What have you been reading lately? I am not a literary expert by any means, but I sure love a good book. Nothing beats spending an evening (or day, or any time for that matter!) with candle burning and a good book in hand. Whether you are reading to get lost in the story, to understand a different point of view, or just because you don’t want to make small talk while you are waiting for your next appointment, having a good book on hand is never a bad idea.
I LOVE book recommendations and love sharing recent reads too. So, if you are looking for your next read, here’s a quick roundup of 5 books I’ve read recently with a VERY brief summary of what it’s about and why I loved it. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers!
And yes, before you ask, all the books below are written by Black authors...duh! Next up, we’ll be sharing reads by other BIPOC authors, but don’t come here expecting recommendations from non-BIPOC authors. Sorry not sorry, there are millions of places for those recs and BLK ROSE ain’t it!
*The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett - A real-page turner about two Black twins who separate in their teenage years and end up going through life with very different realities - one as a Black woman and one as a White woman. A well-written story about family, identity and race.
*The Nickel Boys by Colton Whitehead- Based on the true story of a reform school in the Jim Crow Era, The Nickel Boys tells the story of a wrongfully convicted young boy who is sentenced to a brutal reform school. This Pulitzer Prize winning book is a devastating look at the atrocities and impacts of a real-life reform school that operated for over a century. A heavy but important read about American history.
*Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi - Gyasi’s second novel (her first is Homegoing which I also highly recommend!) centers around a young brain researcher trying to understand addiction while grappling with her own personal struggles around family, immigration, grief and faith. (CW: Addiction)
*Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta - A collection of short stories about the coming of age of a young Jamaican girl living in Toronto, Ontario. Highly recommend for our Canadian followers, especially those from Toronto. Was nostalgic and brought me back to my younger years of journeying from Scarborough to Eglinton West. (If you know, you know!)
*Shut up You’re Pretty by Tea Mutonji- Another Canadian collection of short stories, Shut up You're Pretty is an exploration of the various stages of life as Black woman. Mutonji explores loss, grief, sexuality and relationships from the perspective of a young Congolese immigrant living in Scarborough (more specifically the Galloway community) in Ontario. This book is written with a certain rawness and vividness that makes you feel like you are experiencing the realities alongside the main character.
If you read any of these books, be sure to let me know what you think! I’m ALWAYS taking book suggestions, so if you’ve read a book by a BIPOC author, I’d love to hear what you think I should add to my reading list!With the exception of books gifted to me, these titles are all purchased from my favourite independent bookstore, Glass Bookshop in Edmonton. We hope you support your local independent bookshop if purchasing any of these titles.