What's on Your Reading List this Summer?

By A. Scott Walton Executive Editor | 7/26/2013, 1:19 p.m.
As evidenced by the stacks of books sent into the Atlanta Voice for review, there’s certainly no shortage of choices.

“Touch Yourself Thirty Ways: To Boldly Live, Love and Let Go!”, by Deya “Direct” Smith, 189 pages.

The founder and CEO of the Miss Black USA pageant employs motivational quotes from the likes of Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Eleanor Roosevelt, Warren Buffett and Beyonce and the biblical verses of Matthew as springboards for encouragement. This multi-faceted read broaches topics as broad as health, finances, career goals and body images to explore and solve the quandaries women must mirror-up to on a day-to-day basis.

“Love Him or Leave Him: But Don’t Get Stuck with the Tab”, by Loni Love, 244 pages.

A broken heart is no laughing matter. But the high-profile actress/comedian Loni Love takes some of the sting out of failed romances with witty remarks and insights that her fellow comic, D.L. Hughley, thinks women should be ‘banned’ from reading. Love pulls no punches in discussing the tricky details of dating, co-habitating, breaking up and moving on. This tome will help some forlorn ladies laugh to keep from crying.

“High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America”, by Jessica B. Harris, 265 pages.

Maya Angelou writes in the foreword to this thoroughly-researched book about how soul food customs migrated from the Motherland and evolved in the U.S. that it may turn off readers who collect Harris’ cook books strictly for her recipes. But the way Harris traces history, and explores the bonds people forge between food and each other is something to savor. The recipes may be put on the back burner (pages 247-265), but other ingredients like essays, rare photos and historical analyses make this an appetizing read.

“Drop Dead Gorgeous”, by J.D. Mason, 304 pages.

In this her tenth book, Mason seems to have mastered the formulaic approach to writing pop fiction for the urban market: conceive an empathetic heroine; thrust her into an ill-advised relationship; mix in some intrigue; and put her at a crossroads leading to either damnation or redemption. Davis spins good bedtime yarns, and “Drop Dead…” won’t leave you yawning.

“The Blood of Titans”, by C. Michael Forsyth, 280 pages.

Who said all romance novels geared toward Black readers have to be set in contemporary urban America? Forsyth weaves a reverent tale of love and heartache between an ancient African princess and the Warrior King she adores, while injecting historical perspective on another time and place. This is a refreshing and enlightening spin on common themes of romance, violence, betrayal and ambition.

“Beyond Stereotypes in Black and White: How Everyday Leaders Can Build Healthier Opportunities for African American Boys and Men”, by Henrie M. Treadwell, 250 pages.

As this nation struggles to cope with the Trayvon Martin ordeal’s aftermath, this thoughtful collection of essays that explore real problems and propose real solutions could not be more timely. Treadwell, a Morehouse School of Medicine research professor, has done the nation – not just the Black community – a favor by compiling a wealth of information and presenting it in a digestible manner.