In honor of Black History Month, here are 20 books by black authors everyone should read in 2022. Divided by genre, we’ve compiled picks in new fiction, nonfiction, and classics. that should have been taught in your high school English class if they weren’t already. We also invited owner Nyshell Lawrence of Lansing’s newest independent bookstore, the Socialight Society, to give us her current favorite in black literature. Happy reading and, as always, don’t forget to visit local and independent bookstores for your literary adventures!
“Darling Girl” by Morgan Rogers
“Real Life” by Brandon Taylor
“Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid
“Coming Home” by Yaa Gyasi
“Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett
“What We Lose” by Zinzi Clemmons
“Long Division” by Kiese Laymon
“In Every Mirror, She’s Black” by Lola Akinmade Akerström
“Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson
“Someone’s Daughter” door Ashley C. Ford
Hunger by Roxane Gay
“So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo
“How to Be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi
“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
“We Were Eight Years in Power” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
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“Beloved” by Toni Morrison
“Their Eyes Beheld God” by Zora Neale Hurston
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou
“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe
Miranda’s Current Favorite: Brit Bennett’s “The Vanishing Half”
“The Vanishing Half” was a page-turner throughout. This story follows two black twin sisters, Désirée and Stella Vignes, who grew up in a small colorist town in the south. Made up of light-skinned black people, the community believes that each generation should be born lighter than the last. When the twins escape the city together as teenagers, Stella begins to pose as a white woman testing the waters. Eventually, she disappears, completely covering her tracks.
The book spans multiple generations to show the lasting effects of Stella’s choices and explores multiple forms of identity: race, class, gender, and sexuality. Weaving between each complex character’s storyline, the story strategically presents the bonds that hold the family together despite Stella’s attempt to disappear.
Lily’s current favorite: “So you want to talk about race” by Ijeoma Oluo
I won’t lie – this book was assigned to me for a course last year, but it’s one of those books that should be read by almost everyone in 2022. Oluo mixes theory with real-life scenarios to create perhaps the ultimate guide to not just recognizing racial divides, but doing something about them.
This is the book we should all pick up instead of asking our black friends or co-workers heavy questions about racism – Google may be free, but Oluo is worth our buying. “So you want to talk about race” has become part of the lexicon of anti-racism books attributed to corporate workplaces and academic spheres, as we all heed America’s history of systemic racism and inequity.
Non-fiction buffs will appreciate the book’s layout, with each chapter centering on a frequently asked question about race, and everyone else will come away with a deeper understanding of the issues discussed on the news or around kitchen tables throughout. the country.
Nyshell Lawrence’s current favourite: “Red Lip Theology” by Candice Marie Benbow
Lawrence owns Socialight Society, a Lansing bookstore that aims to celebrate black women. She said “Red Lip Theology” is a great read.
“The author, Candice Benbow, is a very straightforward, ‘stepping into real life’ type person,” Lawrence said. “(She) brings up some points that are important to black women in regards to spirituality and finding themselves and growing in church and ministry.”
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