Book recs

3 Books by Women to Read this Black History Month (And All the Time)

It’s no surprise that Black women have delivered some of the most impactful fiction, essays, poetry, history and social commentary not only in our recent history, but throughout history. From Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and Octavia Butler to Ijeoma Oluo, Jesmyn Ward, Roxanne Gay and N.K. Jemison, the canon of Black female authors contains some of the most deeply moving, skillful and challenging work to enter our lives.

Go ahead and follow these Black-owned accounts (if you don’t already!) for own-voices recommendations and insight into the authorial work of Black women:

Here are three recent book releases by Black women we’ve been enjoying this month:

Raceless by Georgina Lawton

Georgina Lawton, a Black British journalist, was born to two white parents–an Irish mother and English father. Her father asked no questions her entire life. 

Despite decades of questions from family members, friends, and even complete strangers, Georgina believed what her parents insisted was true–that she was a genetic anomaly. Only after her father died did she commit to discovering the truth about her DNA and exploring what it means to be Black. This is her unbelievable but true story, and it had me rethinking so many facets of the privileges of whiteness I barely notice every day.

Head here for a fuller review from @never_withouta_book

Releases next week: February 23, 2021


Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic by Kenya Hunt

Malcolm X said, “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman ….” This book is a collection of essays that dwell on Black femininity across the world, and wow, was it moving. 

From childbirth to hair care to police violence, Kenya Hunt and a number of guest writers reflect on the hardships of being a Black woman–but also the rewards. The power. The magic of being different from what is considered “mainstream.” Read Ebele Okobi’s essay, “Loss.” Read it many times. Let the emotion and unfairness and reality of police brutality sink in. I’ll never forget it.

Head here for a fuller review from @simonereadsbooks


The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

It’s no wonder this slim little short story collection has found a home in so many of our hearts already. These stories are breathtaking in their specificity and sexy as hell. 

Here is everything from two women, in love, bracing themselves to shovel the snow and missing their homes in the South in “Snowfall” to a clever high-school girl living a story of biblical murderous resonance in “Jael.” Every story draws us back to lines in the sand so often drawn by religious mothers and dogmatic churches and the particular strength of Black women in leading the way to wholeness. I’m still feeling swoony over “How to Make Love to a Physicist.” 

Head here to listen to Deesha Philyaw discuss the book with Traci Thomas on The Stacks Pod

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