The month of February, celebrated as African American History Month is an opportune time to celebrate Black voices, and literature is one of the best ways to become familiar with some of the community’s most illuminating stories. Here is a selection of some stimulating fiction and nonfiction by contemporary Black authors, including books in every genre from literary fiction to personal memoirs, all available with your Livingston Library card.
Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
Mixing biography–drawn partially from newly uncovered interviews–with history, memoir, and trenchant analysis of our current moment, this is Glaude’s attempt, following Baldwin, to bear witness to the difficult truth of race in America today. It is at once a searing exploration that lays bare the tangled web of race, trauma, and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we all must ask of ourselves in order to call forth a new America.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
In the first novel in James’s Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.
The Business of Lovers: A Novel by Eric Jerome Dickey
All is fair in love and lust in Dickey’s tale of two brothers, four women, and the business of desire.
Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem: A Memoir by Daniel R. Ray
With his now-legendary store on 125th Street in Harlem, Dapper Dan pioneered high-end streetwear in the 1980s, remixing classic luxury-brand logos into his own innovative, glamorous designs. But before he reinvented haute couture, he was a hungry boy with holes in his shoes, a teen who daringly gambled drug dealers out of their money, and a young man in a prison cell who found nourishment in books. In this remarkable memoir, he tells his full story for the first time.
Fifty Words for Rain: A Novel by Asha Lemmie
Spanning decades and continents, this is a dazzling epic about the ties that bind, the ties that give you strength, and what it means to be free.
The Girl with the Louding Voice: A Novel by Abi Daré
A powerful, emotional debut novel told in the unforgettable voice of a young Nigerian woman who is trapped in a life of servitude but determined to get an education so that she can escape and choose her own future.
How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones
Written from the crossroads of sex, race, and power in America, this is a stunning coming-of-age memoir and a haunting reflection of the nation as a whole.
It’s Not All Downhill From Here: A Novel by Terry McMillan
After a sudden change of plans, a remarkable woman and her loyal group of friends try to figure out what she’s going to do with the rest of her life.
Memorial: A Novel by Bryan Washington
A funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you’re supposed to be, and the limits of love.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (no matter what they say) by Elaine Welteroth
In this riveting and timely memoir, the groundbreaking journalist unpacks lessons on race, identity, and success through her own journey, from navigating her way as the unstoppable child of a unlikely interracial marriage in small-town California to finding herself on the frontlines of a modern movement for the next generation of change makers.
The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories by Danielle Evans
Evans introduces us to Black and multi-racial characters who are experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love, and getting walloped by grief–all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively.
The Prophets: A Novel by Robert Jones, Jr.
A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.
Real Life by Brandon Taylor
A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and mercy among friends in a Midwestern university town, from an electric new voice, featuring an introverted young man from Alabama. Black and queer, he has left behind his family without escaping the long shadows of his childhood.
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other.
Such a Fun Age: A Novel by Kiley Reid
A page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
The Travelers: A Novel by Regina Porter
With piercing humor, exacting dialogue, and a beautiful sense of place, Porter’s debut is both an intimate family portrait and a sweeping exploration of what it means to be American today.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
A riveting and emotional family story about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.
The founder of the popular online book club curates a collection of original essays from today’s best black female voices, including Jesmyn Ward, Lynn Nottage, Jacqueline Woodson, Gabourey Sidibe, Morgan Jerkins, Tayari Jones and Rebecca Walker.
-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian