I don’t usually post monthly ‘to-be-read’ piles, but I want to make an exception for this month, as it is Black History Month (BHM). While I’ve never celebrated this themed month before — I was never aware that it existed in the United States — I figured that this year was a great time to start doing it through one of my favorite mediums, literature.
This month I’m going to be reading books written by black writers. Given that I’ve got a lot of books sitting on my to-be-read shelf on Goodreads by African or African-American authors, I think this is the best time to get to them. However, just as a disclaimer, I’d like to say that I do plan on reading African and African-American authors in the other months of the year instead of just in February.
1. The Sellout by Paul Beatty
The Sellout follows a young black man who grew up in a rough Los Angeles neighbourhood, Dickens, which is deleted off the maps in order to gentrify the suburbs. After his psychologist father is killed in a police shoot-out, the protagonist sets on a mission to bring Dickens back.
I’m already half way through this one, and even though I’m not loving it, it’s an enjoyable read — well, as enjoyable as a stire on race in modern American can be.
2. They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery
This project came up as a response and a willing to understand the circumstances behind Michael Brown’s death. It quickly escalated to a look into the corners of America most affected by police brutality and racial tensions. Wesley Lowery conducted hundreds of interviews to the families who saw a loved one die at the hands of the police, as well as the rise of the extremely relevant and important Black Lives Matter movement.
This has got to be one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I was lucky enough to have been sent an e-ARC through NetGalley by the publisher. BLM is a topic I would love to know more about, it’s very touching and, as a white person, an equally sensitive topic to talk about.
3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Starr, a sixteen-year-old, divides her life into two spaces: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised, and the posh high-school in the suburb she goes to. All of this is shattered when she witnesses her unarmed best friend get killed in a police shooting.
Again, this is one of the books I’ve been anticipating the most this year, it has been inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and has sold its movie rights to FOX. I can’t wait to pick this one up.
4. Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie received a letter from a childhood friend who’d recently become a mother asking for tips on how to raise her daughter Ijeawele as a feminist. Of course thatshe wrote back and gave her two cents on the matter, and so this book, or rather talk, was created.
If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ll know that I love Adichie and think she’s one of the most daring and amazing women on the planet. I loved her Americanah book, she’s a great writer, but the first time I knew of her was through her We Should All Be Feminists
(of which a short clip is used in a Beyoncé song). I’m expecting great things!
5. How Dare The Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana
This is the story of a girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who escaped to America to flee from war at the young age of ten. She tells how she survived a massacre, her journey to the United States as a refugee, and how she overcame her traumas through art and activism.
In light of the most recent events in American politics, this is an incredibly relevant book for what it represents — the tale of a refugee told in the first person. I’m really really happy to have been granted access to read this e-ARC by the publisher through NetGalley and I hope that, once it comes out, you too can read it.
And this is my list! Have you read any of the books listed above, and if so, what did you think of them? Happy Black History Month to all!