By Collection Management Librarians Dontaná and Kathy
Check out these recently released fiction and nonfiction titles that might have flown under your radar. They are perfect for celebrating Black History Month.
Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction edited by Sheree R. Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki & Zelda Knight
Why you should try it: Look at this cover! If you love Afrofuturism, Africanfuturism, and/or Janelle Monáe, you're going to want to read this.
Description: A team of editors present an anthology showcasing more than 30 original fantasy and science fiction stories from Africa.
Light Skin Gone to Waste by Toni Ann Johnson
Why you should try it: If short stories are too disconnected for you but you love historical fiction, this collection of connected, chronological stories about the Arrington family in the 60s is perfect for you.
Description: In 1962 Philip Arrington, a psychologist with a Ph.D. from Yeshiva, arrives in the small, primarily blue-collar town of Monroe, New York, to rent a house for himself and his new wife, Velma; his daughter Livia (from a previous marriage); and his youngest, Madeline, soon to be born. They’re Black, something the man about to show him the house doesn’t know. They’re cosmopolitan. Sophisticated. They’re also troubled, arrogant, and throughout the linked stories, falling apart.
What Napoleon Could Not Do by DK Nnuro
Why you should try it: A "multifaceted drama," this novel explores sibling rivalry and the failed promise of the American dream.
Description: Envious of his sister who achieved—as their father put it, "what Napoleon could not do," by graduating from law school in the U.S. and marrying a wealthy Black businessman from Texas—Jacob fighting for a visa to join his wife in Virginia, must learn from his dashed hopes to fulfill his own dreams.
Gone Like Yesterday by Janelle M. Williams
Why you should try it: Blending music, family, coming of age, and mental health, this novel is for those who are wondering if, and when, it is their turn to fly.
Description: Zahra—a young black woman who can hear the voices of her ancestors singing to her through moths—teams up with Sammie—an outspoken Trini-American teenager who can also hear them—to search for Zahra's missing brother.
Why You'll Never Find the One: And Why It Doesn't Matter by Sarah Akinterinwa
Why you should try it: February is both for lovers and Black history, so of course, this dating guide by a Black woman is an essential read.
Description: This illustrated dating guide by cartoonist Sarah Akinterinwa, rooted in her experiences as a Black woman in her late 20s, encourages readers to be introspective, honest, and practical in their love lives.
Lover Man by Alston Anderson
Why you should try it: This collection features Black men and boys, which is already a good enough reason to read it. Also, it is a rediscovered 1950s classic of Black literature.
Description: Stories of loners, outsiders, tricksters, addicts, jazzmen, and drifters in the Jim Crow South.
Chi Boy: Native Sons & Chicago Reckonings by Keenan Norris
Why you should try it: A unique and personal perspective on the cultural history of Chicago.
Description: Personal essays about the author's family woven together with cultural history and critique about the Great Migration to Chicago, Northern segregation, the life and work of Richard Wright and other Black Chicago intellectuals, Black masculinity, and the specter of violence in Chicago.
Why you should try it: A primer on coping with personal trauma and political dismissal that is also an inspiring ode to Black women.
Description: When Breonna Taylor was killed, her police report was virtually blank. Feeling as if she was suffocating in the initial silence and lack of public outcry, anti-racism educator and activist Faith Brooks wondered, "Would the world care about and remember me if I was killed?"
Black on Black: On Our Resilience & Brilliance in America by Daniel Black
Why you should try it: Calling all essay readers! This highly anticipated book is smart and provocative in all the best ways.
Description: Acclaimed novelist and scholar Daniel Black has spent a career writing into the unspoken, fleshing out—through storytelling—pain that can't be described. Now, in his debut essay collection, Black gives voice to the experiences of those who often find themselves on the margins.
Weightless: Making Space for My Resilient Body & Soul by Evette Dionne
Why you should try it: For a feminist take on our fatphobic culture.
Description: Evette Dionne explores the minefields fat Black women are forced to navigate in the course of everyday life. From her early experiences of harassment to adolescent self-discovery in internet chatrooms to her diagnosis of heart failure at age 29, Dionne tracks her relationships with friendship, sex, motherhood, agoraphobia, health, pop culture, and self-image.
I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror & Survival in the War Against Reconstruction by Kidada E. Williams
Why you should try it: A piercing look at the failures of Reconstruction and the lasting impacts on race relations in the U.S.
Description: The story of Reconstruction is often told from the perspective of the politicians, generals, and journalists whose accounts claim an outsized place in collective memory. But this pivotal era looked very different to African Americans in the South transitioning from bondage to freedom after 1865. They were besieged by a campaign of white supremacist violence that persisted through the 1880s and beyond.
Aphrochic: Celebrating the Legacy of the Black Family Home by Bryan Mason
Why you should try it: Let the history, culture, and of course, design inspire you to make your space reflect you!
Description: Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason invite you into the intimate spaces of actors and musicians, the creative studios of artists and curators, the "boss" homes of entrepreneurs and executives, "off-the-beaten-path" homes that defy the stereotypes of urban living, and places filled with pieces handed down from generations past.
Dontaná is a Collection Management Librarian who was born with an unending reading list. She is almost always reading two books simultaneously and is easily distracted by cool covers.
Kathy is a Collection Management Librarian who loves reading, sharing, and talking about books. Her missions in life are to create communities of readers, convince folks that her official title should be "Book Pusher," and refute that "disco" is a dirty word.