Fire Shut Up in My Bones (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $27) by journalist Charles M. Blow is a memoir that’s starkly written while covering very serious issues of sexual abuse from Blow’s past and its reverberating effects throughout his high school, college and adult life. This work depicts the man’s maturation while dealing with a child’s betrayal and trying to get past it. But is it truly about getting past it or understanding where his duplicitous urges lie? In short, it’s about a man accepting himself. Check him out at

Cosby: His Life and Times (Simon & Schuster $29.99) by Mark Whitaker is possibly the best biography written on Bill Cosby to date. It covers the arc of the public and private life of America’s number-one dad. Readers get to see in detail some of the circumstances of his comedic rise in the West Village in New York City to I Spy (his first television series), his shows that failed, the creation and casting of The Cosby Show, his movies, his courting and marriage to Camille and his family (in wedlock and out), plus his reactions, thoughts and grieving of the death of his son. No scandal goes unturned, and no good deed does either. A well-rounded engaging work, Cosby is a must read.

Rose Gold (Doubleday $29.95) by Walter Mosley is the latest in the Easy Rawlins series following the smash hit return of his detective in Little Green. All the usual characters are there: Mouse, Terry, his go-to for herbs and remedies, and others that make up the minor threads outside of the major case. The LAPD are out for a Black man who kidnapped an important man’s daughter. Is she really kidnapped? Is the kidnapper also the murderer they claim he is? When the FBI gets involved, that’s when Easy Rawlins gets even more out of his comfort zone, because if the government is keeping tabs, what has he really gotten himself into? Find out and enjoy.

Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press $16) by Saeed Jones is a powerful collection of poetry from a Pushcart Prize winning poet. The narrative follows the observations and experiences of Boy through his Southern upbringing and sexual awakening. How hard can it be to realize you’re a man attracted to men in the staunchly conservative South? How would a father interpret it, or a lover? What about the rejection of other men who lust other men but not Black ones? What would it be like to feel stifled and restricted in this same setting? What is it to be supported and loved? All this and more are displayed with a high level of craft, emotion and metaphor. Check him out via his website, You may see some of his editorial for here.

Brook Stephenson