10 Recently Released Books by Black Authors That You Should Read

As the chill starts to settle in, cuddle up with a good book, penned by a great black author.

black books

1. A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston by Robyn Crawford

Best friend, collaborator and supposed brief lover Robyn Crawford finally shares her story about life with the late songbird Whitney Houston. In the pages of this memoir, Crawford recalls their friendship, Houston’s career and spiraling addiction, and the evolution of their relationship.

2. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

The host of the podcast Revisionist History and New York Times bestselling journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell wonders about the way in which we interact with people we don’t know. How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Read it or listen to the audiobook in which Gladwell introduces the actual voices of people he’s interviewed and the real-life sounds of the issues he tackles, like the arrest of Sandra Bland.

Talking to Strangers

3. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Atlantic national correspondent and New York Times bestseller Ta-Nehisi Coates presents his debut novel. When his mother is sold away, young Hiram Walker loses his memory of her, but he’s gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape the only home he’s ever known. So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the Deep South to dangerously idealistic movements in the North.

The Water Dancer

4. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

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New York Times-bestselling author and founder of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University is back with this thoughtful work that implores those that benefit from racist ideologies to not only be able to identify racism but by active players in ending it. Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas – from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities – that will help us see all forms of racism clearly, understand its consequences and work to oppose it in our systems and in ourselves.

How to be an Antiracist

5. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author Jacqueline Woodson is back with this novel about an unexpected teenage pregnancy that pulls together two families from different social classes and exposes the private hopes, disappointments and longings that can bind or divide us. Moving forward and backward in time, Woodson uncovers the role that history and community has played in the experiences, decisions and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.

Red at the Bone

6. Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem: A Memoir by Dapper Dan

Dapper Dan pioneered high-end streetwear in the 1980s, remixing the logos of stalwart luxury brands with his own innovative designs, coveted by black hip-hop culture. But before that, he was a hungry boy with holes in his soles, a teen who daringly bamboozled drug dealers out of their money and a young man in a prison cell who found nourishment in books. Post legit collaboration with Gucci, Dapper Dan tells his full story for the first time.

Dapper Dan

7. The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table by Minda Harts

Sought-after speaker Minda Harts takes a look at the odds stacked against women of color in professional settings, from the wage gap to biases and microagressions, with actionable takeaways. This much-needed career advice guide fills the gap created by other books that lump together women of all races and overlook the unique barriers to access and success that exist for women of color, with chapters on networking, office politics, money and negotiation.

The Memo

8. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

New York Times-bestselling author Jewell Parker Rhodes is back with this heartbreakingly familiar and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer. Jerome, just 12 years old, is shot by an officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of the killing. Soon, Jerome meets Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but who was also unjustly murdered.

Ghost Boys

9. Letters from an Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Bestselling author and our favorite celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson takes us behind the scenes of his fame with this collection of 101 letters to people from across the world who’ve sought the scientist’s guidance on questions about science, faith, philosophy and life. His succinct, opinionated, passionate and often funny responses reflect is popularity and standing as a leading educator.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

10. Girl, Woman, Other: A Novel by Bernadine Evaristo

Award-winning British writer Bernadine Evaristo presents this work that follows this lives of 12 very different characters. Co-winner of the New York Times‘ Booker Prize, mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers across the country and through the years.

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