Here's what I've found of interest today in the books sections:
A nice LA Times feature story on writers ("ethnic" writers) who are including social history and commentary in their mystery novels. Paula L. Woods (author of the Charlotte Justice novels, including Strange Bedfellows) and Walter Mosley are quoted. Also a reference to Gary Phillips and his novel, The Jook.
Also in the LA Times, a review of Forty Million Dollar Slaves The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete, by William C. Rhoden. Rhoden is a sportswriter for the NYTimes who played football for Morgan State University in the late 1960s. This will be a big publishing year for Rhoden - he also has this title, Third and a Mile : From Fritz Pollard to Michael Vick - An Oral History of the Trials, Tears and Triumphs of the Black Quarterback, coming out in the fall.
The WaPost reviewed Andrea Smith's The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner a few weeks ago. It's about a group of African American church ladies who begin breaking the law to save babies. The novel is set in South Carolina in the 1950s.