Dear Reader, This month’s eNewsletter is sponsored by the Power List. Their mission is to promote African American literature; to assess the reading

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Dear Reader,

This month’s eNewsletter is sponsored by the Power List.

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Their mission is to promote African American literature; to assess the reading habits of African Americans; and to report those findings to the public. The Power List publishes is a list of best-selling books written or read by African Americans and is comprised of 40 books, on four lists (Paperback Fiction, Hardcover Fiction, Paperback Non-Fiction, and Hardcover Non-Fiction). Their bestsellers list is released on the fourth Monday of the month following each calendar quarter, and is a joint project of AALBC.com and Cushcity.com.

This quarter, nine of the Power List bestsellers were also nominated for 2015 NAACP Image Awards, for outstanding literary work. These titles, all of which were released in 2014, experienced strong sales both prior to and after their nominations were announced in December. The Winter 2015 lists may be viewed at the Power List’s web site: powerlist.info.

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AALBC.com’s Best-Selling Books for all of 2014

We generate book sales directly and through a number of affiliate programs. Our bestsellers list reflects physical book and eBook sales generated via Amazon’s affiliate program. This list ranks sales from January 1st through December 31st 2014.

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Lalita Tademy

Tademy is the bestselling author of the Oprah Book Club Pick Cane River. Her latest novel is Citizens Creek a evocative story of a once-enslaved man who buys his freedom after serving as a translator during the American Indian Wars, and his granddaughter, who sustains his legacy of courage. Cow Tom, born into slavery in Alabama in 1810 and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his tenth birthday, possessed an extraordinary gift: the ability to master languages.

A former vice-president at Sun Microsystems, Lalita Tademy left the corporate world to immerse herself in tracing her family's past and in writing. More ▶

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Kevin Shird

Shird, co-founder and president of the Do Right Foundation, is making a remarkable impact on the fight against drugs in America. Recognized as a national youth advocate, author, public speaker, and humanitarian, Kevin has dedicated his life and work to helping youth understand the perils of street culture.

After serving a total of 12 years in California state prison and federal prison for drug trafficking, he now advocates for young people and policy changes and he often uses the term “Redemption.” Recently, Kevin published his memoir entitled Lessons of Redemption where he tells the gritty truth of inner-city neighborhoods, living with a substance abusing parent, being entangled in heroin trafficking, the murder of his friend, serving time in prison, and discovering how to re-establish himself as a loving father, citizen, and strong advocate for youth. More ▶

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Martha Kennerson

Kennerson is the author of Consequences, the #3 best-selling book on AALBC.com for 2014.

Kennerson has enjoyed a successful career in executive management for over twenty years. Her love of reading and writing is a significant part of who she is and she uses both to create the kinds of stories that relay a message of healing and forgiveness. In addition to Consequences, Martha has written a gripping novel about survival titled Choices . Her first romance novel, Protecting the Heiress, for the Harlequin Kimani line is scheduled for release in the summer of 2015. More ▶

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Jeff Chang

Chang is a new sage thinker with his finger on the pulse of American culture. His first book, the critically-acclaimed Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, collected a cornucopia of honors, including the American Book Award and the Asian-American Literary Award.

Next, he edited Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, an anthology of essays and interviews. His latest opus, Who We Be: The Colorization of America, which has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction category. More ▶

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Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery

…by the time she would turn 15, she had already been arrested nine times simply for seeking rights equal to whites. While in jail, she was subjected to torture prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, such as the occasion when she was left to roast in a windowless iron sweatbox until she literally passed out from the heat.

Later, during the first Selma march nicknamed “Bloody Sunday,” Lynda was not only tear gassed but knocked unconscious with a billy club by a cop calling her the “N-word.” It took 35 stitches to stop the blood gushing from her head, yet neither the beating nor the wound could discourage the determined young lady from joining the march from Selma to the Alabama state capital in Montgomery two weeks later (Dial, Jan. 2015). More ▶

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Bill Duke’s Dark Girls

Last year, the documentary Dark Girls was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Now, the film’s director, Bill Duke, has published an equally-valuable companion piece celebrating the beauty of ebony-hued black women.

The classy coffee table book is comprised of over 80 full-page portraits of sepia-skinned sisters of every age and from every walk of life. Besides breathtaking photographs by Barron Claiborne, the opus includes the heartfelt reflections of each of the subjects about her coloring (Amistad, Nov. 2014). More ▶

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Everything I Know About Zombies, I Learned In Kindergarten by Kevin Wayne Williams

...there is a lot to like in this fairly well written, and painstakingly researched story that puts a fresh spin on the zombie horror genre. Williams’ shifting point of view is as unnerving as it is intriguing. When we see the events from the children’s perspective and experience their daily routine of survival we are lulled into accepting what they are doing. But when the point of view shifts to the adults they meet, we see them through their eyes. The point is brought home that these are no longer children, they are something else, they are feral and ruthless, and possibly their best and only chance of survival (Mott Haven Books, Oct. 2014). More ▶

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The Felix Women Series by Angelia Vernon Menchan

Angelia Vernon Menchan has 141 titles on Kindle. Some of them are full novels as in the Cinnamon Black books and many are novellas or short stories that make up a particular series.

Her latest series is The Felix Women and in the first book, we meet Felina Felix and her mother Arabella Felix. In this first installment, the lovely Felina Felix meets Scott Bradshaw, an entrepreneur who markets health and spa luxuries to a multicultural clientele. He falls hard for Felina and she really likes him; but she knows her mother would never accept a man who was not African American. There lies the conflict (Honorable Menchan Media). More ▶

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James Baldwin: The Last Interview: and other Conversations

When, in the fall of 1987, the poet Quincy Troupe traveled to the south of France to interview James Baldwin, Baldwin’s brother David told him to ask Baldwin about everything…Baldwin was critically ill and David knew that this might be the writer’s last chance to speak at length about his life and work.

The result is one of the most eloquent and revelatory interviews of Baldwin’s career, a conversation that ranges widely over such topics as his childhood in Harlem, his close friendship with Miles Davis, his relationship with writers like Toni Morrison and Richard Wright, his years in France, and his ever-incisive thoughts on the history of race relations and the African-American experience (Melville House, Dec. 2014). More ▶

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X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz

Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz , brings us this riveting and revealing novel which follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world.

Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s a pack of lies—after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can’t run forever (Candlewick, Jan. 2015). More ▶

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Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett

Brissett's debut novel Elysium was nominated for the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award.

Publishers Weekly says, “Brissett’s punch of a debut is bewildering at first, but never so confusing as to frustrate the reader, and repeating elements and symbols help tie everything together—not neatly, for so much of the world is broken, but enough. Brissett deftly handles the challenge of a multitude of characters all being the same people in a multitude of places that are the same place, while exploring complicated questions about identity” (Aqueduct Press, Dec. 2014). More ▶

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Mosaic Literary Magazine

Launched in 1998, Mosaic is a web and print magazine exploring the literary arts by writers of African descent. Each issue contains a unique blend of profiles, book reviews, literature, and photography. lesson plans.

Mosaic is produced by the Literary Freedom Project, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt not-for-profit arts organization that supports the literary arts through education, creative thinking, and new media. More ▶

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Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide

Dazzling, highly stylized, excessively violent and brimming with sex, Blaxploitation films enjoyed a brief and memorable moment in motion picture history -- and never before or since - have so many African American performers been featured in starring roles. Twenty-five years after they first thrilled audiences, Blaxploitation films are enjoying a robust renaissance. The genre, with its bevy of colorful, contemporary characters, irresistible soundtracks and catchy titles, has taken its rightful place among the entertainment industry's most enjoyed and influential films.

The first truly comprehensive examination of the genre, its films, its trends and its far-reaching impact, covering more than 240 Blaxploitation films in detail (FAB Press, Jun 2008). More ▶

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Documentary on the Deliberate Destruction of Black America by the FBI

“Documentary by Gil Noble on the intentional destruction of Black America by the FBI using infiltration, counter-intelligence programs and drugs. From Marcus Garvey to Paul Robeson to Martin Luther King to Malcolm X to Fred Hampton, to the Black Panthers to heroin and crack, the FBI has worked to destroy black people. Includes interview with Darthard Perry, Ex-informer for the FBI.”

Billions of dollars were invested in this illegal activity to destroy all efforts for Black Americans to improve their lot in American life. The activity continues... More ▶

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Is Amazon the Reader’s Friend?

Is Amazon, who accounts for 75% of all new books sold online and 67% of all e-book sales, doing right by readers and the future of books?

If you are an avid reader, published author, publisher, or bookseller, you probably have a very clear opinion on this question. No matter which side of the issue you fall, it is well worth investing 100 minutes of your time to listen to the debate in this video; you might just change your mind—and even change how you purchase books The debate was hosted by Intelligence Squared U.S. and took place in New York City on January 15, 2015. More ▶

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The 23rd Annual African American Children’s Book Fair - February 7, 2015 - Philadelphia, PA

Participating authors include, Tonya Bolden, Zetta Elliott, Christopher John Farley, A.G. Ford, E.B. Lewis, Jerry Pinkney, Eric Velasquez, Valerie Wilson Wesley, and many more!

Author and illustrators will make presentations from their books; also games, prizes, promotional giveaways and reading resources will be available. A wide selection of African American books to purchase will be featured at the event.

Learn about this an other book festivals in AALBC.com’s Events Section. More ▶

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The “Empire” Interview with Lee Daniels

After directing and/or producing such successful feature films as The Butler and Monster’s Ball, for which Halle Berry won an Academy Award, and Precious, which earned an Academy Award for Mo’Nique, two-time Oscar-nominee, Lee Daniels [for Precious] has set his sights on TV for the first time. Here, he talks about directing the new nighttime soap opera Empire, co-starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. More ▶

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Blacktrospective 2014 - Annual Assessment of the Best in Black Cinema

Each year we publish our annual list of the best in Black cinema. This list is unique in that it assesses each film not just how good it is as a film, but how good it is for the Black community in general. This list is compiled by prominent film critic and AALBC.com contributor, Kam Williams. More ▶

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Is Your Facebook Fan Page Working for You?

"I have one [Facebook Fan Page] but it doesn't get a lot of attention no matter what I do. So I seldom post on there anymore. I just keep it up for random visitors." —Barbara

Barbara, I guess that depends on how you define "working for you." Many people consider the page successful if they get a lot of likes and shares. That is because Facebook is their primary web presence (a terrible move in my opinion). Others, looking for sales, have found it increasingly difficult to drive traffic to a place where visitors will buy. More ▶

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Selma Snub Overshadows Announcement of Oscar Nominations

And why wasn’t Selma star David Oyelowo recognized for his powerful portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King? To add insult to injury, the Academy Award nominations were announced on January 15th, Dr. King’s birthday. Given the glaring omission, one can’t help but note that all of the nominees in the acting categories are Caucasian, perhaps a reflection of the predominantly-white Academy voting membership.

Another contributing factor to Selma’s stock suddenly tanking, undoubtedly, was the sharp criticism directed at it by Joseph Califano in a scathing op-ed printed in the Washington Post. The former assistant to Lyndon Johnson takes issue with the movie’s suggestion that the President’s was a reluctant supporter of the march and the Voting Rights Act, when “in fact, Selma was LBJ’s idea.” Califano concludes his piece with the assertion that the picture “should be ruled out for consideration” this awards season. More ▶

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The Power List Website Has Been Upgraded

I’ve just completed a redesign of the Power List website. There are a lot of enhancements; the book detail pages provide a wealth of information (example: Americanah detail); you also find power List bestseller by author, imprint, publisher and parent company.

Supporters of Black books, you can easily install the Power List on your website or blogs with just a couple lines of code. I provide instructions here. With your support, we can add additional enhancements like adding additional a children’s list and a list of bestselling books from independent publishers. More ▶

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Reader, a couple of years ago I visited the bridge made famous by the Oscar nominated film Selma. I never thought about who Edmund Pettus, the man the bridge is named for, until the film came out. I discovered Pettus was a Confederate brigadier general and the Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. I also discovered I was not alone in being unaware of this information. But even more surprising, I learned many people were completely unaware of “Bloody Sunday,” and it’s importance in the fight the for passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Despite all the controversy the film Selma may have inspired, it has done a great deal to educate and inform us of a dark chapter in American history and the courageous people (like Lynda Blackmon Lowery, mentioned above) who risked their lives and died to improve our situation.

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Reader, the fight is not over. Battles are waged on many fronts and are not chronicled by mainstream media. Support AALBC.com’s mission, of sharing and celebrating our stories, with a paid subscription to our monthly eNewsletter. If winning the fight, of who controls how our stories are told, matters to you, then it is truly up to you to help keep our soldiers in the fight.

Peace,
Troy Johnson,
Founder and Webmaster

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