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Parade of Shades
by Jewel Hopson
All her life Karen Baker reacts to people who either praise or resent her tawny complexion. When her mother abandons the family, a biracial (Arab/White) woman from the Big Brothers-Big Sisters’ mentor program briefly steps into place and the encounter begins a change in Karen. She quickly learns that everything has a price. For instance, her entertainment choices are even more unpopular among her classmates than her vocabulary. Lacking a sense of belonging, Karen feels misunderstood in high school and defensive in college. Her failed romances with men of various ethnic groups make her life worse. Her problems follow her into the business world as Karen leaves Homewood, Pittsburgh’s largest ghetto. As she journeys through her life, she gives up the idea that light skin and long hair are the main definitions of beauty. She also stops believing college graduates are better than people who do not have an advanced education. As in Passin’ by Karen E. Quinones Miller and Good Hair by Benilde Little, this coming-of-age novel explores African-Americans’ internal color and cultural discrimination.
Lucky Southern Women
by Susannah Eanes
The rural landscape entwines around the lives of two passionate yet very different women, as the challenges they face as adults threaten to dissolve the bonds they forged as youngsters, and destroy the beliefs that brought them up out of lonely childhood. Only in the acceptance of reality, which threatens to result in the rejection of nearly everything they had believed in the past, can Sophie and Phoebe forge a way ahead for themselves and those they love. In so doing, they find each has an unknown strength that will be summoned for their greatest challenge of all, for what these two women face together will either destroy families and friendship, or ensure survival, lasting happiness, and love.
The Blues, Mary
by Sarah Kay
An Irish journalist living in New York discovers, through reflective narrative circling a series of interviews with members of a rock’n’roll band, the interdependency of creation, craft, and audience, the key to understanding himself and what happened to his relationship with his beloved Mary, and how none of it matters or makes any sense until he learns where he really wants to be.