February is Black History Month, which has its roots in Negro History Week, founded in 1926 by Harvard-educated Carter G. Woodson. It's a time for Americans to remember the struggles, accomplishments and contributions of African Americans.
In recognition of that, here's a sampler:
"The House Girl" by Tara Conklin (William Morrow, $25.99, 384 pages; on sale Feb. 12): The much-heralded novel shifts back and forth in time, from antebellum Virginia and present-day New York, connecting the lives and fates of two women. One is a house slave on a tobacco plantation in 1852, the other a modern lawyer intent on uncovering a startling truth buried in the past.
"All I Did Was Shoot My Man" by Walter Mosley (NAL, $15, 326 pages; Feb. 5): The fourth entry in the Leonid McGill series finds the ex-fighter-turned-PI up to his neck in family issues and his clients' dysfunctions. Oh, and what about that missing $6.8 million? Mosley appeared for the Bee Book Club in 2010.
"Home" by Toni Morrison (Vintage, $14, 160 pages): Frank Money thinks his troubles are behind him when he joins the Army and fights in the Korean War. But his biggest challenge waits back home in segregated Georgia, where his sister is missing.
"Walter Dean Myers" by Denise M. Jordan (Enslow, $26, 104 pages): The biography explores the life of the popular author, who has chronicled the African American experience though 80 young-adult novels. Myers appeared for the Bee Book Club in 2005.
"Black Girls Guide: How to Be Like Michelle Obama" by Angela D. Coleman (Sisterhood Agenda, $8.99, 44 pages): The "Black Girls Guide" series strives to inspire girls by offering biographical details of successful role models, such as the first lady. Visit www.blackgirlguide.com.
"Called to the Fire" by Chet Bush (Abingdon, $21.99, 224 pages): This is the true story of Dr. Charles Johnson, a leader in the civil rights movement who started out as a pastor in the 1960s in Mississippi, where three civil rights workers were murdered. He was a key witness in the trial famously known as the "Mississippi Burning" case.
Library's black history progams
To help promote Black History Month, the Sacramento Public Library will host several programs in February.
For details: (916) 264-2920, www.saclibrary.org.
Here's a sampling:
A reading of "Tar Beach" by Faith Ringgold; an appreciation of her story quilts that celebrate her family's heritage; and hands-on activities for children. The program will be at 2 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Isleton Library, 412 Union St., Isleton; and 4 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Arcade Library, 2443 Marconi Ave., Sacramento.
The Tea and Talk Book Club will meet at 10 a.m. Feb. 6 at the Belle Cooledge Library, 5600 South Land Park Drive, Sacramento. The group will discuss Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison's novel "Home."
Dan Brown's 'Inferno'
Book news doesn't get much bigger than this: On May 14, thriller writer Dan Brown will bring back his Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Landon, in his next blockbuster, "Inferno." As a measure of its assured best-sellerdom, Doubleday publishing plans a first printing of 4 million copies.
Brown wrote the international best-selling "The Da Vinci Code," followed by "The Lost Symbol."
"Inferno" is set in Italy and is described as "Brown's highest-stakes novel to date. Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history's most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces, 'Dante's Inferno.' Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways and futuristic science."
Poe Award finalists are ...
Most of us like a good mystery. In that spirit, the Mystery Writers of America have announced the nominees for their annual Edgar Allan Poe Awards, with winners to be announced May 2.
The awards are given to the most distinguished writers in mystery fiction and fact, published or produced in 2012 (including television). For a complete list of nominees: www.theedgars.com or www.mysterywriters.org.
The nominees in three major categories are:
"The Lost Ones" by Ace Atkins
"The Gods of Gotham" by Lyndsay Faye
"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
"Potboiler" by Jesse Kellerman
"Sunset" by Al Lamanda
"Live by Night" by Dennis Lehane
"All I Did Was Shoot My Man" by Walter Mosley
BEST FACT CRIME
"Midnight in Peking" by Paul French
"Devil in the Grove" by Gilbert King
"More Forensics and Fiction" by D.P. Lyle
"Double Cross" by Ben Macintyre
"The People Who Eat Darkness" by Richard Lloyd Parry
BEST YOUNG ADULT
"Emily's Dress and Other Missing Things" by Kathryn Burak
"The Edge of Nowhere" by Elizabeth George
"Crusher" by Niall Leonard
"Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone" by Kat Rosenfield
"Code Name Verity" by Elizabeth Wein
Harlequin, Cosmo join: Look out
Starting in May, Cosmo Red Hot Reads plans to e-publish two original novellas every month, written by Harlequin authors.
"This is fiction for the free- spirited modern girl negotiating modern love with all its unpredictability and complications," said Cosmo editor-in-chief Joanna Coles.