Since I’ve been reading more than ever these past few months, I’ve tried to be conscious of reading a diverse group of authors, stories, perspectives and characters. With February being Black History Month, I thought it would be a great time to read some of the Black authors and books I’ve been wanting to get through for a while.
Now that I’m sharing what I’m reading more, some people have asked any tips I have for increasing their own reading –which is amazing! Lists like these are easy ways to do them.
Every week, month or however often you’re looking to start a new read, give yourself some book challenges. For example, reading a book by a female author of color, reading a book with main characters of color, books set in other countries or on a continent other than North America or Europe. You’d be surprised at how quickly your ‘books I’ve read’ pile grows.
Figuring out which books I wanted to focus on was hard. There are so many great Black authors and stories that I really want to get to this year. I narrowed it down by focusing on the books that have been on my mind lately.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Goodreads Synopsis / Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
This book was just released in late 2016 and has been on my list since it’s release. The fact that the author decided to create an actual railroad in this narrative definitely intrigued me.
for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozanke Shange
Goodreads Synopsis / Passionate and fearless, Shange’s words reveal what it is to be of color and female in the twentieth century.
I’ve seen this play in film and on stage, but have never read it. It combines poetry and stage direction in ways that really help you feel and become each woman, represented by a color, who we meet in this story.
God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
Goodreads Synopsis / Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child—the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult.
I’m hoping to read several of Toni Morrison’s books this year, but decided to start with one set in present day. I’m excited to really dig into her catalogue.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Goodreads Synopsis / When Janie, at sixteen, is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before meeting the man of her dreams, who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds …
This is another book and author that I’ve heard so much praise for, but have never read myself. And if the synopsis doesn’t get you, I don’t know what will!
I wanted to keep this list relatively short, with February being a quick month and with other projects taking off that may keep me from reading a much as I have this month. I think getting through all four of these will be more than doable! I’ll share any and all books that I finish in my February reading wrap up!
Do you have any books planned to read next month? Share your upcoming reads in the comments!