Read Books Authored by People of Color

Your DGB for today is to find a book written by a person of color and check it out of your library (check e-collections, too!), buy it from your favorite bookstore, or use Amazon Smile.

This is probably going to come as a shock to you, but racism is alive and well in the publishing world and that means all of us lose. We might miss out on some of the greatest voices waiting to be heard and stories waiting to be told. Consciously combat falling into a rut of supporting mostly white authors by actively seeking out authors of color. By doing this, not only will we get to consume amazing art we may have overlooked, it can help us become better allies when we pursue non-white narratives.

DGB staff have picked a few of our favorites and are playing armchair literary-reviewers for a night. We imagine this involves cognac, a pipe, and thick-framed glasses. Or was that a 1800s detective?  Whatever, here are our picks:

 

Amy - The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The story overall is very heavy and sad, but the prose itself is so good and there is a very subtle humor so that it doesn’t necessarily *feel* that way as you move through it. It also did this interesting thing where you’re never quite sure if the narrator was reliable or if there was another explanation for the events that happened. Even a bit of a question mark as to whether the supernatural was involved.

 

Celestia - Citizen: an American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

An anthology of images, poems and essays had me sobbing within the first ten minutes. It's stories of racism and micro aggression in our so called post-racial society were eye opening, heart breaking, and thought provoking.

 

Emily - The Business of Fancydancing by Alexie Sherman.

It gives a real perspective about Native American life instead of some noble savage trope or the “drunk Indian” for the other side of that racist coin.

 

MJ - The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

This Fantasy novel has it all: compelling story, amazing world-building, a mold-breaking premise, and a bunch of badass women of color as main characters. I loved it and ever since I read it, I've been devouring everything else Jemisin has written.

 

Morgan - A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

A board book meant for the under three crowd that my five and eight year old still enjoy and holds even adult attention. Nagara also illustrated and man is it beautiful and diverse. Not your typical alphabet book: C is for co-op, F is for feminist, U is for unions, and Z is for zapatista, to name a few.

 

Nicole - We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson.

The book introduces racial discrimination, segregation, and intolerance in a child-appropriate way. Rich discussions can come out of reading about the athletes' struggles and triumphs, and the illustrations are amazing.

 

Rose - Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

It's a graphic novel about the author's childhood in Iran during the revolution. I love it because it is beautiful, relatable, funny, and eye-opening. It's completely normal and completely shattering at the same time.

 

Suzie - Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Described by the author as a series of riddles that function as the solution to those riddles, this book twists through magical realism (talking cats!), touching openness and raw personalities, and elements of Shintoism.

 

DGB’s January 2017 Grab It and Read It List also includes:

I'm Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates