It can sometimes be a temptation to gravitate toward books authored by writers who look like us or who we perceive to have had a similar life experience. It’s easy, comfortable, safe.
But when we do that we stunt ourselves emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. This is why over the past few years I’ve been striving to reach for books by authors of different ethnicities, origins, and backgrounds from mine.
I’d love to encourage you to do the same!
To help celebrate Black History Month, I’m going to feature some books by black authors that I recommend and which are on my to-read list.
Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan is one of the most important books I’ve read. It’s also one of the most emotionally and spiritually difficult. Eye opening and heartbreaking, this collection of short stories accurately portrays the state of many living in modern day Africa. Each story is compelling and written with dignity. It’s a book that I plan to read again and again.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead is one of the most inventive, creative, out of the box books I’ve read. In it, Whitehead imagines the famed Underground Railroad as more than just a code for the path to freedom, but an actual railroad. It’s a read well deserving of the awards it won.
Zora & Nicky is one of the first Christian novels I read. Claudia took a lot of risks in writing this story. Written with vulnerability, grace, and beautiful prose, it’s a great option for lovers of Christian fiction.
One of the many great American novels, Their Eyes Were Watching God is among the first novels published with a strong black female protagonist. In fact, it’s for this reason that it fell out of print for decades before being rereleased in the late 1970s.
All the Colors We Will See by Patrice Gopo is a collection of essays about community, marriage, society, mercy, and faith. It’s beautifully written and conceived with the greatest of love for the reader. Gopo has a profound way of seeing the world and I’m grateful for it.
Jesmyn Ward’s style brings to mind the best of Southern writing. Sing, Unburied, Sing a difficult story, a heartbreaking one. But it was written with accuracy, lyric narrative, and hope.
I’ve heard many good things about An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.
Recommended highly by my daughter, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly is high up on the to-read list.
The Hate U Give is soon to be released as a movie. I hope to read it before then!
Have I missed any of your favorites? Please post titles in the comments. I’m always happy to receive a good recommendation!