This is a good opportunity to highlight some great books written by black authors. I think it’s important to read books by diverse authors and Black History Month is a great reminder that we should incorporate authors of color into our reading all year long. Here are some of my picks:
How to be Black by Baratunde Thurston
If you like your cultural and racial discussions to be littered with jokes then this book is for you. Thurston was the director of digital content for The Onion and he brings his satirical wit to his writing. This book offers practical advice such as "How to Be The (Next) Black President" and "How to Celebrate Black History Month." He also tries to answer these important questions: “Can white men really not jump?” “How can Obama be black AND Hawaiian? Confusing,” and the ever important “What sort of rims should I get on my Escalade?” Be ready to laugh, then laugh some more.
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Winner of the 2011 National Book Award, this is the story of a motherless family struggling to survive in Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina looms in the background as Esch, 14 and pregnant, is just trying to make it through another day. Her two brothers are prepping for the storm while her third brother is trying to keep his dog-fighting Pit Bull alive after having a litter of puppies. Esch’s father is too drunk to be much of any help, and while the family tries to survive day to day, they must now face the coming storm. This is a haunting and emotional novel that is a moving portrait of what it means to be poor and black and faced with coming disaster.
Loving Day by Mat Johnson
Loving Day is the story of Warren Duffy, a very light-skinned man who identifies as black. Warren has made a bunch of mistakes and ends up in his deceased father’s old home that is literally falling apart. His estranged daughter moves in with him and she attends a special school for mixed-race people, and then the hilarity ensues. Johnson himself is a light-skinned black man who explores what race means in a fun and funny way.
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