The Year of Black Books: What I’ve Read So Far

Holla Holla and we’re back!

You guys! I’m so excited to be back here with you. I’ve totally missed writing about the books I’m reading, especially since I am actively, and successfully, working through a pretty decent reading list this year!

I made it a point at the beginning of the year to make a list of twelve books by Black authors that I wanted to read in 2019.  I decided on one book per month because I knew I could maintain that, and there would be room to add more titles as I went along. I tend to be a pretty indiscriminate reader, and I haven’t read many new Black authors, so I decided 2019 would be the Year of Black Books for me.

Books I’ve read can be found here, and books still on my reading list can be found here. Below are the books of 2019 that I’ve read as of todayl:

If Beale Street Could Talk – James Baldwin  This story was decent. I watched the movie afterwards as well. The book did not end the way the movie did—there was a lot left unanswered in the book, and it left me wanting more of a conclusion. I enjoyed the dialogue and interaction between the characters. Honestly, I think I’m just tired of the Black-boy-gets-falsely-accused-of-rape narrative (which, by the way, resurfaces two books down).

Barracoon – Zora Neale Hurston This was interesting. It’s the story of a man who was taken to be a slave on the last Transatlantic ship to the US after the slave trade had been abolished. He talks about growing up and being taken and living in the states. Hurston writes the story in his words which lends to the authentic feeling of the story. She also includes bits of their interaction during her interview process with him that give insight into the kind of man he was. It was a quick read, and I would read it again, which is saying a lot because I don’t often re-read books.

An American Marriage – Tayari Jones Another Black-man-gets-falsely-accused-of-rape story. This one is more developed, though, and more about the relationship between he and his wife—especially as the narrative around his conviction and sentencing had lots of holes and left much to be desired. The story is mainly about how their relationship grew, and changed, and ended. It’s about their individual, and collective, parts in the dissolution of their marriage and how they end up in the arms of others. It’s not a story that surprised me. I saw most of it coming. It was a good read though. I finished it in a day. But, like, an entire day. Like, nine straight hours.

Well-Read Black Girl – Glory Edim, ed.  A collection of essays by Black women authors telling of the first time they saw themselves in literature. Throughout, the editor includes lists of works by Black women writers organized by genre—Classic Novels, Black Feminism, Black Girlhood and Friendship, Science Fiction and Fantasy, etc. I’ll be honest, I did not read all of the essays in this collection. However, I did take pictures of the book lists in order to add them to my overall reading list. It is a great resource if you’re look to read more books by Black women.

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi I really liked this one. There were so many characters though. So many characters. And I get why—the author is building a lineage that connects the past and present—but it was challenging to keep up with who was who. However, there’s a handy little family tree at the front of the book to reference, and I used it often. The story-telling made me feel things, and that’s exactly what I look for in a good book. Highly recommended.

Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi I’m into it so far. It’s a big book though. Lots of pages, small print. This is my first book of the year that deals with fantasy and magic, and I’m here for it. It’s one of those books that you wish you could see as you read it. I fell like I have a pretty good imagination, but some of the animals are difficult to create in my head. I’d love to watch this on screen, and that’s a really good thing. I look forward to whatever is going to happen in this book, and it’s such a big book that I know a lot is going to happen.

So that’s my recap! Going forward, I plan to let you in on books that I’ve added to my reading list. I’m following the #BlackLiterature tag on IG so I often see new things I want to read. I screenshot them and add them to a “Books to Read” folder in my phone’s picture gallery. I’ll also be writing about the books I read as I finish them, or as they frustrate me, whichever comes first.

For now I’ll be linking book stuff through my main blog‘s IG page @insert_adventist (in a fit of chaotic indecision I converted the previous CBC IG page into the [Adventist] IG page, and haven’t had the heart to start a entirely new IG for this blog since I post so sporadically). I’ve also got some new stuff going on over there too, but if you’re only in it for the books that’s cool.

Anyway, I’m glad to be back.

Happy Reading!