10 Books Released by Black Women in 2013 You Should Read

We know Black Girls Love Books , and this was a great year for Black women in literature. We've...

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We know Black Girls Love Books, and this was a great year for Black women in literature. We've picked a few books released by Black women in 2013 for you to curl up with. This list is by no means exhaustive. Leave your favorites of the year in a comment.

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
Kweku Sai is dead. A renowned surgeon and failed husband, he succumbs suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of Kweku’s death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Ghana Must Go is their story. Electric, exhilarating, beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go is a testament to the transformative power of unconditional love, from a debut novelist of extraordinary talent.

Purchase: Ghana Must Go

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.

Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most powerful and astonishing novel yet.

Purchase: Americanah

(1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race by Yaba Blay
What exactly is Blackness? What does it mean to be Black? Is Blackness a matter of biology or consciousness? Who determines who is Black and who is not? Who's Black, who's not, and who cares? (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race seeks to challenge narrow perceptions of Blackness as both an identity and lived reality. Featuring the perspectives of 60 contributors representing 25 different countries and countries of origin, and combining candid narratives with simple, yet striking, portraiture, this book provides living testimony to the diversity of Blackness. Featured on CNN Newsroom and the inspiration behind CNN's Black in America 5 - "Who is Black in America?" - (1)ne Drop continues to spark much-needed dialogue about the intricacies and nuances of racial identity, and the influence of skin color politics on questions of who is Black and who is not. (1)ne Drop takes the very literal position that in order for us to see Blackness differently, we have to see Blackness differently.

Who Asked You? by Terry McMillan
Kaleidoscopic, fast-paced, and filled with McMillan’s inimitable humor, Who Asked You? opens as Trinetta leaves her two young sons with her mother, Betty Jean, and promptly disappears. BJ, a trademark McMillan heroine, already has her hands full dealing with her other adult children, two opinionated sisters, an ill husband, and her own postponed dreams—all while holding down a job delivering room service at a hotel. Her son Dexter is about to be paroled from prison; Quentin, the family success, can’t be bothered to lend a hand; and taking care of two lively grandsons is the last thing BJ thinks she needs. The drama unfolds through the perspectives of a rotating cast of characters, pitch-perfect, each playing a part, and full of surprises.

Purchase: Who Asked You?

Turn it Loose by Britni Danielle
By all accounts Jaylah Baldwin is living her dream. After graduating at the top of her class, she’s a successful journalist who interviews celebrities and attends Hollywood parties for a living. There’s only one problem: she hates her life.

Despite her seemingly charmed existence, Jaylah loathes her job, is lonely as hell, and is tired of living up to everyone else’s expectations. When she gets fired from her cushy position at the L.A. Weekly, she has two options: stay in L.A. and become a spectacular drunk or buy a ticket to London and finally live by her own rules.

Turn It Loose is a fast-paced, entertaining novella that takes readers along for an exciting ride.

#WhatWillJaylahDo? You’ll have to read to find out!

Purchase: Turn It Loose

Mom and Me and Mom by Maya Angelou
For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.

Purchase: Mom & Me & Mom

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life—to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth—and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.

Purchase: Men We Reaped: A Memoir

The Awesome Girl's Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men by Ernessa T. Carter
Sharita, a plump and conservative accountant wants to make partner at her firm and find the man of her dreams. Thursday, the daughter of a formerly chart-topping political rapper, wants to stop being a serial one-month stander, and settle down into a stable life with a stable boyfriend. Risa, a skinny and audacious electronica punk rocker, wants to finally land an album deal, which she feels is the only way to win back the heart of her on-again of off-again closeted girlfriend. And after getting fired as the spokesmodel for her family’s hair company, sweet and gorgeous Tammy wants to prove that she has what it takes to make it on her own.

None of these women get what they want, but over the course of two years, they get exactly what they need. And that proves to be the best thing after all.

Purchase: The Awesome Girl's Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men

Black Girls Are From the Future by Renina Jarmon
Black Girls Are From the Future: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture is a collection of essays that focuses on the intersection of race and access to food, race and the internet and race and popular culture.

Purchase: Black Girls Are From the Future:: Essays on Race, Digital Creativity and Pop Culture

Supplying Salt and Light by Lorna Goodison
This stunning new book of poems from internationally renowned poet Lorna Goodison opens in Spain and Portugal, conjuring up a new history of the Caribbean and a new way of setting up its heritage.

 The title sets the tone for poems about backgrounds and outlines and shadows and sources of light. This extraordinary book -- "a wide lotus on the dark waters of song" -- is filled with surprises at every turn, as a Moorish mosque becomes a cathedral in Seville, a country girl dresses in Sunday clothes to visit a Jamaican bookmobile, and a bear appears suddenly, only to slip away silently into the trees on a road in British Columbia. The heartache of Billy Holliday singing the blues, the burden of Charlie Chaplin tramping the banana walks of Jamaica's Golden Cloud, and the paintings of El Greco, the quintessential stranger, come together on the poet's pilgrimage to Heartease, guided by a limping angel and inspired by the passage-making of Dante; the book ends with a superb version of the first of his cantos, translated into the poet's Jamaican language and landscape with the gift of love.

Purchase: Supplying Salt and Light

UPDATE: Yes, we did miss Edwidge Danticat's "Claire of the Sea Light." Now you've got 11 phenomenal books to read!

Claire Limyè Lanmè—Claire of the Sea Light—is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in Ville Rose, Haiti. Claire’s mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother’s grave. Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper, who lost a child of her own, so that Claire can have a better life.

But on the night of Claire’s seventh birthday, when at last he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears. As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself. Told with piercing lyricism and the economy of a fable, Claire of the Sea Light is a tightly woven, breathtaking tapestry that explores what it means to be a parent, child, neighbor, lover, and friend, while revealing the mysterious bonds we share with the natural world and with one another. Embracing the magic and heartbreak of ordinary life, it is Edwidge Danticat’s most spellbinding, astonishing book yet.

Purchase: Claire of the Sea Light

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