Silver Sparrow (Tayari Jones)

"People say that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But they are wrong. What doesn’t kill you, doesn’t kill you. That’s all you get. Sometimes, you just have to hope that’s enough."

"People say that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But they are wrong. What doesn’t kill you, doesn’t kill you. That’s all you get. Sometimes, you just have to hope that’s enough."

U.S.A. / 2011

"Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon's two families--the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered."— GoodReads. I felt this quote in my soul! Tayari Jones is the editor of the brand new story collection from Akashic Books, Atlanta Noir. If you recall, I reviewed another recent book in the Noir Series, Trinidad Noir. I can't wait to read Atlanta Noir. It was released just a few days ago.

Say You're One of Them (Uwem Akpan)

"If winning the race was about the number of feet, the centipede could easily beat the dogs."

"If winning the race was about the number of feet, the centipede could easily beat the dogs."

Nigeria / 2008

FUN FACT: When I was 18, I decided that I needed to expand my literary tastes—which up until that point had mainly consisted of public-school-assigned books and MediaTakeOut articles. It was the summer before college, and I was going to be an English major, so I felt like I needed to have more books in my arsenal. Anyway, I got online and just googled something like "top black books" and clicked through endless lists and slideshows, looking for new stuff to read. At the end of my ~research~ I had a list of about five books that I promised to read before I left for college. Admittedly, I chose these books mostly based on their covers, but I chose Say You're One of Them, in particular, because it was an Oprah's Book Club selection. TBH, I only ended up reading like three books on that list, and this one was not One of Them. But that was the first time in my life I had actually realized that there are so many books waiting to be discovered, and that (sadly) you've got to do a little work to get to them. So, that's my very of pointless story behind this short story collection about the wisdom and resilience of children throughout Africa. Anyone read this one?

Stay With Me (Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀)

"Even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But when it's in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn't mean it's no longer love.”

"Even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But when it's in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn't mean it's no longer love.”

Nigeria / 2017

"Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does–but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine."— Penguin Random House. I am very, very interested in this book. (Even though I disagree with this quote, LOL). I've hear nothing but great things about it. It's coming out in the U.S. on August, 22nd. Sadly, I'm on a book-getting-moratorium, since I'm moving (again) soon and can't bear to haul around anymore. But when I'm newly settled, I hope to pick this one up. Just imagine a world in which men made as many sacrifices for women as women do for men...I can't even picture it. Women give everything, and are often left with nothing.

Grace (Natashia Deón)

“Where do we start when we tell the stories of our loved ones? On the day they were born or the day they mattered?"

“Where do we start when we tell the stories of our loved ones? On the day they were born or the day they mattered?"

U.S.A. / 2016

Natashia Deón's debut novel deals with Naomi, a young enslaved woman who runs away and has a white man's child. However, after Naomi's untimely death, she narrates her daughter's tumultuous story as she deals with the uncertain outcomes of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Percival Everett by Virgil Russell (Percival Everett)

"Let me clue you in to something, it’s all failure, we’re all failures, as sons, as fathers, as mothers, siblings; it is a necessary truth."

"Let me clue you in to something, it’s all failure, we’re all failures, as sons, as fathers, as mothers, siblings; it is a necessary truth."

U.S.A. / 2013

"A story inside a story inside a story. A man visits his aging father in a nursing home, where his father writes the novel he imagines his son would write. Or is it the novel that the son imagines his father would imagine, if he were to imagine the kind of novel the son would write?"— @goodreads. Has anyone read Percival Everett, before? I'm just now diving into So Much Blue, his forthcoming novel. He has written so many books, though. I'm definitely playing catch up!

The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas)

"So what if people end up thinking he was a thug and never care? We care. Khalil matters to us, not the stuff he did. Forget everybody else."

"So what if people end up thinking he was a thug and never care? We care. Khalil matters to us, not the stuff he did. Forget everybody else."

U.S.A. / 2017

Angie Thomas' debut novel about a girl grappling with the police murder of her best friend was a massive breath of fresh air. I mean, seriously, it has everything a young black girl wants (and needs) to see in a novel: balanced representation, a complex main character with highly relatable issues and, not to mention, tons of dabbing, shade throwing, potato salad quips and white people can't dance jokes. Every Black girl in America should own this book. It gives a voice to all the things we feel when watching those BS police officer acquittals and 21st century lynching postca—I mean *"shooting death" videos*. This book names and claims all those emotions. Most importantly—and beautifully—it validates them. God bless Angie Thomas for writing this book. This ranks right up there with my other absolute favorite read of 2017: Trevor Noah's stunning memoir, Born a Crime. 5/5! This book is a gift to the world.