soul junk

I am subscribed to my local library’s great reads newsletter.  The library service emails patrons listings of new book releases in different categories. For the past two years I’ve been getting the African American New Releases. And for two years I have exclusively seen books that are about neurotically religious freaks that sleep with preachers, pimps, kinky sex pots, gold diggers and drug dealers.  Here is a sample of the listing I received today:


African American December 2012

New and Recently Released

 By the Grace of God – by Keshia Dawn

Gracie looks to God for strength when her fiancé, Dillian, leaves her one day without so much as a warning, and when she finds out the reason for his abrupt departure, it causes her world to flip upside down.

Outcast – by Lewis Ericson

A gritty, page-turning Urban Renaissance debut introduces a troubled young man who gets mixed-up in a dangerous drug trade that threatens to destroy his life.

Gift of Faith – by Robert Fleming

Fleming reminds readers that even a man of God can sometimes falter in his faith.

The Other Side of Dare – by Vanessa Davis Griggs

Griggs weaves the compelling story of a family threatened by a shocking secret.

Playing the Hand You’re Dealt – by Trice Hickman

After her mother dies, sweet-natured Emily Eloise Snow joins her best friend Samantha in Washington, D.C. where she comes face-to-face with a man from her past and must make a choice that could destroy not just her life as she knows it, but the woman and friend everyone believes her to be.

Rise of an American Gangstress – by Kim K.

Born with a platinum spoon in her mouth thanks to her drug dealing parents, Fancy is a young, spoiled princess. But when havoc enters the picture and the Feds seize her family’s ill-gotten gains, Fancy’s lavish Caribbean trips are traded in for cold winter nights in the heart of the hood.

P$$y Power – by Tya Love

Precious, Baby Doll and Sassy, three call girls from the Diamond Palace, are on their grind, living the street life and chasing the all mighty dollar. Beauty, brains and a feisty attitude are a deadly combination when running game.  Will this combination work for them or against them?

Reverend Feelgood – by Lutishia Lovely

“Lovely once again expertly illuminates the wacky world of the devout and devoutly devilish.” (Publishers Weekly)

Make Me Yours – by Sophia Shaw

A free-spirited woman. A man with a plan. Filled with fascinating characters and steamy romance, this sizzling romance contains plenty of heat that will keep readers hooked.

Contact your Librarian for More Great Books!


Really?  Trust me when I say that EVERY list is similar to this one. I am let down and insulted by this list.  Not one book about deep spirituality experienced by an adult who’s not obsessed with money, delusional about religion, caught up in appearances, or heavy in drugs? Not one book that appears hopeful in a non-sensational way?  Not one imaginative story about a black person who transcends the stereotypical lifestyles of the bravado laced hood society?  I suppose it is these popular ideas that sell books.  But the black experience is so much more than this.  I understand that publishers want to sell books but some inventive, positive, and bohemian perspectives are desperately needed in the market.

The first title by Keshia Dawn (By the Grace of God) is the only one that I would even attempt to read.  The rest of them come off as soul junk.

a soul weighed down

a soul weighed down

Soul Junk – literature, images, movies, people, attitudes, lifestyles, drug use, violence, wickedness, or any substance, place, person, or thing that causes, induces, teaches self destructive behavior