Friday, February 12, 2016

New Books Coming Your Way, Feb. 16, 2016

The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson
304 p. (Fiction
Publication date: Feb. 16, 2016

Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with Southern Oral Tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birthname Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding her own secrets, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.

These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a cryptic letter. “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.”

Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.

Purchase: Amazon | B & N | Book Depository | IndieBound

Black Women’s Christian Activism: Seeking Social Justice in a Northern Suburb by Betty Livingston Adams
240 p. (Non-fiction)
Publication date: Feb. 16, 2016

When a domestic servant named Violet Johnson moved to the affluent white suburb of Summit, New Jersey in 1897, she became one of just barely a hundred black residents in the town of six thousand. In this avowedly liberal Protestant community, the very definition of “the suburbs” depended on observance of unmarked and fluctuating race and class barriers. But Johnson did not intend to accept the status quo. Establishing a Baptist church a year later, a seemingly moderate act that would have implications far beyond weekly worship, Johnson challenged assumptions of gender and race, advocating for a politics of civic righteousness that would grant African Americans an equal place in a Christian nation. Johnson’s story is powerful, but she was just one among the many working-class activists integral to the budding days of the civil rights movement.

In Black Women’s Christian Activism, Betty Livingston Adams examines the oft overlooked role of non-elite black women in the growth of northern suburbs and American Protestantism in the first half of the twentieth century. Focusing on the strategies and organizational models church women employed in the fight for social justice, Adams tracks the intersections of politics and religion, race and gender, and place and space in a New York City suburb, a local example that offers new insights on northern racial oppression and civil rights protest. As this book makes clear, religion made a key difference in the lives and activism of ordinary black women who lived, worked, and worshiped on the margin during this tumultuous time.

Purchase: Amazon | B & N | Book Depository | IndieBound

And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile
256 p. (Fiction; Nigeria)
Publication date: Feb. 16, 2016

During the rainy season of 1995, in bustling Port Harcourt, Nigeria, a family’s life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of seventeen-year-old Paul Utu. As they grapple with the loss of their darling boy, they embark on a moving journey of immense power that changes their lives forever and shatters their once ordered family: honorable Bendic and steely Ma, reduced to shadows of their former selves; willful Bibi, who had spent her days listening to mix tapes of Coolio and Salt-N-Pepa with her brothers; and Ajie, the youngest member of the family, burdened with the guilt of having seen Paul last and convinced that his vanished brother was betrayed long ago. But Ajie’s search for the truth uncovers hidden family secrets and reawakens long-forgotten ghosts as rumours of police brutality, oil shortages, and student protests serve as a backdrop.

In a tale that moves seamlessly back and forth through time, Ajie relives a trip to the family’s ancestral village where, together, he and his family listen to the myths of how their people settled there, while the villagers argue over the mysterious Company, who found oil on their land and who will do anything to guarantee support. As the story builds toward its stunning conclusion, it becomes clear that only once past and present come to a crossroads will Ajie and his family finally find the answers they have been searching for.

Purchase: Amazon | B & N | Book Depository | IndieBound

What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera
320 p. (Fiction; Sri Lanka)
Publication date: Feb. 16, 2016

"The walls of my cell are painted an industrial white, like albumen. They must think the color is soothing. Where I come from it connotes absence, death, unrelenting loneliness."

In the idyllic hill country of Sri Lanka, a young girl grows up with her loving family; but even in the midst of this paradise, terror lurks in the shadows. When tragedy strikes, she and her mother must seek safety by immigrating to America. There the girl must reinvent herself as an American teenager to survive, with the help of her cousin. Both love and loss fill her life, but even as she assimilates and thrives, the secrets and scars of her past follow her into adulthood. In this new country of freedom, everything she has built begins to crumble around her, and her hold on reality becomes more and more tenuous. When the past and the present collide, she sees no other choice than to commit her unforgivable final act. This is her confession.

Purchase: Amazon | B & N | Book Depository | IndieBound

Listen to the Lambs by Daniel Black
352 p. (Fiction)
Publication date: Feb. 16, 2016

Nothing can convince Lazarus Love III to go back to the lifestyle of affluence and social status. Longing for a freedom of the soul that the world of capitalism cannot provide, Lazarus leaves all that he knows--including his wife and children--to achieve the ultimate level of peace and silence living as a possession-less man. When his quest causes him to cross paths with five wanderers who call themselves "the family," a shocking, brutal act leaves Lazarus in a dire position and his new-found family must struggle to save him. By doing so, they learn the beauty of sacrificial love.

Purchase: Amazon | B & N | Book Depository | IndieBound

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