Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson: From Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner, Taraji P. Henson, comes an inspiring and funny book about family, friends, the hustle required to make it from DC to Hollywood, and the joy of living in your own truth. With a sensibility that recalls her beloved screen characters, including Yvette, Queenie, Shug, and the iconic Cookie from Empire, yet is all Taraji, the screen actress writes of her family, the one she was born into and the one she created. She shares stories of her father, a Vietnam vet who was bowed but never broken by life’s challenges, and of her mother who survived violence both in the home and on DC’s volatile streets. Here too she opens up about her experiences as a single mother, a journey some saw as a burden but which she saw as a gift.
The Mothers: A Novel by Brit Bennett: A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community and the things that ultimately haunt us most. Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret. “All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.” In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.”
You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson: A hilarious and timely essay collection about race, gender, and pop culture from upcoming comedy superstar and 2 Dope Queens podcaster Phoebe Robinson Being a black woman in America means contending with old prejudices and fresh absurdities every day. As personal as it is political, You Can’t Touch My Hair examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases with humor and heart, announcing Robinson as a writer on the rise.”
The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts by Tiya Miles: “With the character arcs and the exploration of an often-overlooked area of history the Native American ownership of African slaves this is a solid choice for book clubs that savor meaty discussions.” — Library Journal
“(The Cherokee Rose) Challenges us to look past the plantation’s exquisite grounds and fully examine the worlds of the people who once lived and labored there. It is a must read for anyone interested in the histories of slavery, gender, Native America, and colonialism.”
The Thunder Beneath Us by Nicole Blades: To the world, Best Lightburn is a talented writer rising up the masthead at international style magazine James, girlfriend of a gorgeous up-and-coming actor, and friend to New York City’s fabulous. Then there’s the other Best, the one who has chosen to recast herself as an only child rather than confront the truth. Ten years ago, on Christmas Eve, Best and her two older brothers took a shortcut over a frozen lake. When the ice cracked, all three went in. Only Best came out. People said she was lucky, but that kind of luck is nothing but a burden. Because Best knows what she had to do to survive. And after years of covering up the past, her guilt is detonating through every facet of her seemingly charmed life. It’s all unraveling so fast: her new boss is undermining and deceitful, her boyfriend is recovering from a breakdown, and a recent investigative story has led to a secret affair with the magazine’s wealthy publisher. Best is quick-witted and headstrong, but how do you find a way to happiness when you’re sure you haven’t earned it or embrace a future you feel you don’t deserve? Evocative and emotional, The Thunder Beneath Us is a gripping novel about learning to carry loss without breaking, and to heal and forgive not least of all, ourselves.”