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Color Online promotes women writers of color. Find poetry, profiles and women's studies trivia quizzes. Win prizes and read reviews. Our aim is to encourage young women to discover stories that reflect their lives and aspirations.
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1. Books Can Not Be Cancelled (Kyra Davis Keeps em Coming)

 I was talking with a friend last week, and somehow we started talking about 2012 television shows that were cancelled. I was sad to hear that GCB (abc) Prime Suspect (abc) and Alcatraz (fox) were cancelled. I am not surprised about GCB it was a very funny show with a lot of potential to get better, but it never stood a chance that that unmemorable title. Though I was surprised Prime Suspect and Alcatraz are off the air.

I am always bit sad when shows I enjoy get cancelled, (Arrested Development, Wonderfalls anyone) I suppose I could write letters to the network, but it is not that serious. Though it's a shame when good shows get pulled off the air.

A few days after that conversation  I started reading Vanity, Vengeance, & A Weekend in Vega$ by Kyra Davis. This is the sixth book in the Sophie Katz series and the first one that the author self published. I love me some Sophie Katz (and her friends)  . And I gotta love an author that can work references of Alice Walker, Ayn Rand, David Sedaris and Emily Bronte.

''What part of the mafia do you think Fawn objected to? She's in jail for attempted murder so obviously it wasn't the violence." Maybe she didn't like working with other people?" " Yeah," Dena replied, "maybe she just didn't like the corporate culture. She's an individualist. Like Ayn Rand with a Quentin Tarantino edge."

Sophie Katz is a bestselling mystery author/ accidental sleuth. Somehow she is always stumbling across dead bodies. Her Russian boyfriend Anatoly could give Ranger from the Stephanie Plum series a run for his money. Both characters have that dangerous/mysterious sexy vibe. Halfway into Vanity, Vengeance, & A Weekend in Vega$, I could not help but be thankful that books can not be cancelled.

If  an author can't come to a contract agreement with their publisher, they can always submit their work to another house or self-publish. Of course the latter option is not easy and the financial gain is probably small. Yet some authors go this route, I am very happy Kyra Davis is one of them and that the Sophie Katz series could not be cancelled.

I don't normally do disclaimers, however since this is boarding on fan gushing beyond what is decent I will do one now.  I purchased Vanity, Vengeance & A Weekend in Vega$, and it was money well spent.

2 Comments on Books Can Not Be Cancelled (Kyra Davis Keeps em Coming), last added: 5/20/2012
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2. Book Pairings For Mother's Day (May 13th)

 Mother's Day is on this Sunday on May 13th.   I thought it would be fun to put together a few book pairings that would make great gifts. I wish I could say this was my idea but remembered Mother Readers annual holiday post Ways to Give a Book and was inspired.  

Carleen Brice's Orange Mint & Honey with a Nina Simone CD. The main character Shay Dixon is always asking herself what would Nina Simone do.

Kyung-sook Shin's Please Look After Mom with a hand written thank you note.  After the mother goes missing the family realizes how much she did for them but they never took the time to thank her.  I can't take credit for the thank note, which is a perfect pairing for Shin's novel. That's all Vasilly

Thirty Umrigar's The World We Found with tea/new mug.   Mothers who enjoy  tea while reading will love the taste of a  new flavor has they devour this wonderful novel.  Never underestimate the joy a new mug can bring, especially one that has been personally selected, and not simply picked up.    

Alice Randall's  Ada's Rules with a spa certificate. Ada' Howard is rediscovering herself at 50, a perfect read to enjoy while getting pampered.  

Kathy Cano-Murillo's  Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing with sewing lessons or certificate to their craft store of choice. 

Ernessa Carter's 32 Candles with 16 candles DVD, The main character Davie Jones loves the classic John Hughes movie and dreams of her own Molly Ringwald ending.

Cristina Garcia's The Lady Matador's Hotel with an outfit or one piece of clothing that screams sexy and strong  

Jacqueline E. Luckett's Passing Love with a French CD, the Putumayo collections are always nice.  As a bonus include a nice bottle of French wine. 

Caronlina De Robertis's Perla with The Secret in Their Eyes DVD,  Argentinean history connects this pairing.  The movie won the academy award for best foreign film in 2009. 

1 Comments on Book Pairings For Mother's Day (May 13th), last added: 5/5/2012
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3. Ada's Rules - Alice Randall

Ada's Rules: A Sexy Skinny Novel by Alice Randall
Ada Howard is the wife of the preacher and has a lot of responsibilities.  She hasn't been making time for herself recently.  After Ada hears that her 25 yr college reunion is coming up she decides to lose weight to impress an old boyfriend.  Ada outlines her journey and new ways of living healthy in each chapter.  This was an excellent read.  The author manages to keep it light and fun as Ada rediscovers herself and her body. 

Author Pearl Cleage's blurb says it best " Ada's Rules might be a diet book disguised as a novel, and it might be a novel disguised as a diet book, but I guarantee it will make you laugh and make you think, while it nudges you oh so gently in the direction of a brand new way to think about and celebrate your body"

Beyond the laughter, Randall has created a very realistic character in Ada Howard with valid concerns that readers will easily cheer for as she tries to for something better at 50.   This would make an excellent Mother's Day gift. 

Read the first three chapters via the publishers site
Starred Publishers Weekly review

2 Comments on Ada's Rules - Alice Randall, last added: 4/28/2012
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4. Reading While Working (Giveaway, In a Sharing Mood)

One great thing about my new job is I get to read a lot when there's down time. Some people at work are even starting a book club and I'll give the good and bad of it, after sharing some great books I've read recently. All of which I'd highly Recommend.

1.The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friss - After Nina picks up a suitcase from the train station for a friends, she discovers a little boy inside. I loved this one.

2. Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall the Groveland Boy, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King . This was excellent. I don't read much nonfiction but I couldn't put this one down. It was nice learning more about Thurgood Marshall.

3The Reckoning by Jane Casey - Another mystery, this is the third book in a series, featuring young detective name Maeve Kerrigan. Set in London Kerrigan in the first female officer in her department. I don't know how I've missed this series, but Kerrigan is one of the best new mystery protagonist out. Picking up the Burning by Casey from the library this week

4 Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani - This isn't something I would normally read but the publisher was kind enough to send a review copy. So I figured the least I can do is the give the book a try and I am so glad that I did. I loved it. The authors language is beautiful and the pages just flew by. Looking forward to reviewing this one here, closer to the release date in June. A must read for anyone who loves historical fiction or novels based around Royal families

5. Ada's Rules: A Sexy Skinny Novel by Alice Randall - I loved the main character Ada Howard, who is on a journey to loss weight in time for her 25 yr college reunion. This was so much fun and very well done. At times I was reminded of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage. Will be reviewing this one here soon.

Back to the book club. Bad news first, the first book is Fifty Shades of Grey by James. I decided to be a good sport and join in anyway.
The good news, I brought four other books from amazon. Into the Wise Dark by Meminger, Ship of Souls by Elliott, Chulito by Rice- Gonzalez and Forgotten Country by Chung

Since I've already read and very much enjoyed

Into the Wise Dark (My review)

And Ship of Souls (My review)
3 Comments on Reading While Working (Giveaway, In a Sharing Mood), last added: 4/15/2012
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5. Perla - Carolina De Robertis

Perla by Carolina De Robertis
As a little girl growing up in Buenos Aires, Perla never wanted for anything. At a time when Argentina's government used violence to silence the public, Perla's father had a position of power as a naval officer. He was responsible for many of people who "disappeared" during the Dirty War. Perla's parents kept this truth a secret. The novel is set in the present (2001) after Perla receives an unexpected guest. His presence has Perla thinking about her life, her fathers deeds, and remembering a time in Argentina that the country would rather forget.

When I found out De Robertis had a new novel coming out I was very excited because I loved her debut Invisible Mountain. The author once again written a gorgeous piece of historical fiction. The story is wonderfully layered by the end I was so invested that several of the scenes had me in tears. And Perla had my heart from the very beginning.

Starred Library Journal review
Starred Publishers Weekly review
O Magazine review

Read an excerpt

The author's tour schedule. An autographed book makes a great gift. De robertis first event is on April 2.

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6. Author Neesha Meminger's Feminist Touch

This month, YA author Neesha Meminger released Into the Wise Dark , it's her third novel and the second one to be self published. I really enjoyed it and absolutely loved the second half which was very intense and visually amazing. I will review it later but right now I simply wanted to talk about the female characters. Part of what I love about Meminger's writing is her desire to create realistic female characters of color, that have an inner strength that shines through. If someone asked me to define feminism I couldn't formulate a concise answer. However, I could easily point to one of Meminger's novels and say " This book was written by an author concerned about feminist ideas and how her female characters are perceived." This applies even more so to Into the Wise Dark.

"When I look closely at the little cards underneath each image I see that they are all of different goddesses. Under one, an image of a large rotund woman with full breasts and the entire world in her lap." Another small carved statue of a woman with rounded hips and big thighs. I walk around to look at the third, a colossal image of a golden woman in profile. She holds a baby out in her hands and rays radiate from them both." - (from advanced readers copy*)

I loved that the author equates size and curves with beauty. Meminger's newest novel is also filled with beautifully crafted moments that are not meant to stand and for that reason do just that; thanks to the authors continuous commitent to well rounded female protagonist.

*edited, I left out the names of the goddesses.

4 Comments on Author Neesha Meminger's Feminist Touch, last added: 3/19/2012
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7. Authors For Henryville (1:16 - Where the Schools Used to Be)

Earlier this month the small town of Henryville, Ind. was hit by a severe tornado, to aid the schools which were destroyed, YA authors Julia Karr and Ashley Hope Perez with the help of other authors kind enough to donate books to the cause launched Authors for Henryville. You can head over to the site and simply make a $10 donation and be entered into a giveaway. Also books authors have contributed will be auctioned off this week.

1:16 minutes into you can see where the schools used to be.

I prefer to keep the content on my personal blog and what I contribute to Color Online separate, though every once in while I'll make an exception.

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8. The Taste of Salt - Martha Southgate

The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate
I actually meant to review this one last year but didn't get around to it. This review is coming mainly from memory so bear with me. Josie was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, though she was far from any large bodies of water she fall in love with it and made a career out of it. Josie is the only Black senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. In this way The Taste of Salt reminded me of Intuitionist by Whitehead. The novels are stylistically very different, however both feature a Black female protagonist in workforce positions that are predominantly held by men.

Since Josie is telling this story and because of much of who she is is defined by her chosen field, everything has a straightforward scientific analytical feel though the author is still able to give it a nice literary rhythm.

"I'm a scientist. I like to get to the bottom of things, to state the working hypothesis quickly. Narrative is not my specialty. But when I stop to think about it, in some ways, telling a story is like science. Trying to understand how a system works, what makes it function or not function, that's part of what a story does. Nothing is unrelated to the things that came before it. it's true of evolution and it's true of a family."

The quiet life Josie has carefully built is tested when her brother Tick is released from rehab for the second time. Josie must return to her childhood home in Cleveland, a place she rarely visits because of all the bad memories. The families experience with addiction began with the father. Josie shares her story, from marriage to growing up in a house with an unpredictable alcoholic father. She also gives the reader insight into the early years of her parents courtship and marriage. The latter I believe is the scientist in Josie, trying to pinpoint that one moment or event that would change the course of her parents lives and her own in the process. The city of Cleveland is an essential part of the story as well, it's describe and visualized with purpose from its years of promise to the lean ones.

Southgate skillfully explores how addiction can destroy a families dynamic. What stood out for me most was the strength and pain of Josie's voice. Taste of Salt had a quiet beauty that I loved and a rhythm worth getting lost in.

An excerpt

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9. You Gotta Have Faith, When Blogging

One of the big differences between blogging and book selling (besides a salary) is knowing your actually selling a book or two. Anyone who has ever hand sold a book can appreciate how good that feels. Even more so when the person comes back for another recommendation. I enjoy talking about books online and anyone who does this must (please refer back to no salary comment) but its so hard not knowing if people are actually, buying, borrowing, reading, or downloading any of the books that are mentioned.

I recently listed 2012 titles by female authors of color it's received over 500 hits, however without anymore information (especially with so few comments, only 3) I simply must have faith that some of the visitors will seek out one or two of the titles, or even print out the list for future reference. But I just don't know, and this makes finding the motivation to blog a little difficult sometimes. Am I really making a difference? All bloggers ask themselves that question from time to time. However I do not like to dwell on it because when I do the book world and its readers seem ocean large and that's a tad overwhelming.

I couldn't resist showing the George Michael video

6 Comments on You Gotta Have Faith, When Blogging, last added: 3/4/2012
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10. The World We Found - Thrity Umrigar

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar
I've heard a lot of great things about Umrigar's writing. When I worked at Borders many customers would come in to buy The Space Between Us by the author. It was a very popular book club read. Having recently finished The World We Found, I understand Umrigar's appeal.

Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita and Nishta grew up together and were once very close. In the 1970's when things were changing in India, the four friends questioned and challenged authority. The novel begins in present day, they have grown apart and leading their own lives. Only Laleh and Kavita the two still living in Bombay are in regular contact. Though when Armaiti's reaches out to tell them she has a fatal from of cancer, Laleh and Kavita promise to find Nishta. Armaiti wishes to see her friends one last time.

The strength and beauty of Umrigar's writing is present from the start.

"The tooth broke three days after she received the awful news. There was no blood. No pain, even. For three days she had believed that it was her heart that had broken into tiny fragments, but turned out it was another part of her body that decided to mourn the news. No pain, no blood. Just a moment of puzzlement as she bit into the soft French toast she made for breakfast this morning and felt something hard and brittle in her mouth. She spat out two small pieces into her cupped hand. She rinsed her mouth with cold water, and only then did she look up into the mirror. Until now, her teeth had been as sturdy and even as piano keys; but then, until now her oldest friend in the world had not been dying. It was right somehow, in this week of reminders of mortality, that she sacrifice something too."

Before Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita and Nishta can be reunited, they must come to terms with and address an event that changed the course of their lives and friendships. Umrigar has crafted a beautifully emotional story. This was one of those novels that I loved falling into completely. I highly recommend The World We Found, and look forward to reading more by the author.

Read the first five chapters via publisher.

A few professional reviews via author's site.

2 Comments on The World We Found - Thrity Umrigar, last added: 2/27/2012
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11. A Lot to Look Forward to - 2012 Releases by Female Authors of Color

Below is a list of some 2012 releases by female authors of color. I was contemplating doing this list in November but kept putting it off because I knew it would be a lot of work. I finally decided to do it anyway. There are some really great novels by female authors of color coming out this year and I would love to see this list grow. So if you know of any more do share.

I wouldn't expect anyone to click on all of the titles but I hope that anyone reading this will be curious about at least one or at best three of the titles.

Passing Love by Jacqueline E. Luckett
The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar
Gathering of Waters by Bernice McFadden
Drifting House by Krys Lee
Sinful Temptation by Ann Christopher
Sweet Southern Nights by Rochelle Alers
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung
Perla by Caroline De Robertis
The Spider King's Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo
3 Comments on A Lot to Look Forward to - 2012 Releases by Female Authors of Color, last added: 2/17/2012

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12. Whitney Houston 1963-2012

I was looking forward to writing a few new post for Color Online but not this. And yes its impulsive and not book related but doing it anyway. Still trying to process the news. Information travels so fast now, sometimes I long for days when you could sleep one more night without knowing. Houston's wikipedia page as already been updated. The finality of that makes this all the more real.

Greatest Love of All is my favorite song by Whitney Houston -Something about this song as always touched my heart. When it comes on the radio station that plays hits of the 80, 90's and today I still crank it up. Houston crushed the Bodyguard soundtrack.

Houston crushed the Bodyguard soundtrack.

Houston was cast in a remake of Sparkle and I only hope that meant she was able hold down her monkeys at least a little and exhale.

2 Comments on Whitney Houston 1963-2012, last added: 2/11/2012
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13. African American Read-In

Hey guys! It's been a while since anyone has posted here. We definitely need to change that!

In case you didn't know, yesterday I put up a post on my blog about February's African American Read-In. It's a tradition that's been going on all over the United States for the past twenty-three years. Groups all over the country get together to read and discuss a book by an African American author. Doret, Edi, and I have decided to host our own online read-in. 

Six books were picked and readers can vote on which book we discuss next month. Our list:
  • Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • Good Fortune by Noni Carter
  • Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks
  • A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines
  • Fences by August Wilson
  • Pull by B.A. Binns

For more information on the read-in, click here

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14. Lost in language & Sound - Ntozake Shange

Lost in Language & Sound by Ntozake Shange
This collection of essays was released earlier this month. Essays are usually hit or miss for me,overall this collection worked very well for me. I especially loved the first half, in which much of it read like a homage to African American dance,dancers Jazz. I only recognized a few of the dancers mentioned, I did a little better with the Jazz artist (though barely). But it did not matter either way, Ntozake Shange wrote in such a way that it made me feel like I knew them, or at the very least I felt their love of movement and that was more then a enough. The author reminisces about the beginning of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered When the Rainbow is Enuf. One of the messages I got from this collection was that you can try to steal or silence the African Americans but we will always new way to speak and be heard, be it through dance, music or any other artistic avenue of our choice.

"We must sing and dance or we shall die an inert, motionless, "sin ritmo" death. "Negros muertos," killed by a culture afraid of who we are and what we have to say with our bodies, our music, and our brains. Black folks do have brains. We even have ideologists, scholars, choreographers, and always the grace of the goods. "

Reading this collection reminded me how much I love Ntozake Shange's work, there's a beautiful rhythm to her words which always have purpose. The author reveals much of herself in each piece. I truly enjoyed this lost in language & sound, though I did question the inclusion of one piece entitled "2 live crew" Black men demoralizing Black women is still an issue but I just felt the exploration of 2 live crews exploits was dated. Its in inclusion always halted a bit of the flow of the collection. However I still highly recommend lost language & sound without missing a beat.

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15. 2011 National Book Award Winners And Giller Prize Winner

The National Book Award Winners were recently announced of the four winners three were female authors of color.

Jesymn Ward for Salvage the Bones (Fiction)
Nikkey Finney for Head off & Spilt (Poetry)
Thanhha Lai for Inside Out & Back Again (Young People's Lit)

Esi Edugyan, was the winner of the 2011 Giller Prize (a distinguished Canadian literary award) for Half Blood Blues. The novel was also shorlisted for Man Booker Prize. Unfortunately it won't be available in the States until March though if you can't wait you buy it now via amazon uk.

Much congratulations to Ward, Finney, Lai and Edugyan This congratulatory post is a tad late and I'd to look at it as more of a strategic delay as opposed to being too busy. I am anxiously awaiting the release of all the best of list for this year. If they are lacking in female authors of color I will be very dissappointed and will revisit this post to cheer me up and this one.

1 Comments on 2011 National Book Award Winners And Giller Prize Winner, last added: 11/22/2011
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16. Vote For Silver Sparrow

Tayari Jones novel Silver Sparrow has made it the semifinals round of Goodreads Choice Awards for Best fiction as a write in. If you loved Silver Sparrow and you haven't done so already head over to Goodreads to vote for it and please spread the word. If you are not a goodreads member it takes five seconds to join. Voting for the Semifinal round ends on November 20th.

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17. Thoughts on Heidi W. Durrow's The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

Heidi W. Durrow

256 pages

Publication Year: 2010

Publisher: Algonquin

Source: Bought it

It’s a funny thing to think about: moving toward extinction. And I think of how maybe I’m already extinct in a strange way – there’s no way to make another me: at least I can’t do it. But that doesn’t matter anyway because I never want to have kids.

The Girl Who Fell From The Sky is the debut novel from Heidi W. Durrow. It’s also the winner of the Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, which was founded by Barbara Kingsolver.

The story tells the life of Rachel, the only survivor of tragic, mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of her three siblings and their mother. Rachel is also biracial, the daughter of a white Danish mother and African-American father. After the death of her family members, Rachel is sent to live with her paternal grandmother and has to learn how to navigate in a country where she’s considered black, something she didn’t think much about before. Told from the perspective of Rachel, her mother Nella, and those who knew her family, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is an engaging read of one girl’s struggle to live after the death of those she loved most.

This year I’m learning a lot about my reading. I’ve learned that I don’t read many books that feature:


3 Comments on Thoughts on Heidi W. Durrow's The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, last added: 11/8/2011
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18. Salvage the Bones - Jesmyn Ward

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
This is the story of a family in a small Mississippi town. Set 12 days before Hurricane Katrina hits. The story is told by Esch the lone female voice. Esch lives with her father and three brothers. The mother died giving birth to the youngest son. Ward's does an excellent job of building this families world. I understood where every character was coming from.

A large part of this story is the relationship Esch's older brother Skeetah has with his pit bull China. With Skeetah, Ward created a character that took part in dog fights that not only did I not dislike but cared very much for. One would have to read the novel to believe me but its obvious how much Skeetah loves China. There are moments when my heart broke watching Esch, wanting someone to love her as much as Skeetah does his dog. The family is preparing for coming hurricane but that is very much in the background. Esch voice captured me from the very beginning, there's such an honest beauty to it that I loved.

Esch is around 15 or 16 before reading Salvage the Bones, I thought it might have some YA crossover appeal. After reading it I know its true. Since it's fiction and not YA there is adult content. However, I truly appreciated how everything was a reflection of reality. The author doesn't feel the need to over do it with language or sex because the strength of the writing will entice and keep readers interest.

A 2011 National Book Award Finalists

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19. 2011 Decatur Book Festival

The Decatur Book Festival is held every Labor day weekend. Decatur is only a few miles from Atlanta. I love this festival which started in 2006. There's always a great turn out and its put together very well.

Tananarive Due is going to be attending. OMG I am so excited. Yes, I am seriously fan gushing. The first book I read by Due was The Living Blood. I picked it up because of the cover, which screamed read me, which I did. I've been hooked ever since. The author's latest My Soul to Take comes out at the beginning of September, right on time for the festival. I've already had a chance to read it, loved it.

I've banned myself from buying any more books until I get a new job. Though I am very tempted to break that for an autographed copy of My Soul to Take. I have a job prospect so hopefully it won't be an issue.

Due will be signing with debut author Alma Katsu. Katsu's novel The Taker comes out at the beginning of September as well. I've seen the book in passing, its been getting excellent reviews. It hasn't been on my reading radar because of the romance aspect but I want to give it a try before the festival.

If I go to a panel event I like to be familiar with, if not all then most of the authors who are presenting. It can't be easy for debut authors to be on a panel. All the attention is on the established and bestselling authors. So I will do my best to get a review copy of The Taker and have a question ready for Katsu.

Elizabeth Nunez will be signing her latest Boundaries. I haven't read Nunez before but her name sounded familiar. Then I remembered why, author and educator Ashley Hope Perez's guest post on Women Writers of the Caribbean.

Tayari Jones will be signing Silver Sparrow. I haven't been enforcing my no buying book ban, and I already have a signed copy. So I probably won't go to this appearance, I don't want to be that fan that shows up every time an author is in town. Ain't nobody calling security on me.

If you live in Atlanta and haven't had an opportunity to attend one of Jones signings I highly recommend going. The author is from Atlanta and it shows in the turn out. Its n

2 Comments on 2011 Decatur Book Festival, last added: 8/11/2011
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20. Martha Southgate on The Help

Sometimes I will visit publisher sites to see if there's anything finding. Today I found my way to Algonquin Books. Author Martha Southgate's newest novel The Taste of Salt will be released at the end of September. I've had a chance to read it already. One the things I loved about it is the main characters very unexpected occupation. The writing is beautiful and many scenes broke my heart. Life is dramatic enough, the author doesn't use any tricks, simply letting it all unfold. There will be a proper review closer to the release date. Chapter One of The Taste of Salt

Though as the title states this is about Southgate on The Help. The author wrote a piece about bestselling novel turned movie by Kathryn Stockett in the most recent EW magazine.

"The current issue of Entertainment Weekly (August 12) has a wonderful cover story on The Help, the blockbuster book that was made into a movie, opening soon. As part of the photo-heavy spread, Entertainment Weekly asked Algonquin author Martha Southgate, whose new novel The Taste of Salt publishes 9/27, to write about the book. Her piece is below. Be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine–one of our favorites around here–on newsstands now."

Algonquin Books was kind enough to rerun Southgate's article, and it's worth reading. I do wonder when Southgate or any reader who said they weren't going to read The Help changed their mind. What was the tipping point?

I am still firmly in the I will not read camp. I had many customers try to convince me otherwise but I won't budge. Part of the reason for this hard line in the sand has to do with working in a bookstore in the South and having White customers tell me every day I just must read The Help.

In my head, all I could think was no I don't. I refuse to believe the authenticity of Black voices created by a White author by White readers who don't read Black authors. These were my customers so I know what they read. Not a single White customer that requested The Help asked for a novel by a Black author.

Stockett's novel was liked by many of my Black customers as well. I was a bit more curious, but knowing that a Black author would never have this amount of success with the same story, I still can't bring myself to read The Help. Now I know how some Asian readers probably felt with the success of Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha.

8 Comments on Martha Southgate on The Help, last added: 8/11/2011
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21. 100 YA/MG Releases ABOUT poc!

WE REACHED 100! If you go back to my original post to check out the full list, I admit that I didn't think we could find 100 YA/MG books about poc. But we did and I am beyond pleasantly surprised especially since we are currently at 102. I'm sure there's more 2011 releases though because we don't have any December ones and there are usually a few December releases. Now we just need to get to the point where we have at least 100 MG books about poc AND at least 100 YA books about poc. Keep those suggestions coming! Thank you so much for all your help and support.

And stay tuned for the December list of 2012 debuts, maybe I will separate them...

photo from unofficialhomeschooler.com

1 Comments on 100 YA/MG Releases ABOUT poc!, last added: 8/11/2011
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22. Novels W/ Foreign Language

By chance I happened to recently read three novels with sprinkles of a foreign language. It got me to thinking about my preferences for the way a another language is incorporated beside the principal one. Since my understanding of the three languages - Spanish, French and Russian, goes from passable to nothing, I figured this would be a good topic. I will begin with an example from each book.

The first one comes from a young adult novel* that will be released later in the year.

"Hola, Mrs Hernandez Hola, Mari, Coma esta? Luz's mom asked how I was doing as she opened the back door and let the smoke out. "Estoy, bien" I told her I was okay."

The second is from Paris Noire by Francine Thomas Howard.

"Non. Non. Je dois voir mon fils, mon" In her worry, she'd had spoken French.

The final one is from Wolf Mark by Joseph Bruchac.

Vlad straightens up, looks down at me, raises one eyebrow. "Blagodariu," I say. I thank you. "Da Eto figna," he replies. Nothing to it.

Out of these three languages Spanish is the only one I know. I think that's part of the reason I had the biggest reaction to how it was incorporated. One of my reading pet peeves is an instant language translation (ILT), especially when its greetings. Even more so when its Spanish.

I could be assuming too much here because I've studied Spanish. Not everyone learns Spanish. Or French or Italian, two similar languages that would make it easier to understand a basic phrase or two. Some study, Arabic, Chinese, German or one of the many other languages with no similarities to Spanish

Though I still have a difficult time believing American readers must be spoon fed a translation for "Coma Esta."

The use of Estoy
My Spanish is barely passable. Considering I've lived in a predominantly Spanish speaking neighborhood for the last three years it should be much better. However I am still 99.9% sure estoy is not used outside of the classroom.

I was reminded of that scene from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Maya Angelou is in a bar in Mexico with her father. When she starts speaking Spanish the formal way its taught in high school everyone laughs.

Paris Noire
I've never studied French but found it easy to follow. I don't know what the example says but in context I understand its meaning. Howard never stops the flow of the story to give translations. The understanding through context approach worked very well for Paris Noire since only a little French is used. Mainly greetings.

Wolf Mark
Finding out that Wolf Mark had a little Russian was a nice surprise. It also helps round out this (lengthy) post since its a language I am not at all familiar with. I found myself reconsidering my s

6 Comments on Novels W/ Foreign Language, last added: 8/24/2011
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23. Much Belated Giveaway!

The Dark Child: The Autobiography of an African Boy by Camara Laye

The Dark Child is a distinct and graceful memoir of Camara Laye's youth in the village of Koroussa, French Guinea. Long regarded Africa's preeminent Francophone novelist, Laye (1928-80) herein marvels over his mother's supernatural powers, his father's distinction as the village goldsmith, and his own passage into manhood, which is marked by animistic beliefs and bloody rituals of primeval origin. Eventually, he must choose between this unique place and the academic success that lures him to distant cities. More than autobiography of one boy, this is the universal story of sacred traditions struggling against the encroachment of a modern world.

Quite some time ago a winner at the POC Reading Challenge donated her prize to CO. I am FINALLY getting around to passing the book on to be read and reviewed. Thank you so much Niranjana for your generosity!

Summary from Goodreads.com

U.S. only. All you have to do is comment with your email (feel free to share why you are interested in the book).

Giveaway ends: September 15, 2011 11:59 CT

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24. The Dark Child Winner!


Congratulations Tea, I will email you asap. And I apologize 100x over for taking so long to post the winner....

0 Comments on The Dark Child Winner! as of 1/1/1900
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25. An Unexpected Update

I know its been awhile for any post but I am in the mood for a quick unexpected update. Since it's late in the evening I will just freestyle it and see what happens.
A much belated and well deserved Congratulations to Jesmyn Ward, her novel Salvage the Bones was a 2011 National Book Award Finalist. I loved Salvage the Bones. The voice of Ward's main character Esch was perfect, at times I couldn't help comparing her to the young protagonists in Toni Morrison's Bluest Eye. I usually make it a point not to do Morrison comparison, its too much to live up to plus every author has their own unique style, but in this case I believe its warranted.
And Congratulations to Danielle Evans, author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self for being selected as one of 5 author under 35 by The National Book Award Foundation. Evan's short story debut collection was ridiciously good. If you haven't read Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self you are seriously missing out. If you are avoiding it because you don't like short stories, trust me you'll like this collection. Evan's Color Online Interview

Though we are still in 2011, I already know The Whole Story Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani is a favorite middle grade debut of 2012, no I am not psychic but I do use netgalley. I usually don't mention books so far from the release date, but apparently I am doing a lot of things I usually don't do. (And ladies and gentlemen that there is the beauty of freestyle) But back to Hiranandani wonderful debut.

The main character Sonia is half Indian and Jewish, her father has lost his job. She must come to terms with the changes her family must make. One of the things I loved about this novel is how current it is, many readers will be able to relate to a parent being out of work. Sonia's father also suffers from depression. A mental illness that is still taboo amongst people of color and the author handles it with the care it deserves. This could've easily become an issues novel but Hiranandani doesn't allow that to happen, yet another reason why I enjoyed this debut so much.

Vasilly another contributor will be posting a Color Online Interview in the near future. I won't say who with but I am very very excited, and if this author isn't on some 2011 best of list I will be very very pissed.

2 Comments on An Unexpected Update, last added: 11/2/2011
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