Hello my loves,
Following on from my last post I thought I would share some black book recommendations to help you further educate yourselves on the current movement and why it’s so important. As an avid reader and someone who’s learnt endless things through books including a lot about racism, this is a great way to further educate yourselves and learn many important things that you need to know. It is not the job of black people to educate you on your own ignorance therefore you must go out of your way to become aware of these things and learn about them.
Again, I was unsure how to write this post as my voice is not the one that needs to be supported right now. I’m still trying to educate myself every day on how to handle these situations so that I can be as productive and supportive as possible – I was unsure whether to write about these books myself (as this is not about me) or just provide a list with synopsises. I wanted to put more time and effort into this post rather than just providing a list I could have copied and pasted from anywhere so, the first half are my personal recommendations and therefore there is some of my commentary included, but that is absolutely not the main focus here nor do I believe it to be. The second half is a list of books and recommendations from black readers, which you should be paying attention to.
Here are some book recommendations that are more than capable of getting you started with the education process.
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
One of the first books I always recommend whenever this topic comes up. The most incredible read – so informative and emotive, you really get a sense of what it’s like to live in such a terrifying world where you’re killed for existing, simply because of the colour of your skin. It’s a huge wakeup call and a huge eye opener – when I’d finished, I put the book down and just thought wow, wow wow wow. The whole thing was just absolutely brilliant and I recommend everyone to read it at least once in their lifetime – I did a whole post dedicated to this book and the Black Lives Matter movement after I’d read it because I just needed to talk about it and give it the recognition it so truly deserves. Angie Thomas is amazing.
Synopsis: “Expanded from a short story she wrote in college in reaction to the police shooting of Oscar Grant. The book is narrated by Starr Carter, a 16-year-old black girl from a poor neighbourhood who attends an elite private school in a predominantly white, affluent part of the city. Starr becomes entangled in a national news story after she witnesses a white police officer shoot and kill her childhood friend, Khalil. She speaks up about the shooting in increasingly public ways, and social tensions culminate in a riot after a grand jury decides not to indict the police officer for the shooting.”
On The Come Up – Angie Thomas
Again, Angie Thomas is brilliant. I was in the middle of reading this one during the horrific death of George Floyd, and it really just brought it home. It was like a huge smack in the face. Yet again, Angie Thomas has written a brilliant story about race and the struggles black people face – what it’s like to live in a world where you have to fight to be heard, where violence is around every corner, in a world of prejudice where the news and media constantly targets black people and paints them in a bad light as thugs and criminals. In a world where media praises white people and calls them heroes for “acting” against the “violent black criminals”, as if they are some kind of disease that needs to be wiped out. This book is absolutely brilliant and you’re a fool if you don’t read it.
Synopsis: “It tells the story of Bri, a sixteen-year old rapper hoping to fill the shoes of her father and ‘make it’ as an underground hip-hop legend. Overnight, Bri becomes an internet sensation after posting a rap hit which sparks controversy. As Bri defeats the odds to ‘make it’ she battles controversy to achieve her dreams.”
Becoming – Michelle Obama
What can I say about Michelle Obama other than the fact I think she may be God herself. The most incredible, elegant and beautiful woman, this autobiography is everything. I think it’s incredibly obvious why you should read this book – so please do.
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Evaristo
Recognised as one of Barack Obama’s top books of 2019, we follow the lives of 12 (mostly) black women as we learn about their experiences with feminism, politics, patriarchy, success, relationships and sexuality – “the novel explores how race, sexuality, gender, history and economic stratification intersect to define the experiences of the women in the novel.”
Bernadine Evaristo says: “I wanted to put presence into absence. I was very frustrated that black British women weren’t visible in literature. I whittled it down to 12 characters – I wanted them to span from a teenager to someone in their 90s, and see their trajectory from birth, though not linear. There are many ways in which otherness can be interpreted in the novel – the women are othered in so many ways and sometimes by each other. I wanted it to be identified as a novel about women as well.”
The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd
I was unsure whether to include this one as this was written by a white author, and is one of 2 white-written books in this post. However, it’s one of my favourite books of all time and is incredibly beautiful, so I thought an extra book in this list couldn’t hurt.
The Secret Life of Bees is a novel set in 1964 South Carolina. It’s about a 14 year old white girl, Lily, who lost her mother young and is therefore cared for by a black maid, Rosaleen, instead. Rosaleen is an independent and powerful woman who stands up for what she believes in – she is arrested for pouring “snuff juice” on three white men after they racially abuse her and Lily breaks her out of the hospital so they can run away together. They meet three black sisters who take them in, and the story follows their journey.
There’s a lot of history and race throughout this book – slavery, the struggles black people face…especially in 1960s America. It’s a very powerfully black, feminist book and it was a beautiful story. I think it’s something everyone should read.
Moon Women – Pamela Duncan
As above, this book is also written by a white author however, I did want to include this one here too as I thought it was a beautiful read, and I still think about it sometimes.
This Novel is set in North Carolina and follow the lives of the Moon women – black, powerful and strong. It follows three generations of the women in the family and their struggles, kind of similar to Girl, Woman, Other but in novel format.
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The Blood of Emmett Till – Timothy B. Tyson
I Am Not Your Negro – James Baldwin
The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
The Colour Purple – Alice Walker
Where Do We Go From Here – Martin Luther King Jr.
We Cast A Shadow – Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Between The World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
Look Both Ways – Jason Reynolds
How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
Lot – Bryan Washington
We live for the We – Dani McClain
Open City – Teju Cole
wow, no thank you. – Samantha Irby
Wild Beauty – Ntozake Shange
Real Life – Brandon Taylor
Men We Reaped – Jesmyn Ward
Salvage The Bones – Jesmyn Ward
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker – Damon Young
Hood Feminism – Mikki Kendall
Eloquent Rage – Brittney Cooper
Looking for Lorraine – Imani Perry
Freedom is a Constant Struggle – Angela Y Davis
How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America – Kiese Laymon
Queenie – Candace Carty-Williams
The Poet X – Elizabeth Acevedo
With the Fire on High – Elizabeth Acevedo
Unapologetic – Charlene A. Carruthers
The Nickel Boys – Colson Whitehead
Good Talk – Mira Jacob
Sister Outsider – Audre Lorde
Your Silence Will Not Protect You – Audre Lorde
Locking Up Our Own – James Forman Jr.
Another masterpost of books to read here.
The list is endless. I will now be starting a BLM series on my blog where I focus on Black lives, Black history and how we can all help to end the insufferable racism and inhumane treatment these people did nothing to deserve. We all must do better and I will be using this platform to educate not only myself, but hopefully my readers too, on this movement and how we can change the world for the better because of it.
To sign petitions, text, call, learn about protesting, educate yourself, vote and donate, click here.
All my love,