I’ve been reading some truly amazing books in the past year, and in this post, I’ll recommend a few of my favorites. These books really impacted and inspired me, challenged my thinking, and their words have stayed with me.
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward-In her memori, Jesmyn explores why the young Black men in her life, and in her southern community of DeLisle Mississippi, are dying. She intersperses narrative of her life as southern Black girl with the lives of her brother, cousin, and three close friends, who all died violent deaths. She names the institutional forces that facilitated the early deaths of her family and friends; racism, school push-out, poverty, and unemployment.
How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon-No words from me can do this book justice. I wish I could give this book to every young Black man in America.
The Summer We Got Free by Mia McKenzie-This novel gave me all the feels. It is….honest, brave, fulfilling, daring. Ava and Helena, two of the main characters, challenge not only their family and Philly community, but us as readers, to look inside of ourselves and figure out what force is holding us back from being free. The novel reminds us that if we’ve been imprisoned for so long, whether due to fear or whatever else, getting free may require the shedding of people and things, and it might cause us some pain, but eventually we’ll come out on the other side.