I love books. I love the weight and feel of them, cradling their spine in one hand, while pinching their pages with the other. I love the respect they command. Unlike their low maintenance cousins (audibles and podcasts), they settle for nothing less than my full attention, multi-tasking be damned! Reading books are my indulgence – an escape, and apparently, I’m not alone in this. According to Dawn Davis, head of Simon & Schuster’s 37 Ink imprint, “African-American women are the largest group of readers in the country.”2017 promises to bring a fresh new class of reads to accommodate this expanding audience. 

Here are 10 Books to read by black authors in 2017:

1. Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America – Michael Eric Dyson

                 Photo: St. Martin’s Press – Dyson

“Elegantly written, Tears We Cannot Stop is powerful in several areas: moving personal recollections, profound cultural analysis, and guidance for moral redemption. A work to relish.”Toni Morrison

2. Wives, Fiancées, and Side-Chicks of Hotlanta – Sheree Whitfield

                 Photo: Kensington Publishing Corp. 

Due out on January 31st, Shereé Whitfield leverages her notoriety as one of the stars of Bravo TV’s hit show, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, to market her debut novel about the messy drama and A-list shenanigans through the eyes of an NBA ballers' wife.

3. Like One of The Family – Alice Childress

                 Photo: Beacon Press 

Originally published in Paul Robeson’s newspaper, Freedom, in the 1950’s, Like One of the Family depicts the reality of domestic workers in Harlem. This new edition, featuring a foreword by best-selling author Roxane Gay, will introduce this classic work of Alice Childress to a new generation.

4. High Cotton: A Novel –  Darryl Pinckney

                 Photo: Macmillan

Darryl Pinckney takes the reader inside the mindset of upper-middle-class blacks, obsessed with light skin and good hair. 

5. Piecing Me Together – Renée Watson

                 Photo: Bloomsbury Publishing

This novel explores the nuances of coming of age as a black girl, striving for upward mobility in a world that often classifies her efforts as adorable, applaudable or counterfeit. 

6. The Lazarus Poems – Kamau Brathwaite

                 Photo: Wesleyan

Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite speaks to a phenomenon he calls “Cultural Lynching” in these series of poems about appropriation, theft, isolation, and exploitation.

7. Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won’t Save Black America – Stacey Patton

                 Photo: Beacon Press

Stacey Patton challenges the cultural tradition of corporal punishment in black homes and its connections to racial violence in America.

8. Don’t Believe The Hype: Still Fighting Cultural Misinformation about African AmericansFarai Chideya

                 Photo: The New Press

In this revised version of the 1995 instant classic that exposed the various ways that media bias created and upheld inaccurate and harmful stereotypes about African Americans, NPR, CNN, and ABC News commentator, Farai Chideya reboots this seminal text with this updated twentieth-anniversary edition.

9.  And Then There Was Me: A Novel Sadeqa Johnson

                 Photo: St. Martin’s Press

An exploration of love and friendship, heartache, and betrayal told from the perspective of a woman who has been stripped down to her lowest point.

10. Incendiary Art: Poems Patricia Smith

                 Photo: Triquarterly

Patricia Smith poetically confronts the systematic demolition of the black male body and the grief it perpetuates on black mothers in this compelling new collection.

With more than 78 books by black authors coming out over the next few months, there is no shortage of literature to suit every appetite in 2017. Happy reading!

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