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Summer Reading List: From Entertainment To Inspirational

Get your summer reading list together now! You’ll need some good reads for the beach. Here are a few to consider.

Spotlight On Black Heroes

Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past and Present by Gil Robertson is a timely release. Because Robertson, who curated and edited three groundbreaking anthologies, including Family Affair: What It Means to Be African American, a Publisher’s Weekly “Pick of the Week,” has a long track record of producing work that enlightens and informs, he quickly connected with Just Us Books.

But although the publishers, husband-and- wife duo Wade and Cheryl Hudson, loved the concept immediately and bought it, the journey was not a short one. Unfortunately life got in the way. Regardless of how many setbacks took place, the Hudsons never abandoned the book.

“African American history is so rich and full of outstanding achievements and accomplishments made against difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible obstacles,” Wade Hudson said. “We started Just Us Books because we wanted to bring that history to life in as many areas as possible for young readers. When Gil approached us about an idea for a book that would focus on Black political leaders, we knew right away it would be just right for the Book of Black Heroes series we launched. The first three titles, Book of Black Heroes from A to Z, Great Women in the Struggle and Scientists, Healers & Inventors have sold more than a million copies. Political Leaders Past and Present is the fourth book in the series. Given the current political climate, the book’s release is quite timely.”

Black leaders from all walks of life are featured. They include Reconstruction era senator and governor Hiram Rhodes Revels and Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback from Mississippi and Louisiana respectively, as well as their contemporary counterparts like Kamala Harris from California and Lawrence Douglas Wilder from Virginia.

“This book is about more than those who have already made a difference. I truly want young people in particular to learn that leadership comes in many forms and is highly attainable,” Robertson says. “I want them to be empowered so that they too can make a difference for themselves and their community.”

Myrlie Evers, widow of slain Civil Rights hero Medgar Evers, was gracious enough to pen the book’s foreword. In it, the former NAACP leader breaks down different types of leadership, acknowledging that she, herself, was reluctantly drawn to lead after her husband was murdered.

Millennials Mashup

Many say they don’t understand millennials or their lifestyle. So how about letting millennials tell their own stories. Songs of My Selfie: An Anthology of Millennial Stories delves into what it really means to be twenty-something today. It is a collection features 17 short stories by millennial writers discussing millennial issues– their ambitions and frustrations, humor and heartbreak.

Let’s Eat!

Anthony Bourdain may have once been known as the bad boy of the culinary world, but no one can deny he knows this trade. His latest book. Appetites, his first cookbook in more than 10 years, actually covers home-cooking rather than the cuisines of far away which Bourdain is known for.

Allez Cuisine!

Japanese legendary Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, owner of the popular and highly regarded Morimoto restaurants, brings us Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking. In it he shared healthy, flavorful, surprisingly simple dishes favored by Japanese home cooks. Besides the mouthwatering recipes, the book is colorful as it is filled with more than 150 photos.

That’s Spicy!

Award-winning cookbook author and television host Padma Lakshmi presents an A-to-Z guide to the spices of the world in The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs. Highlighted with beautiful photography, Lakshmi also includes explanations of the spices, their history, along with cooking advice.

Don’t Call It A Diet

When author Melissa Milne asked thousands of women how they feel about their bodies, weight, food, and self-image, the responses were shocking: more than 80 percent feel guilty after eating; nearly 60 percent have dieted down a dress size to impress a man; and a whopping 50 percent would rather be skinnier than happier or smarter. She talks about all these finding and more in The Naughty Diet, She also offers a doable approach to food, exercise, and life management.

Dogs’ Best Friends

Unlikely Friendships Dogs by Jennifer Holland looks at the unlikely emotional bonds formed by dogs. There’s Rex, a German shepherd, who forms a friendship with a goose–yes, a goose. Then there’s a pit bull named Dolly whose best friend is Sheldon, a tortoise. It’s a lovely book.

Grab Your Milk & Cookies

Deborah Levy’s new novel, Hot Milk, which has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, is an intriguing tale full of symbolism and twists.

A Global View

The World as 100 People: A Visual Guide to 7 Billion Humans is beautifully illustrated by Aileen Lord and reveals some shocking facts. Out of 100 people: 61 are Asian, 15 are African, 10 are European, and 14 are from the Americas; 51 people live in cities, but 36 don’t have basic access to sanitation; 21 people are overweight, 15 are undernourished, and 1 is starving; 40 people are regular Internet users, and 21 have a Facebook page; and a whopping 48 people currently live on less than $2 per day while 1 person owns 48 percent of all the world’s wealth.

Money, Money, Money

The Curse of Cash by Kenneth Rogoff delivers the argument for paper-moneyless society. Rogoff, one of the world’s leading economists, sparks a major debut with this one.

Behind The Beatles

The story covered in Steve Turner’s recently published biography Beatles ’66: The Revolutionary Year  Beatles 66  is already known by many, but this book draws on Turner’s interviews with the legendary Beatles, Beatles producer George Martin, and ex-Beatle George Harrison’s mentor, Indian musician and composer Ravi Shankar.

They Had A Dream

After having been in America for years and years, one morning Elena Santiago found herself surrounded by a squad of federal immigration agents in Phoenix. She was handcuffed, taken away, and then later deported to Mexico with only the clothes on her back, leaving behind her 2-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son. Her children, both American citizens, were put into foster care.

Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream by Eileen Truax looks at the complex and heartbreaking issue of immigration and the ramifications of deportation.

Everyone Has A Book To Write

Thinking of writing a book during your summer vacay? You might want to check out Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) by Lisa Kron. In it, Kron goes through storytelling strategies every author should know.

Run The World (Girls)

Game of Queens: The Women Who Ruled Sixteenth-Century Europe celebrates Vashti and Esther. Vashti was Queen of Persia and the first wife of Persian King Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther; Esther is the heroine of the Book of Esther. In Game of Queens, author Sarah Gristwood delves into their lives, myths, and reality in this combined biography and political thriller.

About the Author

Ann is a freelance writer who started her professional career at the NY Trend more than two decades ago. Ann has since gone on to write for a number of major outlets including: Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire, Pathfinders, Frequent Flier, Playboy, The Source, Girl, Upscale, For Harriet, The Network Journal, AFKInsider, Africa Strictly Business, AFKTravel, among others.

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