Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.
Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”—James Baldwin
From the Paperback edition.
In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America.
Praise for The Autobiography of Malcolm X
“Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will.”—Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father
“Extraordinary . . . a brilliant, painful, important book.”—The New York Times
“A great book . . . Its dead level honesty, its passion, its exalted purpose, will make it stand as a monument to the most painful truth.”—The Nation
“The most important book I’ll ever read, it changed the way I thought, it changed the way I acted. It has given me courage I didn’t know I had inside me. I’m one of hundreds of thousands whose lives were changed for the better.”—Spike Lee
“This book will have a permanent place in the literature of the Afro-American struggle.”—I. F. Stone
Here is the threshold of a hell for young Cupcake. Rather than being allowed to live with the man she believed to be her father--who turns out to have been her stepfather--she is forced into a foster home where the kids were terrorized, the refrigerator padlocked, and Cupcake sexually abused. She eventually fled the house, only to find herself wandering from misadventure to misadventure in the "system," while also developing a massive appetite for drugs and alcohol, an appetite she paid for by turning tricks. She settled down in Los Angeles and found a home in the Crips, where she was taken in and befriended by gangsters like the legendary "Monster" Kody Scott. For the first time she found a family, but when Cupcake was blasted in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun, she was once more taken in by the system.
At 16, her stepfather reeneters her life and engineers an "emancipation," in which the courts declare her an adult and free her, finally, from the child welfare system. Cup takes advantage of her new freedom to start a drug-dealing operation with her stepfather, who also manages a stable of colorful prostitutes. Soon she meets a man, falls in love, and gets married. He convinces her to get a real job and learn to speak proper English--but he also abuses her and introduces her to crack cocaine. Cupcake flits from job to job, miraculously, given that she never fails to show up without some cocktail of narcotics floating in her system.
She hits rock bottom when, in desperation, she steals crack from her drug dealer. He beats her nearly to death, rapes her, and then leaves her body behind a dumpster. Cupcake wakes up days later, not sure of how she ended up in this state and from that moment begins to turn her life around. She was adopted by a lawyer who ran the law firm where she "worked," and slowly he assisted her in kicking the habit--with the help of an eccentric group of fellow addicts who became, at last, a family to her--and catching up on her education. With the support of her new family, she eventurally goes all the way to law school (although not without a few additional misadventures along the way) and joins one of the top law firms in the country.
Cupcake's story is an inspiring, at times hilarious, often distrubing, and deeply moving account of a singular woman who took on the worst of contemporary urban life and survived it with wit and a ferocious will. It updates classic memoirs like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Makes Me Wanna Holler, and gives a bold and gritty spin to contemporary memoirs like Finding Fish. At the center of it, Cupcake is a charming and inspiring narrator through the inferno of her life.
From the Compact Disc edition.
In this often violent but always introspective memoir, Mobb Deep’s Prodigy tells his much anticipated story of struggle, survival, and hope down the mean streets of New York City. For the first time, he gives an intimate look at his family background, his battles with drugs, his life of crime, his relentless suffering with sickle-cell anemia, and much more. Recently released after serving three and a half years in state prison due to what many consider an unlawful arrest by a rumored secret NYPD hip hop task force, Prodigy is ready to talk about his life as one of rap’s greatest legends.
My Infamous Life is an unblinking account of Prodigy’s wild times with Mobb Deep who, alongside rappers like Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Jay-Z, and Wu-Tang Clan, changed the musical landscape with their vivid portrayals of early ’90s street life. It is a firsthand chronicle of legendary rap feuds like the East Coast–West Coast rivalry; Prodigy’s beefs with Jay-Z, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Ja Rule, and Capone-N-Noreaga; and run-ins with prodigal hit makers and managers like Puff Daddy, Russell Simmons, Chris Lighty, Irv Gotti, and Lyor Cohen.
Taking the reader behind the smoke-and-mirrors glamour of the hip hop world, so often seen as the only way out for those with few options, Prodigy lays down the truth about the intoxicating power of money, the meaning of true friendship and loyalty, and the ultimately redemptive power of self. This is the heartbreaking journey of a child born in privilege, his youth spent among music royalty like Diana Ross and Dizzy Gillespie, educated in private schools, until a family tragedy changed everything. Raised in the mayhem of the Queensbridge projects, Prodigy rose to the dizzying heights of fame and eventually fell into the darkness of a prison cell.
A truly candid memoir, part fearless confessional and part ode to the concrete jungles of New York City, from the front line of the last great moment in hip hop history.
The only autobiography authorized by Jenni Rivera
"I can’t get caught up in the negative because that destroys you. Perhaps trying to move away from my problems and focus on the positive is the best I can do. I am a woman like any other, and ugly things happen to me like any other woman. The number of times I have fallen down is the number of times I have gotten up."
These are the last words that beloved Mexican American singer Jenni Rivera spoke publicly before boarding the plane that would crash and cut her life short on December 9, 2012. However, they are not the final words that La Diva de la Banda had for the world. Those are found in the pages you hold in your hands, Jenni’s own account of the highs and lows of her extraordinary journey.
She became the most acclaimed Spanish-language singer in the United States and sold more than 15 million records worldwide. A single mother of five and grandmother of two, she was also an actress, a television producer, the star of her own reality show, and an entrepreneur. But for all its immense success, Jenni’s life often seemed to be a series of personal battles in which perseverance was her only weapon. As her fame grew, she made it her mission to speak about her struggles, forging an intimate connection with her fans. She became a figure of strength and a source of encouragement to women of all ages.
In Unbreakable, Jenni recounts the crucial moments in her past, revealing her experiences with domestic and sexual abuse, divorce, body image issues, making her way in a male-dominated industry, raising her children as a single mother, and learning that she could depend only on herself.
Though she is no longer with us, Jenni will always be the "Rivera rebel from Long Beach," the girl who maintained her sense of humor and fighting spirit in every circumstance. In this remarkable memoir, Jenni leaves behind a legacy of inspiration and determination that will forever live on through her precious family, friends, and fans.
The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.
For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.
Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding, and fraught relationships, Mom & Me & Mom explores the healing and love that evolved between the two women over the course of their lives, the love that fostered Maya Angelou’s rise from immeasurable depths to reach impossible heights.
Praise for Mom & Me & Mom
“Mom & Me & Mom is delivered with Angelou’s trademark good humor and fierce optimism. If any resentments linger between these lines, if lives are partially revealed without all the bitter details exposed, well, that is part of Angelou’s forgiving design. As an account of reconciliation, this little book is just revealing enough, and pretty irresistible.”—The Washington Post
“Moving . . . a remarkable portrait of two courageous souls.”—People
“[The] latest, and most potent, of her serial autobiographies . . . [a] tough-minded, tenderhearted addition to Angelou’s spectacular canon.”—Elle
“Mesmerizing . . . Angelou has a way with words that can still dazzle us, and with her mother as a subject, Angelou has a near-perfect muse and mystery woman.”—Essence
“True to her style, [Angelou’s] writing cuts to the chase with compression and simplicity, and there in the background is a calypso smoothness, flurries and showers of musicality between the moments of wickedness. . . . A tightly strung, finely tuned memoir about life with her mother.”—Kirkus Reviews
“In this loving recollection of a complicated relationship, Angelou for the first time details the mother-daughter journey to reconciliation and unwavering connection and support. . . . Angelou vividly portrays a spirited woman. . . . [A] remarkable and deeply revealing chronicle of love and healing.”—Booklist
“Written with her customary eloquence . . . follows in the episodic style of Angelou’s earlier volumes of autobiography, pulling the reader along effortlessly. The lessons and the love presented here will speak to those trying to make their way in the world.”—Publishers Weekly
“In straightforward style, Mom & Me & Mom dives deeply into Angelou’s complicated relationship with her mother. . . . At 84, Angelou shows few signs of slowing down.”—BookPage
Reyna Grande vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years in this “compelling . . . unvarnished, resonant” (BookPage) story of a childhood spent torn between two parents and two countries. As her parents make the dangerous trek across the Mexican border to “El Otro Lado” (The Other Side) in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced into the already overburdened household of their stern grandmother. When their mother at last returns, Reyna prepares for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father.
Funny, heartbreaking, and lyrical, The Distance Between Us poignantly captures the confusion and contradictions of childhood, reminding us that the joys and sorrows we experience are imprinted on the heart forever, calling out to us of those places we first called home.
Also available in Spanish as La distancia entre nosotros.
Eloquently tracing the birth of a revolutionary, Huey P. Newton's famous and oft-quoted autobiography is as much a manifesto as a portrait of the inner circle of America's Black Panther Party, which is recognizing its 50th anniversary in October 2016. From Newton's impoverished childhood on the streets of Oakland to his adolescence and struggles with the system, from his role in the Black Panthers to his solitary confinement in the Alameda County Jail, Revolutionary Suicide is smart, unrepentant, and thought-provoking in its portrayal of inspired radicalism.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published during a literary era marked by the ascendance of black writers such as Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Alex Haley, this thinly fictionalized account of Claude Brown’s childhood as a hardened, streetwise criminal trying to survive the toughest streets of Harlem has been heralded as the definitive account of everyday life for the first generation of African Americans raised in the Northern ghettos of the 1940s and 1950s.
When the book was first published in 1965, it was praised for its realistic portrayal of Harlem—the children, young people, hardworking parents; the hustlers, drug dealers, prostitutes, and numbers runners; the police; the violence, sex, and humor.
The book continues to resonate generations later, not only because of its fierce and dignified anger, not only because the struggles of urban youth are as deeply felt today as they were in Brown’s time, but also because of its inspiring message. Now with an introduction by Nathan McCall, here is the story about the one who “made it,” the boy who kept landing on his feet and grew up to become a man.
In this now classic autobiography, she details the sights, smells, and suffering of growing up in a racist society and candidily reveals the soul of a black girl who had the courage to challenge it. The result is a touchstone work: an accurate, authoritative portrait of black family life in the rural South and a moving account of a woman's indomitable heart.
When his L.A. neighborhood was threatened by gangbangers, Stanley Tookie Williams and a friend formed the Crips, but what began as protection became worse than the original gangs. From deadly street fights with their rivals to drive-by shootings and stealing cars, the Crips' influence -- and Tookie's reputation -- began to spread across L.A. Soon he was regularly under police surveillance, and, as a result, was arrested often, though always released because the charges did not stick. But in 1981, Tookie was convicted of murdering four people and was sent to death row at San Quentin in Marin County, California.
Tookie maintained his innocence and began to work in earnest to prevent others from following his path. Whether he was creating nationwide peace protocols, discouraging adolescents from joining gangs, or writing books, Tookie worked tirelessly for the rest of his life to end gang violence. Even after his death, his legacy continues, supported by such individuals as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Snoop Dogg, Jesse Jackson, and many more.
This posthumous edition of Blue Rage, Black Redemption features a foreword by Tavis Smiley and an epilogue by Barbara Becnel, which details not only the influence of Tookie's activism but also her eyewitness account of his December 2005 execution, and the inquest that followed.
By turns frightening and enlightening, Blue Rage, Black Redemption is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and an invaluable lesson in how rage can be turned into redemption.
In August 1955, a fourteen-year-old African American, Emmett Till, was visiting family in Mississippi when he was kidnapped from his bed in the middle of the night by two white men and brutally murdered. His crime: allegedly whistling at a white woman in a convenience store. The killers were eventually acquitted.
What followed altered the course of this country’s history—and it was all set in motion by the sheer will, determination, and courage of Mamie Till-Mobley, whose actions galvanized the civil rights movement, leaving an indelible mark on our racial consciousness. Death of Innocence is an essential document in the annals of American civil rights history, and a painful yet beautiful account of a mother’s ability to transform tragedy into boundless courage and hope.
Praise for Death of Innocence
“A testament to the power of the indestructible human spirit [that] speaks as eloquently as the diary of Anne Frank.”—The Washington Post Book World
“With this important book, [Mamie Till-Mobley] has helped ensure that the story of her son (and her own story) will not soon be forgotten. . . . A riveting account of a tragedy that upended her life and ultimately the Jim Crow system.”—Chicago Tribune
“The book will . . . inform or remind people of what a courageous figure for justice [Mamie Till-Mobley] was and how important she and her son were to setting the stage for the modern-day civil rights movement.”—The Detroit News
“Poignant . . . In his mother’s descriptions, Emmett becomes more than an icon; he becomes a living, breathing youngster—any mother’s child.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Powerful . . . [Mamie Till-Mobley’s] courage transformed her loss into a moral compass for a nation.”—Black Issues Book Review
Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Special Recognition • BlackBoard Nonfiction Book of the Year
Aaliyah Dana Haughton was that music business rarity: a teen idol who transformed herself into a critically acclaimed hip-hop soul artist, a singer who successfully made the transition to actress, and a beautiful woman who never let the trappings of celebrity go to her head. Following her impressive debut at age fourteen with the album Age Ain’t Nothin’ but a Number, Aaliyah raised the bar with her hugely influential and bestselling follow-up, One in a Million. She then took her talents to Hollywood, starring in the action thriller Romeo Must Die and the highly anticipated horror film The Queen of the Damned. But soon after the release of her third album in the summer of 2001, Aaliyah’s life was cut short in a tragic plane crash.
Here is the inspirational story of the star The Washington Post dubbed “Hip-Hop’s Lady Di”—a woman who, by the time of her death at age twenty-two, touched legions of fans around the world with her haunting voice and gentle spirit.
Black Boy is Richard Wright's powerful account of his journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. It is at once an unashamed confession and a profound indictment—a poignant and disturbing record of social injustice and human suffering.
Born into a life of bondage, Frederick Douglass secretly taught himself to read and write. It was a crime punishable by death, but it resulted in one of the most eloquent indictments of slavery ever recorded. His gripping narrative takes us into the fields, cabins, and manors of pre-Civil War plantations in the South and reveals the daily terrors he suffered as a slave.
Written more than a century and a half ago by an African-American who went on to become a famous orator, U.S. minister to Haiti, and leader of his people, this timeless classic still speaks directly to our age. It is a record of savagery and inhumanity that goes far to explain why America still suffers from the great injustices of the past.
With an Introduction by Peter J. Gomes
and an Afterword by Gregory Stephens
Before Barry Bonds, before Reggie Jackson, before Hank Aaron, baseball's stars had one undeniable trait in common: they were all white. In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke that barrier, striking a crucial blow for racial equality and changing the world of sports forever. I Never Had It Made is Robinson's own candid, hard-hitting account of what it took to become the first black man in history to play in the major leagues.
I Never Had It Made recalls Robinson's early years and influences: his time at UCLA, where he became the school's first four-letter athlete; his army stint during World War II, when he challenged Jim Crow laws and narrowly escaped court martial; his years of frustration, on and off the field, with the Negro Leagues; and finally that fateful day when Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers proposed what became known as the "Noble Experiment"—Robinson would step up to bat to integrate and revolutionize baseball.
More than a baseball story, I Never Had It Made also reveals the highs and lows of Robinson's life after baseball. He recounts his political aspirations and civil rights activism; his friendships with Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, William Buckley, Jr., and Nelson Rockefeller; and his troubled relationship with his son, Jackie, Jr.
I Never Had It Made endures as an inspiring story of a man whose heroism extended well beyond the playing field.
Readers who were moved and horrified by Hotel Rwanda will respond even more intensely to Paul Rusesabagina’s unforgettable autobiography. As Rwanda was thrown into chaos during the 1994 genocide, Rusesabagina, a hotel manager, turned the luxurious Hotel Milles Collines into a refuge for more than 1,200 Tutsi and moderate Hutu refugees, while fending off their would-be killers with a combination of diplomacy and deception. In An Ordinary Man, he tells the story of his childhood, retraces his accidental path to heroism, revisits the 100 days in which he was the only thing standing between his “guests” and a hideous death, and recounts his subsequent life as a refugee and activist.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Finding Fish shows how, out of this unlikely mix of deprivation and hope, an artist was born -- first as the child who painted the feelings his words dared not speak, then as a poet and storyteller who would eventually become one of Hollywood's most sought-after screenwriters.
A tumultuous and ultimately gratifying tale of self-discovery written in Fisher's gritty yet melodic literary voice, Finding Fish is an unforgettable reading experience.
Her compassion and commitment lead her to respond to the fiery times by becoming the northern coordinator of Martin Luther King's history-making quest. A tempestuous, earthy woman, she promises her heart to one man only to have it stolen, virtually on her weding day, by a passionate African freedom fighter.
Filled with unforgettable vignettes of famous characters, from Billie Holiday to Malcolm X, The Heart of a Woman sings with Maya Angelou's eloquent prose -- her fondest dreams, deepest disappointments, and her dramatically tender relationship with her rebellious teenage son. Vulnerable, humorous, tough, Maya speaks with an intimate awareness of the heart within all of us.
From the Paperback edition.
Is the “plain and simple” life really so plain and simple? How do the Amish live without cars? Electricity? NFL football? The truth is, they don’t. More than fifty million people have watched “Lebanon” Levi Stoltzfus in Discovery Channel’s hit show Amish Mafia, where he dispenses justice and keeps the peace among the seemingly quiet, insular Amish people of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Now, he reveals what it’s really like to be Amish. Not the buggies, bonnets, and beards image the tight-knit community has portrayed for hundreds of years to the relentless curiosity of outsiders. The real-deal, day-to-day life—the good and the bad—all the dirty little secrets you’re not supposed to know. From Wi-Fi “pleasure huts,” to prostitutes, to marijuana and cocaine, you’ll never look at the Amish the same.
It isn’t easy keeping your feet planted firmly in the 1800s when the rest of the world is centuries ahead. Not even for the most God-fearing among us. The Amish have their own unique way of doing everything, and the lengths they will go to indulge in modern conveniences—and hide their indiscretions—will shock you. What have you been dying to know? How about what really happens when someone is shunned? Or whether the Amish pay taxes? Do they ever try to “pass” as English (in other words, non-Amish)? How rampant is illicit sex in such a repressed society? Can individuals make themselves stand out despite the strict rules? Why would the Amish take such risks when the punishment is eternal damnation?
“Lebanon” Levi blows the top off the buggy with this scandalous insider’s exposé, proving that even the Amish don’t always practice what they preach.
Those words, whispered to ten-year-old Tim Tyson by one of his playmates in the late spring of 1970, heralded a firestorm that would forever transform the small tobacco market town of Oxford, North Carolina.
On May 11, 1970, Henry Marrow, a 23-year-old black veteran, walked into a crossroads store owned by Robert Teel, a rough man with a criminal record and ties to the Ku Klux Klan, and came out running. Teel and two of his sons chased Marrow, beat him unmercifully, and killed him in public as he pleaded for his life. In the words of a local prosecutor: "They shot him like you or I would kill a snake."
Like many small Southern towns, Oxford had barely been touched by the civil rights movement. But in the wake of the killing, young African Americans took to the streets, led by 22-year-old Ben Chavis, a future president of the NAACP. As mass protests crowded the town square, a cluster of returning Vietnam veterans organized what one termed "a military operation." While lawyers battled in the courthouse that summer in a drama that one termed "a Perry Mason kind of thing," the Ku Klux Klan raged in the shadows and black veterans torched the town's tobacco warehouses.
With large sections of the town in flames, Tyson's father, the pastor of Oxford's all-white Methodist church, pressed his congregation to widen their vision of humanity and pushed the town to come to terms with its bloody racial history. In the end, however, the Tyson family was forced to move away.
Years later, historian Tim Tyson returned to Oxford to ask Robert Teel why he and his sons had killed Henry Marrow. "That nigger committed suicide, coming in here wanting to four-letter-word my daughter-in-law," Teel explained.
The black radicals who burned much of Oxford also told Tim their stories. "It was like we had a cash register up there at the pool hall, just ringing up how much money we done cost these white people," one of them explained. "We knew if we cost 'em enough goddamn money they was gonna start changing some things."
In the tradition of To Kill a Mockingbird, Blood Done Sign My Name is a classic work of conscience, a defining portrait of a time and place that we will never forget. Tim Tyson's riveting narrative of that fiery summer and one family's struggle to build bridges in a time of destruction brings gritty blues truth, soaring gospel vision, and down-home humor to our complex history, where violence and faith, courage and evil, despair and hope all mingle to illuminate America's enduring chasm of race.
From the Hardcover edition.
For the first time, Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor speaks directly to his fans and shares his worldview about life as a sinner. And Taylor knows how to sin. As a small-town hero in the early '90s, he threw himself into a hard-drinking, fierce-loving, live-for-the-moment life; when his music exploded, he found himself rich, wanted, and on the road. But soon his extreme lifestyle led him to question what it means to sin and whether it could-or should-be cast in a different light. After all, if sin makes us human how wrong can it be?Now updated with a new Afterword by the author, Seven Deadly Sins is a brutally honest look "at a life that could have gone horribly wrong at any turn," and the soul-searching and self-discovery it took to set it right.
—St. Paul Pioneer Press
“Perry can take comfort in the power of his writing, his ability to pull readers from all corners onto his Wisconsin spread, and make them feel right at home.”
Tuesdays with Morrie meets Bill Bryson in Visiting Tom, another witty, poignant, and stylish paean to living in New Auburn, Wisconsin, from Michael Perry. The author of Population: 485, Coop, and Truck: A Love Story, Perry takes us along on his uplifting visits with his octogenarian neighbor one valley over—and celebrates the wisdom, heart, and sass of a vanishing generation that embodies the indomitable spirit of small-town America.
New York Times BestsellerFirst Lady Michelle Obama's Favorite Book of 2015A New Yorker, NPR, Boston Globe, Publisher's Weekly, Newsday, Library Journal, People.com, Shelf Awareness, The Root, and St. Louis Dispact Best Book of 2015 PickNew York Times Book Review Editor's ChoiceAn Amazon's Best Book of the Month, April 2015IndieBound Indie Next #1 Pick, May 2015
A deeply resonant memoir for anyone who has loved and lost, from acclaimed poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander.
In THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, Elizabeth Alexander finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. Channeling her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid price, Alexander tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. As she reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband's death, and the solace found in caring for her two teenage sons, Alexander universalizes a very personal quest for meaning and acceptance in the wake of loss.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is at once an endlessly compelling memoir and a deeply felt meditation on the blessings of love, family, art, and community. It is also a lyrical celebration of a life well-lived and a paean to the priceless gift of human companionship. For those who have loved and lost, or for anyone who cares what matters most, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is required reading.
Terrie had made it: she had launched her own public relations company with such clients as Eddie Murphy and Johnnie Cochran. Yet she was in constant pain, waking up in terror, overeating in search of relief. For thirty years she kept on her game face of success, exhausting herself daily to satisfy her clients' needs while neglecting her own.
Terrie finally collapsed, staying in bed for days. She had no clue what was wrong or if there was a way out. She had hit rock bottom and she needed and got help.
She learned her problem had a name -- depression -- and that many suffered from it, limping through their days, hiding their hurt. As she healed, her mission became clear: break the silence of this crippling taboo and help those who suffer.
Black Pain identifies emotional pain -- which uniquely and profoundly affects the Black experience -- as the root of lashing out through desperate acts of crime, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, workaholism, and addiction to shopping, gambling, and sex. Few realize these destructive acts are symptoms of our inner sorrow.
Black people are dying. Everywhere we turn, in the faces we see and the headlines we read, we feel in our gut that something is wrong, but we don't know what it is. It's time to recognize it and work through our trauma.
In Black Pain, Terrie has inspired the famous and the ordinary to speak out and mental health professionals to offer solutions. The book is a mirror turned on you. Do you see yourself and your loved ones here? Do the descriptions of how the pain looks, feels, and sounds seem far too familiar? Now you can do something about it.
Stop suffering. The help the community needs is here: a clear explanation of our troubles and a guide to finding relief through faith, therapy, diet, and exercise, as well as through building a supportive network (and eliminating toxic people).
Black Pain encourages us to face the truth about the issue that plunges our spirits into darkness, so that we can step into the healing light.
You are not on the ledge alone.
Corey Taylor has seen a lot of unbelievable things. However, many of his most incredible experiences might just shock you. For much of his life, the Grammy Award-winning singer of Slipknot and Stone Sour has brushed up against the supernatural world. Those close encounters impacted his personal evolution just as much as headlining at Castle Donington in front of 100,000 people at Download Festival or debuting at #1 on the Billboard Top 200.
Since growing up in Iowa, his own curiosity drew him into situations that would've sent most people screaming scared and running for the hills. He's ballsy enough to go into the darkness and deal with the consequences, though. As a result, he's seen ghosts up close and personal, whether while combing through an abandoned house in his native Iowa as a child or recording an album in the fabled Houdini Hollywood Hills mansion. He's also got the memories (and scars) to prove it. For some reason, he can't seem to shake these spectral stories, and that brings us to this little tome right here...
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven compiles Taylor's most intimate, incredible, and insane moments with the supernatural. His memories are as vivid as they are vicious. As he recounts these stories, he questions the validity of religious belief systems and two-thousand-year-old dogma. As always, his rapid-fire writing, razor-sharp sense of humor, unbridled honesty, and cozy anecdotes make quite the case for his point. You might end up believing him or not. That's up to you. Either way, you're in for a hell of a ride.
From the Hardcover edition.
While Braxton appears to be living a gilded life—selling 60 million records, appearing in sold-out Las Vegas performances and hit shows like Dancing with the Stars, and starring in her own reality series—hers is in fact a tumultuous story, a tale of triumph over a life filled with obstacles, including two bankruptcy filings. The mother of an autistic child, Braxton long feared that her son’s condition might be karmic retribution for earlier life choices, some of which will shock fans. But when heart ailments began plaguing her at the age of 41 and she was diagnosed with Lupus, Braxton knew she had to move beyond the self-recrimination and take charge of her own healing. Intensely honest and deeply inspirational, Unbreak My Heart is the never-before-told story of the measures Braxton took to make herself and her family whole again.
In tracing the roots of this family—his own family—Laskin captures the epic sweep of the twentieth century. A modern-day scribe, Laskin honors the traditions, the lives, and the choices of his ancestors: revolutionaries and entrepreneurs, scholars and farmers, tycoons and truck drivers. The Family is a deeply personal, dramatic, and emotional account of people caught in a cataclysmic time in world history.
A century and a half ago, a Torah scribe and his wife raised six children in a yeshivatown at the western fringe of the Russian empire. Bound by their customs and ancient faith, the pious couple expected their sons and daughter to carry family traditions into future generations. But the social and political crises of our time decreed otherwise.
The torrent of history took the scribe’s family down three very different roads. One branch immigrated to America and founded the fabulously successful Maidenform Bra Company; another went to Palestine as pioneers and participated in the contentious birth of the state of Israel; the third branch remained in Europe and suffered the onslaught of the Nazi occupation.
With cinematic power and beauty, bestselling author David Laskin brings to life the upheavals of the twentieth century through the story of one family, three continents, two world wars, and the rise and fall of nations.
In 1984, at the age of twenty, Duff McKagan left his native Seattle—partly to pursue music but mainly to get away from a host of heroin overdoses then decimating his closest group of friends in the local punk scene. In LA only a few weeks and still living in his car, he answered a want ad for a bass player placed by someone who identified himself only as “Slash.” Soon after, the most dangerous band in the world was born. Guns N’ Roses went on to sell more than 100 million albums worldwide.
In It’s So Easy, Duff recounts Guns’ unlikely trajectory to a string of multiplatinum albums, sold-out stadium concerts, and global acclaim. But that kind of glory can take its toll, and it did—ultimately—on Duff, as well as on the band itself. As Guns began to splinter, Duff felt that he himself was done, too. But his near death as a direct result of alcoholism proved to be his watershed, the turning point that sent him on a unique path to sobriety and the unexpected choices he has made for himself since.
In a voice that is as honest as it is indelibly his own, Duff—one of rock’s smartest and most articulate personalities—takes readers on a harrowing journey through the dark heart of one of the most notorious bands in rock-and-roll history and out the other side.
Now, in the first in-depth biography of Goines's life, author Eddie B. Allen explores exactly how one man could make the transition from street hustler to bestselling author. With exclusive access to personal letters, treatments from unwritten books, photographs, and family members, Allen uncovers Goines's personal experiences with drugs, prostitutes, prison, and urban violence. Fans of Goines's novels will note a dramatic parallelism between his life and his fictional tales.
A gifted grassroots organizer, Baker shunned the spotlight in favor of vital behind-the-scenes work that helped power the black freedom struggle. She was a national officer and key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and a prime mover in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Baker made a place for herself in predominantly male political circles that included W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King Jr., all the while maintaining relationships with a vibrant group of women, students, and activists both black and white.
In this deeply researched biography, Barbara Ransby chronicles Baker's long and rich political career as an organizer, an intellectual, and a teacher, from her early experiences in depression-era Harlem to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Ransby shows Baker to be a complex figure whose radical, democratic worldview, commitment to empowering the black poor, and emphasis on group-centered, grassroots leadership set her apart from most of her political contemporaries. Beyond documenting an extraordinary life, the book paints a vivid picture of the African American fight for justice and its intersections with other progressive struggles worldwide across the twentieth century.
Based on the Los Angeles Times newspaper series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for feature writing and another for feature photography, this page-turner about the power of family is a popular text in classrooms and a touchstone for communities across the country to engage in meaningful discussions about this essential American subject.
Enrique’s Journey recounts the unforgettable quest of a Honduran boy looking for his mother, eleven years after she is forced to leave her starving family to find work in the United States. Braving unimaginable peril, often clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains, Enrique travels through hostile worlds full of thugs, bandits, and corrupt cops. But he pushes forward, relying on his wit, courage, hope, and the kindness of strangers. As Isabel Allende writes: “This is a twenty-first-century Odyssey. If you are going to read only one nonfiction book this year, it has to be this one.”
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“Magnificent . . . Enrique’s Journey is about love. It’s about family. It’s about home.”—The Washington Post Book World
“[A] searing report from the immigration frontlines . . . as harrowing as it is heartbreaking.”—People (four stars)
“Stunning . . . As an adventure narrative alone, Enrique’s Journey is a worthy read. . . . Nazario’s impressive piece of reporting [turns] the current immigration controversy from a political story into a personal one.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Gripping and harrowing . . . a story begging to be told.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“[A] prodigious feat of reporting . . . [Sonia Nazario is] amazingly thorough and intrepid.”—Newsday
From the Trade Paperback edition.
After a five-day trial, he was acquitted on March 5, 2013.
In Dark Days, Blythe tells the story of his incarceration and the wild life that led up to it. As he explains, “Most substance abuse books end with the author getting sober. My book starts there.”
DAYS OF GRACE is an inspiring memoir of a remarkable man who was the true embodiment of courage, elegance, and the spirit to fight: Arthur Ashe--tennis champion, social activist, and person with AIDS. Frank, revealing, touching--DAYS OF GRACE is the story of a man felled to soon. It remains as his legacy to us all....
AN ALTERNATE SELECTION OF THE BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB
From the Paperback edition.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
He was born in England but reared in L.A., surrounded by the leading artists of the day amidst the vibrant hotbed of music and culture that was the early seventies. Slash spent his adolescence on the streets of Hollywood, discovering drugs, drinking, rock music, and girls, all while achieving notable status as a BMX rider. But everything changed in his world the day he first held the beat-up one-string guitar his grandmother had discarded in a closet.
The instrument became his voice and it triggered a lifelong passion that made everything else irrelevant. As soon as he could string chords and a solo together, Slash wanted to be in a band and sought out friends with similar interests. His closest friend, Steven Adler, proved to be a conspirator for the long haul. As hairmetal bands exploded onto the L.A. scene and topped the charts, Slash sought his niche and a band that suited his raw and gritty sensibility.
He found salvation in the form of four young men of equal mind: Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, Steven Adler, and Duff McKagan. Together they became Guns N' Roses, one of the greatest rock 'n' roll bands of all time. Dirty, volatile, and as authentic as the streets that weaned them, they fought their way to the top with groundbreaking albums such as the iconic Appetite for Destruction and Use Your Illusion I and II.
Here, for the first time ever, Slash tells the tale that has yet to be told from the inside: how the band came together, how they wrote the music that defined an era, how they survived insane, never-ending tours, how they survived themselves, and, ultimately, how it all fell apart. This is a window onto the world of the notoriously private guitarist and a seat on the roller-coaster ride that was one of history's greatest rock 'n' roll machines, always on the edge of self-destruction, even at the pinnacle of its success. This is a candid recollection and reflection of Slash's friendships past and present, from easygoing Izzy to ever-steady Duff to wild-child Steven and complicated Axl.
It is also an intensely personal account of struggle and triumph: as Guns N' Roses journeyed to the top, Slash battled his demons, escaping the overwhelming reality with women, heroin, coke, crack, vodka, and whatever else came along.
He survived it all: lawsuits, rehab, riots, notoriety, debauchery, and destruction, and ultimately found his creative evolution. From Slash's Snakepit to his current band, the massively successful Velvet Revolver,Slash found an even keel by sticking to his guns.
Slash is everything the man, the myth, the legend, inspires: it's funny, honest, inspiring, jaw-dropping . . . and, in a word, excessive.
Waris was born into a traditional Somali family, desert nomads who engaged in such ancient and antiquated customs as genital mutilation and arranged marriage. At twelve, she fled an arranged marriage to an old man and traveled alone across the dangerous Somali desert to Mogadishu -- the first leg of an emotional journey that would take her to London as a house servant, around the world as a fashion model, and eventually to America, where she would find peace in motherhood and humanitarian work for the U.N.
Today, as Special Ambassador for the U.N., she travels the world speaking out against the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation, promoting women's reproductive rights, and educating people about the Africa she fled -- but still deeply loves.
Desert Flower will be published simultaneously in eleven languages throughout the world and is currently being produced as a feature film by Rocket Pictures UK.
As a child growing up in North Carolina, Alice Faye Williams knew that the most important thing her impoverished family lacked was land; as she puts it, "The land, to live on and to cultivate and pass on to my family." But there was no land, and in the end her family moved to New York, where in her late teens Alice Faye became Afeni Shakur, a radicalized, prominent Black Panther. In 1969, she was arrested along with a number of other Black Panthers on suspicion of planning bombings -- she spent eleven months on remand before women of all races raised $64,000 in cash to bail her out. She was subsequently acquitted of all charges. While in jail, Afeni Shakur was pregnant with her son, Tupac, who went on to become Tupac Amaru Shakur, a rap megastar until his tragic death in 1996.
Over the course of a decade, the renowned actress Jasmine Guy has been recording the thoughts of Afeni Shakur. In this unique book, Guy reveals the evolution of the woman through a series of intimate, revealing conversations on themes such as love, race, drugs, music, and of course her son. We see how the impoverished southern girl became a leading light in the Black Panther movement; how drugs brought her low; how her recovery filled her with new hope for herself and the future of black women everywhere; and how the work of her son has served to bring renewed hope and courage to people that this country has too often left behind.
Beautifully written, and a beacon of understanding for all Americans, Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary will stand as a powerful testament to the perseverance of one woman, and the power of change and forgiveness.
It was her grandmother who nurtured and protected and provided for Staceyann and her older brother in the early years. But when the three were separated, Staceyann was thrust, alone, into an unfamiliar and dysfunctional home in Paradise, Jamaica. There, she faced far greater troubles than absent parents. So, armed with a fierce determination and uncommon intelligence, she discovered a way to break out of this harshly unforgiving world.
Staceyann Chin, acclaimed and iconic performance artist, now brings her extraordinary talents to the page in a brave, lyrical, and fiercely candid memoir about growing up in Jamaica. She plumbs tender and unsettling memories as she writes about drifting from one home to the next, coming out as a lesbian, and finding the man she believes to be her father and ultimately her voice. Hers is an unforgettable story told with grace, humor, and courage.
The RZA, the Abbot of the Wu-Tang Clan and hip-hop culture's most dynamic genius, imparts the lessons he's learned on the journey that's taken him from the Staten Island projects to international superstar, all along the way a devout student of knowledge in every form he's found it-on the streets, in religion, in martial arts, in chess, in popular culture. Part chronicle of an extraordinary life and part spiritual and philosophical discourse, The Tao of Wu is a nonfiction Siddhartha for the hip-hop generation-an engaging, seeking book that will enlighten, entertain, and inspire.
The legions of Wu-Tang fans are accustomed to this heady mix-their obsession with the band's puzzlelike lyrics and elaborate mythology has propelled the group through fifteen years of dazzling, multiplatform success. In his 2005 bestseller The Wu-Tang Manual, the RZA provided the barest glimpse of how that mythology worked. In The Tao of Wu, he takes us deep inside the complex sense of wisdom and spirituality that has been at the core of his commercial and creative success.
The book is built around major moments in the RZA's life when he was faced with a dramatic turning point, either bad (a potential prison sentence) or good (a record deal that could pull his family out of poverty), and the lessons he took from each experience. His points of view are always surprising and provocative, and reveal a profound, genuine, and abiding wisdom-consistently tempered with humor and peppered with unique, colloquial phraseology. It is a spiritual memoir as the world has never seen before, and will never see again.
He was the nephew of Temptations singer Melvin Franklin; a boy who watched and listened, mesmerized from underneath cocktail tables at the shows of Etta James and Miles Davis. He was a vagrant hippie who wandered to Toronto, where he ended up playing with Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, and he became a household name in the 1980s with his hit song “Super Freak.” Later in life, he was a bad boy who got caught up in drug smuggling and ended up in prison. But since his passing in August 2004, Rick James has remained a legendary icon whose name is nearly synonymous with funk music—and who popularized the genre, creating a lasting influence on pop artists from Prince to Jay-Z to Snoop Dogg, among countless others.
In Glow, Rick James and acclaimed music biographer David Ritz collaborated to write a no-holds-barred memoir about the boy and the man who became a music superstar in America’s disco age. It tells of James’s upbringing and how his mother introduced him to musical geniuses of the time. And it reveals details on many universally revered artists, from Marvin Gaye and Prince to Nash, Teena Marie, and Berry Gordy. James himself said, “My journey has taken me through hell and back. It’s all in my music—the parties, the pain, the oversized ego, the insane obsessions.” But despite his bad boy behavior, James was a tremendous talent and a unique, unforgettable human being. His “glow” was an overriding quality that one of his mentors saw in him—and one that will stay with this legendary figure who left an indelible mark on American popular music.
Since his first book Invisible Life was published in the early 1990s, New York Times bestselling author E. Lynn Harris has wowed, charmed and romanced millions of readers. As a master storyteller, E. Lynn Harris has created an intimate and glamorous world centered around his signature themes of love, friendship and family. People all over the world have fallen in love with his characters and laughed and cried with them.
Now, in his most daring act yet, E. Lynn Harris writes the memoir of his life–from his childhood in Arkansas as a closeted gay boy through his struggling days as a self-published author to his rise as a New York Times bestselling author. In What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, E. Lynn Harris shares an extraordinary life touched by loneliness and depression, but more important, he reveals the triumphant life of a small-town dreamer who was able through writing to make his dreams–and more–come true.
Written in the year after Northup was freed and published in the wake of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Northup’s story was quickly taken up by abolitionist groups and news organizations as part of the fight against slavery, and continues to resonate more than a century after the end of the American Civil War.
In these pages, McCall chronicles his passage from the street to the prison yard—and, later, to the newsrooms of The Washington Post and ultimately to the faculty of Emory University. His story is at once devastating and inspiring. For even as he recounts his transformation, McCall compels us to recognize that racism is as pervasive in the newsroom as it is in the inner city, where it condemns so many black men to prison, to dead-end jobs, or to violent deaths. At once an indictment and an elegy, Makes Me Wanna Holler became an instant classic when it was first published in 1994. Now, some two decades later, it continues to bear witness to the great troubles—and the great hopes—of our nation.
With a new afterword by the author
Now, in this collection of sage advice, humorous quips, and pointed observations culled from the author’s great works, including The Heart of a Woman, On the Pulse of Morning, Gather Together in My Name, and Letter to My Daughter, Maya Angelou’s spirit endures. Rainbow in the Cloud offers resonant and rewarding quotes on such topics as creativity and culture, family and community, equality and race, values and spirituality, parenting and relationships. Perhaps most special, Maya Angelou’s only son, Guy Johnson, has contributed some of his mother’s most powerful sayings, shared directly with him and the members of their family.
A treasured keepsake as well as a beautiful tribute to a woman who touched so many, Rainbow in the Cloud reminds us that “If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”
From the Hardcover edition.
After her seventeenth birthday in 1973, Janis Hunter met Marvin Gaye—the soulful prince of Motown with the seductive liquid voice whose chart-topping, socially conscious album What’s Going On made him a superstar two years earlier. Despite a seventeen-year-age difference and Marvin’s marriage to the sister of Berry Gordy, Motown’s founder, the enchanted teenager and the emotionally volatile singer began a scorching relationship.
One moment Jan was a high school student; the next she was accompanying Marvin to parties, navigating the intriguing world of 1970s-‘80s celebrity; hanging with Don Cornelius on the set of Soul Train, and helping to discover new talent like Frankie Beverly. But the burdens of fame, the chaos of dysfunctional families, and the irresistible temptations of drugs complicated their love.
Primarily silent since Marvin’s tragic death in 1984, Jan at last opens up, sharing the moving, fervently charged story of one of music history’s most fabled marriages. Unsparing in its honesty and insight, illustrated with sixteen pages of black-and-white photos, After the Dance reveals what it’s like to be in love with a creative genius who transformed popular culture and whose artistry continues to be celebrated today.
In her profound and courageous New York Times bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community—and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.
With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman’s quest for self at all costs, Redefining Realness is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.
From Geto Boys legend and renowned storyteller Scarface, comes a passionate memoir about how hip-hop changed the life of a kid from the south side of Houston, and how he rose to the top-and ushered in a new generation of rap dominance. Scarface is the celebrated rapper whose hits include "On My Block," "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" and "Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta" (made famous in the cult film Office Space). The former president of Def Jam South, he's collaborated with everyone from Kanye West, Ice Cube and Nas, and had many solo hits such as "Guess Who's Back" feat. Jay-Z and "Smile" feat. Tupac. But before that, he was a kid from Houston in love with rock-and-roll, listening to AC/DC and KISS.
In Diary of a Madman, Scarface shares how his world changed when he heard Run DMC for the first time; how he dropped out of school in the ninth grade and started selling crack; and how he began rapping as the new form of music made its way out of New York and across the country. It is the account of his rise to the heights of the rap world, as well as his battles with his own demons and depression. Passionately exploring and explaining the roots and influences of rap culture, Diary of a Madman is the story of hip-hop-the music, the business, the streets, and life on the south side Houston, Texas.
After breaking out as the acclaimed drummer of the multiplatinum punk band Blink-182, everything changed for Travis Barker. But the dark side of rock stardom took its toll: his marriage, chronicled for an MTV reality show, fell apart. Constant touring concealed a serious drug addiction. A reckoning did not truly come until he was forced to face mortality: His life nearly ended in a horrifying plane crash, and then his close friend, collaborator, and fellow crash survivor DJ AM died of an overdose.
In this blunt, driving memoir, Barker ruminates on rock stardom, fatherhood, death, loss, and redemption, sharing stories shaped by decades’ worth of hard-earned insights. His pulsating memoir is as energetic as his acclaimed beats. It brings to a close the first chapters of a well-lived life, inspiring readers to follow the rhythms of their own hearts and find meaning in their lives.
"If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see. If you come by aeroplane, you will land at the V. C. Bird International Airport. Vere Cornwall (V. C.) Bird is the Prime Minister of Antigua. You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a Prime Minister would want an airport named after him--why not a school, why not a hospital, why not some great public monument. You are a tourist and you have not yet seen . . ."
So begins Jamaica Kincaid's expansive essay, which shows us what we have not yet seen of the ten-by-twelve-mile island in the British West Indies where she grew up.
Lyrical, sardonic, and forthright by turns, in a Swiftian mode, A Small Place cannot help but amplify our vision of one small place and all that it signifies.