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Black History Month Has Lots Of Good Reading

Jocelyn Mcclurg The Hartford Courant

February is Black History Month. The following books are either now in stores or will soon be released to mark the occasion.

Nonfiction

“Color-Blind: Seeing Beyond Race in a Race-Obsessed World,” by Ellis Cose (HarperCollins, $24). Cose, author of “The Rage of a Privileged Class,” asks whether a race-neutral society is possible in the United States.

“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man,” Black women discuss and celebrate their sexuality.

“Families and Freedom: A Documentary History of African American Kinship in the Civil War Era,” edited by Ira Berlin and Leslie S. Rowland (The New Press, $25). Using the letters and testimonies of freed slaves, “Families and Freedom” tells the story of black families reunited during the Civil War era.

“Pimps, Whores and Welfare Brats,” by Star Parker with Lorenzo Benet, with an introduction by Rush Limbaugh (Pocket, $23). Parker, a self-described “welfare queen” turned African American conservative, speaks out against welfare in this memoir.

“Watching Our Crops Come In,” by Clifton L. Taulbert (Viking, $15.95). The author of “When We Were Colored” picks up his coming-of-age memoirs.

“The Wisdom of the Word: Love: Great African American Sermons,” compiled by Rhinhold Ponder and Michele Tuck-Ponder (Crown, $17). Words of wisdom about love from African American ministers.

“Black Intellectuals: Race and Responsibility in American Life,” by William M. Banks (Norton, $29.95). Banks looks at the Harlem Renaissance, the civil rights movement and the work of Toni Morrison, James Baldwin and others in this exploration of black intellectual life.

“Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light,” by Tyler Stovall (Houghton Mifflin, $24.95). A history of the black expatriate community in Paris.

Fiction

“Tryin’ To Sleep in the Bed You Made,” by Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant (St. Martin’s Press, $24.95). Written in the style of Terry McMillan and Connie Briscoe, this novel is “by and about best friends.”

“Naming the New World,” by Calvin Baker (Wyatt Book-St. Martin’s Press, $18.95). Baker, a 24-year-old staff writer for People magazine, makes his literary debut with this brief epic of the African American experience.

“The View From Here,” by Brian Keith Jackson (Pocket, $22). In this debut novel, the 29-year-old author writes about choices black women faced in the rural South of the 1950s.

“Secret Signs: Along the Underground Railroad,” by Anita Riggio (Boyds Mills Press, $15.95, ages 4-8). Riggio, a children’s author and illustrator, has created a story about a boy who helps make a connection on the Underground Railroad to aid escaped slaves. Also just published is “North Star to Freedom: The Story of the Underground Railroad,” by Gena K. Gorrell (Delacorte), a nonfiction account for ages 10 and up.

“Only Twice I’ve Wished for Heaven,” by Dawn Turner Trice (Crown, $23). A debut novel about urban squalor and upward mobility among African Americans in Chicago in the 1970s. The main character is an 11-year-old girl.

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