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Five Books by Women of Color You Should Read Now

Spring break is quickly approaching, and this is the perfect time to catch up on rest, do some shopping, and binge-watch your favorite TV shows. But once you have made it to the end of your Netflix list, you can only spend so much time before you grow tired of watching Youtube videos and listlessly scrolling through Instagram and Twitter. At this point you may be thinking, what else is there to do? Why not take a break from the internet and read these five amazing and entertaining books written by this group of diverse women of color. Whether you love fiction, sci-fi, poetry, or something in-between you are sure to find a book that you will never want to put down.

If you like memoirs…

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae

This is not your typical memoir.

If the name Issa Rae, sounds familiar, you probably know that 2017 was her year with her breakout TV show, Insecure. Although she is now known as an actress, screenwriter, and producer, the role she embraces the most is that of ‘awkward black girl’. For those that have been keeping up with Rae since her award-winning YouTube series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, you know that she does not shy away from sharing her numerous awkward experiences. In this one-of-a-kind book, Rae recounts formative experiences from her childhood, teenage years, and adulthood which led her to embrace who she is and become the person she is today, despite the world not always embracing her. Whether you are a new fan or have been a fan for years, each story will surely make you laugh out loud, die of secondhand embarrassment, and relate to Rae. In short, this book proves why Issa Rae is everyone’s favorite ‘awkward black girl’.

If you like poetry…

Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing

“my hair is my childhood friend who used to come over every day and became cool in high school and then began to do drugs and then ran away but now is back trying to get her life together and we have coffee together one Sunday morning before her shift at the grocery store”

This is the opening line of Ewing’s poem “why you cannot touch my hair”, a poem written in prose, describing Ewing’s relatable love/hate relationship with her hair.

If that line caught your attention, you will definitely enjoy Ewing’s book of poetry, which includes poems such as “Ode to Luster’s Pink Oil” “at the salon”, and “appletree” that celebrate black girlhood in America. For those that enjoy poetry filled with magical realism and afrofuturism, this book should definitely be added to your collection.

If you like short stories…

What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

What if there were people that could remove feelings of grief and sorrow from others?

What would happen to a baby that was created with human hair?

What if one of your relatives suddenly returned from the dead?

These are just some of the topics explored in Arimah’s debut collection of short stories. Each story is vastly distinct from the rest: some take place in a dystopian future, while some are in the present, and while some are inspired by myths, there are many that illustrate realistic experiences. Nonetheless, these stories are so captivating and shocking, you will instantly want to read them again.

If you like historical fiction…

In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

This historical fiction novel by Alvarez intertwines fact and fiction to tell the true story of the Mirabal sisters; three courageous sisters who were tragically killed for plotting against the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic during the 20th century. Specifically, this book describes the series of events leading up to this point from the perspective of each Mirabal sister: Dedé the fourth, and only surviving sister who tells her sisters’ stories, Patria, María Teresa, and Minerva. As you follow the journey of the Mirabal sisters from childhood to adulthood, you become connected to each character, making the conclusion even more appalling.

If you like realistic fiction novels…

Tumbling by Diane McKinney-Whetstone

This novel, set in South Philadelphia focuses on a close-knit African American community during the 1940’s and 50’s. One of the key focuses of this book is of the relationship between characters, Herbie and Noon, a couple with a strained marriage due to a traumatic event from Noon’s past. While Noon escapes her pain through her involvement in the church, Herbie attempts to escape through his secret relationship with jazz singer, Ethel. One night, when a baby is mysteriously left on Herbie and Noon’s doorstep and they are later faced with the responsibility of raising Ethel’s young niece, their lives are completely changed and an unexpected family in formed. But when an outside force threatens her family and community, Noon must fight to hold it together.

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