23 Books by Black Authors
Today I wanted to create a list of 23 Books by Black Authors that I’ve read or plan on reading shortly.
Over the last few months, the Black Lives Matter movement has grown louder and more powerful due to several terrible murders of PoC by police officers. From these terrible events and the news coverage that has spread, I felt the need to educate myself on PoC experience’s.
I’m not a political person – not online anyway – so the best way for me to educate myself on Black Lives Matter movement and indeed the PoC experience is to read.
So here are 23 Books by Black Authors I would recommend, either from reading or from recommendations.
One of the next books I’l be reading this month is The Colour Purple. A modern phenomena that is widely taught in schools in the US, but not so much in the UK. I’ve never read this book and only seen snippets of the movie with Whoopi Goldberg. I’ve started listening to the audiobook and I was entranced from the get-go. A hard hitting story of Celie, a young LGBT woman in early 1900s Southern Georgia.
I’ve recently read this for a Book Club that’s begun at work. It was incredibly hard-hitting, and at times difficult for me to read. I had mixed views on the writing style and the nuance of the book, but there’s no denying the passion and the lessons that come from this book. One that should definitely shared in schools and referenced from an early age.
Another one for my TBR. This contemporary novel shows the lives of two couples after the inauguration of Barack Obama, but set in the UK. A look into the everyday lives of new parents, angst-ridden marriages and day-to-day living.
I recently read Girl, Woman, Other for my Book Club with the girls and it’s a brilliant read. The interwoven chapters and the characterisation is applause-worthy. Genius writing, that definitely deserved the Booker Prize outright and not as a joint-prize.
I’ve yet to read any Toni Morrison but Beloved and The Bluest Eye are big on my to-do list. Beloved tells the story of a female slave, Sethe, who ran away from her plantation to freedom yet still suffers with the memories of what she left behind. Namely the body of her child, buried nameless with a gravestone that reads Beloved.
I’ve finally read Maya Angelou and I’m so glad. I love her poetry, particularly her spoken-word poetry, and her life is fascinating to me. The BBC did a wonderful documentary on her life shortly after she passed away and it was fascinating. But nothing compares to her first memoir.
This book has been all the rage since the end of 2019 and it is totally worth. I loved every moment I read this book at the beginning of 2020. It’s relatable, poignant and funny with such hard-hitting realities that it makes your head spin. Brilliant.
I was lucky enough to get a proof copy of Queenie and read it fairly early on before publication. While I don’t think the writing/storyline is perhaps the strongest, there is no denying the themes and the timeliness of this novel. It is such an important read, showing the realties of everyday life for women of colour in the UK.
Chimamanda Negozi Adichie is a brilliant writer and excellent feminist role model. I’ve yet to read any of her novels, but this short non-fiction on feminism was fantastic and everything I wanted from a book on female equality. Women of colour have done so much for the fight for feminism, from the first wave to now, and their participation and successes are often overlooked by society. They should not be, they are the driving force behind women’s equality.
Another book I’ve yet to read but cannot wait to! This tells the story of two women of colour in the slave era. Their lives undertake two very paths – one as a slave and the other as a slave’s wife – and you see the effect of these paths through the stories of their descendants.
The well-deserved winner of many awards, My Sister the Serial Killer is supposedly a hilarious and investing novel set in Nigeria. I’ve got it on my Kindle and I really need to get to it! It’s a short read, and yet epic, and I can’t wait to see how Oyinkan has written her two main characters: the sister and the serial killer
This book has been the rage on social media and BookTube lately and it’s making me incredibly excited. I’ve yet to get my copy but I will be buying it shortly as I cannot deny the wonderful hype of this book. The story follows two sisters from the 1950s onwards. They are mixed race and are able to pass as white, but while one sister decides to live her life as a white person and deny her black heritage, her twin sister does the opposite and they become estranged. But their lives remain intertwined throughout history as they each have children and become adults.
I’ve purchased my copy of Red at the Bone but I’ve yet to read it. The story follows a teenage pregnancy which leads two families of different social classes together. A relatively short read about the experiences of the 20th century across generations.
Unbelievably I’ve not read this book, but I have seen the movie and know the power of this story. A young adult novel, the story follows Starr after she is the only witness to the death of her best friend, a black boy, after the two of them were pulled over for no reason. It’s a deeply effecting novel about the treatment of black people in southern American today, from police brutality, to social differences that remain from pre-civil rights and more.
Barack Obama named this as one of the most moving portrayals of wrongful conviction he’s ever read. Quite an endorsement. The story follows a black couple who are separated when the husband is wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.
A historical fiction read about the pre-civil war era of slavery. The story focuses on slave Cora, who struggles more than most with her life as a slave, and Caesar a new slave to the plantation who tells her about the famous Underground Railroad that helped slaves to freedom in the North.
The extremely popular autobiography of America’s favourite – or at least in my opinion – First Lady. Michelle Obama is one of the best people alive today – again, in my opinion – and I’ve been meaning to get to her autobiography for months! I’ve got the audiobook and I’ve been told time and time again that this is the best way to learn her story, as Michelle narrates it herself.
Roxanne Gay is a formidable Feminist heroine in the current wave of feminism, Her book Bad Feminist made its own waves back when it was released in 2014. A collection of essays on culture and feminism, this brings the inter-racial voice of feminism to the forefront, and about time to!
Written in 1979, this is a modern classic with an interesting use of timelines to show the realities of slavery from a modern-day perspective. A masterpiece from an under-rated black author who should be read more widely and earlier.
I’ve never read any James Baldwin, and I’ve been told to read either Go Tell it to the Mountain or Giovanni’s Room as soon as possible as they’re considered masterpieces. James Baldwin was an amazing orator and I’ve loved his insightful interviews about life as a black man, I would love to read his written work as well.
Patricia Bright is a YouTuber who was raised by a single mother, along with her sister, and started her own business at a young age. Now a mother herself, she is a successful businesswoman, influencer and a voice for many. I really enjoyed her book and her work on YouTube as she is inclusive, funny and remarkably inspiring.
An inspirational book targeted specifically to black women, to motivate them to follow their dreams. Sadiq Khan, said everyone should read it! As it’s not only a book of resources but also insightful as to the experience many black women will face throughout their lives.
And finally The Good Immigrant. This collection of essays from various black authors and PoC writers was all the rage a few years back, because it was the first of it’s kind ever! It’s incredibly powerful, extremely important and well-worth reading no matter what age, gender or race you are.
Please share your favourite books by black authors in the comments below. I’m looking for as many recommendations I can get, from non-fiction to fiction, to educate myself.
I hope that you found this post on 23 Books by Black Authors useful and inspiring. Let me know if you’ve read or will read any of these books. Happy reading.