All Articles Tagged "books"
Looking ahead to 2013, several well-known and newly-famous African-American authors are coming out with new books. Additionally, several books focusing on the black experience are also debuting. Check out some books Madame Noire is excited for in early 2013!
Ayana Mathis, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, December 2012
Ayana Mathis struck gold. Her debut novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, was chosen by Oprah to be featured for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. Published by Knopf, Twelve Tribes was written while Mathis was studying at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and follows one family through the generations, including the titular Hattie as she participates in the Great Migration to the North from the South.
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie has been well received by critics, including The New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani and a starred review in Kirkus Reviews, and the publication date was pushed up to accommodate Lady O herself.
According to published reports, in a PR blitz to promote Small Business Saturday, President Obama took his daughters to an independently owned bookstore for some holiday shopping. Am I the only one, who thinks that is pretty cool?
No not holiday shopping. Holiday shopping sucks – unless we are talking about the art of book gifting. Yes, I am that person. I love giving and receiving books as presents. But gifting books can be a tricky endeavor. While I am a firm believer that everybody is a reader, it does take a special book to bring that bookworm out of some folks. And all too often, booklovers will end up gifting a book, which they might enjoy, but it offers little to no interest to the special someone they are giving it to. So in the effort to help us bibliophiles during this holiday season, I have searched the bookshelf in my hallway to provide for you a list of 10 great book suggestions to impress even the most finicky of readers in your life.
Back in 1773, Phillis Wheatley, a slave, became the first African American to publish a book. Now a new online social network is hoping to help develop more African-American female writers. Black Girls Write Online Network was recently launched with the goal of supporting black women with writing aspirations with things like networking events and webinars. The group is open to black women who have written a book or want to write a book, as well as anyone who wants to work with them.
According to a press release, Maryland businesswoman Teleah Scott-Williams founded Black Girls Write was started to “provide women with the resources, tools, information, motivation, and networking opportunities to help facilitate their growth as accomplished authors.”
“We have got to support each other. I talk with so many African-American women who erroneously believe that publishing a book takes a lot of money, or they think if they write a book, no one will buy it, or they think they are not good enough to be a successful author,” said Scott-Williams in the press release. “Nothing is further from the truth and Black Girls Write can show these same women how they can write and publish their book professionally and inexpensively.”
Caroline McGill is one author who took the self-publishing route and not only publishes her own books but books by other authors. We wrote about how McGill, who is the president of Synergy Publications, did it. Zane is another contemporary writer who has taken an unconventional route with her incredibly successful erotica novels.
African-American female authors are continuously making the bestseller lists. Among the 2012′s bestselling African-American books from Amazon.com (and compiled by Books of Soul) as of September 2012 were The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, which came in at number one; The Cutting Season by thriller writer Attica Locke; Salvage the Bones by award-winning author Jesmyn Ward; The Cartel 4 by Cash Money’s New York Times bestselling writing duo Ashley and JaQuavis; and Home by the legendary Toni Morrison.
Do you have a book in you?
I was born May 21—last day of Taurus, first day of Gemini and just over a week away from the unofficial start of summer—so naturally, I blossom in warm weather. I’m out and about in sundresses and stilettos, I’m socializing at farmers’ markets, I’m accepting Evites and going to meet-ups. But come October, when the wind starts getting a little bite on it and November, when it is officially too cold to do something as simple as getting the mail without tugging on a coat and hat, I transition into hibernation mode.
I love the change of seasons on the east coast, but that chilly air is the perfect impetus to stay in the house, make sweatpants and fuzzy socks my uniform and get some serious reading done. Here, in no particular order—except for the first one, which is my absolute, all-time favorite—are 50 books that challenge us to think, feel, reflect, understand, stretch ourselves, believe, get mad, find peace, seek resolution.
It is by no means a comprehensive list. I don’t even think we could create one because somewhere, someone is writing a great book right at this very moment that will ultimately deserve a space on many of our must-read rolls. But I hope it at least serves as a jump-off point for some thoughtful, purposeful literary consumption until the springtime thaw (which is March 20, in case you’re counting days).
Check out the list at Essence
Recently, a new book came out called WTF Are Men Thinking: 250,000 Men Reveal What Women Really Want to Know. One of the survey questions that got the internet buzzing revealed that 62 percent of men expected sex by the fourth date. Madame Noire asked me to address the following questions: When is too soon or too late for a woman to have sex? Does the timeline of when she gives in affect how men see her?
When is too soon or too late for a woman to have sex?
As with most things when it comes to men the answer is, “it depends.” For most men, there is no such thing as too soon to have sex, so perhaps we should differentiate between when men want sex and when men expect sex. Men want sex immediately. I would agree with the survey that most sexually active men probably expect sex around the fourth date. However, just because a man wants or expects sex doesn’t mean he’ll stop talking to you if he doesn’t get sex. If men want sex immediately, which rarely happens for the average guy, then obviously men are used to waiting for sex.
Men are sexual and visual creatures. So are women but if you think the average woman will entertain the sexual advances of a stranger as quickly as the average man, we’ll just have to agree to disagree (but you’re wrong). When a man approaches a woman, he is pretty much saying, “I want to have sex with you.” We can’t see your personality from across the room, so it is likely the physical that caught our attention. If we like nothing else about you the physical attraction still remains. As a frustrated commenter pointed out to me once, women control sex like men control commitment. For whatever reason, women aren’t as stingy with sex as men are with commitment.
Does the timeline of when she gives in affect how men see her?
Honestly? Not really. Most men know about the various rules women have around sex. Thanks to Steve Harvey, the 90-day rule is the most well known. A less well known rule is the fact that women are quicker to have sex with men they don’t like than men they do like. Over the years, women have gotten it in their head that having sex with a man will affect how men see her. This is only a half-truth. Sex is like money, having it only reveals your true nature. Also like money, unless you feel the need to show off and talk about it all the time, no one has to know how little or how much money you possess. Money doesn’t change people and neither does sex. If a man has sex with you and he “changes”, it would be a lot more accurate to say he became himself.
There are only a few times when sex directly affects a man’s impression of a woman: 1) it’s really good; 2) it’s really bad; or 3) you have a one night stand.
As far as most men are concerned, it doesn’t matter if you make him wait 90-seconds, 90-days, or 90-years. Completely independent of sex, most men know what they want from any given woman. If all a man wants from you is sex, then no passage of time in between will change his goal. He may be perfectly content entertaining the physical – seeing as that’s all he ever wanted – but while you thought you were growing together, he was just investing his time in order to get what he wanted. As a side note, this is why you should never tell a man how long you’re going to make him wait. Anyone with a little patience can wait to meet a known deadline.
On the other hand, if a man likes you as a person and he wants to see the relationship develop, then he will wait to have sex with you for as long as it takes. Please note that the key word here is, “with you.” Just because a man is willing to wait to have sex with you, doesn’t mean he’s not having sex at all. There is a big difference between commitment and waiting, and if you assume they’re one in the same, then that is a conversation you should have upfront. I have married friends who had sex with their wives on the first date, because they liked her as a person. Ideally, sex should act as an instrument to strengthen the relationship, but if you think merely withholding sex will create a bond between you two, you’re sorely mistaken.
In closing, sex shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip to regulate a man’s emotions because men’s emotions don’t work that way. In fact, a number of men can completely separate the emotional from the physical. As far as waiting too soon, too late, or any time in between to have sex, men really don’t care. As a woman, if you want to implement a personal timeline, then it should be done for yourself. At best, you’ll weed out the men who only wanted sex because they are far less likely to put in the work necessary to get to know you as a person. However, if you think withholding sex from a man who doesn’t want a relationship from you will suddenly inspire change in him then you will be gravely disappointed more often than not. Instead of placing the focus on sex, you should clearly communicate what you want from a relationship – physical or otherwise – and see if he agrees. As for men, we were ready to have sex when we met you. We’re just patiently waiting for you to catch up.
WisdomIsMisery aka WIM uses his background as an internal auditor to provide objective, yet opinionated, qualitative and quantitative analysis on life, love, and everything in between. As a Scorpio, many women wish death on WIM and some have attempted to hasten its arrival. WIM is not a model, a model citizen, or a role model. See more of WIM on his weekly write-ups for SBM and on Twitter @WisdomIsMisery.
By now most Americans have either seen or heard of Dr. Ian Smith. He’s appeared as a medical contributor on various TV programs, the latest being The Rachael Ray Show” He hosts the nationally syndicated radio show “HealthWatch” on American Urban Radio News. And he doles out medical and diet advice to the stars on VH1′s Celebrity Fit Club.
Besides the broadcast exposure, Smith has authored several best-selling books including The Fat Smash Diet, Extreme Fat Smash Diet and The 4 Day Diet. And he has just completed SHRED: The Revolutionary Diet.
Recently, we talked with Dr. Smith about his career, health and wellness.
MadameNoire: Why did you write SHRED: The Revolutionary Diet?
Ian Smith: I had been working with just a few friends who called me up and were frustrated because they had tried everything, but couldn’t break through their weight-loss plateau. They wanted me to come up with a program specifically for them that would get them shedding pounds again. So, I created SHRED: The Revolutionary Diet. All of them were losing lots of weight on the program. I held it in reserve for some time, then decided to tweet some of it to my followers on Twitter to give them a weight-loss boost. So many people were losing so much weight that my publisher and I decided to publish the book and make it available to everyone this December.
MN: You have had several bestsellers. Why is writing a book a good business move?
IS: I never really looked at it as a business move. My motives were to help people and to continue to do what I have been doing for some time. Being a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, I travel the country speaking about fitness and nutrition and other health issues. So this was really an extension of that. However, dieting is a big business and it is one that unfortunately is not going away. People spend billions of dollars each year on dieting programs, services and products. People like me want dieting to be a shrinking business instead of one that’s growing.
MN: What are the three biggest diet mistakes people make?
IS: 1) Unrealistic expectations. People want to lose too much weight too fast. They set unrealistic goals and when they don’t meet these goals they get upset and frustrated and leave a program that is probably good for them in the long run.
2) Obsession with the scale. People want to weigh themselves every day to see if they are losing weight. Once a week is enough.
3) Starting too early. Weight loss is a journey and often it’s difficult. Too many start a program at the wrong time and when they are not ready or in the best position to succeed. Start when you’re ready and when you have control of your food and exercise environment.
You know, celebrities seem to take the place of any real news these days. So its no wonder that whenever you see that one particular star, you want to turn the channel if you’re watching tv, turn the page if you’re reading or turn the radio down if you’re listening. The thing is, sometimes we don’t even know why we don’t like the person…they just rub us the wrong way!
Don’t ever count out a media mogul!
Just when you all thought she was ruining her brand with OWN (and yes, some of you do think that so don’t front), Oprah pulls a rabbit out of the hat: she’s bringing back “Oprah’s Book Club.” That’s right, one of her most popular creations is finally being revived after being placed on serious hiatus since her talk show went off the air. This time, things are going to be a bit different since she no longer has the talk show.
Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, as it will now be known, is going to be interactive and online book club. In a video she made from her office in Chicago, she explained why they were revamping the book club from its old format:
“This is way different from the old book club because as we know, there are so many new ways we can read and discuss and get together and connect these days.”
The first book for Book Club 2.0 is Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Oprah said this book was the main reason she decided she needed a book club again. You know how Oprah gets excited about reading and books she deems great. Wild is the real life story of one woman’s 1,100 mile traveling journey…on foot. Real life story, huh? I bet the team researched it so there wouldn’t be another James Frey situation (remember he’s the one who wrote A Million Little Pieces which turned out to be a million little lies but Oprah didn’t know until after she’d named it a Book Club choice of the month).
If you pick up the book via e-reader, you can expect lots of extras such as notes from Oprah on certain portions of the book that stuck out to her. The author will also be taking questions online at some point and an interview with Oprah and Cheryl Strayed will air on OWN July 22nd. Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 officially launches on Monday at noon.
Aliya S. King is and has been a major player in the publishing industry for years. Known in the magazine world as someone who “isn’t new to this, but true to this;” as a freelance journalist, King has managed to land positions and bylines in publications including VIBE, The Source, Essence, US Weekly, Upscale and others. As co-author of two memoirs, Faith Evans’ Keep the Faith and Frank Lucas’ Original Gangster— in accordance with book and magazine writing genres, she’s written it all.
In February King released Diamond Life, the sequel to her urban fiction novel debut Platinum. Read on to learn what she had to say about the business of freelance journalism, transitioning to book publishing and the logistics in-between.
The Never-ending Hustle
You’re always pretty busy. What do your days consist of now that you’re just coming off of a book release?
I’ve been doing a lot of publicity for the book. I’m working on an investigative story for VIBE right now. That’s been taking up a lot of my time. I’m also trying to figure out what the next novel is going to be, which is kind of nerve-racking. I’ve always thought, ‘What if this book is the last one.’ I’m always kind of scared. I can’t speak for other writers or authors, but I never take anything for granted. I’m always hustling like I just started.
Do you mean in terms of coming up with new material or the way things play out in book publishing?
In terms of the publishing industry. I don’t know for sure that I’ll get another deal. I always have my eye on what’s next. I feel like I have to work as hard now in 2012 as I did in 1998 when I got into this game.
I don’t think people understand how much of a hustle freelance journalism is. Can you compare it to something or elaborate on that?
It’s like juggling 10 different fruits in the air —and not of the same kind. There are all these different editors and magazines that have preferences and deadlines. It’s challenging to keep your eye on each one, because if you drop one you can damage your career.
How did you get into writing?
In 1998 I was teaching and I was reading an article about the Columbia Publishing Course. It’s a course for people who want to move from any career to publishing. I signed up for it and got accepted. You learn everything there is to know about publishing and from there they try to help you get a job. After I finished that I got a job at Billboard magazine. From there I went to The Source. In 2000 I left The Source and started freelancing— and have been ever since. I’ve taken little jobs here and there in social media and marketing, but for the most part I’ve been freelancing ever since.
On the Business of Freelance Journalism
For people wanting to move into freelance, what’s a misconception about the business that you understand now?
The biggest misconception is how you have to nurture the relationships with editors. Other than the quality of your work you have to be in their faces. I don’t always like to go out to the album release parties and different functions, but I have to. Sometimes I’ve gotten assignments because I made it my business to get up, go into the city and see somebody. It’s been a long time, but I’ve gotten to the point where I can e-mail an editor and say ‘Hey it’s Aliya, I have a great story for you.’ You want to be on their radar and know you’re going to get that e-mail back right away.
For most of my life I’ve been more of a heavy magazine reader as opposed to a book club chick. Blame it on the fact that as a journalism major I spent way too much time in college and even before then trying to finish assigned readings. Therefore, I always valued something I could flip through fast. But now that I’m done with school (for now at least), and also since I live in NYC and have to ride the train for a long time, I’ve found myself diving into a good book more and more these days. One of my favorite authors just happens to be Toni Morrison, and I’ve made it a mission to try and read all of her books (as I’ve made it a mission to collect all of Spike Lee’s movies). I’m almost done! But before I’m fully complete with that mission, I thought I would share five of my favorite novels by the Pulitzer Prize winner and encourage you to check them out and/or share with your book clubs. Check it.
I’m a huge fan of powerful female figures in literature that are feared rather than fearful. Why? I’m just weird like that. But you get a character like that in this pretty epic book about secrets, family, friendship and defiance. The individual who the book is named after is raised by an eccentric grandmother and promiscuous mother in a small, once slave-owned town called The Bottom. And after a host of tragedies fall upon her childhood, she grows up and leaves to get an education. But when she comes back, she’s older, cocky and sexually free at a time when people weren’t supposed to be (the 1930-40s), and she turns the town on its head.
When the very married Joe Trace has an affair with a very young woman and in a blind rage, shoots her after she’s caught stepping out on him, he opens a can of worms and drama that only Ms. Morrison could put together on paper. Not only does his wife seek revenge on the dead girl, but she also seeks to find understanding and friendship with her enemy’s aunt. Jazz music is the soundtrack of the novel (which makes sense since it’s set in Harlem in the roaring 20s) and sometimes drives the actions of some of the characters in the story. As in many of her novels, Morrison’s main characters come off crazy as all hell on paper, but they’ve got emotional scars and societal pressures on them that make them that way. Deep stuff.
The Bluest Eye
Man, The Bluest Eye is just one of those novels that breaks your heart. Okay, so I know that doesn’t make you all that excited to check the book out, but it’s so moving and powerful, you can get over the sad aspects. It’s actually Morrison’s first novel, and it examines how folks look at beauty depending on where they are class wise, as well as racially. The protagonist, a young girl named Pecola, hopes and prays that one day she will wake up with blue eyes and that it will possibly change the way she is looked at by her family and the way she is treated by the world around her. Sadly, it never happens, and she endures enough hardships in one year that would break anybody down in one day. I know it sounds kind of depressing, but I assure you, it’s such a gripping read.
Not as huge in notoriety as some of her other works (Beloved, Song of Solomon), Love is a pretty deep novel about two women and the man that tore them apart. Not internally, but tore the two women apart from one another. Said man is late hotel owner Bill Cosey, and the women at odds are his granddaughter and his widow. After his death, they’re like an all-female version of War of Roses, with the two women living together in the man’s decaying mansion waiting for the other to die or to just get up and leave. But despite their coldness to one another, both women once had an undeniable bond before marriage and unexpected adulthood changed them. I won’t tell you how though…I love this crazy book.
When I first read this book for an AP class in high school, I had no idea what was going on once I finished it. People who weren’t supposed to be living were, crazed spirits were turning home of character Sethe upside down, and in the end, the book went over my head. But when I read it over again in college, I was blown away by the depth of the story. It wasn’t just about a woman who hurt her children to protect them and was paying for it, it was also about the psychological effects of slavery on everyone who appeared in the story. Though she was a free slave, Sethe and her family couldn’t outrun her past and the dark history of slavery. I can see why it was named the best fiction book of the past 25 years in 2006 by New York Times critics and is a Pulitzer Prize Winner.
These are just my picks. But what are your favorite Toni Morrison books?
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