This has been a blog post I have thought long and hard about writing. And I will probably thinking long and hard about publishing it when it is finished.
The events that began with tragic and unjust death of George Floyd and have spread across the globe have dominated the news and many people’s thoughts over the past week. No one can hide from this.
Some people have been vocal , some people quieter, but the shock waves and the pain are undeniable. My own small marker in the sand was to share a stack of books. A stack of books filled with talent generated by BAME authors, amassed over a life time of reading.
The stack was tall, but not exclusive. I could have included other books. I missed out the beautiful Remembered by Yvonne Battle- Felton, which I read, loved and reviewed last year.
And what about The Underground Railroad or The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead? Both books that have never left me and I recommend on a regular basis.
Or Why I am no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo Lodge ? Possibly one of the most powerful pieces of non fiction writing I have ever read. It made me gasp, it makes me stop, it made me realise what white privilege really was.
Because that’s what books do. They educate you. They inform, they direct and sometimes they bridge the divide. By posting that stack on Social Media I wasn’t trying to jump on the band wagon, I wasn’t trying to shame anyone else into taking a stand. I was saying; This is me. This is where I am and what I have read. Show me where to go next.
But even posting that stack and asking for recommendations I was worried. What if people did think I was jumping on the bandwagon? Looking for likes and retweets. And what if I said the wrong thing? I don’t want to add insult to injury with a wrongly worded post or blog. But I do want to learn.
But it was Book Twitter at it’s finest that responded to me. Over the evening a beautiful list of unexpected and undiscovered treasures appeared on my post. And on Facebook. And on Instagram. Suddenly I had a direction, a way forward.
There are hundreds of talented BAME authors I haven’t discovered yet. But the reading list below is the one offered to me yesterday in a dark time. And I am beginning there. From now on at least one of these books will be part of my reading each month. And more.
Because one thing I know about books, is that they are a journey. One book leads to another. Knowledge is a trail to follow. Books have always been my source of joy, comfort, knowledge empowerment. I see no reason to stop now.
I know I am a white, middle class, middle aged women. I know that I will probably unwittingly say or do the wrong thing. But I am listening and I am trying. I am going forward with books.
Books and authors that were recommended to me were…
- Roxane Gay
- Dorothy Koomson
- Edwidge Danticat
- Onjali Rauf
- Chimimanda Ngozie Adiche
- This lovely city- Louise Hare
- A Rage in Harlem – Chester Himes
- The Broken Earth Triology – N.K Jenisin
- Brave Story – Miyuki Miyabe
- A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki
- Citizen – Claudia Rankine
- A Different Drummer- William Melvin Kelly
- The Icarus Girl – Helen Oyeyemi
- Kinty – Jennifer Nansubuga
- The Darkest Child – Delores Phillips
- Black Boy – Richard Wright
- Every Light In The House Burning – Andrea Levy
- Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
- The Hate You Give – Angie Thomas