Bookends Blog

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February is Black History Month, so at Bookends we are featuring books by and about African-Americans. We have several for young readers. Among the biographies are “Martin Luther King” by Bains and “Marvelous Michael Jackson” by McCall. An historical fiction about the chaos during the freedom rider days is “The Waltons Go to Birmingham” by Curtis. It is for young adults. Bill Cosby has written an entertaining book, “The Best Way to Play: A Little Bill Book for Beginning Readers,” level 3. “Steal Away Home” by Ruby is a book about the underground railroad. “Lola Loves Stories” is a beautifully illustrated book by McQuinn for very young readers.     

In the literature category, we have “Spin a Soft Black Song: Poems for Children” by famous black poet Nikki Giovanni. “The Souls of Black Folks” is a seminal work by W.E.B. DuBois. A different kind of book is “The Wind Done Gone,” a parody of “Gone with the Wind.” This is told from a black perspective.

There are two contemporary novels, “Little Bee” by Cleave and “Scenes from Sistah” by Files.

Those readers with an interest in history will enjoy “No Turning Back.” “My Summer with Daddy King,” is  the true account of a minister who interned with Rev. King at his church.

There are two books about the slave trade: “Black Odyssey: The Case of the Slave Ship Amistad” and “Amistad” by Pate. It is written as a companion to the movie version.

Walter Moseley has written numerous mysteries. We have “Diablerie” and Six Easy Pieces.”

Biographies for adults include “The Blind Side,” the true story of pro football player Michael Lewis from a dysfunctional family who was taken in by a white family. The book was made into a movie.

Colin Powell’s “The American Journey” is an excellent memoir of his rise. In “Jordon Rules”, Smith follows Michael for one season with the Chicago Bulls.  Comedian Whoopi Goldberg ‘s “Whoopi Goldberg’s Book” is humorous.

We have three books on President Barak Obama: “Barak Obama in His Own Words”; the award winning “The Audacity of Hope,” and a large photo book “Yes We Can” which covers his campaign.

There have been many successful African –Americans in the field of music. We have books on four. Henderson wrote “’Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky: the Life of Jimi Hendrix.” A companion to the popular television series, “Marsalis on Music,” has great photographs and features Marsalis’ ideas on a wide range of topics related to music.

“Michael Jackson: The Man in the Mirror 1958-2000” Is a large book of photographs related to this super star. (It’s a large coffee table book for only $5.28!)

A definitive biography of Ella Fitzgerald is Fidelman’s “First Lady of Song.”

Come in during Black History Month and choose one of these books. Learn some things you did not know before.



January 10, 2014

You sports' fans have hardly had time to experience withdrawal from college football games. Now it's NFL play-offs and also the college run toward the Final Four. At Bookends we have books on a variety of sports, but for now we'll look at some related to football and basketball.


Good teams require good coaches. Coaches at all levels have influenced their players. In fact, a book edited by Andrew Blauer is a different kind of tribute: "Coach! 25 Writers Reflect on People Who Made a Difference," includes the writers Pat Conroy. John Irving,  David Maraniss and Frank Deford, to name a few. If you've read these authors, you will know some sports show up in their works.


Basketball fans will recognize the name Lute Olson, Hall of Fame coach. His autobiography traces his career from his time as a three sport athlete at small Augsburg College. A family man, Lute's book covers more than his sporting life. Joe Namath and Terry Bradshaw, NFL quarterbacks, tell their stories in entertaining books.


The somewhat infamous basketball coach, Bobby Knight, coached for years at Indiana University. His story is told in "On the Brink: A Year with Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers." The book is about a more complex individual than just a chair thrower. (An aside: A classmate of mine was a professor at IU who often played tennis with Bobby. He said the coach was amazingly calm when not on a basketball court.)


Two good sports books were recently made into successful movies. "Friday Night Lights", by Bissinger, is the story of the Permian Panther, the Odessa, Texas, team that won the most games in Texas high school football history. "The Blind Side," by Michael Lewis, tells the moving story of Michael Oher, who became an NFL player. One of 13 children with a mom who was a drug addict, Oher was taken in by a rich white family. He became one of the family.


Not everything in sports is sweetness and light. A book which reveals the darker side of the NBA is "Out of Bounds: Inside the NBAs cultureof Rape, Violence and Crime," by Jeff Benedict is based on over 400 interviews as well as examination of numerous articles. Another book