As the world grows tired of hearing stories told only by old White men, more and more people are calling for books written by Black authors.
Redditor u/BoymanAndGirldog asked subreddit r/suggestmeabook for some new reading material. “Would love to read your favorite book by a Black author,” they wrote, “open to any suggestion.”
How Long Til Black Future Month by NK Jemison
Jackie Kay's Poetry Collections
Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Half an Inch of Water and The Trees, both by Percival Everett
One Redditor couldn't help but recommend two of Percival Everett's books that they considered “outstanding.”
u/tofu-weenie explained that Half an Inch of Water is a “short story collection all set (if I remember correctly) in modern rural America. He spins such an immersive world it was hard to pull myself out of it. The book as a whole felt like staring towards a dusty horizon.”
They also recommended The Trees, which they explained was on the “booker prize shortlist last year and in my opinion should have won. This is really different in tone to Half an Inch of Water — a fast-paced paranormal buddy cop thriller and an extremely intense read. Completely original and just a great piece of writing.”
Deacon King Kong by James McBride
Not only did u/u/pragmatic-pollyanna recommend James McBride's Deacon King Kong, but it was one of former President Barak Obama's “Favorite Books” of 2021.
In September 1969, an old church deacon takes a life for reasons he feel are justified. But there's a ripple through the neighborhood, through the witnesses, and through the members of the deacon's church. Set in New York City, Deacon King Kong has been called by critics, “A raucous, poignant, humanity-embracing novel.”
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
For u/ISayISayISay The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton is, “a kind of fictional biography. Fab read.”
This “electrifying novel” documents the rise and fall of (fictional) meteoric interracial rock group, Nev. Spanning from the 1970s to the 2010s, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev was named a best book of 2021 by Barack Obama, Reader's Digest, The Washington Post, NPR.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
u/ShakespearesSister12 added, “Beloved by Toni Morrison was my favorite book in a literature class in college.”
Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize winning novel follows Sethe, a former slave who was been living in Ohio for the past 18 years. While Sethe might be living free, the memories of her life at Sweet Home, the farm she was born a slave at, haven't let her go.
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
For some readers, their hands-down favorite book just happens to be written by a Black author. Redditor u/heck-ward wrote that Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward was “one of [their] favorites by any author.”
Salvage the Bones spans the course of 12 days as Hurricane Katrina bombards the Gulf of Mexico. But in Ward's novel, the story focuses on Mississippi which critics promise expand your “understanding of Katrina's devastation, beyond the pictures of choked rooftops in New Orleans.”
A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib
u/Nervous-Shark provided a few titles as suggestions. The first was, “Anything by Hanif Abdurraqib. His essays and poetry are incredible – he’s such a poignant, thoughtful, beautiful writer.”
They added that, “If you’re interested in the history of Black music, check out A Little Devil in America or Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest.”
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marion James
But u/Nervous-Shark also thought A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James was a must-read.
“It is a ride,” they wrote. “It starts with the assassin attempt of Bob Marley and spins out from there and it’s fierce and brilliant.”
A Brief History of Seven Killings is fiction, but built on the very real, very trumaltuous history of of Jamaica at the end of the 20th century.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
u/Nervous-Shark's final recommendation: “Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is a classic for a reason.”
Published in 1952, Ellison's Invisible Man follows a nameless narrator growing up in the segregated South and his journey to becoming the chief spokesperson of the Harlem branch of “the Brotherhood.”
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Lastly, u/scoutnature recommended Maya Angelou's debut memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Angelou leads readers through her childhood with her brother, Bailey, growing up with her grandmother in a small Southern town. At the age of eight, Angelou discloses she was brutally attacked — a trauma that would echo through her life, haunting her into adulthood.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.