17 September 2012

Article: IceBerg Slim Documentary Debuts at Toronto Film Festival



The star and subject of new documentary "Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp"
(Toronto International Film Festival 2012)


The documentary film brings to life, the autobiographical novel of pioneering street lit author, Iceberg Slim (1918-1992), entitled: Pimp, The Story of My Life (originally published in 1969).

From the article:  
" "Iceberg Slim," which is also being sold for U.S. distribution, is a passion project through-and-through. Ice-T and Hinojosa spent years developing it, tracking down family members and shaping it into a story they felt would do justice to his legacy. 
The result is an excellent primer about the man born Robert Beck, who went from pimp to convict and then, with the help of his wife and co-writer, bestselling author with 1969's "Pimp: The Story of My Life." (Slim died in 1992; his books are not only still popular but they're studied with the rigor of a Ralph Ellison.) Through interviews with members of his family and others close to him, "Slim" teases out a portrait of a troubled soul and the way art can be used to redeem it. If there's a larger-than-life quality to the story it's only because Slim really lived that large."


This title should definitely be a staple in your library collection, as it is a defining classic in the street lit genre. It is readily available via all major book retailer and vendor outlets.

Wikipedia's article on Iceberg Slim is informative.

12 September 2012

New Reads: Independent Authors For Your Collection

Greetings! No doubt your urban fiction / street lit collection has dwindled from the summer reading season. Now that we are in the back-to-school mode this is a good time to replenish your collection with newer authors. I'm listing YA titles in this post.

YA FICTION

Harper, A.J. SMOKE & DEMONS: A TALE OF URBAN HORROR. UrbanHorror.com. 2011. ISBN: 978-1-461184454 | 360 pages | Paperback | $15.99 USD




Annotation: This is a story set in Oakland, California, that puts a horror twist on urban fiction. Labeled as young adult fiction, this novel is about Omari, a teen boy living in Oakland who is plagued by nightmares of demons trying to kill him. Soon after, his sister and best friend start having the dreams too! Are the dreams real? Drug dealers, vampires, werewolves, telepaths, and demons reveal themselves in Omari's worlds, making it clear that yes, dreams can be very, very real. 

Review: This is a creatively conceived story. I worry that it might be a bit too long for urban YA readers. I also worry that there might be too many characters and themes throughout the book to keep track of the main story. Alas, because this book is independently published, sans the luxury of a professional editor, there are many typographical errors throughout. However, if you can forgive these flaws in order to introduce your readers to something different and new, this title may be worth the pick. Recommended for A/YA, ages 16 and up, in public libraries everywhere.

Author Website: http://urbanhorror.com/index.html


Spenzer, S. Newman. BABY DADDY. CreatSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Lexington, KY, 2012. ISBN: 978-1475027716 | 145 pages | Paperback | $9.99 USD




Author's synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Deshawn has been named in a paternity suit after a thoughtless sexual encounter at a party. He is desperate to conceal his plight from his mother, a single parent with a meager income. Determined to protect his mother from this nightmare, Deshawn is torn between fleeing or facing the legal process alone. He tries to navigate his way through a hostile system, and quickly finds himself labeled a "deadbeat dead". The legal system proves itself to be hostile and alienating to the young and bewildered Deshawn. All the harassment from insufferable lawyers and caseworkers finally gets Deshawn to his breaking point and a physical altercation leads him to an unexpected discovery that permanently alters his life.

My review:
 Deshawn's story was very well crafted. Teens everywhere would learn a lot from reading this novel. Spenzer's emotive writing gives the story a very realistic tone that makes for a fast read. Deshawn's losses are steep, and his wins are hard fought, but very worth it. This story is reminiscent of Angela Johnson's The First Part Last (2005), but with hardships and realities that are more gritty and raw for this character, who exists in an inner city environment. Highly recommended for teen readers everywhere. [This book is available on Amazon.com.]