Book Notes: A Breakdown of the Latest Urban Reads


It’s holiday time and books make great gifts. Books are affordable, portable (especially with eReaders!), and provide hours of escape from the harshness of everyday living. There are tons of great books being released this season from children’s books to coffeetable books which double as artwork. If you are looking for a special, last-minute gift for someone on your list, consider the gift of reading, and give them a book.

Life Upon These Shores (Looking at African-American History: 1513-2008) – Dr. Henry Louis Gates

Rating: 9 of 10

Got a history buff in the family? Someone who always wants to debate about what it means to be Black in America? Harvard professor and scholar of African-American history, Dr. Henry Louis Gates has the perfect book. His newest tome, Life Upon These Shores, is a coffeetable book that should come complete with a degree in African-American history at the end. The book consists of over 700 images including ancient maps, fine art, cartoons, and photographs, along with the latest scholarship on Black history from the arrival of the first Africans on American shores. *Hint: they weren’t slaves!

Our Bodies, Ourselves – Edited by The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective

Rating: 8 of 10

40 years after the original release, the new Our Bodies, Ourselves, is a resource for women of all ages full of information about their bodies, sexuality, and reproductive health. The book has been completely revised and updated, including the addition of information about safer sex, environmental health risks, and body image. Together with its companion website,, this book is a one-stop resource for women of all generations. It’s a great gift for any special woman on your list.

One Day It’ll All Make Sense – By Common

Rating: 8 of 10

While Maya Angelou is currently disappointed with some of the language that Common used on his song, “The Dreamer,” she did call his memoir, “magnificent.” One Day It’ll All Make Sense is an uplifting book, one of the most insightful Hip-Hop memoir releases. Any fan of music, film, or Hip-Hop culture will enjoy following Common through his life and development into how he became one of the most enigmatic figures in rap.

The Neelys’ Celebration Cookbook – By Pat and Gina Neely

Rating: 8 of 10

The husband and wife team from Food Network’s#### show, “Down Home with the Neely’s,” presents their second cook book, centered around recipes for parties. A lot of people think cookbooks are just for older women, but everyone gets tired of eating the same old things. That’s where a great cookbook comes in handy. The Neely’s offer everything from turkey burgers, to smothered pork chops, to deep-fried Cornish hens. The Neelys’ Celebration Cookbook has everything that the aspiring chef needs to help get the party started for the holidays and beyond.