If you’re looking to observe Black History Month by reading Black authors, you need look no further than the New York Times Best Sellers list. About half of the books on the Nonfiction list are written by Black authors, including Cicely Tyson’s Just As I Am, Barack Obama’s A Promised Land, Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste, Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Charles Blow’s The Devil You Know, Ibram Kendi’s How to Be An Antiracist, and Emmanuel Acho’s Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half, currently parked in the No 3 spot in Fiction, has been on the list for 36 weeks.
If the holds lists on these items are too long for your liking, many of these same authors have written earlier titles that should be more readily available to you. Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns received the National Book Critics Circle Award and Brit Bennett’s The Mothers was nominated for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award, for two examples.
The Oprah Magazine offers several, 44 to be exact, options in a piece, 44 of the Best Books by Black Authors You Should Read in Your Lifetime. Similarly, you’ll find 62 Great Books by Black Authors, recommended by TED speakers chock full of options as well.
Needless to say, especially as February is the shortest month of the year, you will not have time to scratch the surface of these lists. But you may well find yourself with lists of your own that you can tackle over the next year or so, as you meet some new authors or revisit older favorites.
- Shari H., Library Director
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