It’s the middle of summer and even though we may not be able to go out like we used to, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy those summer rays! If you want adventure, drama, laughter, love, mystery, self-discovery, and relatability all wrapped up in a multi-paged package, here are some amazing books to read while relaxing under the sun. Share them with friends and make it a group event to talk about a book everyone loved.
Interested in know more about Black history, “Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Survived Slavery and Became Millionaires” by Shomari Wills can tell you more. As the title suggests the book follows the journeys of six African American individuals between the years of 1830 and 1927, as the last generation of those born into slavery reaches adulthood and a few industrious and tenacious black men and women were able to rise to the highest levels of wealth and success. Men and women with unforgettable personalities are featured in this collection of black millionaires, including Madam C. J Walker, as they struggle against attacks, demonization, and being conned out of their wealth while becoming black business titans in their industries.
A novel that is a true reflection of ourselves is “Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves” compiled by Glory Edim, as a great collection of essays by women that look like you about women who look like you. This collection of unique and original essays is meant to shine a light on how important it is to see ourselves reflected in literature regardless of gender, race, religion, or ability. “Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves” features a dozen of contributors, including a few well-known women: Lynn Nottage (Sweat), Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied, Sing), Jacqueline Woodson (Another Brooklyn), and more.
Lauren Wilkinson’s “American Spy: A Novel” is an original Black espionage thriller with a hint of seduction inspired by true events. “American Spy: A Novel” touches on various themes of politics, races, and sexuality as it centers around a young Black FBI agent, Marie Mitchell, during the heart of the Cold War as she tries to progress her career in an all boy’s club of an intelligence agency. She’s given the opportunity to fulfill her ambitions as she takes on a mission to sabotage a charismatic and revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara. A mission that will make Marie question her beliefs and what it means to be a spy, lover, a sister, and a good American.
“Conversations in Black: On Power, Politics, and Leadership” by Ed Gordon is a great conversation start. Well-known journalist Ed Gordon’s novel offers wisdom for navigating race in today’s American with the help from a team of Black intellectuals as the take a look at what the future of Black leadership should look like and how it can be achieved. “Conversations in Black: On Power, Politics, and Leadership” brings together prominent voices like Stacey Abrams, Al Sharpton, Iyanla VanZant, T.I., Alicia Garza and dozens more as they answer questions on vital topics that affect the nation today.
Road trips and trying that new restaurant may not be possible right now, but we can find a cozy spot and curl up with books that are inspiring, thought-provoking, self-reflecting, and an adventure that can take us to a different time and place.
Cory Nunnally is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland. Her love for writing stemmed from reading fiction when she was a kid. Cory enjoys writing short stories, poetry, and articles about mental health and celebrating local events.