If you’re anything like me, the thought of self-isolating for the next two weeks (I refuse to accept anything longer than that) is filling you with a sense of dread. What am I really meant to do for two weeks? There’s only so much Netflix I can watch in one day…
Which is where this list comes in. I know most people find books boring so I’ve tried to put together a range of different black books that I felt kept me hooked throughout.
Or if anything you’ll get bored enough that you’ll end up reading just because there’s nothing left to do.
Either way, here’s ten recommended books to help you get through these next two weeks (or more):
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
Throughout her whole life, Starr has lived in two different worlds: her posh predominantly white high school in the suburbs and the poor community where she was born. She’s found a way to strike a balance between them both but all that is destroyed when she is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now Starr has to decide whether to stay quiet or find her voice in a world that will try everything to keep her mouth shut.
A new-born baby dies after a routine hospital procedure and there’s no doubt that the black nurse, who was banned from looking after him by the white supremacist father, is going to be held responsible. However, the baby’s death will change the lives of the nurse, her lawyer, the father of the baby and everyone else around them forever.
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are blissfully in love and excited for the future. He’s a young executive and she is an artist ready to start a career. Until one day, they are forced apart by circumstances neither of them could have ever imagined. Roy is imprisoned for twelve years for a crime that Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Heartbroken and devastated, Celestial finds herself struggling and turns to their closest friend Andre. All three friends are tested by forces beyond their control, which will inevitably change their relationships forever.
Emira and Alix are as different as two people can be. Emira is Alix’s black babysitter whilst Alix is a white successful married feminist blogger. One-night whist at a supermarket with Alix’s daughter, Emira is apprehended for ‘kidnapping’, which sets off a chain of events. Alix is determined to make things right. A surprising connection between the two women soon upsets the balance, which causes both women to rethink everything they know about themselves and each other.
On the Come Up – Angie Thomas
Bri is determined to be the greatest rapper of all time. Her father was an underground Hip-Hop legend who died just before his big break. Bri knows that if she wants to be like him, she’s got to put in the work. But when her first song gets airtime for all the wrong reasons, Bri soon discovers herself in the centre of controversy and stereotyped by the media. With an eviction notice over her family’s head, Bri knows that she has to make it…even if it means becoming exactly how the media have portrayed her to be.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Dr Maya Angelou
This is the first volume of Dr Maya Angelou’s seven-part memoir. She beautifully describes her childhood growing up with her grandmother in the American South of the 1930s. She’s faced with racism and suffers some very traumatic events. However, it’s a beautiful biography with the reminder ‘to keep going’ regardless of the past.
A Lesson Before Dying – Ernest J. Gaines
A young black man called Jefferson, living in a small community in the late 1940s, witnesses a liquor store shootout in which three men are killed. As the sole survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. A story about a young teacher who hopes to ease Jefferson’s burden as he waits to die for a crime he did not commit.
Red at the Bone – Jacqueline Woodson
Brooklyn 2001. Sixteen-year-old Melody is having a coming of age party in her grandparents’ brownstone. Her relatives and friends watch her make an entrance to the music of Prince in a custom-made dress – the very same dress Melody’s mother was meant to wear for a celebration that never took place. This novel unfurls the history of Melody’s family – from 1921 Tulsa race massacre to post 9/11 New York. Through exploration of identity, class, parenthood and sexual desires, these characters are a portrayal of how the younger generation often make life-changing decisions about their lives before they’ve even begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.
Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Set in Lagos, two teenagers Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. However, the political climate of Nigeria forces Ifemelu to depart for America, where she experiences many trials and tribulations whilst dealing with the new added pressure of being a minority. Obinze has hopes to join her but post 9/11 America won’t let him and he ends up living a undocumented life in London. Thirteen years later, Obinze is wealthy and is living in newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu is a successful blogger. After so long apart, will their love be the same after all these years?
Akala talk about how race and class has shaped his outlook on life from the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white. He takes his own experiences and addresses the current social and political system of today. He speaks directly to the British denial when it comes to confronting race and class that is the heart and soul of the legacy of British empire.
And that’s it, folks. I don’t want to give too much away because I plan to do in-depth reviews about most of these books anyway.
I’ve also done some reviews on:
Feel free to check them out!
But until Sunday (my usual posting day), stay safe and don’t leave your house unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Happy reading x