This list is long overdue! I’ve honestly been reading so much that I forgot to sit down and do a blog recap about it. In January, I focused on reading books by black women authors. February opened up my reading list to all black authors. My birthday derailed a lot of my reading plans for January but I still managed to finish some wonderful books between the first two months of the year.
Hunger | Roxane Gay ★★★★★
This is actually the first book I have ever read by Roxane Gay. Pretty surprising, right? Yeah, I really dropped the ball because she is AMAZING. I have read some of her articles and essays in the past but never one of her books. This one was so powerful that as soon as I finished it, I picked up the rest of her books to read immediately. Roxane Gay tackles issues head on with intense honesty and vulnerability. This memoir is fantastic but have your tissues ready.
Freedom is a Constant Struggle | Angela Davis ★★★★
Angela Davis has a way of taking complex issues and breaking them down into layman’s terms. If you are trying to explain liberal issues to people who just don’t seem to understand, hand them this book. This book contains essays and speeches from Angela Davis so it may feel repetitive if you are already very familiar with her work but nevertheless, it’s fantastic and definitely worth a read.
The Mother of Black Hollywood | Jenifer Lewis ★★★★★
I’ve read a lot of memoirs by comedians and actors lately but this is one of my favorites. About 70% of recent memoirs that I have read or read about have been written by people that are really young. That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have anything to say. In fact, Tiffany Haddish’s memoir gave me tons of insight into parts of her life I knew nothing about. It kept me both laughing and crying. But in general, I love a memoir from someone who has been around a bit. A mature person if you will. Jenifer Lewis’ has LIVED. She has seen decades of drama in Hollywood, starred on the stage and the screen, dealt with endless family drama, and handled a mental illness before most people would even dare to discuss mental health. So many of us have grown up watching her on screen but haven’t had a chance to actually get to know the real Jenifer Lewis. I highly recommend picking this book up and following it up with the audiobook version that Jenifer reads herself.
My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me | Jennifer Teege ★★★
This was a very interesting read. While I’ve read many books about the Holocaust and what survivors have dealt with afterwards, I’ve never read a book by someone who is the grandchild of a Nazi. Even more interesting, she didn’t find out this information until she was an adult with a family of her own. I had a hard time reading about the way the author spoke about her adoptive family. After learning more details about her biological nazi grandfather, her biological grandmother, and her biological mother, she stopped calling her parents who raise her mom and dad. Despite them always being open about the adoption, it seems like she resents them for some reason. I can’t pretend to know what it is like to be adopted but the way she started treating her parents during her journey to discovering her biological family’s terrible past was somewhat upsetting. Outside of her family issues, there is a lot of insightful (albeit horrible) information about her grandfather, Amon Goth and his time spent as a war criminal.
Hidden Figures | Margot Lee Shetterly ★★★
I wanted to love this book. I really tried. In the end though, I was disappointed. Seeing the movie first gave me incredibly high expectations. The reality is that the screenplay and the book were written incredibly differently. The book reads more like a textbook but it’s incredibly organized. You don’t get to read any dialogue between people which was a letdown. While you learn a lot of facts about the women involved as well as NASA in general, you don’t feel like you actually get a sense of who they are the way you do in the movie. Ultimately, the issue is that they are just two completely different experiences and I went into this book expecting something different.
Bad Feminist | Roxane Gay ★★★★★
Bad Feminist is a book that everyone should read. I’m honestly embarrassed that it took me so long to actually read it. Roxane Gay writes essays so effortlessly that you feel as if she is sitting next to you and talking to you. This book explores modern feminism through honest musings and reminds that us there’s more than one way to be a feminist.
Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1-3 | Ta-Nehisi Coates ★★★★★
I read all three of these before heading into the Black Panther movie. I’m a Ta-Nehisi Coates fan so I was really excited to read his work in this format. I’ve been a fan of comics since I was young so the combination of a Marvel comic book and one of my favorite writers was pretty exciting. I love the story arcs in this series and like the movie, there are so many strong female characters involved. If you enjoyed the movie, enjoy comics, or love Ta-Nehisi Coates, pick these up immediately!
Difficult Women | Roxane Gay ★★★★★
Wow. There are stories in Difficult Women that are difficult to read. Not because they are not beautifully written (they are) but because they are heartbreaking. Some of these stories will rock you to your core. All of these stories are incredibly compelling and important.
Mom & Me & Mom | Maya Angelou ★★★★★
Maya Angelou has always been an important force in my life. Her writing never disappoints. This book explores her complex relationship with her mother. Like many mother daughter relationships, Maya and Vivian had a complicated one that evolved over time. Maya’s mother was a force, just as she was. It is incredibly insightful to get a chance to better know the women who gave birth to one of my personal heroes. Maya’s writing is like a hot cup of tea and a warm hug on a cold winter day. I’ll never tire of it.
Well folks, we are almost to the end of March so expect another Well Read post soon! In the mean time, you can head to my instagram to see what I am currently reading. I’m focusing on female authors for the month of March and I can’t wait to share all of the amazing books I’ve been reading with you!