Michael Jordan: The Life (Little, Brown & Company $35) by Roland Lazenby is a comprehensive look at the life and times of the man and the legend. What’s truly different is how Lazenby takes into account how life and mindset of the basketball legend’s father influenced the man we came to know early on. In short, this is a great work for any sports enthusiast and B-ball fan to read about one of the best that ever came to the game.
Jean-Michel Basquiat Drawing: Work from the Schorr Family Collection (Rizzoli $60) by Fred Hoffman. Painter Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1980s blitz of the art world is ongoing. While many clamor for his canvas paintings, the Schorrs were also about his paper works. It’s a must-have coffee table book for the most general art enthusiast. Get it before it goes out of print or has a second printing.
The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death (Doubleday $24.95) by Colson Whitehead leads the reader down a road his fans likely haven’t been before via a man who’s been recently divorced. It may feel a bit discombobulated in a Hunter S. Thompson sort of way, but it’s definitely something different from the brother who brought us The Intuitionist and John Henry Days. This work takes the reader across space and time—physically to Atlantic City, mentally like a stream of consciousness, and, of course, reflectively through a few rounds and hands of poker.
The Residue Years (Bloomsbury $17) by Mitchell S. Jackson is out in paperback. Flipping between two protagonists—a mother, Grace, and her son, Champ—this novel takes the reader into the raw psyche of two people trying to make it in urban America. The problems and setbacks life may pile upon you don’t make the job of either mother or son easy. This brother from Portland, Oregon is just getting started. Put Mitchell S. Jackson on your radar and read this stat.
Black and White: The Way I See It (Atria $25) by Richard Williams is a page-turner—not only about Venus and Serena Williams’s tennis stardom beginnings to present (that’s in there too), but about the rise of the man who’d become their father, complete with all the storytelling and principles he’d infuse his daughters with to become their hero. Black men don’t become heroes every day, especially if you’re born and raised in racially charged Louisiana through the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s and could be killed just speaking up. Read it.
Buck (Spiegel & Grau $15) by M. K. Asante is out in paperback. If you haven’t already read this memoir about growing up in Philadelphia, then get it. Captivating to say the least, Asante takes the reader through his life, times and music, as he matures and learns from everything and everyone, including a chance at founding an alternative school to come. Check out the trailer here.
Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore (Doubleday $25.95) by Walter Mosley is different for the storied author—not speculative fiction, not an Easy Rawlins mystery, and not nonfiction. It’s the Los Angeles readers find in the Rawlins series, minus Mouse or anyone else you know. This time it’s a heroine coming into her own after years navigating the world in porn-blonde hair, blue eyes, breast implants, fighting against underworld pornography extorters, cops, friends and enemies. Debbie could be the beginning of a new series or just the story of a woman putting her past behind her—murder, mayhem and all. You decide.
The Prodigal Son (Grand Central Publishing $24.98) by New York Times best-selling author Kimberla Lawson Roby is the 11th title in her Reverend Curtis Black series. Popular to say the least, even if you start here you’ll quickly be brought up to speed on all that’s happened: the betrayals, the jealousy, the infidelity and the struggles of the pastor, his wife, his daughter, and specifically his sons. When the firstborn, out-of-wedlock son is brought into the fold, everything changes. Enjoy.