Support Black Authors And Read These Books From Our Black Magic Reading List

Black Book Authors

A great book can change everything. They've got the power to surprise, delight, cajole, and entertain. The best one's do all that and then some.

It's no secret, though, that some novels are lauded more than others. Not on their merits, however, but based on the color and ethnicity of the writer. 

So we think it's important that we shine a spotlight on the books by Black authors sending chills up our spines. 

On that note, let's get to it. Here are 10 books by Black authors we couldn't put down. 

"Hunger" by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay, Hunger

How do we navigate the world in our bodies when society claims those bodies are not desirable? How do we use our bodies to hide? Roxane Gay delves into that and more in her new work. As usual her words are poignant. The New Yorker said of one scene in the book, "Here, Gay is revealing herself, finally, with shocking truth and devastating poetry."

"Citizen" by Claudia Rankine

Citizen, Claudia Rankine

Appearing in 2015, Rankine's book length verse dealt with the racism we experience but don't name. The man who calls a few rowdy teens "ni**er" in a Starbucks. The colleague who claims being around African-Americans is like watching a foreign film with no subtitles. It uses these experiences to comb identity. Which is true? The person I must be to navigate this world or the person I am?

"The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give, Young Adult

Called the "Black Lives Matter" young adult novel, "The Hate U Give" lends voice to kids navigating multiple universes. So we follow Starr, a young woman from a rough 'hood that must temper her reputation in both spaces: as a member of a tight clan and a student at her posh prep school. She bears witness to murder. The shooter is a cop. And the victim? A drug dealer but also a friend. Will she risk it all to bring the truth to light? The tale already has a high-profile film adaptation coming featuring the likes Issa Rae (Insecure) and Algee Smith (Detroit). It's also spent the last 25 weeks atop The New York Times Young Adult best seller list. 

"I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On"

Khadijah Queen,

In our world sex is a weapon. For women, that truth comes early. They are gawked at by men of all ages, and they must learn quickly to draw a line around their bodies for protection. This book tackles those lines, and how famous men traverse them with ramshackle ease, leaving destruction in their wake. 

"Sing, Unburied, Sing" by Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward came forth in her first novel "Salvage The Bones" clean from out of nowhere. A sensation, the novel cemented Ward as a voice of this generation. Her second novel furthers that claim. She ties together family, history, racism, and dread in a haunting ode to the living and the dead. We are often bound by our roots as much as we try to escape them, and Ward's novel excoriates the grave of American racism to prove the plot is empty and the ghosts are loose. 

"Silencer" by Marcus Wicker

Marcus Wicker

Poetry can, at times, be a hard sell. Who has the time to dive into a person's world and voice. It can require an understanding, a commitment, that some aren't willing to give. "Silencer" is worth it. The verse is a shotgun, and you never know which side you will end up on.

"The Star Side of Bird Hill" by Naomi Jackson

Naomi Jackson

Coming-of-age novels often fail because the characters aren't fleshed out enough. For humans, you need more than the passage of time to make someone feel alive. Jackson's novel isn't always thrilling but it is tender at the margins and the love between mother, daughters, and grandmother is fierce. Plus, Phaedra's a character we will remember for a long time.  

"Olio" by Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess

Olio means hodgepodge, but it also connotes beauty. Like a friend who is a fine mess. Jess's "Olio" is a birth pang. The verse is pregnant with the blues. Not necessarily with loss, mind you, but with absence. It's incredible and the Pulitzer committee agrees. It pulled down the award for poetry in 2016.

"What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky" by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Lesley Nneka Arimah

This book of short stories uses Nigeria's bulbous past to paint our humanity with tenderness. In one story, there are a group of people who can erase your grief. In another, a woman weaves a prospective child out of hair. As you can imagine, the results are startling.

"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead

The Pulitzer prize and National Book Award winner from Colson Whitehead turns the alternative history genre on its head. It springs to life a literal underground railroad. That train carries the protagonists to a place no less fraught than their plantation and, in some respects, their own minds.

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