Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Adult Books by Black Authors

These are a mix of fiction and nonfiction, short story collections and novels, old favorites and new favorites. Have you read any? What would you recommend to me if I loved these books?

The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans

The cover of this book hooked me first. I saw it posted all over #bookstagram. The title piqued my curiosity too, but when I actually read it, it blew me away.

I’ve been on a short story kick for the past year, but this collection is the best of the best. The plots are unique and engaging, the characters are too real, and the topics are timely. I keep thinking about these characters and stories and will probably have to re-read the whole collection soon. I can’t recommend this one enough.

The Broke Diaries by Angela Nissel

I worked as a library page in high school. One shift I was “reading” the nonfiction section and this title caught my eye. I have to admit, I started reading it right then on the clock and then checked it out and took it home with me.

At the time, I was envious of Nissel. Not because she was broke - I was too! But how she had so much humor about it, and such an engaging writing style. I remember taking the book to school and showing the girls in my math class and they passed it around and laughed at the entries.

I actually bought the exact copy I first found, years later after the library discarded it. It’s been on my shelf since, and I read Mixed too, but The Broke Diaries remained my favorite.

I wanted some humor in my life after all of...this, and I can’t believe that the book still cracks me up so much. Like laughing out loud reading on my front porch, because now it’s in the 60s after last week’s ice and snow. But I digress. This book is hilarious and makes me miss the 2008ish period of blogging because that’s exactly how it reads now, even though it was written way before then. You should read this. Then let’s laugh about it together.

Just to note, if you don’t believe me about Nissel’s humor: she’s been a writer on Scrubs, the Boondocks, and Mixed-ish.

Luster by Raven Leilani

I really really enjoyed this book, but it’s so hard for me to get my thoughts together about it. There’s something that is just so raw yet so guarded, with wonderful language that really sets the pacing. I loved the run-on sentences and how the story was broken into vignettes. I loved how the book made me experience something new, while also feeling understood. It’s a truly unique book that deserves that attention it’s getting.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

This book totally lives up to the hype. I absolutely loved the story itself, but Bennett’s writing is so seamless that you get sucked in completely, and then a beautiful, profound line will stop you in your tracks.

The Incredible Shrinking Woman by Athena Dixon

This essay collection is amazing. You can tell Athena Dixon has a background in poetry because the language is so beautiful, while still being so raw and matter-of-fact. So many of these pieces made me feel seen and understood. I know this is a collection I’ll come back to time and time again. The essays are honest and powerful and emotional and poetic, all wrapped up in this gorgeous package. If you haven’t gotten your hands on this one, you need to. Now.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

Deesha Philyaw read part of “Peach Cobbler” at an event I attended years long ago and I was hooked from the first line: “My mother’s peach cobbler was so good, it made God himself cheat on his wife.”

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this collection, and once I got it I was torn between racing to finish it and wanting to drag it out so I’d have longer with these multi-layered characters. I can’t pick a favorite from this collection because they’re all that. damn. good. I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know, and that includes you. It’s the perfect mix of gossip, drama, and breathtaking storytelling you need in your life.

I usually try to not re-read a book until a year after my last reading, but this is one I’ll be coming back to more often than that. I can’t stop thinking about it and I want more.

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