Books of the Month

Browse the great books we've talked about on The Tea.

 
 

Beyond the Book
Summer 2018

 
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Having conquered discrimination, homelessness, divorce, and several other acts of inhumanity in his life-time, renowned coach and expert speaker Michael Taylor deems it fit to share his story, teaching Black Men how to live a better life and achieve exponential success.

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Sharing the inspiration of expert business coaches, Dr. Dina explains to physicians and other entrepreneurs how to develop a business mindset that will help them find the energy, courage and know-how—or moxie—to start a profitable, fulfilling private practice.

 
 
 

June 2018

 
 
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Race Matters is a social sciences book by Cornel West. The book was first published on April 1, 1993 by Beacon Press. The book analyzes moral authority and racial debates concerning skin color in the United States.

 
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Mark Whitaker’s Smoketown is a captivating portrait of this unsung community and a vital addition to the story of black America. It depicts how ambitious Southern migrants were drawn to a steel-making city on a strategic river junction; how they were shaped by its schools and a spirit of commerce with roots in the Gilded Age; and how their world was eventually destroyed by industrial decline and urban renewal. Whitaker takes readers on a rousing, revelatory journey—and offers a timely reminder that Black History is not all bleak.

 
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Featuring interviews by former NBA player Etan Thomas with over fifty athletes, executives, media figures, and more--and interwoven with essays and critiques by Thomas--We Matter shares the personal tales and opinions of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, Steve Kerr, Oscar Robertson, Mark Cuban, Michael Bennett, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Swin Cash, Alonzo Mourning, Chris Webber, Jemele Hill, Anquan Boldin, Jamal Crawford, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson, Shannon Sharpe, James Blake, John Carlos, Laila Ali, Michael Eric Dyson, Joakim Noah, Eric Reid, Adam Silver, Soledad O'Brien, John Wall, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Bradley Beal, Tamika Catchings, Curtis Conway, Harry Edwards, Chris Hayes, Chamique Holdsclaw, Scoop Jackson, Bomani Johnes, Shaun King, Jimmy King, Ted Leonsis, Thabo Sefolosha, Ilyasah Shabazz, Torrey Smith, Kenny Smith, Michael Smith, David West, Michael Wilbon, Jahvaris Fulton (brother of Trayvon Martin), Emerald Snipes (daughter of Eric Garner), Allysza Castile (sister of Philando Castile), Valerie Castile (mother of Philando Castile), and Dr. Tiffany Crutcher (sister of Terence Crutcher).

 

 

Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, Patrisse Khan-Cullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and persecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. For Patrisse, the most vulnerable people in the country are Black people. Deliberately and ruthlessly targeted by a criminal justice system serving a white privilege agenda, Black people are subjected to unjustifiable racial profiling and police brutality. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin’s killer went free, Patrisse’s outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.

 
 

May 2018

 
 
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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein beseeched his creator for love and companionship, but in 2017, the monster has long discarded any notions of peace or inclusion. He has become the Destroyer, his only goal to eliminate the scourge of humanity from the planet. In this goal, he initially finds a willing partner in Dr. Baker, a descendant of the Frankenstein family who has lost her teenage son after an encounter with the police. While two scientists, Percy and Byron, initially believe they’re brought to protect Dr. Baker from the monster, they soon realize they may have to protect the world from the monster and Dr. Baker’s wrath.

 
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In this singular collection, John Edgar Wideman, the acclaimed author of Writing to Save a Life, blends the personal, historical, and political to invent complex, charged stories about love, death, struggle, and what we owe each other. With characters ranging from everyday Americans to Jean-Michel Basquiat to Nat Turner, American Histories is a journey through time, experience, and the soul of our country.

 
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In the long-anticipated novel from the author of the critically acclaimed Beasts of No Nation, a revelation shared between two privileged teenagers from very different backgrounds sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences.

 

Joe King Oliver was one of the NYPD's finest investigators, until, dispatched to arrest a well-heeled car thief, he is framed for assault by his enemies within the NYPD, a charge which lands him in solitary at Rikers Island.

 
 

April 2018

 
 
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Ever wonder why it seems like the cheap girls of the world belong to an exclusive club? Wonder why they have a Zen-like nature while you're struggling to make the rent? Answer: Money.It's high time to save more and stress less. Step up and accept the challenge. Initiate yourself into the Cheap Girls Club.

 
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From her more than three hundred appearances for film and television, stage and cabaret, performing comedy or drama, as an unforgettable lead or a scene stealing supporting character, Jenifer Lewis has established herself as one of the most respected, admired, talented, and versatile entertainers working today. Written with no-holds-barred honesty and illustrated with more than forty color photographs, this gripping memoir is filled with insights gained through a unique life that offers a universal message: “Love yourself so that love will not be a stranger when it comes.”

 
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You Are a Badass at Making Money will launch you past the fears and stumbling blocks that have kept financial success beyond your reach. Drawing on her own transformation—over just a few years—from a woman living in a converted garage with tumbleweeds blowing through her bank account to a woman who travels the world in style, Jen Sincero channels the inimitable sass and practicality that made You Are a Badass an indomitable bestseller. She combines hilarious personal essays with bite-size, aha concepts that unlock earning potential and get real results.

In this outstanding cultural biography, the author of the New York Times bestseller A Slave in the White House chronicles a critical yet overlooked chapter in American history: the inspiring rise and calculated fall of the black elite, from Emancipation through Reconstruction to the Jim Crow Era—embodied in the experiences of an influential figure of the time, academic, entrepreneur, and political activist and black history pioneer Daniel Murray.

 
 

March 2018

 
 
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Michelle Obama’s legacy transcends categorization. Mrs. Obama was not only our first black first lady; she was President Obama’s equal partner in marriage and parenthood and a tireless advocate for women’s rights, education, healthy eating, and exercise. Her genre-busting personal style encouraged others to speak, to engage, even to dress as they wished. In an extension of his popular T, The New York Times Style Magazine featureNick Haramis has assembled nineteen essays from prizewinning writers, Hollywood stars, and political leaders—all of whom have been moved and influenced by Mrs. Obama’s extraordinary example of grace in power.

 
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This profoundly moving memoir is the remarkable and inspiring true story of Sandra Uwiringiyimana, a girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who tells the tale of how she survived a massacre, immigrated to America, and overcame her trauma through art and activism.

 
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Misty Copeland believes "There has been a shift in recent years in which women no longer desire the bare bones of a runway model. Standards have changed: what women do want is a long, toned, powerful body with excellent posture." In other words, the body of a ballerina. In her first health and fitness book, Misty will show women how to find the motivation to get healthier and stronger, and how to reshape their bodies to be lean and flexible, with step-by-step advice, meal plans, workout routines, and words of inspiration. Celebrating the importance of healthy fats and a fitness regimen based on ballet exercises, Misty shares her own time-tested exercises and an eating plan focusing on healthy fats, both of which keep her in top shape. Tips for motivation and words of encouragement as well as tips on how to keep going even when you may want to give up. An inspiring section on the importance of finding mentors, and eventually being one, plus excerpts from Misty's personal journal, round out this important book on grace and strength.

 
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From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish, comes The Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.

 

Flattered and blessed, after four decades in the business, Kim finally understands the role she has played onscreen and off as a successful, outspoken African-American woman. However, for as much as she's been in the public eye, people have really never known her the way they think they have, and that's because she, herself, spent most of her life figuring herself out. Now, at age 48, she is ready to set the record straight. She says, "It's not that I've been misunderstood. It's that I finally feel like I understand me enough to tell the life story that I've been asked to write for years." It will be a chronicle of living, learning, and keen moments of self-discovery as she's journeyed through the many facets and chapters of life. Fields found faith at age 14 and has found God to be right there every step of the way since then.

 
 

February 2018

 
 
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When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the beloved family beach house to celebrate their father’s eightieth birthday, both cherished memories and long-kept secrets come to light in this charming and lyrical novel from the author of The Lake Season and Mystic Summer. 

 
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1989. Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. An Italian mob murders a black teenager named Yusuf Hawkins. That same night, across the Hudson River in New Jersey, Lisa and Marc meet at a party. Lisa’s black. Marc’s Italian. They eventually hook up. But interpersonal conflict, racist family and friends, and previous relationships loom. Their lives also play out in the charged political context of New York City’s mayoral race, which pits David Dinkins, African-American Democrat, against Rudolph Giuliani, law-and-order Republican. Back to Life is a heady mix of taboo relationships, racial politics, and social commentary that begs the question: Can love really conquer all?

 
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She’s blossomed from a wealthy surgeon’s beautiful daughter to elegant socialite to being the top fashion stylist in the country. And Nora Mackenzie is only days away from marrying into one of New York’s richest, most powerful families. But her fairy tale rise is rooted in an incredible deception—one scandal away from turning her perfect world to ashes . . .

 
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It was like something out of a fairy tale: being swept off her feet, then eloping with her one true love, Houston oil tycoon Brice Kingsley. Then a devastating diagnosis and a threat from her past forced Brooke Smith Kingsley to leave the man she loved. Now she has a chance to make things right, but only if she can keep her secret—and her distance—from her irresistible husband.

 
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From acclaimed author Marita Golden comes a moving African-American family drama of love and devotion in the face of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
 
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward--with hope and pain--into the future.

 
 

January 2018

 
 
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Popular speaker and author Sarah Jakes Roberts shows women they are not disqualified by their pain and failures and offers encouragement and strength to believe God’s best is still possible.

 
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Oprah Winfrey will be the first to tell you, she has had a complicated relationship with food. It’s been both a source of delight and comfort for her, but also the cause of an ongoing struggle with her weight. In Food, Health, and Happiness, Oprah shares the recipes that have allowed eating to finally be joyful for her. With dishes created and prepared alongside her favorite chefs, paired with personal essays and memories from Oprah herself, this cookbook offers a candid, behind-the-scenes look into the life (and kitchen!) of one of the most influential and respected celebrities in the world. Delicious, healthy, and easy to prepare, these are the recipes Oprah most loves to make at home and share with friends and family. From simple pleasures like Unfried Chicken and Turkey Chili, to such celebrations of freshness as Tuscan Kale and Apple Salad and Pasta Primavera, this is food as it should be: a taste of happiness, a ritual to be shared, a toast to life.

 
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David was born a number 8--a hidden gem, often overlooked and undervalued by everyone except for God. For David, being a number 8 seemed like a curse until the day God transformed him from the unknown eighth son of Jesse into the much-honored king of Israel.

When God sends out an invitation to greatness, His directions don't always make sense to us. You may feel like the most invisible, broken number 8 out there, but God sees your hidden value and is growing you for better things. David didn't know it, but his time as a simple shepherd with a dull future did not go unnoticed by God. In David's darkest moments, he was cultivating the kind of gifts, wisdom, and leadership he would need to become a king. Even when you're an underdog in the eyes of the world, God is working behind the scenes to develop you into a king or queen.

 
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What’s a woman to do if her life is not taking shape the way that she thought that it would? What happens when she looks at herself in the mirror, lingering just a little longer than usual and realizes that she no longer recognizes the person staring back at her? What does she do when she sees that, somehow, her life has drifted away from all her original hopes, dreams, or plans?

Speaker, blogger and writer Chrystal Evans Hurst wrote this book because she was that woman. One day she realized that she had somehow wandered away from the life that she had purposed to live a long time ago.

 
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f hair was a woman's crowning glory, then why did Rhonda Eason have a mass of uncontrollable tumbleweed at best? At worst, it was a source of frustration and self-condemnation. Raised in a family of women born with tresses suitable for romance novel heroines, Rhonda was apathetic toward her kinky coils, and, in turn, herself. To Hair and Back - My Journey Toward Self-Love One Strand at a Time is a debut memoir that details her quest for the perfect head of hair and the discovery of something far more meaningful. In this endearing personal narrative, she explores the question: If I am not my hair, then who am I? 

 

Everyone was created with purpose. When they decide to work in that purpose it becomes their life's work. Life work requires grit and grace. This book provides each individual with tools to harness their skills and work in their purpose.

 
 

December 2017

 
 
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Patricia Williams (aka Ms. Pat) was born and raised in Atlanta at the height of the crack epidemic. One of five children, Pat watched as her mother struggled to get by on charity, cons, and petty crimes. At age seven, Pat was taught to roll drunks for money. At twelve, she was targeted for sex by a man eight years her senior. By thirteen, she was pregnant. By fifteen, Pat was a mother of two.

Alone at sixteen, Pat was determined to make a better life for her children. But with no job skills and an eighth-grade education, her options were limited. She learned quickly that hustling and humor were the only tools she had to survive. Rabbit is an unflinching memoir of cinematic scope and unexpected humor. With wisdom and humor, Pat gives us a rare glimpse of what it’s really like to be a black mom in America.

 
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With a lighthearted, razor sharp wit and a unique perspective, I'm Judging You is the handbook the world needs, doling out the hard truths and a road map for bringing some "act right" into our lives, social media, and popular culture. It is the Do-Better Manual.

 
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In a shattering work that shifts between a woman’s private anguish over the loss of her beloved baby cousin and a scholar’s fierce critique of the American prison system, Danielle Allen seeks answers to what, for many years, felt unanswerable. Why? Why did her cousin, a precocious young man who dreamed of being a firefighter and a writer, end up dead? Why did he languish in prison? And why, at the age of fifteen, was he in an alley in South Central Los Angeles, holding a gun while trying to steal someone’s car?

 
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With his trademark acerbic wit, incisive humor, and infectious paranoia, one of our foremost comedians and most politically engaged civil rights activists looks back at 100 key events from the complicated history of black America.

 
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Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.

 

The true essence of yoga is what you do from your heart, not what you do with your body. Yoga is a transformational art designed to bring our mind, body and spirit back into balance. It helps us to appreciate who we are and love the skin that we are in. In popular media only one type of yoga body is highlighted and there is little representation for fuller bodied women. Because of this, many women don't think they have the "yoga body" and hesitate exploring yoga, even though it has countless benefits. YES! Yoga Has Curves serves as a testament that yoga is for EVERYbody and that no one physical size is better suited for practice. It celebrates beautiful goddesses of all curvy shapes and sizes and finally allows the beauty of our curves to be recognized in this blessed art called yoga.

 
 

November 2017

 
 
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Evelyn is a Creole woman who comes of age in New Orleans at the height of World War II. Her family inhabits the upper echelon of Black society, and when she falls for no-account Renard, she is forced to choose between her life of privilege and the man she loves. 

 
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Will a forty-year-old woman with everything on the line – her high-stakes career, ticking biological clock, bank account – risk it all for an intensely lusty secret romance with the one person who could destroy her comeback, for good?

 
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From the national bestselling and award-winning ReShonda Tate Billingsley comes this gripping and emotional exploration of the complex bond between mother and daughter.
 

 
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Acclaimed author Renee Watson offers a powerful story about a girl striving for success in a world that too often seems like it's trying to break her.

 
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Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love. 

In this vivid reimagining of the French classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses, it’s the summer when Jackie Robinson breaks Major League Baseball’s color barrier and a sweltering stretch has Harlem’s elite fleeing the city for Westchester County’s breezier climes, two predators stalk amidst the manicured gardens and fine old homes.

 
 

October 2017

 
 
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From Taraji P. Henson, Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe winner, and star of the award-winning film Hidden Figures, comes an inspiring and funny memoir—“a bona fide hit” (Essence)—about family, friends, the hustle required to make it in Hollywood, and the joy of living your own truth.

 
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For more than 100 years, the small Southern town of Tuskegee, Alabama, has been a mecca for African Americans. The Tuskegee Institute, founded by former slave Booker T. Washington in 1881, grew from a fledgling school to become a major center of American progress and education. This unique narrative cookbook traces the history and heritage of Tuskegee through reminiscences, vintage photographs, poetry, journal entries, and more than 200 recipes for delicious appetizers, entrées, side dishes, breads, beverages, and desserts that reflect the diverse and mouthwatering flavors of Southern African American cuisine.

 
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With We Are Never Meeting in Real Life., “bitches gotta eat” blogger and comedian Samantha Irby turns the serio-comic essay into an art form. Whether talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making “adult” budgets, explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette—she's "35-ish, but could easily pass for 60-something"—detailing a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father's ashes, sharing awkward sexual encounters, or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms—hang in there for the Costco loot—she’s as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths.

 
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Blending the informed analysis of The Signal and the Noise with the instructive iconoclasm of Think Like a Freak, a fascinating, illuminating, and witty look at what the vast amounts of information now instantly available to us reveals about ourselves and our world—provided we ask the right questions.

 
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Lilly Singh isn’t just a superstar. She’s Superwoman—which is also the name of her wildly popular YouTube channel. Funny, smart, and insightful, the actress and comedian covers topics ranging from relationships to career choices to everyday annoyances. It’s no wonder she’s garnered more than a billion views. But Lilly didn’t get to the top by being lucky—she had to work for it. Hard.

The highly acclaimed, provocative New York Times bestseller—a personal, eloquently-argued essay, adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah. Here she offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

 
 

September 2017

 
 
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Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.

 
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From talented debut author Simone Kelly comes this suspenseful novel that crackles with intrigue, sex, and plenty of surprises—perfect for fans of Eric Jerome Dickey and Carl Weber.

 
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In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways; yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. A woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy general wanders into the desert, hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different—special—she names her Onyesonwu, which means "Who fears death?" in an ancient language.

 

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