Blacks & Books
Showcasing and appreciating high quality fiction, story collections, poetry and plays written by authors of African descent.
Blacks & Books
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Intimacy and Other Plays 
Thomas Bradshaw
ISBN 1559364696
"Bradshaw has proved in play after play that he has a confident vision of the theater that is his own. The politically incorrect plots jump merrily from one outrage to another, never pausing to explain motivation or linger on subtext. His dramas ask: What would happen if every dark urge, lingering resentment and unedited ugly insult that popped into your head came spilling out of your mouth? … No playwright applies as ruthlessly Hitchcock’s definition of drama as ‘life with the boring parts taken out.’"—The New York TimesInterracial couple Jerry and Pat borrow tools from their recently widowed, white evangelical neighbor James, and they even share the same Latino contractor, the mysterious Fred. Everything’s suburban bliss until James, after discovering his neighbors’ daughter Janet is a budding porn star, shuns the family. But what James doesn’t know is that his aspiring-filmmaker son Matthew has other ideas… . An outrageous and revealing comedy about race, sex, and familiarity, Intimacy is the newest work by playwright Thomas Bradshaw and will premiere Off-Broadway with The New Group in winter 2014. This collection from the fiercely provocative and funny playwright also includes Blues for Smoke and Strom Thurman Is Not a Racist.Thomas Bradshaw's other plays include The Bereaved, declared a New York Times Critic’s Pick and one of the Best Plays of 2009 by Time Out New York; Dawn and Southern Promises, both listed among the New Yorker's best performances of stage and screen for 2008; Mary; andBurning. He was hailed as the Best Provocative Playwright of 2007 by theVillage Voice.
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The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon 
Willie Perdomo
ISBN 0143125230
New work from a poet of “lyrical intelligence, ferocious wit, and searching humanity” (Junot Diaz)Through dream song and elegy, alternate takes and tempos, prizewinning poet Willie Perdomo’s third collection crackles with vitality and dynamism as it imagines the life of a percussionist, rebuilding the landscape of his apprenticeship, love, diaspora, and death. At the beginning of his infernal journey, Shorty Bon Bon recalls his live studio recording with a classic 1970s descarga band, sharing his recollection with an unidentified poet. This opening section is followed by a call-and-response with his greatest love, a singer named Rose, and a visit to Puerto Rico that inhabits a surreal nationalistic dreamscape, before a final jam session where Shorty recognizes his end and a trio of voices seek to converge on his elegy.
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Everytime a Knot is Undone, a God is Released: Collected and New Poems 1974-2011
Barbara Chase-Riboud
ISBN 1609805941
A highly anticipated collection of poems from Barbara Chase-Riboud—distinguished artist and writer, and winner of the Carl Sandburg Poetry Prize. Rich with literary allusions traversing cultures and epochs, Everytime a Knot is Undone, a God is Released consists of collected and never-before published poems by a writer whose mastery of words captures our imagination with daring and elegant verses.In this powerful collection, the poet’s words sculpt sensuous, captivating imagery out of the physical world in ways that are surprising—sometimes jarring—and yet, beautiful … the human body, diverse natural and urban landscapes, decay … With unabashed honesty and refined craftsmanship of language and form, Chase-Riboud is a bewitching storyteller. 
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Unexpected Stories 
Octavia E. Butler
ASIN B00K04NWG0
Two never-before-published stories from the archives of one of science fiction’s all-time mastersThe novella “A Necessary Being” showcases Octavia E. Butler’s ability to create alien yet fully believable “others.” Tahneh’s father was a Hao, one of a dwindling race whose leadership abilities render them so valuable that their members are captured and forced to govern. When her father dies, Tahneh steps into his place, both chief and prisoner, and for twenty years has ruled without ever meeting another of her kind. She bears her loneliness privately until the day that a Hao youth is spotted wandering into her territory. As her warriors sharpen their weapons, Tahneh must choose between imprisoning the newcomer—and living the rest of her life alone.The second story in this volume, “Childminder,” was commissioned by Harlan Ellison for his legendary (and never-published) anthology The Last Dangerous Visions™. A disaffected telepath connects with a young girl in a desperate attempt to help her harness her growing powers. But in the richly evocative fiction of Octavia E. Butler, mentorship is a rocky path, and every lesson comes at a price.
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Fake ID
Lamar Giles
ISBN 0062121847
Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight…My name isn’t really Nick Pearson.I shouldn’t tell you where I’m from or why my family moved to Stepton, Virginia.I shouldn’t tell you who I really am, or my hair, eye, and skin color.And I definitely shouldn’t tell you about my friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy he was about to uncover when he died—right after I moved to town. About how I had to choose between solving his murder with his hot sister, Reya, and “staying low-key” like the Program has taught me. About how moving to Stepon changed my life forever.But I’m going to.
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When I Was the Greatest 
Jason Reynolds
ISBN 1442459476
In Bed Stuy, New York, a small misunderstanding can escalate into having a price on your head—even if you’re totally clean. This gritty, triumphant debut captures the heart and the hardship of life for an urban teen.A lot of the stuff that gives my neighborhood a bad name, I don’t really mess with. The guns and drugs and all that, not really my thing.Nah, not his thing. Ali’s got enough going on, between school and boxing and helping out at home. His best friend Noodles, though. Now there’s a dude looking for trouble—and, somehow, it’s always Ali around to pick up the pieces. But, hey, a guy’s gotta look out for his boys, right? Besides, it’s all small potatoes; it’s not like anyone’s getting hurt.And then there’s Needles. Needles is Noodles’s brother. He’s got a syndrome, and gets these ticks and blurts out the wildest, craziest things. It’s cool, though: everyone on their street knows he doesn’t mean anything by it.Yeah, it’s cool…until Ali and Noodles and Needles find themselves somewhere they never expected to be…somewhere they never should’ve been—where the people aren’t so friendly, and even less forgiving.
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The Cineaste: Poems 
A. Van Jordan
ISBN 0393239152
A remarkable montage of poems that explore film, poetry, and the elusiveness of reverie. In these poems that riff on A. Van Jordan’s life as a moviegoer, film serves as the setting for reverie, memoir, and pure fantasy. At the center is a sonnet sequence that imagines the struggle of pioneer filmmaker Oscar Micheaux against D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation, which Micheaux saw not only as racist but also as the start of a powerful new art form.from “Last Year at Marienbad”A place, though visible, is like a ghostof memories. Even memories one forgetslinger in the space in which they occurred.Here within the expanse of vaulted ceilings, doorways leading to more doors, hallwaysleading to more halls, the faintest recollectionsabsorb over time; no act will wholly evanesce.
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Book of Hours: Poems 
Kevin Young
ISBN 0307272249
A decade after the sudden and tragic loss of his father, we witness the unfolding of grief. “In the night I brush / my teeth with a razor,” he tells us, in one of the collection’s piercing two-line poems. Capturing the strange silence of bereavement (“Not the storm / but the calm / that slays me”), Kevin Young acknowledges, even celebrates, life’s passages, his loss transformed and tempered in a sequence about the birth of his son: in “Crowning,” he delivers what is surely one of the most powerful birth poems written by a man, describing “her face / full of fire, then groaning your face / out like a flower, blood-bloom,/ crocused into air.” Ending this book of both birth and grief, the gorgeous title sequence brings acceptance, asking “What good/are wishes if they aren’t / used up?” while understanding “How to listen / to what’s gone.” Young’s frank music speaks directly to the reader in these elemental poems, reminding us that the right words can both comfort us and enlarge our understanding of life’s mysteries.
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Endangered: A Novel
Jean Love Cush
ISBN 0062316230
An innocent black teenager is accused of murder in this provocative and compassionate thriller that skillfully probes issues of race, class, crime, and injustice and offers a searing portrait of modern America.From the time her son, Malik, could walk, Janae taught him that the best way to stay alive and out of trouble with the law was to cooperate. Terrified for his safety, she warned him, “raise your hands high, keep your mouth shut, and do whatever they say,” if the police ever stopped him. But when a wave of murders hits Philadelphia and fifteen-year-old Malik is arrested, Janae’s terror is compounded by guilt and doubt: Would Malik have escaped jail if he’d run?Unable to see her son or pay for his defense, Janae, a cafeteria worker, reluctantly allows Roger Whitford, a white human rights attorney, to represent Malik. With the help of an ambitious private attorney named Calvin Moore, Roger is determined to challenge the entire criminal justice system and expose its inherent racism—racism that threatens the very existence of America’s young black men.Offering a startling and unprecedented defense, the lawyers spark a national firestorm of debate over race, prison, and politics that burns to the very core of Janae herself. As she battles to save her son, she begins to discover that she is also fighting for her own survival and that of her community.
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The Wonder of All Things
Jason Mott
ISBN 0778316521
From critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling author Jason Mott comes a spellbinding tale of love, sacrifice and the power of miracles.On an ordinary day, at an air show like that in any small town across the country, a plane crashes into a crowd of spectators, killing and injuring dozens. But when the dust clears, a thirteen-year-old girl named Ava is found huddled beneath a pocket of rubble with her best friend, Wash. He is injured and bleeding, and when Ava places her hands over him, his wounds miraculously disappear.Ava has a unique gift: she can heal others of their physical ailments. Until the air show tragedy, her gift was a secret. But now the whole world knows, and suddenly Ava is thrust into the spotlight. People from all over the globe begin flocking to her small town, looking for healing and eager to glimpse the wonder of a miracle. But Ava’s unusual ability comes at a great cost her own health and as she grows weaker with each healing, Ava begins searching for an escape. Wash agrees to help Ava, but little does she know he has his own secret he’s been harboring, and soon Ava finds herself having to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to save the one she loves most