There’s no better way to pass a lovely summer day than enjoying a great read, whether it’s a suspenseful ride, moving love story or life-altering, self-help best-seller. Here are a few great books to pick up this weekend for the lazy days ahead, plus some book festivals around the country.
- If others treated you the way that you treat yourself, would you feel loved? In her deeply personal memoir, The Monkey on My Back: Breaking a Generational Curse, Emmy Award-winning actress Debbi Morgan answers with a resounding “Yes!” Perhaps, best known for her 30-year tenure as Angie Hubbard on “All My Children,” South Bronx-raised Morgan charts three generations of women caught in a vicious cycle of abuse. Told with intense candor, explosive emotion and laugh-out-loud healing humor, readers will learn how she broke the pattern of pain to emerge as a fearless, joy-filled and confident woman. If there is any truth to the old wives tale claiming that dimples are evidence of having been kissed by angels, then just one glance at her cover photo will leave no doubt that Morgan was predestined to be more than a conqueror. (Simon & Schuster/Infinite Words) Kindle or paperback, about $12.
- Toni Morrison is back with God Help the Child— a hypnotic tale of love, obsession, broken hearts and the life of woman named Bride, known for her stunning blue-black skin. Who else but Morrison could take on such a tale and leave you breathless? Save this one for a weekend when you don’t have anything else to do. (Knopf) Kindle or hardcover, about $24.95. You can also listen to an audio version of Morrison reading her first novel set in the present day.
- No summer reading list would be complete without a book that gives you a chance to feel better about life. In Life Loves You: 7 Spiritual Practices to Heal Your Life, best-selling authors Louise Hay and Robert Holden believe that life does not happen to you, it happens for you. This collection of meditations, prayers, exercises and moving stories is intended to guide you along a spiritual path to greater happiness and fulfillment. (Hay House) Kindle or hardcover, $13.
- Ylonda Gault Caviness says she was raised on P-Funk and chicken wings by a “straight-no-chaser mama” whose “expert” advice was a “beat-down glare and five simple words: ‘Don’t. Make. Me. Hurt. You.’” Her memoir, CHILD, PLEASE: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself, offers a witty look at motherhood today and back in the day. While Caviness attempted to do things her own way, she discovered — like many of us — that motherwit works and that you can’t go wrong if you “act like you’ve got some sense!” (Tarcher/Penguin Random House) Kindle or hardcover, $25.95
- Everyone is talking about this first effort by young novelist Angela Flournoy. In The Turner House, she tells the story of generations of the Turner clan amid the economic meltdown in Detroit after 2008. The story revolves around a house that’s been in the clan for decades where 13 Turner children have grown up and gone. Their lives, love, tragedies and triumphs make the novel impossible to put down. (Houghton Mifflin) Kindle or hardcover, about $15.00.
- Welcome to My Breakdown — what an invitation from Benilde Little, author of best-sellers such as Good Hair and The Itch. In what she calls a “momoir,” Little offers a window into her seemingly perfect life as she shares how she fell into a deep depression and climbed back while juggling motherhood, marriage and caregiving for aging parents, including her father’s dementia and the death of her beloved mother. (Atria Books) Kindle or hardcover, about $18. You can also listen to an audio version of Little describing her transition from pain to joy. She also talks about her book and depression in this video.
- Constant stimulation and expectation often blur the lines of our demanding lives and distance us from the pleasures of present moments. In Creative Therapy: An Anti-Stress Coloring Book, illustrators Hannah Davies, Richard Merritt and Jo Taylor offer grown folks a bold, beautifully artistic and boundary-free way to unplug and relax inside ornate boxes, sweeping swirls and intricate patterns. The hardcover binds 128 pages of high-quality paper featuring stunning artwork that you can vividly enhance as you color yourself calm and creative. You will also enjoy the spaces in this sophisticated adult coloring book designed for doodling or reflective writing. Grab some colored pencils or brightly hued gel pens, and enjoy a summer of shaded serenity. (Running Press) Hardcover, about $15.
- Renaissance woman Paula Williams Madison takes readers on her journey from Harlem to Jamaica to China to search for her maternal grandfather in Finding Samuel Lowe. Her moving story will inspire anyone searching for missing branches of a family tree. Madison’s memoir also illustrates the deeply planted seeds of determination and entrepreneurship in her family. (Amistad) Kindle or hardcover, about $19. Madison also tells her story in an audio version and a documentary that has been shown at film festivals and on The Africa Channel, managed through a family investment company with her brothers.
- Balm is the latest from Dolen Perkins-Valdez, the New York Time’s best-selling author of Wench. Lose yourself in this tale of the post-Civil War travails of Sadie, Hemp and other former slaves who head North looking for new lives. Balm is part mystery, part magic, part historical saga. It’s captivating from the moment you turn the first page. (Amistad Press) Kindle or hardcover, about $20.
- If you get your happy from getting better at fun things (new shoes!), rather than digging into a novel, How to Win at Shopping is the book for you. Authors David Zyla and Eila Mell are fashion experts who deliver 297 tips on shopping well and looking fabulous for women who love to shop or those who are just in search of a great outfit. You will learn tons of tricks, but the book is also great fun. (Workman Publishing Co.) Kindle or hardcover, $10.71.
Acclaimed author Marita Golden, co-founder of the Hurston/Wright Foundation, will speak at the Juneteenth Book Festival and conduct a writing workshop on Friday, June 19, at the Library of Congress in Washington. Fierce co-founder Yanick Rice Lamb, who’s putting the final touches on her debut novel, Nursing Wounds, will also participate on a panel with fellow authors and poets Ethelbert Miller and Haki Madhubuti. The program, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., also includes Brenda Greene, director of the National Black Writers Conference and executive director of the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York.
Another Literary Celebration of Juneteenth
A’Lelia Bundles, great-great-granddaughter of Madam C.J. Walker and author of On Her Own Ground, will be a special guest at a benefit for the Hurston/Wright Foundation at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, at Eatonville Restaurant in Washington. Bundles is working on her fourth book, The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance, which focuses on her great-grandmother.
Books 4 Buddies kicks off its summer Superhero Literacy Campaign from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, June 20 in the Macy’s® court of Franklin Park Mall in partnership with the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. Since 2012, Books 4 Buddies has donated 30,000 books to children. It was founded by Toure McCord and his grandmother, Laneta Goings.
About Fierce Fridays — Tips for Weekend Well-Being
We each cherish those precious days off at the end of the week, but increasingly those of us who are charter members of the sisterhood of the stressed and overworked are losing our Saturday and Sunday leisure time to weekend work and domestic duties.
To make sure that you do something every weekend that’s just for you, we’ll be sharing a little advice to make those 48 hours a great time to recharge your batteries, bring a little good news into your life, or discover a quick and easy way to improve your health.