Well Read Black Girl
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An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature. “A brilliant collection of essential American reading . . . smart, powerful, and complete.”—Min Jin Lee, author of the National Book Award finalist Pachinko Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging remains with readers the rest of their lives—but not everyone regularly sees themselves in the pages of a book. In this timely anthology, Glory Edim brings together original essays by some of our best black women writers to shine a light on how important it is that we all—regardless of gender, race, religion, or ability—have the opportunity to find ourselves in literature. Contributors include Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied, Sing), Lynn Nottage (Sweat), Jacqueline Woodson (Another Brooklyn), Gabourey Sidibe (This Is Just My Face), Morgan Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing), Tayari Jones (An American Marriage), Rebecca Walker (Black, White and Jewish), and Barbara Smith (Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology) Whether it’s learning about the complexities of femalehood from Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison, finding a new type of love in The Color Purple, or using mythology to craft an alternative black future, the subjects of each essay remind us why we turn to books in times of both struggle and relaxation. As she has done with her book club–turned–online community Well-Read Black Girl, in this anthology Glory Edim has created a space in which black women’s writing and knowledge and life experiences are lifted up, to be shared with all readers who value the power of a story to help us understand the world and ourselves. Advance praise for Well-Read Black Girl “This book is a star chart, a map readers can use to navigate the world via the minds of brilliant black women writers. The essays extol us all to regard—and to celebrate—the written word anew.”—Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House “An eloquently provocative anthology . . . Candid and thoughtful from start to finish, [Glory] Edim’s collection amply celebrates the many paths black women have traveled on the road to self-definition. . . . In each essay, the contributor discusses her relationships to reading, books, and the world, yet each bears the unique experiential imprint of the woman who wrote it.”—Kirkus Reviews
'Required reading.' - Cosmopolitan 'This should be read as a sacred text. Here, you will bear witness to a perpetual salvation song.' - Jason Reynolds Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging remains with readers the rest of their lives - but not everyone regularly sees themselves reflected on the pages of a book. In this timely anthology, Glory Edim, founder of the online community, Well-Read Black Girl, brings together original essays by some of America's best black women writers to shine a light on how important it is that we all - regardless of gender, race, religion, or ability - have the opportunity to find ourselves in literature. Whether it's learning about the complexities of femalehood from Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison, finding a new type of love in The Color Purple, or using mythology to craft an alternative black future, each essay reminds us why we turn to books in times of both struggle and relaxation. As she has done with her book club-turned-online community, Edim has created a space where black women's writing, knowledge and life experiences are lifted up, to be shared with all readers who value the power of a story to help us understand the world, and ourselves. Contributors include: Jesmyn Ward, Lynn Nottage, Jacqueline Woodson, Gabourey Sidibe, Morgan Jerkins, Tayari Jones, Rebecca Walker, and Barbara Smith. 'Essential reading for the twenty-first-century reader. This book is smart, powerful, and complete.' - Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko
From Newbery Honor- and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Renée Watson comes a heartwarming and inspiring middle-grade novel about finding deep roots and exploring the past, the present, and the places that make us who we are. All Amara wants for her birthday is to visit her father's family in New York City--Harlem, to be exact. She can't wait to finally meet her Grandpa Earl and cousins in person, and to stay in the brownstone where her father grew up. Maybe this will help her understand her family--and herself--in new way. But New York City is not exactly what Amara thought it would be. It's crowded, with confusing subways, suffocating sidewalks, and her father is too busy with work to spend time with her and too angry to spend time with Grandpa Earl. As she explores, asks questions, and learns more and more about Harlem and about her father and his family history, she realizes how, in some ways more than others, she connects with him, her home, and her family. Acclaim for Piecing Me Together Newbery Honor Book Coretta Scott King Author Award Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Young Adult Finalist A New York Public Library Best Book for Teens A Chicago Public Library Best Book, Teen Fiction An ALA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults An NPR Best Book A Kirkus Reviews' Best Teen Book A Refinery29 Best Book
“If you enjoyed An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, read The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls...an absorbing commentary on love, family and forgiveness.”—The Washington Post “A fast-paced, intriguing story...the novel’s real achievement is its uncommon perceptiveness on the origins and variations of addiction.”—The New York Times Book Review One of the most anticipated reads of 2019 from Vogue, Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Essence, Bustle, HelloGiggles and Cosmo! “The Mothers meets An American Marriage” (HelloGiggles) in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you. The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives. Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband, Proctor, are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened. As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.
The Civil Rights movement brought author Alice Walker and lawyer Mel Leventhal together, and in 1969 their daughter, Rebecca, was born. Some saw this unusual copper-colored girl as an outrage or an oddity; others viewed her as a symbol of harmony, a triumph of love over hate. But after her parents divorced, leaving her a lonely only child ferrying between two worlds that only seemed to grow further apart, Rebecca was no longer sure what she represented. In this book, Rebecca Leventhal Walker attempts to define herself as a soul instead of a symboland offers a new look at the challenge of personal identity, in a story at once strikingly unique and truly universal.
Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Nicola Yoon comes a novel about first love and secrets from Stonewall Book Award winner Brandy Colbert. Dove "Birdie" Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she's on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past...whom she knows her parents will never approve of. When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family's apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded--she's also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she's known to be true is turned upside down.
In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom transforms narrative moments into analyses of whiteness, black misogyny, and statussignaling as means of survival for black women
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION A brilliant, haunting and unforgettable memoir from a stunning new talent about the inexorable pull of home and family, set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East. In 1961, Sarah M. Broom’s mother Ivory Mae bought a shotgun house in the then-promising neighborhood of New Orleans East and built her world inside of it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA plant—the postwar optimism seemed assured. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarah’s father Simon Broom; their combined family would eventually number twelve children. But after Simon died, six months after Sarah’s birth, the Yellow House would become Ivory Mae’s thirteenth and most unruly child. A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America’s most mythologized cities. This is the story of a mother’s struggle against a house's entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the “Big Easy” of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power.
Learning that after a half-century of family life that their house on Detroit's East Side is worth only a fraction of its mortgage, the members of the Turner family gather to reckon with their pasts and decide the house's fate. A first novel. 20,000 first printing.
LaTonya Yvette, the blogger and stylist behind the eponymous site, is unapologetically candid about life’s trials, including motherhood, love, death, and racism. Her first book, Woman of Color, is part memoir, part lifestyle guide—packed with moving essays, gorgeous original and archival photographs, and practical style and beauty advice. At the very heart, though, it’s about LaTonya’s experience growing up as a woman of color in Brooklyn. Each beautifully designed chapter covers a different topic—the meaning behind her name, how vitiligo has shaped her definition of beauty, her childhood hairstyles, raising her children as a 20-something mom—and ends with thoughtful advice and lifestyle takeaways like how to tie a headwrap or incorporate new, bold colors into your wardrobe. Woman of Color is real life, real style for women from all walks of life. In it, LaTonya has written a love letter to women, filling this book with vulnerable, imperfect truths from a black woman blogger, a voice not often seen on bookstore shelves.
From the breakout author of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé comes a profound and deceptively funny exploration of Black American womanhood. "Morgan Parker's latest collection is a riveting testimony to everyday blackness . . . It is wry and atmospheric, an epic work of aural pleasures and personifications that demands to be read—both as an account of a private life and as searing political protest." —TIME Magazine A Most Anticipated Book of 2019 at Vogue, O: the Oprah Magazine, NYLON, BuzzFeed, Publishers Weekly, and more. Magical Negro is an archive of black everydayness, a catalog of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms, and customs. These American poems are both elegy and jive, joke and declaration, songs of congregation and self-conception. They connect themes of loneliness, displacement, grief, ancestral trauma, and objectification, while exploring and troubling tropes and stereotypes of Black Americans. Focused primarily on depictions of black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics—of both the body and society, of both the individual and the collective experience. In Magical Negro, Parker creates a space of witness, of airing grievances, of pointing out patterns. In these poems are living documents, pleas, latent traumas, inside jokes, and unspoken anxieties situated as firmly in the past as in the present—timeless black melancholies and triumphs.
As seen on the Today Show: This true story of an unforgettable mother, her devoted daughter, and their life in the Detroit numbers of the 1960s and 1970s highlights "the outstanding humanity of black America" (James McBride). In 1958, the very same year that an unknown songwriter named Berry Gordy borrowed $800 to found Motown Records, a pretty young mother from Nashville, Tennessee, borrowed $100 from her brother to run a numbers racket out of her home. That woman was Fannie Davis, Bridgett M. Davis's mother. Part bookie, part banker, mother, wife, and granddaughter of slaves, Fannie ran her numbers business for thirty-four years, doing what it took to survive in a legitimate business that just happened to be illegal. She created a loving, joyful home, sent her children to the best schools, bought them the best clothes, mothered them to the highest standard, and when the tragedy of urban life struck, soldiered on with her stated belief: "Dying is easy. Living takes guts." A daughter's moving homage to an extraordinary parent, The World According to Fannie Davis is also the suspenseful, unforgettable story about the lengths to which a mother will go to "make a way out of no way" and provide a prosperous life for her family -- and how those sacrifices resonate over time.
A TSA agent who has never flown, a girl braving new worlds to play piano, a teacher caught up in a mayoral race. In this debut collection of stories, each of them navigate life’s “training school”—with its lessons on gentrification and respectability—while fighting to create a vibrant sense of self in this love letter to Washington, DC.
Elizabeth is an only child, new in town, and the shortest kid in her class. She’s also pretty lonely, until she meets Jennifer. Jennifer is...well, different. She’s read Macbeth. She never wears jeans or shorts. She never says “please” or “thank you.” And she says she is a witch. It’s not always easy being friends with a witch, but it’s never boring. At first an apprentice and then a journeyman witch, Elizabeth learns to eat raw eggs and how to cast small spells. And she and Jennifer collaborate on cooking up an ointment that will enable them to fly. That’s when a marvelous toad, Hilary Ezra, enters their lives. And that’s when trouble starts to brew.
From New York Times -bestselling powerhouse Roxane Gay, Ayiti is a powerful collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience. Originally published by a small press, this Grove Press paperback will make Gay’s debut widely available for the first time, including several new stories. In Ayiti, a married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A young woman procures a voodoo love potion to ensnare a childhood classmate. A mother takes a foreign soldier into her home as a boarder, and into her bed. And a woman conceives a daughter on the bank of a river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood. These early stories showcase Gay’s prowess as one of the voices of our age” (National Post, Canada).
The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir—wise, complex, smart, funny—that is different from anything we’ve read Gabourey Sidibe—“Gabby” to her legion of fans—skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom's apartment.” Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face takes its place and fills a void on the shelf of writers from Mindy Kaling to David Sedaris to Lena Dunham.
Set in a neighbourhood known as “Little Jamaica,” Frying Plantain follows one young girl from elementary school to high school graduation as she navigates the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation immigrants and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominantly white society. Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle — of her North American identity and her desire to be a “true” Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too “faas” or too “quiet” or too “bold” or too “soft.” Set in a neighbourhood known as “Little Jamaica,” Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig’s head in her great-aunt’s freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother’s house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents. A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker.
In this engaging and invaluable “mentor in your pocket,” three dynamic and successful black female executives share their strategies to help all black women, at any level of their careers, play the power game—and win. Rich with wisdom, this practical gem focuses on the building blocks of true leadership—self-confidence, effective communication, collaboration, and courage—while dealing specifically with stereotypes (avoid the Mammy Trap, and don’t become the Angry Black Woman) and the perils of self-victimization (don’t assume that every challenge occurs because you are black or female). Some leaders are born, but most leaders are made—and The Little Black Book of Success will show you how to make it to the top, one step at a time. From the Hardcover edition.
Two sisters are suddenly sent from their home in Brooklyn to Barbados to live with their grandmother, in this stunning debut novel This lyrical novel of community, betrayal, and love centers on an unforgettable matriarchal family in Barbados. Two sisters, ages ten and sixteen, are exiled from Brooklyn to Bird Hill in Barbados after their mother can no longer care for them. The young Phaedra and her older sister, Dionne, live for the summer of 1989 with their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and practitioner of the local spiritual practice of obeah. Dionne spends the summer in search of love, testing her grandmother’s limits, and wanting to go home. Phaedra explores Bird Hill, where her family has lived for generations, accompanies her grandmother in her role as a midwife, and investigates their mother’s mysterious life. This tautly paced coming-of-age story builds to a crisis when the father they barely know comes to Bird Hill to reclaim his daughters, and both Phaedra and Dionne must choose between the Brooklyn they once knew and loved or the Barbados of their family. Jackson’s Barbados and her characters are singular, especially the wise Hyacinth and the heartbreaking young Phaedra, who is coming into her own as a young woman amid the tumult of her family. Praise for The Star Side of Bird Hill “Jackson has written a first novel full of heart and heartbreak, a novel about going home, about the ties that bind three generations of women across years and despite absence. It is a bittersweet lesson in learning to recognize love.” —Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection) “Naomi Jackson has written a tender novel exploring the complexities of motherhood and childhood. The Star Side of Bird Hill holds together opposing elements—the book is quiet in the telling, but the story being told is sharp and vibrant. It is as much a story of the fears of childhood as it is a story about welcoming old age with optimism. A book that knows death and discovery. A book laced with pain but shimmering with hope. With care, the narrative addresses huge issues, such as mental illness, mortality, sexuality, and, at its very core, what it means to love another person as they are.” —Tiphanie Yanique, author of Land of Love and Drowning