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Shelf Renewal

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Nobody puts backlist in a corner—readers'-advisory experts Karen Kleckner Keefe and Rebecca Vnuk bring attention to older titles by featuring "dusty books" and offering read-alikes for what’s hot on the holds list.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013 7:00 am
Dusty Books: African American Women’s Fiction
Posted by: Rebecca Vnuk

In Connie Briscoe’s soapy P.G. County, Barbara reigns supreme over a group of affluent neighbors including the sexy Jolene, hippie Candice, and hairdresser Pearl. When a runaway teenager, looking for her unknown father, enters the scene, drama ensues.

Singing in the Comeback Choir by Bebe Moore Campbell is the story of Maxine, a successful TV talk show producer with a stressful life. Her Hollywood career ebbs and flows with the ratings, her husband has cheated on her, and she worries about her grandmother, who refuses to leave her dangerous Philadelphia neighborhood.

In Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant’s Far from the Tree, disparate sisters Celeste and Ronnie discover that their late father has left them a house. Their mother, Della, has nothing but bad memories of the place, and tries to keep the sisters from even visiting the place.  Family secrets unfold.

In Bettye Griffn’s Nothing But Trouble, three friends find their relationships tested when one of their sisters enters the picture. Cecile’s sexy younger sister Micheline moves to town and starts hitting on her friends’ men, and Cecile needs to decide between her sister and her friends.

Sugar vs. Spice by Joanne Skerrett gives us Tari,  newspaper journalist by day and aspiring jazz singer by night.  Her older sister Melinda, a wife, mother, and career woman, would like to see Tari follow in her more sensible footsteps, but Tari enjoys her carefree life. When Tari discovers she has breast cancer, she decides to conceal her illness from her coworkers and fellow musicians, but luckily her family is there to rally around her.

In Tia Williams’ The Accidental Diva, an uptown girl meets a downtown boy. Billie, beauty editor of a leading national magazine, loves her glamorous, upscale New York life  and is on the brink of a promotion when she meets Jay, a performance artist with a shady past. Can their worlds ever combine, or are they just too different to make it work? A fun insider look at the beauty industry as well as a serious look at how your past can make you or break you.


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