In preparation for Jesmyn Ward’s new book Sing, Unburied, Sing, which will be released next month, I wanted to share 10 of my favorite books written by African-American authors.
Salvage the Bones—Jesmyn Ward
A wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bone is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.
Ursa is consumed by her hatred of Corregidora, the 19th-century slavemaster who fathered both her grandmother and mother. Ursa's need to ensure that future generations never forget the horror of his rule founders when she is made sterile in a violent fight with her husband.
Playing in the Dark—Toni Morrison
Written with the artistic vision that has earned Toni Morrison a pre-eminent place in modern letters, Playing in the Dark is read by Morrison admirers as well as by students, critics, and scholars of American literature.
A New York Times bestseller and Oprah Book Club 2.0 selection, the epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her. This beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.
So, I’m still transported to the East Texas town with Ephram Jennings and Ruby Bell.
Between the World and Me—Ta-Nehisi Coates
Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States.
Lost in the City—Edward P. Jones
The nation's capital that serves as the setting for the stories in Edward P. Jones's prizewinning collection, Lost in the City, lies far from the city of historic monuments and national politicians.
We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For—Alice Walker
In a collection of spiritual and political reflections, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple offers a voice of serenity, clarity, and insight in an all too chaotic modern world as she shares her thoughts on freedom.
I received this book as a graduation present from my fiction professor.
Go Tell It on the Mountain—James Baldwin
The story of the guilt, bitterness and spiritual strivings of the Grimes family which is told as the son, John, faces the issue of religious conversion in the Temple of the Fire Baptised.
Giovanni's Room—James Baldwin
Giovanni's Room is a 1956 novel by James Baldwin. The book focuses on the events in the life of an American man living in Paris and his feelings and frustrations with his relationships with other men.
Stigmata—Phyllis J. Perry
A Pulitzer Prize-winning editor offers a stunning debut novel--a lyrical story told through a panoply of voices that matches the best in the rich tradition of African-American fiction, while charting new territory with its exploration of a young girl's apparent descent into madness.