Looking for a good book to curl up with this chilly autumn? Here are a variety of books by Black authors that are sure to pique your interest. From essays to romance novels, these works capture the full range of the Black experience.
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
It’s the kind of familial epic that many Americans, particularly African Americans, can relate to, as Jeffers limns this family’s story with the trauma, faults and passions that we all harbor. Her masterful treatment of the characters and their relationships, paired with the thorough and engaging way the narrative is laid out, makes for a book that is easy to invest and get lost in—a feat for such a long, intricate work. Best yet, the novel incorporates the words of W.E.B. Du Bois throughout its 800-plus pages; those words are the story’s spine, its beating heart, its very life force.
My People: Five Decades of Writing About Black Lives
by Charlayne Hunter-Gault
Over more than five decades, this dedicated reporter charted a course through some of the world’s most respected journalistic institutions, including The New Yorker and the New York Times, where Charlayne Hunter-Gault was often the only Black woman in the newsroom. Throughout her storied career, Charlayne has chronicled the lives of Black people in America — shining a light on their experiences and giving a glimpse into their community as never before. Though she has covered numerous topics and events, observed as a whole, her work reveals the evolving issues at the forefront of Black Americans lives and how many of the same issues continue to persist today.
Opening My Eyes Underwater
by Ashley Woodfolk
Inspired by the life and quotations of former first lady Michelle Obama, Opening My Eyes Underwater is a collection of essays penned by bestselling author Ashley Woodfolk.
Essays of bullying, heartbreak, racism, and confidence, Ashley taps into her own past and shares those stories that made her who she is today as she seamlessly weaves in parallel experiences that both she and Mrs. Obama have faced in their separate childhoods as well as their adult lives.
I Wish My Dad: The Power of Vulnerable Conversations between Fathers and Sons
by Romal Tune, Jordan Tune (Editor)
From author, speaker, and social entrepreneur Romal Tune and his son, Jordan, comes this tour de force for fathers and sons about healing the unfinished business between them. What do sons wish they had received from their fathers? What might honest, healing conversations between fathers and sons look like?
South to America
by Imani Perry
An essential, surprising journey through the history, rituals, and landscapes of the American South–and a revelatory argument for why you must understand the South in order to understand America.
Black Women Will Save the World: An Anthem
by April Ryan
In this long-overdue celebration of Black women’s resilience and unheralded strength, the revered, trailblazing White House correspondent reflects on “The Year That Changed Everything”–2020–and African American women’s unprecedented role in upholding democracy.
When We Were Birds
by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
A mythic love story set in Trinidad, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s radiant debut is a masterwork of lush imagination and exuberant storytelling—a spellbinding and hopeful novel about inheritance, loss, and love’s seismic power to heal.
The Violin Conspiracy
by Brendan Slocumb
Ray McMillian loves playing the violin more than anything, and nothing will stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a professional musician. Not his mother, who thinks he should get a real job, not the fact that he can’t afford a high-caliber violin, not the racism inherent in the classical music world. And when he makes the startling discovery that his great-grandfather’s fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, his star begins to rise. Then with the international Tchaikovsky Competition—the Olympics of classical music—fast approaching, his prized family heirloom is stolen. Ray is determined to get it back. But now his family and the descendants of the man who once enslaved Ray’s great-grandfather are each claiming that the violin belongs to them.
The Trayvon Generation
by Elizabeth Alexander
In the midst of civil unrest in the summer of 2020 and following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, Elizabeth Alexander—one of the great literary voices of our time—turned a mother’s eye to her sons’ and students’ generation and wrote a celebrated and moving reflection on the challenges facing young Black America. Originally published in the New Yorker, the essay incisively and lovingly observed the experiences, attitudes, and cultural expressions of what she referred to as the Trayvon Generation, who even as children could not be shielded from the brutality that has affected the lives of so many Black people.
Black Boy Out of Time: A Memoir
by Hari Ziyad
One of nineteen children in a blended family, Hari Ziyad was raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father. Through reframing their own coming-of-age story, Ziyad takes readers on a powerful journey of growing up queer and Black in Cleveland, Ohio, and of navigating the equally complex path toward finding their true self in New York City. Exploring childhood, gender, race, and the trust that is built, broken, and repaired through generations, Ziyad investigates what it means to live beyond the limited narratives Black children are given and challenges the irreconcilable binaries that restrict them.