What to read this Black History Month

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Every month is Black History Month here on BB&GT (and women’s history month, and Hispanic heritage month, etc), but I wanted to make sure I provided my anticipated books! It’s an American designation, but feel free to read along with me, whether or not you’re in the U.S.!

This month, I’ll be reading some amazing books– with a good mix of male and female authors. This would normally be a lot for me in one month, but many of these are rather short reads. I was somewhat limited by my book buying ban until March 1st, so these are all books I already own.

Without further ado, here’s what I’m reading this black history month:

  1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou: This was part of my Books I’m Ashamed I Haven’t Read  post from earlier this week– But I’ve pledged to myself that I will work harder to read more Maya Angelou. I already own just about everything she’s ever written, but the size of the anthologies is such a deterrent. This month, I’m getting over my intimidation, and going for the read. For those doing the Read Harder Challenge, I’m using this fill the “book originally published in the decade you were born” requirement.
  2. The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues by Angela Davis: I saw Angela Davis speak at a conference during my senior year of college. She’s absolutely amazing– anything she writes is worth reading, even if you don’t share her beliefs. She’s one of a handful of people that would make me starstruck.
  3. Fences, by August Wilson: I’ve owned this book for ages, and its ridiculous that I haven’t read it. I’m hoping to read everything August Wilson has every written, and this is going to be a good start. It’s especially necessary now that we know Denzel Washington will be producing all 10 Wilson plays for HBO.
  4. The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin: It was really important for me to choose an author who identified at LGBTQ, reinforcing the idea James Baldwin would be a great choice to round out this list. I bought this book for my younger brother this Christmas, because he’s someone I think every young black male should read and understand. I started reading this in January, but I really have to get my life together and finish it this month.

If these aren’t for you, I also recommend the following books. I’m not reading and of these for Black history month, but I still think they’re worth a read:

  1. Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde: This is one of my favorite books ever. I’ve never read a book that made me want to highlight every other sentence. Lorde’s voice is loud and distinct, making her a mandatory read for anyone interested in intersectional analyses of oppression. I’d give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
  2. Jubilee, by Margaret Walker: If you’re looking for something longer, Brown Girl Reading and One Small Paw are co-hosting a month long read along of Jubilee, by Margaret Walker. I read this in high school, and it comes highly recommended. There’s also a diverse reads Instagram challenge associated with it, which I’ll be participating in. I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
  3. Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama: This was our January 2016 book club choice. I was so pleasantly surprised by how well written it was, and how well crafted the characters were. It’s a beautiful analysis of race from a perspective I’ve never examined before. It answers the question: how does one form a racial identity entirely on their own? It’s eloquent, and blissfully self aware. For those who are apprehensive, it has minimal talk of politics, I promise. I might be writing a full review for this book. We’ll see how much time I have this weekend. I’d give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

 

Are you reading anything special for Black History Month? Have you read any of these authors before? Let me know in the comments!

10 Comments

  1. These are great recommendations! I’m trying to “read harder” this year, both in terms of the Book Riot challenge, but also in terms of trying to walk the walk when it comes to prioritizing diversity. I put together my own list of books to read for Black History Month: https://vfseattle.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/black-history-month-tbr/. I was particularly ashamed to have not already read The Color Purple or The Bluest Eye (although I have now and they are SOOOO good!). Sister Outsider and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings have also been on my TBR list for quite some time. Once I finish my own list I think I will make my way through yours. Looking forward to reading more of your reviews!

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  2. […] What to Read This Black History Month […]

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  3. I am not reading anything specifically for the month because as usual I have some pending reads to complete. Hope you enjoy your reads

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  4. Have you read One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia? Middle grade book about three sisters in the 60s who reconnect with their absentee mother, who works with the Black Panthers.

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    1. I haven’t! Thanks for the recommendation. I need more middle grade recs, too!

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      1. It’s a wonderful story!

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    2. Found your blog from IG. You have some great selections for this month. Fences & Dreams From My Father are on my list for 2016, but I won’t get to them this month. I’m planning to read as much James Baldwin I can this month. The Fire Next Time was a wonderful read.

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      1. Thanks so much for reading! Definitely get to reading Dreams from my Father. It’s very well done!

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  5. I might read Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile. I have the book and Ava DuVernay is producing a TV series for it that will show on OWN. I think the show is coming out soon or something.

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  6. I would love to read something by James Baldwin. I still haven’t, and everytime I see one of his books I am reminded of this little gap in my reading. I will also be curious to see what you think of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

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