I will admit that most of these books I picked based on their covers. I am not into autobiographical books so I high key wish these were fiction so I could have a higher chance of being into them. Not to take away the need for them in non-fiction because representation needs to go in all directions.
- The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
All I said above is especially true with this one. We need fiction books with awkward black girls so bad it hurts my soul.
2. How to Be A Bad Bitch by Amber Rose
The cover aesthetics leans so heavy towards fantasy, ugh.
3. Belle by Paula Byrne
Genre: Historical fiction
This would make such a cute historical fiction novel. As non-fiction I did enjoy this but it was more about the people and setting around Belle than Belle. I probably need to do a big discussion between Belle the movie, Ourika (book I was told was closest to Belle in novel form), and Belle the book.The movie is the closest to what I wanted being a black woman who is a sort of former classic novel/period piece lover.
4. In The Country We Love by Diane Gurerrero
I have no idea what this book would exactly be about as a fiction novel but I really like this cover.
Books I Am Happy Are Non-fiction
5. Hannah Mary Tabbs and The Disembodied Torso
Shortly after a dismembered torso was discovered by a pond outside Philadelphia in 1887, investigators homed in on two suspects: Hannah Mary Tabbs, a married, working class, black woman, and George Wilson, a former neighbor that Tabbs implicated after her arrest.
As details surrounding the shocking case emerged, both the crime and ensuing trial – which spanned several months – were featured in the national press. The trial brought otherwise taboo subjects such as illicit sex, adultery, and domestic violence in the black community to public attention. At the same time, the mixed race of the victim and one of his assailants exacerbated anxieties over the purity of whiteness in the post-Reconstruction era.
In Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso, historian Kali Nicole Gross uses detectives’ notes, trial and prison records, local newspapers, and other archival documents to reconstruct this ghastly who-done-it true crime in all its scandalous detail. In doing so, she gives the crime context by analyzing it against broader evidence of police treatment of black suspects and violence within the black community.
A fascinating work of historical recreation, Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso is sure to captivate anyone interested in true crime, adulterous love-triangles gone wrong, and the racially volatile world of post-Reconstruction Philadelphia.
6. Forbidden Fruit
7. How To Create Perfect Wife
This seems like it will be so entertaining on so many levels.
8. Savage Girls and Wild Boys
9. Black Count (currently reading)
Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo – a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature.
Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave — who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time.
Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East – until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.
The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.
There is so much insight into the French revolution, black people in France during 18th century, and so much more.
One of the few non-fiction books I own.
10. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (currently reading)
Henrietta Lacks, as HeLa, is known to present-day scientists for her cells from cervical cancer. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. Cells descended from her may weigh more than 50M metric tons.
HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave.
The journey starts in the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s, her small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo. Today are stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, East Baltimore children and grandchildren live in obscurity, see no profits, and feel violated. The dark history of experimentation on African Americans helped lead to the birth of bioethics, and legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.
Another one of the few non-fiction books I own.
This makes me want to go out and buy a bunch of non-fiction books now.