Every February I do a black fiction haul. I go to a bunch of different bookstores in my area, check out their black authors table and buy some new stuff. This year, I didn’t get a chance to hit every store I wanted, because school has completely taken over my life, but I did buy a few books and have been reading non stop. It’s amazing how much fiction can be read on the subway. Here’s a list of a few of the black novels I’ve read within the past few weeks.
In Darkness: Recently I’ve been obsessed with reading fiction about Haiti. I came across this teen book, intrigued by the cover. Written by a British author, In Darkness is a book that I don’t think I will ever forget. It tells the story of a young boy living in the slums of Haiti, trapped in the rubble after the earthquake. He’s in complete darkness, he can’t move. His story is mixed with the story of Toussaint L’Ouverture, the slave who lead other slaves in an uprising that liberated Haiti from the French. The book follows the journey of both characters in a heartbreaking, magical way. It taught me so much about the history of Haiti. I honestly can’t say enough about this book. It may be in the teen section, but it’s for everybody.
Krik? Krak!: Another novel about Haiti, this one written by Haitian Edwidge Danticat, is a collection of stories about Haitian women. It was an extremely moving book, each story focusing on love, heartbreak and family. Again, this book taught me a lot about Haiti and more importantly it was written beautifully. The short story is something that I’ve recently started to enjoy reading and would like to try writing.
Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self: Speaking of short stories, this collection by Danielle Evans is probably the best collection of short stories I’ve read (okay, second best coming in close behind Junot Diaz’s Drown). In these stories, readers are introduced to memorable, interesting characters in real life situations. I started this book and read the first two stories in one sitting, I could not put it down. The writing is incredible. This is the kind of book that motivated me to keep writing, and discouraged me from writing at the same time, which is something not many books can do. I’ll be keeping my eye out for more books by Evans.
Cane River: This is the book I just picked up two days ago and I’m already halfway through. I love books about slavery and this one is about slavery in Louisiana in an area called Cane River. The author Lalita Tademy, traced her roots so the story is based on three generations of women in her family. There are real photos, records and notes in the book that she found in her search. It’s so sad and the characters are so likeable, I’m rooting for them and horrified when something bad happens to them. I think it would be incredible to be able to know all this information about your family, going all the way back to slavery. It’s making me want to look up my roots, but that’s another story. Even though I’m not finished, Cane River is definately worth the read.
On my desk at home, I have these books waiting for me:
Some Sing, Some Cry by Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza
Diamond Life by Alysia S. King
How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu
Happy reading! Write any book recommendations you have in the comments.