Thursday, February 17, 2011

Borders in Matteson is closing!

(originally posted on facebook by Kevin Roberts)

I am actually saddened to learn that the Borders bookstore in Matteson is closing. While we have had to compete against them at some level, the broader implication that readership is declining is troubling. To be sure, the advent of e-readers and e-books has played a role in eroding their customer base, but it is also an indication of how large corporations must juggle the demands of Wall Street with that of their customers and suppliers. We’ve all seen that struggle played out across the United States in a big way over the last few years.

Before I became an independent bookseller, I was a Borders customer. Like many of you, I enjoyed the opportunity to peruse the shelves while contemplating when I would settle down at a table with my cup of coffee and the stack of books I was considering. Even though the Matteson Borders eclipsed us in size and volume, they were aware of our presence and would actually send customers our way from time to time, when they were not able to serve them. We appreciate them for that.

At Azizi Books, we also feel the pain exacted by an unforgiving economy. However, by paying attention to what we do best, by providing great service, and by staying committed to the community that we live in, we persist. We don’t take it for granted when you choose us. During the month of February, for our Customer Appreciation Sale, we have discounted most of the books in the store, to make it easier for you to make that choice.

Buy local and grow your community. Thank you for your support of this, and other, independent bookstores.

Kevin Roberts
Azizi Books

Friday, February 11, 2011

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Also... did you know?

We have discounted all of the books in the store. This includes current releases of your favorite authors. 

No Coupon Required!

Check for special deals on books in our bargain section with discounts up to 80% off publishers price!

Excluded are author signings and special order books

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Book Review - Mind Games by Dionne

Parris Reed is an attractive woman with a great job, close friends, and a caring family, but she is still looking for the right man to complement her lifestyle. Parris then meets Victor. A successful attorney who appears to be the perfect man in many ways. Together, Parris and Victor quickly form a steamy romance, but something is not right. Strange things happen, and Parris quickly discovers that Victor could indeed be too good to be true.

"Mind Games" is a refreshingly decent suspense thriller with some imaginative plot twists. Although the story doesn't have a lot of action, it isn't entirely predictable. On top of that, the characters felt very real. I enjoyed reading about their lives and I think readers everywhere will be able to relate to Parris as she questions her relationship. Overall, "Mind Games" is a well-written book that can hold it's own against mainstream suspense writers. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good story.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Book Review - Midnight by Sister Souljah

After years of waiting and rumors of sequels and motion pictures, Sister Souljah fans finally have another story featuring characters from her bestselling book, The Coldest Winter Ever.

Midnight, a prequel, takes place before The Coldest Winter Ever and follows the coming of age of Sister Souljah's popular character of the same name. But, the truth is, this book is very different from The Coldest Winter Ever. There is no mention of the Santiagas, or of any of the drama and turmoil readers know he went through before rising as a hustler. This book focuses only on Midnight, who at a very young age, is sent to America from the Sudan with his pregnant mother. They eventually arrive in Brooklyn, and must adjust quickly to the cultural differences. Readers follow the boy, Midnight, as he grows, tries to remain true to his religious faith, and protect his family by any means necessary.

Even though Midnight wasn't the prequel I thought it would be, I did enjoy the book. The story is a simple love story. Genuine and unassuming, but well-told. Fans of The Coldest Winter Ever looking for a similar book may be disappointed. Midnight is much more about character development and bringing light to the way foreigners view African Americans than life on the streets. There isn't much page-turning action. And, while there are still essences of urban fiction in the book, I believe Souljah was writing for a different genre. So, while Midnight overall is a good read, Urban fiction fans, who have waited so long for more insight into Winter's story, may be ultimately let down.

Midnight is Available at Azizi Books and

Monday, October 13, 2008

Book Review - Possession by Da'Neen Hale

On the outside Yaassa seems to have it all together, good looks, good job and loyal friends to enjoy life with, but she has a secret. She is dealing with an ex, Chee, that just can seem to leave her alone. From Chee, Yaassa has to deal with unexpected visits, stalking, fights, and public humiliation that threatens everything she has worked for.

This situation is the independent woman's nightmare! I found the story to be both entertaining and thought-provoking. I wondered what I would do if I, or one of my friends, were in Yaassa's situation. On the other hand, I also wondered what I would do if Chee was a friend of mine. Hale makes it possible to relate to all the characters in her story on some level, even the bad ones; and I really felt as though I could understand them. Maybe, too well. My only criticism would be that the character development was shallow or too obvious. But, Hale makes up for it with a drama-filled, page turning plot. I would definitely recommend this book.

Possession is available for sale at Azizi Books.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Book Reviews - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

As a former fine artist and current graphic designer, I am no stranger to being reviewed. In fact, most of my undergrad evaluations came not from tests and papers, but from peer and professor critiques in the classroom. Every week as my work was displayed on a big screen for all to review, I braced myself for the impact. If you are lucky, only a few people tear you apart over the details, but mostly everyone seems to like the direction you took. These are the projects that result in a solid "B" or "A-" and you can rest assured that the next project will be better based on what you learned from the scrutiny. But some people are still displeased. They are the perfectionists. They want the coveted "A+" that results in a rare "everyone-loves-it" critique. Most people never get this. I know I never did. I took my B's and A-'s with grace knowing that I would never be perfect. I also knew the alternative, failing grades that result from when a design student only gets negative comments for completely missing the mark.

What does this have to do with book reviews? Everything. Authors are reviewed much the same way I was reviewed as a design student. Every author wants readers to love their book and receive nothing but favorable reviews, but the truth is everyone is not going to love it. Even if the book is good, someone is always going to have a dissenting opinion. What authors need to realize, though, is that these minority opinions are often the most helpful. I was recently alerted to a situation where an author, who sought a review, tried to suppress a minority reviewer's opinion once the author deemed it less favorable.

In reference to the APOOO Book Club discussion question, Should APOOO Reviewer Fight Back? I posted the following response.

Even though this is really sad, and a bit childish, I would let the situation slide. It doesn’t look like there would be any win here for the reviewer by contacting the author and voicing concern. This author is obviously not interested in true, independent opinions. I don’t understand is how you can be an author or producer of anything creative for that matter and expect that everyone will like what you create. It is just not realistic.

My bottom line for authors wanting their book to be reviewed:
Don't publish your work if you do not want honest opinions. Stop being so sensitive, do better next time and move on!

Friday, August 29, 2008

This Weekend - African Festival of the Arts

Azizi Books is selling discounted advance tickets to the African Festival of the Arts.

This Labor Day weekend Chicago's Washington Park transforms into an authentic African village complete with three stages of spectacular entertainment featuring Kool and the Gang, Rachelle Ferrell, Diblo Dibala, Nicholas Payton, Big Daddy Kane and Black Sheep among outstanding others; African Marketplace showcasing authentic art and culture; luscious African cuisine and fare; cultural pavilions; fantastic family fun; and premiering the first ever African Festival of the Arts youth tennis tournament.

For more information about the festival click here.