The North Paran Book Buzzlist: The Black Music Month Special
I know, I know there are only a few more days to celebrate Black Music Month, and if you suffered through the more than three hours of Rick Ross’s bouncing man boobs, Trey Songz’s warbling and Beyonce’s not-so-live “live” performance at the BET Awards earlier this week (you must read Awesomely Luuvie’s awesomely awesome recap complete shenanigans and tomfoolery), you may be done with black music anyway. But the editors of insist you not give up the ghost for the genre; there is, apparently, method to a lot of the madness much of it laid out in books that chronicle everything from our musical history to the musings of some of our most controversial musical icons. You can’t go wrong with these choices. Check it:


In this incisive and revealing examination of the making and meaning of “Thriller,” Nelson George illuminates the brilliant creative process (and work ethic) of Jackson and producer Quincy Jones, deftly exploring the larger context of the music, life, and seismic impact of Michael Jackson on three generations. All this from a groundbreaking journalist and cultural critic who was there.


This violent and introspective memoir reveals not only 50 Cent’s story but also the story of a generation of youth faced with hard choices and very few options. It is a tale of sacrifice, transformation, and redemption, but also one of hope, determination, and the power of self.


This is a rare partnership between two geniuses at the top of their crafts Kanye West, who was named “the smartest man in hip-hop” by Time magazine, and Bill Plympton, an Academy Award-nominated animator, cartoonist, and illustrator. “Through the Wire” is a graphic memoir that illustrates the lyrics of twelve Kanye West songs to tell his story.


On the heels of the graffiti renaissance comes a vibrant look at an old-school icon that figured prominently in the hip-hop, rock & roll, and punk movements of the 1970s and 80s. “The Boombox Project “features contemporary fine art portraits of an array of vintage boomboxes, as well as scores of documentary photographs of the people who brought the boombox movement to life back in the day. The book is an oral history of the early days of hip-hop.


Taking a wide-ranging approach rare in jazz criticism, Ted Gioia’s brilliant volume draws upon fields as disparate as literary criticism, art history, sociology, and aesthetic philosophy in order to place jazz within the turbulent cultural environment of the twentieth century. He argues that because improvisation the essence of jazz must often fail under the pressure of on-the-spot creativity, we should view jazz as an “imperfect art” and base our judgments of it on an aesthetics of imperfection.”


The first in-depth history of the involvement of African Americans in the early recording industry, this book examines the first three decades of sound recording in the United States, charting the vigorous and varied roles black artists played in the period leading up to the Jazz Age. Applying more than thirty years of scholarship, Tim Brooks identifies key black artists who recorded commercially in a wide range of genres and provides illuminating biographies of some forty of these audio pioneers.


The North Paran Book Buzzlist is a weekly feature produced by that gives readers an entertaining digest of the most fascinating books that are being talked about by the black community today.
Remember: For every book you purchase at, a new book will be given to a child in need!

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

One Comment

  1. All great suggestions.. as I’m getting into reading again I’ll put one on my to-read list.

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