Matthew Horace doesn’t pull punches, and as a black man and a cop, he’s seen it all. A career law enforcement officer, he spent 28 years at the federal and local levels, ultimately becoming a senior executive at the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives and later a CNN contributor. In The Black and the Blue, his powerful, probing, unvarnished assessment of racial injustice in law enforcement today, he comes out as a “champion of wholesale police reform in the United States,” unafraid to offer prescriptive advice on how to address the racism, prejudices, biases and the lethal “cops don’t tell on cops” tradition ingrained in police culture. Using in-depth interviews and his own experiences, Horace presents the vivid on-the-ground actuality of police brutality, misconduct, malfeasance and the needless, heedless shootings that capture headlines and snuff out lives all over America. Horace narrates like a pro with both passion and control.
Adjoa Andoh performs much of Housegirl, Michael Donkor’s accomplished, affecting debut novel, in sparkling Ghanaian English, immersing listeners in the world of Ghana and the Ghanaian diaspora. At 17, Belinda leaves her village and her mother behind to work as a housegirl for a wealthy couple who returned to their native Ghana to retire in luxury after making their fortune in London. Belinda finds solace in the daily domestic grind and in Mary, the charming, irrepressible 11-year-old housegirl-in-training who becomes like a little sister to her. But Belinda is uprooted again when close Ghanaian friends of her employers take Belinda to London, where she is tasked with befriending and providing a positive influence on their sullen teenage daughter, a student at an exclusive, mostly white private school. Surprisingly, their friendship blossoms after a few bumps, just as tragedy takes Belinda back to her homeland. At its core, Housegirl is a warmly perceptive look at female friendship as well as the angst, melodrama and confusion of coming of age in two clashing cultures.
TOP PICK IN AUDIO
Nelson Mandela, one of the great moral heroes of our time and an icon of human resilience, spent 27 years in jail, 18 of them in an 8-by-7 cell on grim Robben Island in South Africa. In all that time he never faltered, never gave up hope for the future and an end to apartheid, never stopped fighting for his own dignity and that of his fellow prisoners, never stopped yearning for his wife, family and friends. How he endured and persevered is made clearer in the many letters he wrote during that time. The 255 published in The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela, edited by Sahm Venter, are now available on audio, perfectly rendered by Atandwa Kani, whose flawless pronunciation of Xhosa names and phrases makes listening a totally engaging experience. There is lawyerly composure in Mandela’s letters describing his unrelenting quest for the rights of political prisoners. Yet also evident in these powerful and inspiring letters is the raw emotion and deep love of a man determined, against all odds, to remain a strong father and husband.