17 New Books by Black Women to Add to Your Wishlist7/05/2014
Our #BlackGirlsLoveBooks picks are becoming so popular that I'm now asked to review books all t...
Our #BlackGirlsLoveBooks picks are becoming so popular that I'm now asked to review books all the time. Due to time constraints, I can't do it, but I wanted to share some of the titles that have caught my eye this year. I'm defining "new" as released in the past 6 months.
Though I've read a handful of the books listed, most of them remain on my to-read list. Be sure to tell us how you like them!
Ruby: A Novel by Cynthia Bond
Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom’s Juke, to Celia Jennings’s kitchen where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.
Unexpected Stories by Octavia Butler
Critical Appropriations: African American Women and the Construction of Transnational Identity by Simone Drake
Through a close examination of Toni Morrison's Paradise, Danzy Senna's Caucasia, Gayl Jones's Corregidora, Erna Brodber's Louisiana, and Kasi Lemmons's film Eve's Bayou, as well as Beyoncé Knowles's B-Day album and music-video collaboration with Shakira, Beautiful Liar, Drake reveals how concepts of hybridity whether positioned as créolité, Candomblé, négritude, Latinidad, or Brasilidade are appropriated in each work of art as a way of challenging the homogeneous paradigm of black cultural studies. This redefined notion of identity enables African American women to embrace a more complex, transnational blackness that is not only more liberating but also more pertinent to their experiences.
'Til the Well Runs Dry: A Novel by Lauren Francis-Sharma
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court by Brittney Griner
Lost and Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life by Sarah Jakes
Strictly Professional by Christina Jones
Follow along with Gabi and Terrence as they navigate the stages of a relationship that was never meant to go further than a single night. Will they be able to overcome the challenges of family and career to build something that could last?
Black Girl Dangerous on Race, Queerness, Class and Gender by Mia McKenzie
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world.
This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.
Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself.
The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery by Sarah Lewis
The gift of failure is a riddle. Like the number zero, it will always be both a void and the start of infinite possibility. The Rise—a soulful celebration of the determination and courage of the human spirit—makes the case that many of our greatest triumphs come from understanding the importance of this mystery.
The Rise explores the inestimable value of often ignored ideas—the power of surrender for fortitude, the criticality of play for innovation, the propulsion of the near win on the road to mastery, and the importance of grit and creative practice. From an uncommonly insightful writer, The Rise is a true masterwork.
Talking to the Dead: Religion, Music, and Lived Memory among Gullah/Geechee Women by LeRhonda Manigault-Bryant
Everybody's Got Something by Robin Roberts
This Ain't Chicago: Race, Class, and Regional Identity in the Post-Soul South by Zandria Robinson
Robinson grounds her work in Memphis--the first big city heading north out of the Mississippi Delta. Although Memphis sheds light on much about the South, Robinson does not suggest that the region is monolithic. Instead, she attends to multiple Souths, noting the distinctions between southern places. Memphis, neither Old South nor New South, sits at the intersections of rural and urban, soul and post-soul, and civil rights and post-civil rights, representing an ongoing conversation with the varied incarnations of the South, past and present.
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Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor-in-chief of For Harriet. Email her or tweet her.