You probably already know that this October is Black History Month. I may be a little late to the party, seeing it’s October 28th, but I do want to make a celebratory post about black history. Both 2020 and 2021 have been especially eventful and meaningful for black people and black history in general.
Black history month 2021
For better or for worse, the murders of black people the past two years have aided into raising awareness on what it’s like to be a black person. It also encouraged a lot of (non-black)people to read about black history and support black owned businesses and black entrepreneurs. That includes black authors and books written about being a black person in 2021 and black history throughout the centuries.
So, what better way to celebrate black history month than reading books by black authors. Here are the best and most inspiring books written by black authors, in my opinion as always. I recommend you add them to your TBR list and get inspired to read more books written by black authors.
“The Other Black Girl” by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust. Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW. It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.
“Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend” by Ben Phillipe
In an era in which “I have many black friends” is often a medal of Wokeness, Ben hilariously chronicles the experience of being on the receiving end of those fist bumps. He takes us through his immigrant childhood, from wanting nothing more than friends to sit with at lunch, to his awkward teenage years, to college in the age of Obama, and adulthood in the Trump administration–two sides of the same American coin.
Ben takes his role as your new black friend seriously, providing original and borrowed wisdom on stereotypes, slurs, the whole “swimming thing,” how much Beyoncé is too much Beyoncé, Black Girl Magic, the rise of the Karens, affirmative action, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other conversations you might want to have with your new BBFF.
Oscillating between the impulse to be one of the good ones and the occasional need to excuse himself to the restrooms, stuff his mouth with toilet paper, and scream, Ben navigates his own Blackness as an Oreo with too many opinions for his father’s liking, an encyclopedic knowledge of CW teen dramas, and a mouth he can’t always control.
From cheating his way out of swim tests to discovering stray family members in unlikely places, he finds the punchline in the serious while acknowledging the blunt truths of existing as a Black man in today’s world. Extremely timely, Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend is a conversational take on topics both light and heavy, universal and deeply personal, which reveals incisive truths about the need for connection in all of us.
More book posts: 📚 Book Review: “The Dreamers” by Karen Thompson Walker 📚 What’s On My Amazon Kindle Bookshelf 📚 8 Must-Read Books This Summer 📚 What I Read This April (2021) 📚 What I Read This March (2021) 📚 What I Read This February (2021) 📚 Festive Reads: The Top 5 Christmas Books To Get You Ready for the Holiday Season
“Black and British: A short essential history” & “Black and British: A Forgotten History” by David Olusoga
Black and British A short essential history:
A short, essential introduction to Black British history. When did Africans first come to Britain? Who are the well-dressed black children in Georgian paintings? Why did the American Civil War disrupt the Industrial Revolution? These and many other questions are answered in this essential introduction to 1800 years of the Black British history: from the Roman Africans who guarded Hadrian’s Wall right up to the present day.
Black and British A Forgotten History:
Drawing on new genealogical research, original records, and expert testimony, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination, Elizabethan ‘blackamoors’ and the global slave-trading empire. It shows that the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery, and that black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of both World Wars. Black British history is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation. It is not a singular history, but one that belongs to us all.
In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren’t affected by it. She posted a piece on her blog, entitled: ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ that led to this book. Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. It is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today.
“Girl, Woman, Other”by Bernardine Evaristo
Teeming with life and crackling with energy — a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood. Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.
What do you think about these books? Have you read any of them? Let me know in the comments! 😊
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