In honor of Black History Month – II

FICTION

 

A Free Man of Color  by Barbara Hambly

Book 1 of the Benjamin January mystery series – A lush and haunting novel of a city steeped in decadent pleasures…and of a man, proud and defiant, caught in a web of murder and betrayal.

It is 1833. In the midst of Mardi Gras, Benjamin January, a Creole physician and music teacher, is playing piano at the Salle d’Orleans when the evening’s festivities are interrupted–by murder. With the authorities reluctant to become involved, Benjamin January begins his own inquiry, which will take him through the seamy haunts of riverboatmen and into the huts of voodoo-worshipping slaves.�(Also available as a downloadable e-book.)

Other titles in this series:

Fever Season (Book 2)

Graveyard Dust (Book 3)

Sold Down the River (Book 4)

Die Upon a Kiss (Book 5)

Wet Grave (Book 6)

Days of the Dead (Book 7)

Dead Water

Dead and Buried (Book 9)

The Shirt on this Back (Book 10)

Ran Away (Book 11)

 

 

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuilding civilization under orders from the provisional government based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street–aka Zone One–but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety–the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives.

Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams working in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world. And then things start to go wrong. Both spine chilling and playfully cerebral, Zone One brilliantly subverts the genre’s conventions and deconstructs the zombie myth for the twenty-first century.

Other books by Colson Whitehead (equally as good):

The Intuitionist

John Henry Days

The Colossus of New York

Apex Hides the Hurt

Sag Harbor

 

Acacia: The Acacia Trilogy, Book One by David Anthony Durham

Acacia is a thrilling work of literary imagination that creates an all-enveloping and mythic world that will carry readers away. It is a timeless tale of heroism and betrayal, of treachery and revenge, of primal wrongs and ultimate redemption.

Books Two and Three of the Acacia series:

The Other Lands: The Acacia Trilogy, Book Two

The Sacred Band: The Acacia Trilogy, Book Three

Other books by David Anthony Durham:

Gabriel’s Story: A Novel

Walk Through Darkness

Pride of Carthage

 

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Avana Mathis

(Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 current read)

Ayana Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration through the trials of one unforgettable family. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation. Beautiful and devastating, Ayana Mathis’s The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is wondrous from first to last–glorious, harrowing, unexpectedly uplifting, and blazing with life. An emotionally transfixing novel, a searing portrait of striving in the face of insurmountable adversity, an indelible encounter with the resilience of the human spirit and the driving force of the American dream.

 

 

Caucasia by Danzy Senna

“Birdie and Cole are the daughters of a black father and a white mother, intellectuals and activists in the Civil Rights Movement in 1970′s Boston. The sisters are so close that they have created a private language, yet to the outside world they can’t be sisters: Birdie appears to be white, while Cole is dark enough to fit in with the other kids at the Afrocentric school they attend. For Birdie, Cole is the mirror in which she can see her own blackness. Passing as the daughter and wife of a deceased Jewish professor, Birdie and her mother finally make their home in New Hampshire. Desperate to find Cole, yet afraid of betraying her mother and herself to some unknown danger, Birdie must learn to navigate the white world so that when she sets off in search of her sister, she is ready for what she will find.” (SFPL Summary).

 

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