This Month's Features

Thursday, July 16, 2015

REVIEW: The Face That Changed It All by Beverly Johnson

by Cyrus Webb

Many of us know Beverly Johnson because of the headlines, the face and the fame she has acquired over the years, but few of us really know the woman behind it all---and the story as to how she became to be the woman the world now recognizes. That is until now.

This year Beverly Johnson (along with acclaimed writer Allison Samuels) gives us THE FACE THAT CHANGED IT ALL (available August 25, 2015). It's a look not only at the success that Beverly has achieved but the price that has come along with her life both publicly and privately.

For me the book is full of revelations that I was completely unaware of. We learn about her childhood, growing up in a time when the world was changing and being in a home where those changes weren't always understood and dealt with. We're able to learn of the strong work ethic of her father and what that taught Beverly about achieving things for herself.

Some recognize Beverly instantly for being the first African-American woman on the cover of Vogue---and that is indeed a major accomplishment. In the book, however, we are also able to take the road that would lead her to fame, one hard-fought situation at a time. Regardless of what we might believe Beverly allows us to know that being in the public life is not all fun, games and parties. It's a daily struggle that can make or break you. In the chapter SEX, DRUGS, AND ROCK AND ROLL she shares this: "What was clear was that the fashion industry had the potential to crush even the best and strongest of us. You life was not your own... It sounds fun, and it can be for a time, but it can also emotionally stunt you, leaving you ill-equipped to face the future."

Fame didn't come easy for Beverly. She talks about in the book about the lack of places for women of color not just in modeling but acting, and how it was another one of the things that many women had to contend with. Ironically this is a conversation that continues to our day. It's just one of the comparisons you will see as you are looking at her path then and the path of other models and actresses now.

We also see the journey that Beverly had to travel when it came to her family, namely her marriage and kids. This was something I knew NOTHING about before reading the book, but it once again reminds us that no matter who you are we all have to deal with the troubles that life throws our way. What matters is what you are able to learn and how much you are able to grow moving forward.

Regardless of what your profession or what you think you know about the celebrity life or even more specifically Beverly Johnson, this book is definitely well worth your time. It allows you to see the woman in her totality: flaws and all, and I think it will motivate you to not just be your best but to bring your best to everything you do.

Follow Beverly on Twitter at @beverlyjohnson1. You can pre-order the book THE FACE THAT CHANGED IT ALL on Amazon.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Academy and Grammy award-winning author/filmmaker William Joyce talks BILLY'S BOOGER

Cyrus Webb, President of Conversations Book Club and host of Conversations LIVE talks with author/filmmaker William Joyce about his extraordinary life and what it's been like to share it with others.

The two also discuss his new book BILLY'S BOOGER and what it's been like to see the response to such a personal story.

Listen to the conversation here:



Read Webb's review of the book on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R27ILZ9LGC6A27/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00O6604KU

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Conversations Book Club's Top 10 Fiction Summer Reads 2015




Conversations Book Club's Top 10 Fiction Summer Reads, 2015

(listed in no particular order)
  1. Pleasantville by Attica Locke (Harper)
  2. The Cavendon Women by Barbara Taylor Bradford (St. Martin's Press)
  3. Bad Blood by Mary Monroe (Dafina Books)
  4. The Santangelos by Jackie Collins (St. Martin's Press)
  5. Tap Rack Bang by Robert Blake Whitehill (Calaveras Media)
  6. Contract City by Mark Falkin (Bancroft Press)
  7. For the Love of a Man by Melissa Cobb (Vicious Ink Publications)
  8. Cookie's Case by Andy Siegel (Open Road)
  9. Missing Melissa by Alretha Thomas (Diverse Arts Collective)
  10. A Killer Retreat by Tracy Weber (Midnight Ink)




Conversations Book Club's Top 10 summer nonfiction reads 2015





Conversations Book Club's Top 10 Summer Non-Fiction Reads ~ 2015 (listed in no particular order)



  1. The Kindness Diaries by Leon Logothetis (Reader's Digest)
  2. One Righteous Man by Arthur Browne (Beacon Press)
  3. Out Of Orange by Cleary Wolters (Harper One)
  4. Corruption Officer by Gary L. Heyward (Atria Books)
  5. Commit To Win by Heidi Reeder (Plume)
  6. Be the Best You Can Be (Chicken Soup for the Soul)
  7. The Purpose Principles by Jake Ducey (Tarcher)
  8. Elena Vanishing by Elena and Clare B. Dunkle (Chronicle Books)
  9. Hope and Other Luxuries by Clare B. Dunkle (Chronicle Books)
  10. 10 Habits of Truly Optimistic People by David Mezzapelle (Viva Editions)












Conversations Book Club host "Summer Reading at Subway" in Brandon, MS

In an effort to encourage reading throughout the summer months, Conversations Book Club President Cyrus Webb of Brandon, MS has teamed up with Subway Restaurant (220 E Government St) in Brandon, MS to host "Summer Reading at Subway" during the month of June.

Joining Webb during the month of June will be fellow Mississippi children's book authors Glenda L. Hunter of Clinton, MS and Stephanie Mitchell of Jackson, MS.

The first 3 Saturdays in June (June 6,13,20) from 9-10a.m. the authors will be not just sharing great books but encouraging their creativity as well with coloring and activity sheets.

On Sat. June 6th Webb will be reading 3 books that he co-wrote: A.J. and the Talent Show, Standria's Big Dream and Marv's Healthy Choice. (each book is great for kids up to age 10)

On Sat. June 13th Glenda L. Hunter will be hosting a free writing workshop for ages 7-12, showing them how they can take their ideas to print.

On Sat. June 20th Stephanie Mitchell will be reading her book Bella's Dancing Lesson. (great for kids up to age 10)

Admission to each week's event is free, however, attendees are invited to take advantage of the great food specials at Subway, including their kid's menu.

For more details about "Summer Reading at Subway" contact Cyrus Webb at cawebb4@juno.com or 601.896.5616. You can also visit www.conversationsbookclub.com.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

REVIEW: One Righteous Man by Arthur Browne

"I am coming to believe that nothing can go farther to destroy race prejudice than the recognition of the Negro as a creator and contributor to American civilization." ~ James Weldon Johnson from ONE RIGHTEOUS MAN

This book is one of those rare finds that not only educates you about the past but gives you hope for the future.

What Arthur Brown has done in sharing the journey of Samuel Battle and the other brave men and women like him that dared to bring about change is remind us that with hard work, dedication and perseverance anything is possible. I can honestly say that I had never heard of Battle before, but his willingness to put himself out there for the common good is something I can definitely draw strength and courage from. He wasn't looking for the attention or the pat on the back. He just wanted to do his part. That is what makes his story and so many like him so important. They just wanted to do what they felt like was their right to do.

Even when he was faced with outright persecution and even betrayal, that didn't stop Battle from trying to move forward. He lived in interesting times, as we do today. There were those who were walking around living a lie by "passing" for white so they wouldn't have to deal with the challenges that were plaguing people of color. Individuals like Battle didn't have that option, and he was willing to keep pushing forward in spite of the obstacles.

This book reminds us that one person can make a difference and inspire others towards their own greatness, but it must begin somewhere.

ONE RIGHTEOUS MAN officially release on June 30th. Pre-order it on Amazon here.