As usual, one of my resolutions is to read more and I’m sure it’s one of yours too. If it isn’t, well, it definitely should be. For this post, I’ve decided to make a list of novels that I plan to read during this new year. It’s only going to be nine novels as a starting point because I know that this year will take me to all new places with my reading journey.
I Love My Love by Reyna Biddy
I first fell in love with Reyna’s words on Instagram and then I heard her poem for Kehlani’s “Intro” on SweetSexySavage and fell in love all over again. During my recent trip to Barnes & Noble, I came across the special hardcover, signed copy of her latest poetry book with bonus poems and I couldn’t resist. I Love My Love is a poetry book about self-love and I honestly believe I found it at the right time. I hope it connects with you as much as it’s connected with me, if not more.
Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
First on my to-read list (yes, I’ve already finished I Love My Love), is Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson (yes, a black author and a black main character). MNC is about Monday Charles who goes missing and no one notices excepts her BFF Claudia. The novel follows Claudia on her journey as she searches for her best friend alone, as Monday’s family is no help at all.
Training School for Negro Girls by Camille Acker
This novel is a collection of short stories about girls and women in Washington, D.C. as they navigate through schooling. Well Read Black Girl gives a pretty good description: “A “woke” millennial tries to fight gentrification, only to learn she’s part of the problem; a grade school teacher dreams of a better DC, only to take out her frustrations on her students; and a young piano player wins a competition, only to learn the prize is worthless.
Ultimately, they are confronted with the fact that respectability does not equal freedom. Instead, they must learn to trust their own conflicted judgment and fight to create their own sense of space and self.”
Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom
This novel (which releases today!) is a collection of eight essays about beauty, media, money, and more. Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom one of “American’s most bracing thinkers on race, gender, and capitalism” and I’m excited to read what she has to say.
Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston
If you haven’t heard of Barracoon then I’m assuming you live under a rock. Zora Neale Hurston’s latest and greatest hit the shelves back in May 2018 and tells the story of Cudjo Lewis, the last living person from the Mid-Atlantic slave trade. Zora was lucky enough to be able to interview him in 1927 and 1931 and then penned a novel that was unpublished…until now.
Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires
This novel is a collection of stories, similar to the works of Junot Diaz. According to the description, some stories are dark humor while others are quite sad. Many of the stories explore race and identity politics as well. Something in me loves collections of short stories and I’ve been meaning to read more of them. It’s like a Netflix show that gets cancelled after only one season, quick but so good that I’m still thinking about it months later.
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittany Cooper
I came across this book in Books-A-Million back in July and the description had me hooked right then and there, so that’s what I’ll share with you all.
“So what if it’s true that Black women are mad as hell? They have the right to be. In the Black feminist tradition of Audre Lorde, Brittney Cooper reminds us that anger is a powerful source of energy that can give us the strength to keep on fighting.
Far too often, Black women’s anger has been caricatured into an ugly and destructive force that threatens the civility and social fabric of American democracy. But Cooper shows us that there is more to the story than that. Black women’s eloquent rage is what makes Serena Williams such a powerful tennis player. It’s what makes Beyoncé’s girl power anthems resonate so hard. It’s what makes Michelle Obama an icon.
Eloquent rage keeps us all honest and accountable. It reminds women that they don’t have to settle for less. When Cooper learned of her grandmother’s eloquent rage about love, sex, and marriage in an epic and hilarious front-porch confrontation, her life was changed. And it took another intervention, this time staged by one of her homegirls, to turn Brittney into the fierce feminist she is today. In Brittney Cooper’s world, neither mean girls nor fuckboys ever win. But homegirls emerge as heroes. This book argues that ultimately feminism, friendship, and faith in one’s own superpowers are all we really need to turn things right side up again.”
The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America by Tamara Winfrey Harris
This novel is dedicated to people who believe that all the stereotypes about black women are true or that there’s something wrong with us. Tamara Winfrey Harris took her time to give her take on marriage, motherhood, health, sexuality, beauty, and more. It’s something that’s been on my list for a while so I’m excited to actually read it this year.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
This memoir is about Brown’s journey to loving herself as a black woman after “growing up Black, Christian, and female in middle-class white America.” Beginning with the fact that her parents named her Austin to trick future employers into thinking she was a white man, Brown’s journey to self-acceptance is not only one that I can’t wait to read, but also one that I see myself relating on a very personal level.
So that’s my starting line up for the year, expect to see these on my Instagram or story or see me pulling one out of my purse while eating alone in the cafe. If you’re looking forward to reviews and where I’m at with this year’s reading journey, be sure to sign up for my newsletter that drops every last Wednesday of the month. The sign-up form is in the sidebar right above my Twitter!
Lead photo from The National Book Foundation