Book Reviews in honor of Juneteenth

If you are looking to do some reading by authors of color, here are few reviews of some I have loved.

Just Mercy cover Heartbreaking. That was the feeling reading Just Mercy. Yes, there was discussion of the power of hope and the EJL won some historic cases, but the pervasive legacy of racism, racial profiling and discrimination was there on every page. It makes me sad that this is still a reality so many incarcerated deal with, and frustrated that after everything the narrative of oppression and corruption is still spinning in so many communities and their supposed justice systems.

Counting Descent

So glad I chose this collection to share with my students. A beautiful narrative of identity, power, and home weaves through each piece. I especially loved the line from “Meteor Shower,” ‘we bring a part of where we are from/ to every place we go.’” The power of “How to Fight” will resonate long after I put this down as well…”Spelling bees were a battleground/ where teachers trained me/ to wield language as a/ tool & fist & weapon & warning/ to those who would rather/ make an outline of me.” So relevant in these turbulent times as voices of protest keep rising and looking for spaces to be heard

Queenie book cover

This book did not grab me right off, but once it did, I could not put it down. Queenie is such a relatable character- she is imperfect, self-deprecating and fully immersed in problems that just keep building. Many of us suffer from depression, anxiety, low self esteem and Queenie’s journey allows a front row seat to how that all plays out while trying to maintain a job, relationships and just every day living. It is not shy in talking about sex and race so be ready if you pick it up.

American Spy

Loved. This. Book. I have never been a spy novel type, but this book took all of the great things about spy novels- intrigue, suspense, unexpected turns, and brought racial tension and gender politics of the 60s and 70s to the table. I could not stop reading!

The Sellout book cover

Wow. Just Wow. Biting. Hilarious. Honest. Brutal. Relevant. Wow. The Sellout is a satirical masterpiece, but it’s so much more — it’s one of the most incisive, and truthful portrayals of race and identity in America. “That’s the problem with history, we like to think it’s a book — that we can turn the page and move on…But history isn’t the paper it’s printed on. It’s memory, and memory is time, emotions, and song. History is the things that stay with you.” Beatty is not shy with exploring charged topics. His narrator is a black man who owns a slave and the novel opens with him smoking marijuana on the steps of the Supreme Court after being charged with segregating public land and education, and slavery.  Beatty confronts head-on issues of racism, police violence, gangs, political machination, and does so with biting humor. It is a work of fiction, but unfortunately, we are still grappling with our historical amnesia in the United States

While you are at it, order those titles from a black-owned bookstore!

Black-Owned Bookstores by State click here

Or order them to be shipped from these Black-Owned Bookstores, click here

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