I love reading. As a child, I would hide under my covers at night and read my books by flashlight when I was supposed to be asleep. There’s nothing like reading a good book because when you read you can go anywhere, you can escape from reality and visit anytime and any place whether it’s a good or bad place, reading is almost like a form of time travel to me. However, it’s easy to fall away from reading just for pleasure when you are preoccupied with work and school life, but I fully intend to get back into it because frankly…TVthese days just ain’t cuttin it. Most reality TV shows are just garbage…so BOOKSHELF…HERE I COME!
Here is my reading list, I’ve linked to amazon descriptions, so you can check those out!
1. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.
The Warmth of Other Suns chronicles the story of The Great Migration from the perspective of 3 different African-Americans who left the American South and journeyed North between the two World Wars.
2. States of Confusion, My 19,000 Mile Detour to Find Direction by Paul Jury
States of Confusion, after graduating from college, Paul Jury is left wondering, what next? He decides to take a road trip and visit all 50 United States to find his direction in life. I am interested in this book because as a recent College Graduate, I can definitely identify with his feelings of not having direction. You can check out the funny video below:
3. Black Gotham: a Family History of African-Americans in Nineteenth Century New York City by Dr. Carla Peterson
Black Gotham is a non-fictional book that details the live of African-Americans in New York city, starting in the 1820s. The common perception of Blacks in the 19th century is that most were enslaved, but Dr. Peterson demonstrates through her personal Family history that history isnt’ always as it seemed.
4. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart is about a young man named Okonkwo who faces conflict both from society and from the European missionaries who impose their culture on society.
5. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Purple Hibiscus is about a young woman in Nigeria whose well-to-do father is abusive, when she is sent to live with her Aunt in another city in Nigeria, her world opens up and she is exposed to a myriad of possibility.
6. Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed
Black Mamba Boy is based loosely on the life of Nadifa Mohamed’s father. It’s about a little boy coming of age in Somalia during British colonization. Jama, the young boy, goes on an adventure to find his father and soon his life takes a riveting turn.
7. Where You Left Me Jennifer Gardner Trulson
When Jennifer Gardner Trulson lost her husband in the September 11th attacks, her world changed forever. She was a happily married woman who found herself turned into a widow who was branded with a Scarlet Letter. This book tells her story of sadness, recovery and new love that she never thought she’d find again.
8. The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
The Book of Night Women tells the story of Lillith, an enslaved woman who comes of age on the Jamaican sugar plantations. Eventually she and other women plan a revolt against their oppressive masters. In the process, Lillith learns about her own identity.
9. My Soul To Keep by Tananarive Due
My Soul To Keep is a science fiction novel about an Ethiopian woman who has a wonderful marriage with her husband David. However, when everyone close to her begins to die, except for her and her husband, she learns that 400 years ago, her husband made a terrible sacrifice to keep living.
10. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
Finnegans Wake has a reputation as being “one of the hardest books to read in the English language.” It’s a comedy by the Irish author James Joyce. Part of what makes it difficult is that it’s written in idiosyncratic language. The story is loosely about a family and the history of Ireland. It sounds interesting, but challenging. I pseudo-read Portrait of an Artist As a Young Man in one of my literature courses and enjoyed it, so I figured I might like to try Finnegan’s Wake.
11. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Water for Elephants is a story of Veterinary student who is put in charge of a circus menagerie where he falls in love with Marlena, an equestrian and animal trainer.
12. How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
The Garcia Girls is a story about a family with four daughters who are members of the upper class, elite members of Spanish Caribbean society. These Dominican women are the descendants of Spanish conquistadors, however when they move to New York, they struggle with their identity as Dominican women and begin to straighten their hair and distance themselves from their Spanish roots. The young women struggle to assimilate to the new country, especially to their boyfriend’s standards and still maintain a sense of their culture. I love stuff like this, I think I’ll probably read this one soon.
13. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
This New York Times bestseller is a true story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor Black woman whose cells were used to change the face of modern day medicine. When Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cancer, some of her cells were preserved and studied even after her death. Her cells were used to help better understand the progression of cancer and are now worth billions. However, the family of Henrietta Lacks was never notified of the use of her cells and despite the million dollars that her cells are worth, her family was living in poverty, with no access to healthcare. I got a free copy of this book, I’ll definitely be reading it.
This a non-fiction book, which traces the history of Black women’s stereotypes into the modern era. I already have started reading this book and I am enjoying it because it relates the history of Black women to the modern day. The lives of professional Black women are still burdened with these stereotypes. In this book, Sophia Nelson encourages Black women to break free of these stereotypes, live well and redefine themselves.
15. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
This is a story of a love affair between Ernest Hemingway and his wife. Although they fall deeply in love, Ernest Hemingway and his wife have to deal with the fast life of drinking, Jazz and non-traditional lifestyles.
16. The Marines of Montford Point: America’s First Black Marines by Melton McLaurin
You can check out the NPR interview about Montford Marines here
This tells the true story of the First Black Marines who were accepted into the United States Marine corps in 1941. They were sent overseas, but few were allowed to fight and they faced many forms of discrimination from the white marines and officers. Initially, they did not serve in direct combat, although if you watch Ken Burns documentary The War, you’ll learn that some did actually get to fight.
Nevertheless, they fought in segregated units and were often placed in grave danger. This book hits close to home because my Grandfather and Great Uncle were both Montford Point Marines who were stationed in the South Pacific. They have both passed on, but now that they’re gone I’m starting to appreciate what they did even more.
17. Memoria de mis putas tristes by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
This is a Spanish novel, from what I gather it is a story about a ninety year old journalist who celebrates his birthday by going to a brothel to meet young virgins and when he sees the young women, his life changes drastically. Now, this novel is entirely in Spanish, so I will need to keep my dictionary handy because I have not formally studied Spanish since high school. I used to be able to speak and understand Spanish quite well, but you know if you don’t use a language, you lose it. So, this could be a challenge for me.
With all my plans to read, I am still undecided whether or not I want to invest in a kindle. I’ve never really been a fan of digital reading, there’s just something about holding the actual book in your hand with the cover art and turning the pages, smelling the print and paper and feeling the texture of the page itself. Then, of course, there is a certain amount of Pride that goes into placing that book on my shelf to add to my library once I’ve finished it. But, with so many books, it would be convenient to have a kindle…I don’t know. Eventually, I would like to start reading books in other languages, like Arabic and Spanish, they would have to be somewhat easy reads though, as I’m not fluent in either language. I have read La Casa Embrujada, but that’s it.
Oh well…what do you all think, should I invest in a kindle?