Terri Schlichenmeyer



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“Bad Men and Wicked Women” by Eric Jerome Dickey

Blood is thicker than water. That’s what they say: your relationship with family – blood – is stronger than any connection you’ll have with someone unrelated. Blood is thicker than water – except, perhaps, as in the new novel “Bad Men and Wicked Women” by Eric Jerome Dickey, when the blood shed is your own.

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“Soon: An Overdue History of Procrastinaton, from Leonardo and Darwin to You and Me” by Andrew Santella

Just do it. That’s a demand that comes from everywhere. Sneakers say it, your spouse says it, the law demands it, your diet may say it; your boss does, for sure. Just do it. Buckle down and get it done because, as in the new book “Soon” by Andrew Santella, delaying and dawdling are not so delightful.

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“All the Women in My Family Sing,” edited by Deborah Santana

Spoken or unspoken, serious or in jest, you get asked that question all the time. Where are you from? Who are your parents? Have you been here before, and what do you do? In “All The Women in My Family Sing,” edited by Deborah Santana, the questions stand: who are you and what is your story?

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“Down the River Unto the Sea” by Walter Mosley

Something’s wrong. It may look just fine, but you know better. Call it intuition, call it plain-as-day, but there’s something off, something not-quite-right about a situation and it’s gotten under your skin. You can’t ignore it and you can’t let it be. As in the new novel, “Down the River Unto the Sea” by Walter Mosley, it’s time to set things right. The last thing Joe King Oliver needed was that letter.

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“Grandma’s Purse” by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

What’s in the bag? It looks like it could be a surprise. Lots of things that come in a sack that size are good things. Maybe it’s a doll or a truck or a bar of chocolate. Maybe it’s a whistle or a puzzle. Or maybe, as in the new book “Grandma’s Purse” by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, it’s a whole lot more than that...

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“Black Fortunes” by Shomari Wills

A dollar doesn’t buy as much as it used to. Once upon a time, you could get a good steak and a drink for under ten bucks. You could buy a house for less than five figures, and it was big enough to raise a good-sized family in it. A dollar used to stretch farther, last longer, buy more, and in the new book “Black Fortunes” by Shomari Wills, it took fewer dollars to make someone rich.

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“The Self-Discipline Handbook” by Natalie Wise

Take your pick. Television, or getting that project done. Finishing tax-prep, or cruising online? Burritos, or bananas? Take your pick, life always has choices… but read “The Self-Discipline Handbook” by Natalie Wise first, and you may gain more willpower. Take a look at the closest dictionary, and you’ll see that self-discipline is basically “passion and purpose” and “doing what we think is right.” So now you know what it means… but does that make it any easier?

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So You Want to Talk about Race” by Ijeoma Oluo

It’s all there in front of you. Plain as day. Plain as the nose on your face with nothing left to tell, it’s all in black and white – or is it? When it comes to racism, says author Ijeoma Oluo, it’s complicated and in her new book “So You Want to Talk about Race,” there may be shades of gray.

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“When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir” by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & asha bandele, with a foreword by Angela Davis

You can’t look any longer. Whatever it is, it’s just too painful, too scary, so you hide your eyes and pretend that nothing’s happening. You can’t look any longer, so you don’t… but after awhile, you notice it again. That’s when you realize that you saw all along. That’s when, as in the new book “When They Call You a Terrorist” by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & asha bandele, you realize that you never really could look away.

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“Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, A Monumental American Man” by Tonya Bolden

You’re not backing down. There’s a line in the sand and nobody’s crossing it on your watch. When something isn’t right and you can fix it, you’re going to defend it, too, even if it costs you. As you’ll see in “Facing Frederick” by Tonya Bolden, if you lived in the mid-1800s, you’d be in good company.

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