Five stories told by true literary magicians to further deepen our understandings of black and brown experiences across the diaspora.
There is nothing like laying outside (socially distanced, of course) with a cool drink in hand and a good book to dive into. Here at Lunita, we are avid readers and take our books very seriously. We have compiled a short list of some of our favorite books, all written by Black or POC folx.
Here is a list of stories that don't often get told but deserve all the respect and attention in the world. Happy reading!
*Bonus: List of black-owned bookstores to purchase from at the bottom of page!
1. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Freshwater tells the story of a young Nigerian girl named Ada who is born with one foot in this world and one foot in the spirit world. The spirits that accompany Ada throughout her life act as both protective guardians and sadistic parasites. Emezi weaves a beautifully intricate tale of spirituality, sexuality, immigration and the black experience as told by a young woman in modern-day society.
We cruised through this book in less than 72 hours; it was absolutely impossible to put it down, not even to eat or sleep. It touches on so many different pieces of the human experience with grace, sorrow and hope. Emezi is a true literary genius, and experiencing the world through her eyes was both a privilege and an honor. It was quite literally the best 72 hours we have had in a long time, and we guarantee you will feel the same.
2. Nine Moons by Gabriela Wiener
For anyone who has been curious about the enchanting world of pregnancy or for anyone struggling to make sense of or process their own pregnancy, this book is probably for you. Nine Moons is a realistic and un-apologetically raw depiction of pregnancy as told from a recently jobless Peruvian woman struggling to maintain steady employment and her sense of self in modern-day Barcelona.
Pregnancy begins (as it does for most of us) as a strange state of existence enveloped in nausea, exhaustion and the loss of personal identity, all before motherhood hits us like a semi truck. Wiener does a brilliant job documenting and examining her own pregnancy through the lenses of class, culture, gender and race. An unbelievably witty, honest and extraordinary read that left me feeling proud and seen for the first time in years. This book is a must read for everyone to better understand and make sense of what it feels like to experience pregnancy.
3. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
A truthful, heartbreaking story told in the form of a letter to his son. Coates shares his awakening to racial injustice, identity and survival in this wonderful story, unpacking what it is to be black, cis, and male in America. We travel with Coates from Baltimore to Howard University to Paris, all the while watching him blossom into the wise and loving father that is speaking to his adolescent son.
This book is an absolutely essential read for everyone. We cried, laughed and screamed with Coates, all the while shaking our heads at the injustices that have yet to be reversed. This is an open and honest look at the black experience that leaves you clutching your heart, out of breath and wanting more.
4. I Can't Date Jesus by Michael Arcenaux
What can we say. This book is EVERYTHING.
"It's often said that knowing who you are, or at the very least possessing a sneaking suspicion of such early in life, is a blessing. The people who share this sentiment need to write it on a piece of paper, ball it up, and then proceed to pour barbecue sauce all over it as they eat it. Early self-awareness is a blessing only if who you are comes with a support system and an education. If you don't have those, it's easy to find yourself feeling stuck and sullen."
Arcenaux gives readers a bold and authentic look into his experiences as a black, gay man. The author covers experiences such as coming out to his mother, navigating online dating, and securing work as a freelance writer, all while coming into himself and out to the world throughout his 20s. This book is clearly written by a genius. It had us screaming with laughter and giving out air hugs. We absolutely love this book and you will too.
5. Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
The story of Assata Shakur is not often told but will go down as one of the greatest accounts of strength, courage and power. After being imprisoned on flimsy evidence for the fatal shooting of a white state trooper on the New Jersey Turnpike, Black Panther, Assata Shakur, documents her experiences with incarceration and her battle for freedom.
This is one of the most important reads of our time. Assata recounts her personal experiences with race, gender and the injustice of the legal system in this gripping story. A must-read for anyone seeking to better understand race in America.
Black-Owned Bookstores to Order from Online:
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