Home Book Buzz 22 Black Authors Share Their Favorite Books by Black Authors

    22 Black Authors Share Their Favorite Books by Black Authors

    22 Black Authors Share Their Favorite Books by Black Authors


    Read it Forward asked 22 Black authors to tell us their favorite book by Black authors—the books they return to again and again, the ones that never fail to provide inspiration. Here are the books they love, which are perfect for adding to your own TBR pile.


    • Jasmine Guillory, author of Party of Two:

      Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, is brilliantly written, and deeply researched, but I love it so much because of everything it made me feel. Sorrow, pain, despair, yes, but also understanding, recognition, triumph, joy, and hope. If you haven’t read this book, I’m so excited for you to experience it for the first time.”




    • Homegoing



      Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery. Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.



       


    • The cover of the book Party of Two

      Party of Two



      Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble—not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, but when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?



       


    • Anissa Gray, author of The Care of Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls:

      It’s difficult to pick a favorite, but On Beauty by Zadie Smith is definitely high on the list. It is a close examination of family, marriage, politics and culture, all done with humor and heart.


    • The cover of the book On Beauty

      On Beauty



      On Beauty is the story of an interracial family living in the university town of Wellington, Massachusetts, whose misadventures in the culture wars—on both sides of the Atlantic—serve to skewer everything from family life to political correctness to the combustive collision between the personal and the political. Full of dead-on wit and relentlessly funny, this tour de force confirms Zadie Smith’s reputation as a major literary talent.



       


    • The cover of the book The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

      The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls



      Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch of the Butler family, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters, Lillian and Viola, have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband, Proctor, are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened. As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.



       


    • Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half:

      “This is an impossible question to answer, but I’ll say that I’ve been thinking a lot about The Color Purple lately. This is such an iconic text by now, with its film and Broadway adaptations, but I first read this book in junior high and it became almost sacred to me. It’s a story about Black women living in the intersections of racialized and gendered violence, who find liberation through community with each other. This book is brutal and beautiful and holy and secular and I hope we’re reading it forever.”


    • The cover of the book The Color Purple

      The Color Purple



      A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience. The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker’s epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey towards redemption and love.



       


    • The cover of the book The Vanishing Half

      The Vanishing Half



      The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?



       


    • Kwana Jackson, author of Real Men Knit:

      “When pressed to pick a favorite book by a Black author, there are so many that come to mind, I’m overwhelmed and want to shy away from the question. But if I’m going to be true, my heart and mind always goes to Terry McMillan and then my choices are instantly narrowed to a toss up between two of her amazing works: Mama and Disappearing Acts. Being a romance author, I’m going with Disappearing Acts. The incredible realness while at the same time, vulnerability and tenderness that Ms. McMillan showed in Franklin and Zora’s story has always stuck with me. Seeing Black love displayed so beautifully and honestly on the page is always a gift and Ms. McMillan is a master of it.”


    • The cover of the book Disappearing Acts

      Disappearing Acts



      He was tall, dark as bittersweet chocolate, and impossibly gorgeous, with a woman-melting smile. She was pretty and independent, petite and not too skinny, just his type. Franklin Swift was a sometimes-employed construction worker, and a not-quite-divorced daddy of two. Zora Banks was a teacher, singer, songwriter. They met in a Brooklyn brownstone, and there could be no walking away. In this funny, gritty love story, Franklin and Zora join the ranks of fiction’s most compelling couples, as they move from Scrabble to sex, from layoffs to the limits of faith and trust. Disappearing Acts is about the mystery of desire and the burdens of the past. It’s about respect, what it can and can’t survive. And it’s about the safe and secret places that only love can find.



       


    • The cover of the book Real Men Knit

      Real Men Knit



      Jesse Strong is known for two things: his devotion to his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, and his reputation for breaking hearts. When Mama Joy unexpectedly passes away, he and his brothers have different plans for what to do with Strong Knits, their neighborhood knitting store. Jesse wants to keep the store open. His brothers want to tie off loose ends and close shop. Part-time shop employee Kerry Fuller has kept her crush on Jesse a secret. When she overhears his impassioned plea to his brothers to keep the knitting shop open, she volunteers to help. But the more time they spend together, the stronger the chemistry builds between them.



       


    • Jane Igharo, author of Ties That Tether:

      “I love My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. It approaches such a dark topic—murder—with humor and highlights the complex bond between sisters.”


    • The cover of the book My Sister, the Serial Killer

      My Sister, the Serial Killer



      Korede’s sister Ayoola is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead, stabbed through the heart with Ayoola’s knife. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood (bleach, bleach, and more bleach), the best way to move a body (wrap it in sheets like a mummy), and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit. Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.



       


    • The cover of the book Ties That Tether

      Ties That Tether



      At twelve years old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture, even after immigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping—well forcing—her to stay within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, and…white. Soon, Azere is caught between her feelings for Rafael and the compulsive need to please her mother. Can she be with him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious and fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.



       


    • Wil Haygood, author of In Black and White:

      Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin. I had the chance to interview Baldwin back in the mid-1980s when he was a visiting professor in Massachusetts. His mere presence in the flesh inspired me to start thinking of writing books.”


    • The cover of the book Notes of a Native Son

      Notes of a Native Son



      Written during the 1940s and early 1950s, when Baldwin was only in his twenties, the essays collected in Notes of a Native Son capture a view of black life and black thought at the dawn of the civil rights movement and as the movement slowly gained strength through the words of one of the most captivating essayists and foremost intellectuals of that era. Writing as an artist, activist, and social critic, Baldwin probes the complex condition of being black in America. With a keen eye, he examines everything from the significance of the protest novel to the motives and circumstances of the many black expatriates of the time, from his home in “The Harlem Ghetto” to a sobering “Journey to Atlanta.”



       


    • The cover of the book In Black and White

      In Black and White



      For decades one of America’s most recognizable stars, the real Sammy Davis, Jr. has long remained hidden behind the persona the performer so vigorously generated—and so fiercely protected. In Black and White vividly recounts this untold story, tracing Davis, Jr.’s journey from the vaudeville stage to Broadway, Hollywood, and, of course, Las Vegas. Wil Haygood brings Davis’s life into full relief against the backdrop of an America in the throes of racial change. He made his living entertaining white people but was often denied service in the very venues he played, and in his broad and varied friendships—not to mention his romances—Davis crossed racial lines in ways few others had.



       


    • Antoinette M. Clarke and Tricia Clarke-Stone, authors of Double Down:

      “One of our favorite Black authors is Maya Angelou. We love all her books because she vibrantly detailed the Black experience and inspired us to think and approach life differently through amazing storytelling. She understood and expressed the human experience so beautifully and made us feel it. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” As creators, as storytellers, our goal is to help someone learn and feel something—that’s how memories are made, and how legacies are forged.”


    • The cover of the book The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou

      The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou



      All of Maya Angelou’s six celebrated autobiographies are available in this handsome one-volume edition. Dedicated fans and newcomers alike can follow the continually absorbing chronicle of Angelou’s life: her formative childhood in Stamps, Arkansas; the birth of her son, Guy, at the end of World War II; her adventures traveling abroad with the famed cast of Porgy and Bess; her experience living in a black expatriate “colony” in Ghana; her intense involvement with the civil rights movement, including her association with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X; and, finally, the beginning of her writing career.



       


    • The cover of the book Double Down

      Double Down



      As African American women who have climbed their way to the highest ranks of the media world, Tricia and Antoinette have learned that to win when the deck is stacked against you, you need to ditch the old Status Quo rules. Whether you’re starting your career, wondering why you’re not further along, or looking to pivot, you’ve got to double down on yourself, and you’ve got to cultivate a group of people who will double down on you, too. Here, they share their wisdom with the next generation of Boss Ladies looking to up their game.



       


    • Jasmon Drain, author of Stateway’s Garden:

      “Hmmmmm. I’d have to say, Ernest Gaines, and the book entitled A Gathering of Old Men. I believe this book to be some of the most intricate and well-developed storytelling of any author, in any canon for that matter. Gaines, in my opinion, is a true master of American storytelling and is still rather underrated from my vantage point.”


    • The cover of the book A Gathering of Old Men

      A Gathering of Old Men



      A powerful depiction of racial tensions arising over the death of a Cajun farmer at the hands of a black man—set on a Louisiana sugarcane plantation in the 1970s. The Village Voice called A Gathering of Old Men “the best-written novel on Southern race relations in over a decade.”



       


    • The cover of the book Stateway's Garden

      Stateway’s Garden



      Before being torn down in 2007, the Stateway Gardens public housing projects on Chicago’s South Side were ridden with deprivation and crime. But for some, like Tracy, the shy, intelligent young boy at the center of this enthralling collection of linked stories, they are simply home. Set in the mid-1980s and taking readers up to the point of the destruction of the infamous Cabrini-Green housing projects—a set of buildings similar in design to Stateway Gardens to the south—this collection gives an intimate look at the hopes, dreams, failures, and fortunes of a group of people growing up with the deck always stacked against them. Through Jasmon Drain’s sensitive and often playful prose, we see another side of what we have come to know as “the projects.”



       


    • Mikki Kendall, author of Hood Feminism and Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists with illustrator A. D’Amico:

      “I don’t actually have a single favorite book by a Black author, so this one is hard. But if I had to choose one of my faves, then I choose Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. It was one of the first books I read where the Black girl wasn’t there to be a prop to advance someone else’s story. I was so invested in Cassie Logan and her siblings and her community because she was just like me and the people I knew with no apologies or regrets. Cassie Logan is where I learned that Black girls have a right to love themselves and to fight for their own futures. “


    • The cover of the book Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

      Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry



      Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this is the story of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. And it is also Cassie’s story–Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, even as she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect.



       


    • The cover of the book Hood Feminism

      Hood Feminism



      In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization, along with incisive commentary on politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux.



       


    • The cover of the book Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists

      Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists



      The ongoing struggle for women’s rights has spanned human history, touched nearly every culture on Earth, and encompassed a wide range of issues, such as the right to vote, work, get an education, own property, exercise bodily autonomy, and beyond. Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is a fun and fascinating graphic novel-style primer that covers the key figures and events that have advanced women’s rights from antiquity to the modern era.



       


    • Abi Daré, author of The Girl with the Louding Voice:

      I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I read this brutally honest yet sensitive account of Ms. Angelou’s life many years ago, and immediately became enamored with the life of this remarkable woman. Ms. Angelou tells the story—in stunning prose—of her years growing up in the South. She tackles difficult themes of racism, sexual abuse and poverty with courage, grace and humor that often made me forget I was reading a memoir. Her story taught me that there can be triumph in the midst of adversity—a message that is even more relevant in these present times.


    • The cover of the book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

      I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings



      Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.



       


    • The cover of the book The Girl with the Louding Voice

      The Girl with the Louding Voice



      Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education. This, her mother has told her, is the only way to get a “louding voice”—the ability to speak for herself and decide her own future. But instead, her father sells her to be the third wife of a local man who is eager for her to bear him a son and heir. When Adunni runs away to the city, she finds that the only other option before her is servitude to a wealthy family. But while misfortunes might muffle her voice for a time, they cannot mute it. And when she realizes that she must stand up not only for herself, but for other girls, for the ones who came before her and were lost, and for the next girls who will inevitably follow, she finds the resolve to speak, however she can, until she is heard.



       


    • Bernice L. McFadden, author of Sugar:

      “My favorite novel is The Color Purple by Alice Walker because the portrayal of Black female friendship is the gift that keeps on giving.”


    • The cover of the book The Color Purple

      The Color Purple



      A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience. The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker’s epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey towards redemption and love.



       


    • The cover of the book Sugar

      Sugar



      A young prostitute comes to Bigelow, Arkansas, to start over, far from her haunting past. Sugar moves next door to Pearl, who is still grieving for the daughter who was murdered fifteen years before. Over sweet-potato pie, an unlikely friendship begins, transforming both women’s lives—and the life of an entire town. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, to read this novel is to take a journey through loss and suffering to a place of forgiveness, understanding, and grace.



       


    • Afia Atakora, author of Conjure Women:

      “Zora Neale Hurston is best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, that resonant classic exploring the sonorous and the sinister of Southern Black life in the 1930s. However the full breadth of Hurston’s work spans mediums: investigative journalism to biography to anthropology in one artful bound. And with the recent rediscoveries of Barracon and Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick, there is still more to be learned from Hurston’s vibrant renderings which live effortlessly at the intersection of truth and fiction.”


    • The cover of the book Zora Neale Hurston: Novels & Stories

      Zora Neale Hurston: Novels & Stories



      Hurston’s fiction is free-flowing and frequently experimental, exuberant in its storytelling and open to unpredictable and fascinating digressions. This volume brings together for the first time all of Zora Neale Hurston’s best writing in one authoritative set. When she died in poverty and obscurity in 1960, all of her books were out of print. Today Hurston’s groundbreaking works, suffused with the culture and traditions of African Americans and the poetry of black speech, have won her recognition as one of the most significant modern American writers.



       


    • The cover of the book Conjure Women

      Conjure Women



      Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife; and their master’s daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom.



       


    • Latasha Morrison, author of Be the Bridge:

      The Warmth of Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. The writer’s ability to beautifully story tell and simultaneously weave historical data into each character was captivating. Wilkerson brought a fresh narrative to the great migration that encouraged a deeper exploration into racial terror, Jim Crow, and redlining. These are major racial injustices that shaped our country and contribute to the wealth gap presently.”


    • The cover of the book The Warmth of Other Suns

      The Warmth of Other Suns



      From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves. With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals and brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work.



       


    • The cover of the book Be the Bridge

      Be the Bridge



      In an era where we seem to be increasingly divided along racial lines, many are hesitant to step into the gap, fearful of saying or doing the wrong thing. At times the silence, particularly within the church, seems deafening. But change begins with an honest conversation among a group of Christians willing to give a voice to unspoken hurts, hidden fears, and mounting tensions. These ongoing dialogues have formed the foundation of a global movement called Be the Bridge—a nonprofit organization whose goal is to equip the church to have a distinctive and transformative response to racism and racial division. In this book, founder Latasha Morrison shows how you can participate in this incredible work and replicate it in your own community.



       


    • Andie J. Christopher, author of Not That Kind of Guy:

      Intercepted by Alexa Martin. When I read Marlee’s internal monologue, it was one of the first experiences I had feeling like an author could have been writing about me. I love all of Alexa’s books, and I’m particularly excited to read Snapped, which directly addresses #BlackLivesMatter and professional sports.”


    • The cover of the book Intercepted

      Intercepted



      Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights. Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.



       


    • The cover of the book Not That Kind of Guy

      Not That Kind of Guy



      State attorney Bridget Nolan is successful in all aspects of her life—except romance. After breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, she’s been slow to reenter the dating scene. But with her brother’s wedding right around the corner, she suddenly needs a date and fast. Lucky for Bridget, the legal intern is almost done with his program. Matt Kido is dumbstruck by Bridget—total love at first sight—but there’s one problem. She’s totally off-limits while she’s his boss. But the moment he no longer reports to her, Matt decides to take a chance. An impulsive decision takes them to Las Vegas where, as the saying goes, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Unless you put a ring on it.



       


    • Alexis Henderson, author of The Year of Witching:

      “One of my favorites is A Phoenix First Must Burn, an anthology of sixteen Science Fiction/Fantasy short stories written by bestselling and award-winning Black authors. I love this anthology because it’s both a celebration of and a testament to the innate power and magic of the Black experience. I can’t recommend it enough!”


    • The cover of the book A Phoenix First Must Burn

      A Phoenix First Must Burn



      Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.



       


    • The cover of the book The Year of the Witching

      The Year of the Witching



      In Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement. But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood. Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she learns grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes that if Bethel’s darkness is going to change, it must begin with her.



       


    • Abby Collette, author of A Deadly Inside Scoop:

      The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls. I enjoyed this book because it was about family, how you can stick with them, and lean on them no matter how tough the times, even when sometimes it’s family that has caused the pain.”


    • The cover of the book The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

      The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls



      Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters, Lillian and Viola, have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband, Proctor, are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened. As Althea awaits her fate, The Butler sisters must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.



       


    • The cover of the book A Deadly Inside Scoop

      A Deadly Inside Scoop



      Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop and she’s going back to basics. Win’s renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with her grandmother’s delicious, homemade ice cream flavors. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens, an early first snow descends and keeps the customers away. To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it.



       


    • Jonathan Abrams, author of All the Pieces Matter:

      “James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time is just as urgent and pressing now as when he published it nearly sixty years ago. His words and vision provided the text for the Civil Rights movement and the book, sliced into two essays, confronts America’s racial tensions and the need for people’s thoughts on race to evolve.”


    • The cover of the book The Fire Next Time

      The Fire Next Time



      At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document from the iconic author of If Beale Street Could Talk and Go Tell It on the Mountain. It consists of two “letters,” written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as “sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle…all presented in searing, brilliant prose,” The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of literature.



       


    • The cover of the book All the Pieces Matter

      All the Pieces Matter



      Since its final episode aired in 2008, HBO’s acclaimed crime drama The Wire has only become more popular and influential. The issues it tackled, from the failures of the drug war and criminal justice system to systemic bias in law enforcement and other social institutions, have become more urgent and central to the national conversation. The show’s actors, such as Idris Elba, Dominic West, and Michael B. Jordan, have gone on to become major stars. But while there has been a great deal of critical analysis of the show and its themes, until now there has never been a definitive, behind-the-scenes take on how it came to be made. With unparalleled access to all the key actors and writers involved in its creation, Jonathan Abrams tells the astonishing, compelling, and complete account of The Wire, from its inception and creation through its end and powerful legacy.



       


    • Alexa Martin, author of Snapped:

      “I am absolutely obsessed with Andie J. Christopher’s Not the Girl You Marry. Not only did she fearlessly delve into the struggles of being a mixed race woman, but she also created a heroine who cared more about herself than society’s expectations of her. Watching Hannah get her happily ever after is the most enjoyable, satisfying journey a reader could have.”


    • The cover of the book Not the Girl You Marry

      Not the Girl You Marry



      Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. He strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him. Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings. Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.



       


    • The cover of the book Snapped

      Snapped



      Elliot Reed is living her best life—or pretending to—in her new job as Strategic Communications Manager for the Denver Mustangs. Things are going well until star quarterback Quinton Howard Jr. decides to use the field as his stage and becomes the first player to take a knee during the national anthem. As the son of a former professional athlete, Quinton knows the good, the bad, and the ugly about football. He’s worked his entire life to gain recognition in the sport, and now that he has it, he’s not about to waste his chance to change the league for better. Not even the brilliant but infuriating Elliot, who the Mustangs assign to manage him, will get Quinton back in line. A rocky initial meeting leads to more tension between Quinton and Elliot. But as her new job forces them to spend time together, Elliot realizes they may have more in common than she could’ve imagined. With her job and his integrity on the line, this is one coin toss that nobody can win.



       


    • MaryAnne Howland, author of Warrior Rising:

      Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. This is the first book I read by a black female author. My love of words started in my very early years with poetry. Zora was recommended to me by a librarian at our local public library who saw a girl who would sit cross-legged in a corner for hours reading until closing hours. I had read all of the children’s books worth reading so she introduced me to Zora and I fell in love instantly. Zora’s poetic work in fiction was like magic. It changed the way I viewed myself, my own blackness, and at the same time, opened a whole new world of the power of stories. She made me want to become a storyteller. So I did.”


    • The cover of the book Zora Neale Hurston: Novels & Stories

      Zora Neale Hurston: Novels & Stories



      “There is no book more important to me than this one,” novelist Alice Walker has written about Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Hurston’s lyrical masterpiece about a woman’s determined struggle for love and independence. In this, her most acclaimed work, she employs a striking range of tones and voices to give the story of Janie and Tea Cake the poetic intensity of a myth.



       


    • The cover of the book Warrior Rising

      Warrior Rising



      When MaryAnne Howland’s son was turning thirteen she organized a “Black Mitzvah” rite of passage celebration for him. Max is one of the one-in-three children in America being raised without a father in the home. To help fill the father-shaped hole in Max’s life as he transitioned from boyhood to manhood, MaryAnne invited four men from different corners of her life—an engineer, a philanthropist, a publisher, and a financial planner—to become Max’s mentors. Through his adolescence, Max’s mentors have shared valuable insights with him about what it means to be a good man in the face of life’s challenges.



       


    • Toni Tipton-Martin, author of Jubilee:

      “My favorite book, though no longer in print, is The Domestic Cookbook by Malinda Russell. She published the first Black cookbook to be a complete recipe collection, not a household management book, in 1866. She was a single mother, working outside of her home, owned and operated several businesses and left a written record of Black cooking beyond notions of “soul” and poverty.”


    • The cover of the book Jubilee

      Jubilee



      Throughout her career, Toni Tipton-Martin has shed new light on the history, breadth, and depth of African American cuisine. She’s introduced us to black cooks, some long forgotten, who established much of what’s considered to be our national cuisine. After all, if Thomas Jefferson introduced French haute cuisine to this country, who do you think actually cooked it? In Jubilee, Tipton-Martin brings these masters into our kitchens. Through over 100 recipes and stories, we cook along with these pioneering figures, from enslaved chefs
 to middle- and upper-class writers and entrepreneurs.



       


    • Jeni McFarland, author of The House of Deep Water:

      “My favorite book by a black author is A. Rafael Johnson’s The Through. It’s maybe the most original book I’ve ever read, and so emotionally compelling.”


    • The cover of the book The Through

      The Through



      In The Through, Adrian and her partner Ben navigate the strange and dangerous magic of a black ghost town, Okahika, that exists somewhere between Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the other-world of flying slave ships and mothers back from the dead. This narrative interrogates blackness in the New South, including the ways in which it is haunted and revisited by the old. It also engages with love and trauma, exploring how we keep ourselves hidden and allow ourselves to know each other in our most intimate relationships.



       


    • The cover of the book The House of Deep Water

      The House of Deep Water



      River Bend, Michigan, is the kind of small town most can’t imagine leaving, but three women couldn’t wait to escape. When each must return–Linda Williams, never sure what she wants; her mother, Paula, always too sure; and Beth DeWitt, one of River Bend’s only black daughters, now a mother of two who’d planned to raise her own children anywhere else–their paths collide under Beth’s father’s roof. As one town struggles to contain all of their love affairs and secrets, a local scandal forces Beth to confront her own devastating past.



       


    • Denise Williams, author of How to Fail at Flirting:

      “It’s impossible for me to pick a singular favorite book by a Black author, but Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan was a recent read that left me breathless. Something I’ve shared about Ryan’s work before is that her characters don’t speak truth to power, they are truth to power from introduction through the end of the epilogue. From the whimsical prose to the pointed social commentary to the scorching chemistry between the two main characters, I couldn’t put Queen Move down and I haven’t stopped recommending it.”


    • The cover of the book Queen Move

      Queen Move



      Dig a little and you’ll find photos of me in the bathtub with Ezra Stern. Get your mind out of the gutter. We were six months old. Pry and one of us might confess we saved our first kiss for each other. The most clumsy, wet, sloppy, spectacular thirty seconds of my adolescence. Get into our business and you’ll see two families, closer than blood, torn apart in an instant. Twenty years later, my “awkward duckling” best friend from childhood, the boy no one noticed, is a man no one can ignore. Tell me the boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have. When we find each other again, everything stands in our way—secrets, lies, promises. But we didn’t come this far to give up now. And I know just the move to make if I want to make him mine.



       


    • The cover of the book How to Fail at Flirting

      How to Fail at Flirting



      When her flailing department lands on the university’s chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to have an evening on the town. For one night, her focus strays from her demanding job and when she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to have a no-strings-attached hookup. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship with Jake—except the complicated strings around her dating him might destroy her career. Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she’s finally living again.



       



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