As we all know, February is African American history month. A few years ago, I made it a point to diversify my reading list and, boy, am I glad I did. Reading books written by people with different backgrounds than you is good for you. Challenge your thinking a little bit. So, I've compiled a list of some of the best books I've read by people of color. The list is long, so expect a follow-up blog in a couple of weeks.
An American Marriage, Tayari Jones
Roy and Celeste are newly weds. He's a successful business man, she's a successful artist. While visiting his family in Louisiana, he is arrested for a crime he did not commit. He's tried and convicted on the testimony of an eye witness. An eye witness who is mistaken.
An American Marriage is a story about the fragility of relationships when exposed to overwhelming and devastating outside forces. And it's a little bit about the criminal justice system in America.
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Beloved is an interesting read. I was trying to explain it to someone a few months ago and came up way short. Beloved is the tragic tale of severe PTSD, grief, loss, and slavery. Oh, I forgot to mention the ghost. See why I had such a hard time explaining it? It's a difficult read, and not just because the subject matter; it's heavy in every way possible. But it's worth the work.
March, Congressman John Lewis
March is a three volume comic book series. And it is wonderful. A little background, Congressman John Lewis is a civil rights activist who marched on Selma with Dr. King. He sustained serious injuries doing what he knew was right. He's brave, he's a better person than I'll ever be, and he wrote a comic book. March is, of course, about the civil rights movement. It begins with Lewis joining the movement and ends with the inauguration of President Obama.
Homegoing, Yaa Gayasi
Homegoing is two stories weaved in and intertwined with one another. Two sisters, born in Ghana, are separated and raised in two villages. One of them is married off to a rich Englishman, living a life of luxury, albeit its own form of slavery. The other sister is sold to a slave trader. Homegoing follows the descendants of both sisters from plantations, war, the jazz era in Harlem, up to present day. It's a stunning debut.
The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
I have talked about this book a lot. So, bear with me while I talk about it again. This is a powerful book about race, socio-economic divide, the struggle to live in two separate worlds, politics, law enforcement, gun violence, and the whole police officers shooting unarmed black men and boys thing. It's a lot, but Thomas does a beautiful job showing the situation from all angles. Not that it is her job to make these issues easier to understand for people like me who have never been in the situations that arise in this book, I appreciate her for doing so.
So, this should be enough to get you started! Grab one of these books or add them to your TBR.