately skedaddled over to Goodreads to push it up on my reading list. The book had been there for some years, but I wasn’t in a rush to open it because of its subject matter: slavery. The Book […]

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BOOK REVIEW: “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng

February 4, 2015

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 1977, May 3, six thirty in the morning, no one knows anything but this innocuous fact: Lydia is late for breakfast.” And so begins, Everything I Never Told You, a novel about how 16 year old Lydia Lee ended up dead at the bottom of a […]

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My Favorite Reads of 2014

January 4, 2015

I’m baaack. I’ve missed my space over here and I’m ready to get back to blogging about Black books and the people who write them. First off, I figured I’d give you my favorite reads of 2014.

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Happy Birthday, Toni Morrison!

February 18, 2014

Toni Morrison is my absolute favorite writer of all time, with her novel Sula being my favorite novel by her. I’m also in love with Song of Solomon, and Paradise. I just finished her novel, Jazz, last week, and I plan on picking up Tar Baby sometime this summer. 2015 will be the year of […]

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10 Memoirs and Essay Collections for Black History Month

February 13, 2014

I’m a novel kinda gal, but I have slowly come to realize that non-fiction can be just as fascinating as fiction, especially if written in a narrative, conversational tone. This kind of engaged writing usually goes hand in hand with memoirs and essay collections. I recently mapped out my annual reading list and noticed that […]

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21 Novels That I Absolutely Positively Swear I’m Going To Read in 2014, Part III

January 16, 2014

The last installment of my Novel Must Reads is finally here. I think these last seven novels may be my most most anticipated reads on the list. Can’t wait to get my hands on them. Click HERE for Part I Click HERE for Part II     15. Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith (2014) – […]

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