A stirring record of anti-racism in a Southern city.

UNSAY THEIR NAMES

A powerful photographic testament to a series of inspiring protests.

Poet, playwright, and photographer Kannemeyer’s book opens with a compelling preface on the “great American rift” after the 2020 murder of George Floyd and goes on to present six months’ worth of images of the author’s home city of Richmond, Virginia, from June to November 2020, as well as two appendices following up on events in 2021. Across eight chronological chapters, anchored with expansive notes throughout, Kannemeyer presents an astounding photographic catalog of changes that were happening in Richmond, centering on statues of Confederates and other historical figures. The book opens with an image of the Robert E. Lee monument, Richmond’s statuary centerpiece, and readers see its marble facade covered in inspirational art and messages that offer celebrations of Black Lives Matter and criticisms of policing. Kannemeyer’s eye is also drawn to many people who stand up against monuments to White supremacy, showing them protesting the statue’s “Lost Cause” legacy. Kannemeyer intersperses notes throughout that give the collection a diarylike feel—noting, for example, how daytime gatherings were peaceful but that ones at night “hardened the tone.” He also includes historical commentary, such as a passage dispelling the oft-cited myth that Robert E. Lee was opposed to slavery. Later chapters include powerful photos of a toppled edifice of Christopher Columbus as it was fished out of water; the removal, by crane, of a statue of Stonewall Jackson as people look on in a blustery rainstorm; and the Jefferson Davis Memorial, covered in graffiti condemning his racist legacy. In closing appendices, Kannemeyer offers thoughtful reflections on ongoing questions about how Americans memorialize their history; he writes of his hope to find “other ways, and other places, to pay tribute.”
A stirring record of anti-racism in a Southern city.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1006490187

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Blurb, Incorporated

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Everything about Sabathia is larger than life, yet he tells his story with honesty and humility.

TILL THE END

One of the best pitchers of his generation—and often the only Black man on his team—shares an extraordinary life in baseball.

A high school star in several sports, Sabathia was being furiously recruited by both colleges and professional teams when the death of his grandmother, whose Social Security checks supported the family, meant that he couldn't go to college even with a full scholarship. He recounts how he learned he had been drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the first round over the PA system at his high school. In 2001, after three seasons in the minor leagues, Sabathia became the youngest player in MLB (age 20). His career took off from there, and in 2008, he signed with the New York Yankees for seven years and $161 million, at the time the largest contract ever for a pitcher. With the help of Vanity Fair contributor Smith, Sabathia tells the entertaining story of his 19 seasons on and off the field. The first 14 ran in tandem with a poorly hidden alcohol problem and a propensity for destructive bar brawls. His high school sweetheart, Amber, who became his wife and the mother of his children, did her best to help him manage his repressed fury and grief about the deaths of two beloved cousins and his father, but Sabathia pursued drinking with the same "till the end" mentality as everything else. Finally, a series of disasters led to a month of rehab in 2015. Leading a sober life was necessary, but it did not tame Sabathia's trademark feistiness. He continued to fiercely rile his opponents and foment the fighting spirit in his teammates until debilitating injuries to his knees and pitching arm led to his retirement in 2019. This book represents an excellent launching point for Jay-Z’s new imprint, Roc Lit 101.

Everything about Sabathia is larger than life, yet he tells his story with honesty and humility.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-13375-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roc Lit 101

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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