This week, I’ve gone off-piste to talk about some books by non-white authors. For no apparent reason.
I’ve picked out books I love: four and five-star reads. I’ve picked ten different authors and some different genres, in hopes that everyone can find something that sounds interesting if they go exploring and try to pick up one of these.
- Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord. I don’t remember this book well enough and reading my old review leaves me itching to reread it. I loved it and the fable-like structure and narration.
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin. The whole trilogy is great, and I’m sure her later books that I haven’t read are great, but this is where I started and I was totally riveted.
- The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. This got a lot of hype, but I really felt it was worth it… and it’s topical as hell right now.
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge. If you want to read a more British examination of racism, this is a great starting point.
- The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark. This is a novella, and when I finished I was dyiiiing for more.
- Fledgling, by Octavia Butler. This was a disturbing and difficult read, and it left a huge impression on me. Kindred is being recommended a lot, and I rated it higher at the time, but Fledgling is the one that stayed with me.
- The Colour Purple, by Alice Walker. Okay, this one is totally and absolutely obvious, but I took so long to read it. Still, it got my rare accolade of five stars, and I couldn’t leave it off the list. It’s moving and beautifully written, making such great use of dialect and the epistolary form.
- Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe. Same here. This is such an obvious one — but I have to say that nobody ever really sold this book to me, and the same thing happened with The Color Purple. I was told I should read it and not why, beyond “it’s important”… and that isn’t always the most enticing. I found it genuinely riveting, though, so definitely don’t dismiss it because it’s viewed as a classic.
- Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly. This book is obviously pretty well known by now, but when I read it, I was completely boggled by this history of women that I’d never heard of, never dreamed of. And from what I hear, the movie bears only a glancing resemblance to the truth, so if you’ve only seen the movie… do yourself a favour!
- The Salt Roads, by Nalo Hopkinson. My memories of this book are full of sense-memories, tastes and smells and colour. And while it isn’t as topical as The Hate U Give, for instance… you’ll find it has a lot of resonance.
Aaand in the process of this I realised that I still have a few other books by some of these authors that I haven’t even read, which is a lovely thought.
I think all of these are in the US, but Twitter has a list of Black-owned bookshops you can order from going around, if you’d like to order any of these.