BostonPublic Library
Black Is ... 2010:
Books about the African-American Experience
Booklists for Adults
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The Black is Booklist is a list of recent books concerning the African-American experience, and is published as part of the Boston Public Library’s observance of Black History Month each year.


Barack Obama
Barack Obama The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory
by David Plouffe
President Obama’s campaign manager reveals his successful election tactics.
JK526.2008.P55 2009

Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage

by Christopher P. Andersen
A portrait of the first couple.
E908.3.A53 2009

The Inauguration of Barack Obama: A Photographic Journal
Produced by the Washington Post
Gorgeous images and text of the ceremonies of the 2009 inauguration.

Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales
by Clarence Clemons and Don Reo
The autobiography of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band saxophone player.
ML420.C547A3 2009

The Black Girl Next Door: A Memoir
by Jennifer Lynn Baszile
The memoir of a girl growing up in an exclusive white California community.
I869.P25B37 2009

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
by William Kamkwamba with Bryan Mealer
The story of a Malawian boy who builds a windmill to electrify his village.
TJ825.K36 2009

Brain Surgeon: A Doctor’s Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles
by Keith Black with Arnold Mann
The story of an neurosurgeon and his studies of the human brain.
RC339.52.B53A3 2009

The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays
by Chinua Achebe
Autobiographical essays by one of Nigeria’s greatest writers.
PR9387.9.A3Z46 2009

A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School

by Carlotta Walls LaNier with Lisa Frazier Page
The story of Carlotta Walls and the other teens who integrated the Arkansas high school.
LC214.23.L56 L36 2009

Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong
by Terry Teachout
The biography of one of America’s most innovative and beloved jazz musicians.
ML419.A75T43 2009

Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend
by Bill Russell with Alan Steinberg
The professional and personal relationship between the great Boston Celtics player and coach.
GV884.A8R87 2009

Shooting Stars
by LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger
The early life of the current star of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
GV994.J36J36 2009

Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother’s Story
by Asha Bandele
The story of a woman who fell in love with a prisoner and is now raising their daughter.
HQ759.915.B36 2009

Triangular Road: A Memoir
by Paule Marshall
Author Paule Marshall grew up in Brooklyn, NY with other immigrants from Barbados.
PS3563.A7223Z46 2009

Where Did You Sleep Last Night?: A Personal History

by Danzy Senna
The story of a mixed race American girl and the very different backgrounds of her parents.
PS3569.E618Z46 2009

Bicycles: Love Poems
by Nikki Giovanni
Nikki Giovanni wrote 65 poems to celebrate her 65 years as a poet.
PS3557.I55B43 2009x

Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook
by Patrick and Gina Neely with Paula Disbrowe
Southern and barbecue recipes by two stars of the Food Network.
TX715.2.S68N434 2009

I Am the New Black
by Tracy Morgan and Anthony Bozza
The rise and subsequent struggles of the New York comedian and actor.
PN2287.M6996A3 2009

Michael (Jackson)
by the Editors of Rolling Stone; Edited by Jason Fine
A collection of 30 years of articles and photographs from Rolling Stone on “The King of Pop.”
ML420.J175M38 2009

Permission Slips: Every Woman’s Guide to Giving Herself a Break
by Sherri Shepherd
How the mother, daughter, actress, comedian and television host copes with her many roles.
PN1992.4.S487A3 2009

Posing Beauty: African-American Images from the 1890s to the Present

by Deborah Willis
A collection of historic and contemporary photographs of African-Americans.
TR680.W53 2009

The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama
by Gwen Ifill
The story of new African-American politicians, including Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
E185.615.I34 2009

The Fence: A Police Cover-up along Boston’s Racial Divide

by Dick Lehr
Two Boston cops become embroiled in violence and an extensive cover-up.
HV8148.B72 L44 2009

In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed their Past
by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Nineteen African Americans get their DNA tested with astonishing results.
E185.96.G384 2009

Life is Short but Wide
by J. California Cooper
Historian and gossip Hattie B. Brown tells the story of her small Oklahoma town.

Nappily in Bloom
by Trisha R. Thomas
This is a fast-paced novel involving domestic violence, custody issues, and kidnapping.

Sag Harbor: A Novel
by Colson Whitehead
A teen spends a memorable summer in an African-American Hamptons community.

The Thirteenth: A Vampire Huntress Legend
by L.A. Banks
The Neteru Guardians battle the Armageddon in this final book in the series.

God Only Knows
by Xavier Knight
Julie Turner, a single mother, deals with events from her past.

Lady Jasmine
by Victoria Christopher Murray
With the help of her faith, Jasmine protects her family during a crisis.

The Memory Quilt: A Christmas Story for Our Time
by T.D. Jakes
A grandmother creates a quilt based on the ten lessons of the birth of Jesus Christ.

The Consequences of Love: A Novel
by Sulaiman S.M.Y. Addonia
In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, an Eritrean immigrant falls in love with a Saudi woman.

Lime Tree Can’t Bear Orange: A Novel
by Amanda Smyth
Tobagan orphan Celia D’Abadie flees to Trinidad to escape her uncle’s advances.

Some Dream for Fools

by Faïza Guène
A young Algerian woman struggles to survive in Paris.

The Thing around Your Neck
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A collection of short stories about Nigerians in Africa and in the United States.

Black Noir: Mystery, Crime, and Suspense Stories by African-American Writers
Edited by Otto Penzler
A collection of classic and modern crime stories by African-American authors.

Black Water Rising

by Attica Locke
Houston attorney Jay Porter gets involved in a messy murder.

Jericho’s Fall

by Stephen L. Carter
Many people are after the secrets of Jericho Ainsley, the dying former head of the CIA.

The Long Fall (new series)
by Walter Mosley
Private Detective Leonid McGill attempts to reform after a life of shady deals.

The Morning Show Murders: A Novel

by Al Roker and Dick Lochte
Chef Billy Blessing tries to find out who killed the producer who ate at his restaurant.

Murder in the Latin Quarter

by Cara Black
Parisian private detective Aimee Leduc investigates the murder of a Haitian woman.


by Hugh Holton
Chicago cop Larry Cole works a case involving his son, a corrupt lawyer, and a woman.

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

by Alexander McCall Smith
Botswanan Precious Ramotswe, the #1 Ladies’ Detective, investigates soccer sabotage.

Wife of the Gods: A Novel

by Kwei J. Quartey
Ghanaian Detective Inspector Darko Dawson investigates a small-town murder.

by Teri Woods
A Philadelphia drug dealer kills two rivals and steals their supply.

A Deep, Dark Secret
by Kimberla Lawson Roby
A girl who was sexually abused by her stepfather is afraid to tell.

The Devil Is a Lie
by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
Nina Lawson wins $16 million and is suddenly besieged with relatives and exes.

God Ain’t Blind
by Mary Monroe
Newly slim and stylish Annette takes up with Louis, a man with a dubious past.

Let’s Get It On
by Jill Nelson
Female entrepreneurs open a women-only spa providing cosmetic and sexual services.

Mama Dearest: A Novel

by E. Lynn Harris
Ambitious Yancey Harrington Braxton and Ava, her ex-con mother, return.

Playing Dirty
by Kiki Swinson
Miami attorney Yoshi Lomax gets involved in the city’s criminal underground.

Sisters & Husbands
by Connie Briscoe
Beverly sees her sisters’ relationships crumbling and wonders if she should marry her fiancé.

Thug Lovin’
by Wahida Clark
Do Tasha and Trae leave the ’hood behind when they move to LA?

2010 Black Is… Committee Members

  • Marylou Coveney
  • Amy Manson, Connolly Branch
  • Margaret Phillibert, Lower Mills Branch
  • Anne Smart, South End Branch