Content warning: This article mentions Black trauma.
Just because Black History Month is almost over doesn’t mean you should stop reading Black authors and supporting Black writers. Not only does this include anti-racist books that grace the tops of bestselling charts across the country, but it also includes reading works by Black authors in all genres and books about topics other than Black trauma.
There have been many posts this month by Black activists, literary lovers and even local Boston bookstores on social media highlighting different titles by Black authors. These posts provide easy access to anyone searching for their next read and give social media users a great way to support Black voices.
One place to start is on Rachel Cargle’s Instagram. Cargle, a popular activist and owner of the bookstore Elizabeth’s Bookshop & Writing Centre, provides educational opportunities and support on her social media. Her bookstore’s Instagram account features many book recommendations. A Feb. 6 post featured a list of books honoring the work of Black Americans throughout history. A few titles included “A Black Women’s History of the United States” (2020) by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross, “The Purpose of Power” (2020) by Alicia Garza and “Black Futures” (2020) edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham.
“A Black Women’s History of the United States” puts an array of Black women’s stories and voices at the center, illuminating how Black women have played, and continue to play, a key role in shaping the United States. “The Purpose of Power” is Garza’s memoir of her experience leading and organizing for Black lives, as well as working toward true, systematic change. “Black Futures” is an anthology of Black visual art, writing and other forms of art that features over 100 artists and writers.
Cargle’s bookstore’s Instagram also reposted a list of books about Black joy by the account @r29unbothered. The list included “Who’s Loving You” (2021) edited by Sareeta Domingo and “Pride” (2018) by Ibi Zoboi. “Who’s Loving You” is a collection of short stories by women of color that reflect on their experiences, delving into conversations about love and desire. It will be available for purchase on March 4. “Pride” is a “Pride and Prejudice remix,” retelling Jane Austen’s classic story, starring all characters of color.
The account @interestedinblackbooks is run by a Black Nigerian American woman who posts and reviews books by Black authors. Her February pick was “The Kindest Lie” (2021) by Nancy Johnson. “The Kindest Lie” is the story about a woman, Ruth Tuttle, who is about to have a child with her husband but first has to face the son she had as a teenager and was forced to give up. It examines divides between Black and white communities while illuminating what motherhood looks like in America.
Another way to hear from Black voices about Black books is through hashtags like #Blackauthors and #Blackbookstagram. Both hashtags provide access to many new titles by Black authors and are easy ways to discover more books of all genres.
Many local Boston bookstores also used their social media to highlight Black authors’ new books. Brookline Booksmith posted bookseller recommendations celebrating Black history and highlighting Black authors. Some of those highlighted were “Four Hundred Souls” (2021) edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain and “The Conversation” (2021) by Robert Livingston. “Four Hundred Souls” is a history of Black Americans starting in 1619 that has been collected by Kendi and Blain from 90 writers, each of whom brings their own voice to write about a five-year period within the 400-year span.
Brookline Booksmith also posted some lighter, romantic reads by Black authors on Valentine’s Day, including “Intercepted” (2018) by Alexa Martin and “Take a Hint, Dani Brown” (2020) by Talia Hibbert. “Intercepted” is being adapted into a television series and goes through main character Marlee Harper’s heartbreak and love story with Gavin Pope, an NFL quarterback. “Take a Hint, Dani Brown” was named one of the best romances by countless outlets, and is a romantic comedy about a woman who fakes dating a friend when a video of them goes viral.
Harvard Bookstore also posted pictures of Black author displays they have hung up in the store. “Ida B. the Queen” (2021), one of the books on display, was just published in January. Author and great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells, Michelle Dustertells the story and celebrates Wells’ life and revolutionary work in this gorgeous tribute.
What is most important, however, is reading and supporting Black authors and Black-owned bookstores beyond February. The titles collected here represent a very small fraction of the incredible books written by Black authors, all at your fingertips and mostly available at local bookstores. There are so many fiction and nonfiction options, each of which represents an opportunity. A quick Instagram or Google search gives you access to hundreds of titles worth your time. So take advantage of the plethora of bookish opportunities and give time and energy to Black voices not just in February but in every month of the year.