Searching for your next read? Look no further! Here are 14 new releases written by Black authors that are hitting bookshelves near you.
Summary: In a crowded London pub, two young people meet. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists―he a photographer, she a dancer―and both are trying to make their mark in a world that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence, and over the course of a year they find their relationship tested by forces beyond their control.
Summary: Raised in sleepy English suburbia, Georgina Lawton was no stranger to homogeneity. Her parents were white; her friends were white; there was no reason for her to think she was any different. But over time her brown skin and dark, kinky hair frequently made her a target of prejudice. In Georgina’s insistently color-blind household, with no acknowledgement of her difference or access to black culture, she lacked the coordinates to make sense of who she was. It was only after her father’s death that Georgina began to unravel the truth about her parentage—and the racial identity that she had been denied.
Summary: When Dr. Philip Taiwo is called on by a powerful Nigerian politician to investigate the public torture and murder of three university students in remote Port Harcourt, he has no idea that he’s about to be enveloped by a perilous case that is far from cold. Philip is not a detective. He’s an investigative psychologist, an academic more interested in figuring out the why of a crime than actually solving it. But when he steps off the plane and into the dizzying frenzy of the provincial airport, he soon realizes that the murder of the Okriki Three isn’t as straightforward as he thought.
The Library of the Dead
Summary: Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and they sure do love to talk. Now she speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to those they left behind. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and strength. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honor-bound to investigate. But what she learns will rock her world. Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?
Of One Blood: Or, the Hidden Self: The Givens Collection
Summary: When medical student Reuel Briggs reluctantly attends a performance by the beautiful singer Dianthe Lusk, he can't help but fall for her. The very next day, their paths cross again when Dianthe's train crashes. To bring her back from the brink of death, Reuel draws on an eerie power he can't quite name. Soon, the two are engaged, and Reuel sets off on an archeological expedition to Africa to offset his debts before the wedding. But, in Ethiopia, unexpected danger and terror force him to confront the truth about his lineage, his power, and the history that lives in his very blood.
Summary: With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.
Staggering under the weight of her parent’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.
Summary: Transgressive, foulmouthed, and brutally funny, Brontez Purnell’s 100 Boyfriends is a revelatory spiral into the imperfect lives of queer men desperately fighting the urge to self-sabotage. As they tiptoe through minefields of romantic, substance-fueled misadventure―from dirty warehouses and gentrified bars in Oakland to desolate farm towns in Alabama―Purnell’s characters strive for belonging in a world that dismisses them for being Black, broke, and queer. In spite of it―or perhaps because of it―they shine.
Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought
Summary: Mouths of Rain includes writing by Black women who have shared intimate and loving relationships with other women, Black women who see bonding as mutual, Black women who have self-identified as lesbian, Black women who have written about Black Lesbians, and Black women who theorize about and see the word lesbian as a political descriptor that disrupts and critiques capitalism, heterosexism, and heteropatriarchy. Taking its title from a poem by Audre Lorde, Mouths of Rain addresses pervasive issues such as misogynoir and anti-blackness while also attending to love, romance, “coming out,” and the erotic.
This Close to Okay
Summary: On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing at the edge of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett.
Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett. What she doesn’t realize is that Emmett isn’t the only one who needs healing—and they both are harboring secrets.
A Little Devil In America
Summary: Inspired by Josephine Baker's speech in 1963, Hanif Abdurraqib has written a profound and lasting reflection on how Black performance is inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture. Each moment in every performance he examines—whether it’s the twenty-seven seconds in “Gimme Shelter” in which Merry Clayton wails the words “rape, murder,” a schoolyard fistfight, a dance marathon, or the instant in a game of spades right after the cards are dealt—has layers of resonance in Black and white cultures, the politics of American empire, and Abdurraqib’s own personal history of love, grief, and performance.
Anti-Racist Ally: An Introduction to Activism and Action
Summary: As the tragic murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement has demonstrated, not being racist is not enough. To fulfill the American ideal, to ensure that all people are equal, you must be actively anti-racist.
In this essential guide, Sophie Williams, goes beyond her popular Instagram @officialmillennialblack, providing sharp, simple, and insightful steps anyone can take to be a better ally in the fight against racism. While the book’s focus is on race, it also touches on sexism, classism, ableism, oppression, and white supremacy.
The Officer's Daughter: A Memoir of Family and Forgiveness
Summary: When she was sixteen, Elle Johnson lived in Queens with her family; she dreamed of being best friends with her popular cousin Karen from the Bronx. Coming from a family of black law enforcement officers, Elle felt that Karen would understand her. On an ordinary night, the Johnson family’s lives were changed forever. Karen was shot and killed in a robbery gone wrong. Thirty years later, one of Karen’s killers was eligible for parole. Elle realized that before she could condemn a man she’d never met to remain in prison, she had to face the hard truths of her own past: of a family who didn’t speak of the murder and its devastating effect, of the secrets they buried, of a complicated father she never truly understood.
Unsung: Unheralded Narratives of American Slavery & Abolition (The Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture)
Unsung, the anthology, will place well-known documents by abolitionists alongside lesser-known life stories and overlooked or previously uncelebrated accounts of the everyday lives and activism that were central in the slavery era, but that are mostly excised from today's master accounts. It will also highlight related titles from founder Arturo Schomburg's initial collection: rare histories and first-person narratives about slavery that assisted his generation in understanding the roots of their contemporary social struggles.
No More Lies: The Myth and Reality of American History
In 1972, during the Black Power Movement, iconoclast Dick Gregory challenged one of the foundations of America itself—its history, which had been written almost exclusively from the white male perspective. In No More Lies, this true trailblazer gave voice to African Americans, speaking their truth about the past and race relations in the United States.
No subject is off limits from his critical eye—Gregory examines numerous aspects of culture and history, from the slave trade, police brutality, the wretchedness of working-class life and labor unions to the 1968 Civil Rights Act, the Founding Fathers, “happy slaves,” and entrepreneurs.
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