Ebony and Ivory on 3 Pages

All three of these books tackle the topic of race relations between blacks and whites in America. There are two novels and one work of non-fiction.

BlackBlack Card
Chris L. Terry
Hardcover $25
On Street: August 13, 2019 / Catapult 

For fans of the hilarious TV series Black-ish: Race is fake. Race is real. Well, in Africa they say all stories are true. This is what I thought about when I first grabbed a copy of Terry’s novel, Black Card. Like the painfully self-effacing girl in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, this young, biracial narrator is never named. Symbolism intended. The offspring of an African American dad and a white mom, our hero loses his “Black Card” when he fails to speak up during aa racist incident. The rest of the novel is him trying to get it back, winding up entangled with a white police officer after the narrator’s black female coworker is attacked.

Why it’s Worth Choosing

  • Because when a book is listed as “wickedly funny” on the dust jacket, I can’t wait to rip into it. Although the phrase “daringly smart” doesn’t hurt either.
  • The author’s debut novel, Zero Fade, was named a Best Book of the Year by Slate and Kirkus Reviews so you know the man can write.

LinesThe Lines Between Us: 2 families & a Quest to Cross Baltimore’s Racial Divide
Lawrence Lanahan
Hardback: $28.99
On Street: May 2019 / The New Press

Mark is a devout white Christian man who sells his suburban home to move to Baltimore’s inner city. Nicole is a black mother determined to leave West Baltimore for the suburbs Mark has just elected to vacate. As the two pack up their lives and change paces, award-winning journalist Lanahan examines the enormous disparities created by race in access to safe housing, good education, and decent jobs.

Lanahan asks the tough question of what it will take to save our cities: Do we put money into poor segregated neighborhoods? Or do we try to move families out into areas with more opportunity?

Why it’s Worth Choosing

  • The author is not only a recipient of the Carey Institute’s Logana Nonfiction Fellowship, and the Columbia University duPont Award, but he lives and works in Baltimore.
  • As a journalist for NPR’s Morning Edition, Lanahan knows how to capture and hold a listener’s interest. And that is to tell a large story through a tiny lens.
  • For folks who are drawn to popular social science books like Evicted, Just Mercy, and The Master Plan (also by a Baltimore native).

And Last, But Definitely Not Least

DifferentA Different Drummer
William Melvin Kelley
Paperback: $16
On Street: June 4, 2019 / Anchor Books 

The New Yorker calls this classic “a lost giant of American literature”. In print since 1962, the fierce and imaginative novel enjoyed a recent rediscovery by the reading public after the author’s death. The plot: In the Deep South, a young black farmer named Tucker Caliban decides to burn down his house, salt his fields, shoot his horse and head north with his wife and child. This departure sets off an exodus of the state’s entire black population, throwing the state’s white residents into confused disarray.

Why it’s Worth Choosing

  • Even though this is a first novel, it got comparisons to James Baldwin, William Faulkner, and James Joyce.
  • The tone is ultimately both sympathetic and sorrowful; blistering and spirited.
  • The alternative world of this book is complex and imaginative, like that of Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, or Ben Winters’ Underground Airlines.



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