Grubbie Recommended: A Black History Month Reading List
This February, we’re celebrating the contributions and artistry of Black authors, writers, and creatives. Over the course of Black History Month, you can expect a community-sourced reading list, craft advice from Black instructors, and info about literary opportunities & organizations for Black writers. We hope these resources help you read, write, or publish Black stories.
Who better to recommend books to Grubbies than Grubbies? We've compiled a list of our community's favorite books by Black authors. Whether you're interested in reading a poetic narrative, an examination of love, or a transgressive vampire novel, there's a pick for you! And if you're itching to read one (or all) of these recommendations, you can always grab a copy from our partners at Porter Square Books: Boston Edition.
The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris. "I loved how well Harris inhabited with empathy, characters diverse not only by race, but also age, gender, sexuality, history, vividly writing of their traumas and their strength. Compelling reading." — Judy Kessler, Student
Home by Toni Morrison. "The words are lyrical. The writing is magical. The theme is chilling and resonant. Our narrator takes us on a trip that has more twists than a Six Flags rollercoaster. If you like poetry, you will love this poetic-like narrative." — Shirley Jones Luke, Boston Writers of Color Member
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honoree Fannone Jeffers. "Intense, lyrical, full of heart and history; one of the best novels I've ever read! Jeffers is an award-winning poet and it shows in this exquisite novel. This book completely changed my understanding of African and Native American history in this country. Five thousand stars!" — Patricia Lane, Community Member
All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks. "I think it's a beautiful, brilliant book that really captures how we as people need to reassess love and how it fits into our lives, how love and the active recognition of it is a radical act. Especially in a world where we continually isolate ourselves, and amongst ever-constraining times, bell hooks knew!!"
Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson. "This collection of 15 short stories shifts from chilling to sensual to heart wrenching. Infused with Carribean folklore and wrapped in a fabulist bow—Hopkinson's writing is evocative and inventive." — Jamie A M, Student
Long Division by Kiese Laymon. "Kiese Laymon's sentences are magic. This strange book, which starts with a sentence-composing competition and turns into a time travel mystery, showcases both his humor and his unwillingness to look away from everyday cruelty." — Pia Owens, Community Member
Transfigurations by Jay Wright. "A sandstorm of senses and intellect. A talisman for the infinitely possible." — JD Debris, Boston Writers of Color Member & Instructor
I Always Knew by Barbara Chase-Riboud. "Remember reading Sally Hemings? Any BCR fans should read this collection of letters written by Barbara to her mother from 1957 to 1989 (Princeton University Press), to get an idea of Barbara's fabulous life in Paris." — Alexandra Grabbe, Student
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. "Searing and masterful prose that shakes me on every read. This novel to me is an unparalleled Baldwin masterpiece: always meaningful, always timely." — Boston Writers of Color Member
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler. "As a child (raging tween) of Twilight, I will always have a soft spot for vampire fiction; and Octavia Butler's take on vampires is particularly compelling and transgressive. Oft-overshadowed by the rest of Butler's work, I encourage you to give Fledgling a try."
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. "Ace of Spades is a YA mystery with an exciting prose that sucks a reader right in and keeps you on your toes. Ace of Spades is an impactful, well-paced novel with social commentary smartly woven into its thrilling plot."
Want to see your pick on this list? Submit your recommendation here!