Happy Black History Month, Ambitious Fam! With the recent social climate, I noticed that people have been making more of an effort to pursue anti-racism education through literature. I’m here for it–reading and using it as a way to engage in conversation about race is a great way to begin learning about different perspectives. That being said, I also believe that Black literature doesn’t need to be purely educational to be worthy of celebration! I do think that intentionally incorporating books (no matter the genre) by authors with diverse backgrounds still helps expose you to different patterns of thought and experience. However, If you are looking specifically for some anti-racism resources, I did share this post last year with some starting points.
I have fallen into a reading rhythm recently and I have been thoroughly enjoying it! In 2019, I read a total of 12 books, and in 2020 I doubled that number to 24. While there was definitely more time on my hands last year, I’ve been really embracing the use of reading to unplug. I tend to reach for books in the romance and fantasy genres with the occasional memoir. If that is not your thing, I asked my sister, Christal, to share 5 of her Black literature picks as well! She just started a bookstagram page on Instagram to talk about what she’s reading, book recommendations, and encourage book discussions! I’m so so happy and proud of her!
Here are some Black literature recommendations to add to your reading list in February and all of the other months of the year:
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn 5/5 Stars–I read this book over a course of a weekend and it was SO GOOD. The twists! The incorporation of King Arthur folklore! The incorporation of Southern history! *Chef’s kiss*
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert 5/5 Stars–I immediately plotted a way to get my hands on the second Brown sister’s book after reading this! I need more Talia Hibbert books in my life. Steam warning!
Children of Blood and Bone Trilogy by Tomi Adeyemi 4/5 Stars–Another great young adult fantasy! Complete with suppressed magic, West African mythology, and class struggle in the fictional land of Orisha. While the third book has yet to be released (it’s said to come out this year!), Tomi Adeyemi locked in a movie deal before the first book was even published! Can’t. Wait.
Ties that Tether by Jane Igharo 5/5 Stars–An interesting story of a woman who has to choose between the love that she has found in an unexpected interracial relationship and the expectation of her cultures and duty to uphold a promise that she made to her father when she was a child. Steam warning here as well!
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid 5/5 Stars–While a fictional story, Emira’s experience felt very real as someone who has been in very similar experiences. I enjoyed the storytelling, shifts of perspectives, and the relief that came with this story being told.
More than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth–While I’m still reading this book, it’s been great so far. Elaine Welteroth, best known for being the second youngest and second Black editor in chief of Teen Vogue, shares about her life and the lessons she learned along the way.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown 5/5 Stars–While this book could also be included in your anti-racism reading, I loved it as a memoir as well. The author shares stories from her life about what its like to be a Black woman with the name that is often associated with a White male. This book was so relatable as it depicted the experiences that many Black women in the workforce go through. It resulted in a great book club discussion!
Books Currently on my TBR (To Be Read) List:
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (Releasing later this month, but the author is from Baltimore!)
@Books.Lovee.Chriss Black Literature Picks:
Mama by Terry McMillan or Saint Monkey by Jacinda Townsend–these books are thought-provoking with serious tones dealing with relationships, traumas, generational curses, and family dynamics.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston–A beautifully written classic that everyone should read.
I Almost Forgot to Tell You by Terry McMillan–A light-hearted romantic comedy about a successful eye doctor revisiting exes from the past to see where the relationships went wrong.
Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston–A very interesting biography written as a conversation between Ms. Hurston and the last slave to be brought over to America–the last “Black cargo.”