In 2016 my GoodReads Reading Challenge goal was something like 25 and I surpassed the goal with 58 read. So for 2018, I didn’t think it was too impossible to make it to 50. In November I was shocked to realize I was nowhere near meeting my goal for books read (around the 1st of the month that I realized I only ready about 14 books. Oops)!
Around this same time, I started following a lot of “bookstagrams” (Instagram accounts dedicated to books, usually styled in a whimsical and creative way). A lot of the ones I just happened to follow featured Black authors. So many of the book synopsis’ were original and innovative, I knew I had to add them to the “Want To Read” shelf. I went through all the books currently in my apartment and realized of the over 100 books, about 5 were by Black authors. That didn’t seem right to me, for SO MANY reasons. It was then I decided to double down on my goal to read 50 books, but specifically only books by Black authors. (I do have the exception of reading books by non-Black authors if it is 1) a book I started in 2018 and hadn’t finished yet and 2) if it’s the 4th Diviners book bc I go HARD for The Diviners Series).
I decided to share my list here so you can check out some amazing titles including one described as “Buffy meets Alice in Wonderland set in Atlanta” or the modern day Pride and Prejudice set in Brooklyn or the top YA book of 2018 or the sure to be a sexy and trashy (fingers crossed!) book entitled Sweatpants Season (I can’t make this stuff up, but I wish I had). I mean, yes, I anticipate reading a lot of books about struggle, and abuse, and slavery, and racism because that’s just par for the course. But I will also have gems like the autobiography of our Forever First Lady as well, so it evens out.
I must admit upon taking up this…initiative (?) I’ve noticed a lot of low-key racism in bookstores. Like, books with Black or Brown main characters are rarely depicted on the cover of the book unless 1) the book was written by a black or brown person or 2) the book is written by a white person about slavery…and the image is usually in the form of a silhouette. Also, there are almost ZERO travel books written by/for Black travelers (and if you think the genre isn’t necessary, you’ve never been a talk Black woman in Tokyo before). I’ve also been trouble finding books by Black Scientists that are not 1) auto/biographies, 2) written by Neil deGrasse Tyson, or 3) on topics of cultural anthropology (i.e. race). Like literally any science – horticulture, geology, algebra, physics – I can find nothing (again, something that doesn’t seem right for SO MANY reasons).
Let me know in the comments if you have read any of these books, or if you have any to add to the list (especially in above-mentioned categories).
Happy New Year and Happy Reading!