Enter the Wu-Tang: How Nine Men Changed Hip-Hop Forever (Lone Gunman Media $14.95) by Alan Page will be a walk down memory lane for any Wu–Tang Clan fan. Thick with quotes from various interviews over various topics, this book will bring it all back. On the creative and the business side, the group’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) debuted a crew who loved kung-fu movies and hip-hop, believed they could do more with that, and did. Maybe you can change the game in the genre you’re working in by studying how the Wu-Tang Clan did it through hip-hop? This is that story, broken down into chambers or chapters. If you loved Wu-Tang and wonder how it all came to be, get this quick.
The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Right Act (Bloomsbury $28) by Clay Risen is a book you’ll want to own in hardcover. The country is standing on this Act’s shoulders, but the intricacies of how it came to be are larger than the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington. Revealing and amazing, this historical narrative evolves complete with well-needed endnotes. In 1962, attorney general Robert Kennedy implored James Baldwin to get a group of Black intelligentsia together so he could hear exactly what the problems were. Baldwin convened Lena Horne, Harry Belafonte, Lorraine Hansberry and a few other accomplished professionals. Imagine Kennedy berated by the black intelligentsia. After this conversation, the Kennedy administration started to actively work towards creating legislation against segregation. The Civil Right Act of 1964 wasn’t easy to create or pass but it was necessary. Read the book.
Astonishing Heroes: Shades of Justice (Createspace $12.99) by Gary Phillips.
Gary Phillips is the man. Writing short stories, comics and mysteries, this brother is well established in the game of publishing. In Astonishing Heroes, he brings 10 stories with villains in reoccurring establishments: strip clubs, seedy motels and a noir Los Angeles, showing neigborhoods Walter Mosley and Sin City’s Frank Miller would love. All the pieces are here: hand-to-hand combat action, demons and magic to boot, internal dialogue, buckets of high-caliber bullets, plus scantily clad women and the heroes they love. Add a Black Dynamite blaxploitative filter and you’re in—leather jacket, politics, and all. Separating the activist from the writer isn’t how Phillips or his stories work. Check out more about the author at gdphillips.com.
A Detroit Anthology (Rust Belt Chic Press $20.00), edited by Anna Clark, is one of the surprise hits of the year. While many books have been written on and about Detroit by writers who have visited, this anthology of prose, poetry, and essays is written by the metro area’s residents themselves. Familiar names like dream hampton, poet Tyhimbe Jess and curator Ingrid LaFleur are in there, but it’s the wide ethnic array of voices that truly shows the facets of Detroit life. There are the Greek and Jewish stories of flight and return, poems that conjure all types of imagery, and a story of a woman whose every school attended has been closed. Detroit is in flux, but this isn’t a sad collection. A Detroit Anthology is a tapestry of memories and musings to experience. Clark has given the people a place to speak. Listen.