Happy Black History Month! While I think we as readers have a real responsibility to read stories by diverse voices all year long, I do think cultural celebratory months such as this are a wonderful opportunity to take a step back, reflect, educate ourselves, amplify diverse voices, and most importantly celebrate! To start off this incredible month of recognizing and celebrating Black history, I wanted to share a stack of some of my favorite books by Black writers that I have read or have on my TBR.
For me, I hope that this month is one where I not only reflect on all I’ve learned and where I have room to grow when it comes to being a voice for racial inequality, but also to use my love of reading to joyfully celebrate and highlight Black voices, especially this month!
So here are some mini synopses of the books featured here that I have read, ranging from romance to fantasy, and memoir to coming of age.
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin — What if cities really did have a soul? This fantasy explores the individuals who make up New York City in a creative, fantastical ode to NYC.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett — This story follows twin sisters whose lives diverge when one embraces her Blackness and one chooses to pass as White.
The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper — Dr. Harper, an ER doc, discusses brokenness, in her own experiences, in the patients she encounters, and within a medical system that isn’t always fair.
Here For It; Or How to Save Your Soul in America: Essays by R. Eric Thomas — A hilarious, laugh-out-loud collection of essays that explores how to move forward and keep going in modern America. Hint: the answer involves hope.
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon — After Samiah and two other girls go viral when it is discovered they have all been cat-fished by the same guy, the three new best friends make a pact to put themselves first. But that promise is put to the test when Samiah meets sexy, thoughtful Daniel Collins at work.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi — A stunning, expansive story that spans several generations beginning with two Ghanian half-sisters unknown to each other, one who marries into the comfortable life of a White man and the other who is sold into slavery.
The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans — This collection of short stories explores race and history in the U.S. You can check out my full review of the novella here.
Memorial by Bryan Washington — Benson and Mike’s relationship is at a crossroads when Mike’s mom finds herself staying with Benson while Mike flies to Japan to reconnect with his dying father. This story explores both their relationship with each other and their families.
This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith — Tallie comes across Emmett, who is about to jump off a bridge. After convincing him to come back with her, they discover the power of healing and truth over the course of one short weekend.
Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour — A laugh-out-loud funny satire about ambition, race, and identity in the American workforce. You can read my full review here.
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi — This story opens with Vivek’s death. What follows is an exploration of the events that lead up to its crisis and the people involved.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi — Gyasi’s newest novel explores themes of loss, faith, science, and addiction through the voice of Gifty, a PhD student studying the role of addiction on the brain, whose depressed mother has come to stay with her. Both continue to reel from Gifty’s brother’s death, the result of addiction.
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Tatum — Highly researched and informative, this nonfiction book discusses the role psychology plays when it comes to racial, ethnic, and cultural identities.
The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré — Told from the perspective of 14-year-old Adunni, this story explores Adunni’s journey to finding her voice on the path to her dream of gaining an education, escaping poverty, and one day helping other girls do so as well. You can check out my full review of the book here.
Books on my to be read list include The Mothers (Brit Bennett), Queenie (Candice Carty-Williams), and Stamped from the Beginning (Ibram X. Kendi).
What books by Black authors do you love? Which ones do you want to check out? Comment below or message me on Instagram!