In honor of Black History Month, we've partnered with our sibling brand, Whiled, to round up some of our team's favorite books by Black authors. These are books that we've explored as a community through book club, highlighted in the newsletter this past year, or just loved so much we had to share. We believe that reading Black stories and supporting Black authors is important every month, but especially this one. Happy reading!
"This tome (and I say tome in every sense of the word — it’s a hefty, beautiful 500-page work of art!!) celebrates Blackness in its fullness and its many forms through a curation of essays, poems, photos, tweets, memes, and more." - Alisha
"I enjoyed reading our February 2021 book club pick one story at a time before bed last month, and I highly recommend taking this approach. This is the type of book you'll want a friend to read to, so you have someone to talk about the characters with as you meet them." - Mary Anne
"This cookbook will stay with me long after I make my way through each recipe. I learned a lot about life in the kitchen with my grandmother, cooking was just one part of it. Similarly, this book features dishes and stories as told by grandmothers (or Bibis) from eight different African countries. You're in for a treat" -Olivia
"Kiley Reid's Such a Fun Age is whip smart and necessary. The narrative will quickly draw you in, and the commentary on interracial relations will feel unfortunately familiar. When protagonist Emira is accused of kidnapping — while simply doing her job of babysitting — the story quickly unfolds without a word wasted." - Tyler
A stunning poetic memoir that makes you say out loud "Wow, I wish I could write like Saeed Jones." -Carey
"Bryan Washington does not waste a single word — the best part of his prose is almost what he leaves unsaid. Great, spare-yet-vivid language." -Carey
"Aspiring plant parents and seasoned green thumbs alike can learn from Hilton Carter, but first you'll be enamored by his stunning home collection." -Megan
"If you haven't ordered the awe-inspiring National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman's book...get on the list!"
"All of Samantha Irby's works are truly laugh-out-loud must reads. I have given her books as gifts during quarantine because they're that good at making you have a full tummy cackle." - Mariah
"Every essay hits. Very fortunate to be living in a world where we can all read and be impacted by Audre Lorde's gift of poetry and prose. I give this book to so many people in my life because I believe it's that important for everyone to take in." - Mariah
"This collection has been important in my processessing the past year. I find myself picking the book up, revisiting an essay, and inviting reflection often — and Smith's level, compentplative voice is an excellent companion." -Jenna
"Morgan's work takes you on a journey with her physically and emotionally with exquisite poetry and storytelling through a combination of words and art" - Jenny
"Our forthcoming (March 2021) GNI book club pick, Milk Blood Heat unpacks the heaviness of life head on — with intergenerational stories of tragedy, sadness, family, an spirituality all set in the thick heat of the Florida suburbs." - Tyler C.
"You know what's complicated? Love and sex and power dynamics. Raven Leilani's writing is so strong and unique and Luster — true to name — shines as a standout among my 2020 reads." - Tyler
"If I had to describe this book in one word, I'd choose powerful. In many ways, this story is devastating — death always is — but you'll leave feeling the full depth of the human experience as you read too, and there's an incredible amount of power in that, too." -Tyler
"An emotional reminder of what a special, once-in-a-generation writer Yaa Gyasi is." - Tyler
"The Vanishing Half is my most recommended book of 2020. It so beautifully explores themes of family and race. It's every bit the triumph in writing The Mothers was — and then some." - Tyler
"I'm thankful for Rachel's writing often, but especially for how practical and helpful it is in her latest book. This guide is just the reminder you need that showing up — for yourself, your friends, and beyond — is something you will never regret." - Tyler
"Adult friendships were never easy — but living through a pandemic is an especially rough time for them. I'm grateful for both Aminatou Sow (and co-author Ann Friedman) for not only sharing so much of herself in this book — but for also taking a step back and weaving in the ways history, psychology, and our own stories can have a big imoact on our big friendships." - Tyler
"Another deeply woven family drama, I'll always look back fondly on The Mothers because it was one of our very first GNI book club picks back in 2017." - Tyler
"When I read this for book club back in 2019, I didn't know what to expect. But here's the good thing: You don't need to be a mystery lover (or even well-versed in the world of espionage) to walk away with a deep appreciation for the one-of-a-kind adventure Lauren Wilkinson weaves in American Spy. Pick this one up if you want to be thrilled and transported." - Tyler
"You don't need me to tell you that Phoebe Robinson is iconic. Her writing voice is one-of-a-kind and I will take any opportunity to hear her tell it like it is about intersectional feminism, our overworking problem, and so on. This book is like talking to a friend about ~these times~ and it's a conversation I never want to end. I'm so excited Phoebe now has a publishing imprint of her own because the world needs more of her storytelling." - Tyler
"A family is put to the test (a little trial!) in this 2019 GNI book club pick. I love the theme of sisterhood — and complicated sisterhood at that — that remains the steady pulse of the book." - Tyler
"Holding Jubilee is like holding a well-loved and researched treasure. Toni Tipton-Martin is a really (really) big deal in the food community and this book, which chronicles two CENTURIES of African-American cooking, is a testament to why. It's equal parts recipes, research, and recognition of all the foods many have held dearest for more than 200 years of American history." - Tyler
"I love TIKI. When it came out in 2019, it was the first cocktail book written by a working Black bartender and published by a major publisher in more than 100 years. Each cocktail is unique, each page is beautiful, and Shannon Mustipher's expertise in rum-based beverages shines through in the details. It makes a beautiful gift (or TBH self-gift) for anyone spending a little more time at home this year." - Tyler
"Glory Edim, Founder of the @wellreadblackgirl book club, curated this important anthology and I appreciate her so much for it. The book centers the voices of Black women from Jesmyn Ward to Tayari Jones, Morgan Jenkins, and more. I'm grateful for the power this book holds in every page, every essay, and every life experience shared within it." - Tyler
"For years, Ashley C. Ford has been one of my favorite writers, generously bringing us along as she reflects on her own childhood, upbringing, and understanding of where she comes from and where she can go. I cannot think of a book in recent memory I am looking forward to more than this one. her memoir. Highly recommend pre-ordering a head of its summer release." - Tyler
"Have you ever read a book and just been so grateful someone wrote it? Roxane Gay, a leading literary voice of the last decade, details life in her own body, through weight gain, as a victim of sexual violence, and as she navigates a world that wastes so much energy denying her dignity." - Tyler
"The Street was the first book by a Black woman in the U.S. to sell more than a million copies — and reading it today you'll understand why. Reading this in 2020 was a devastating reminder of how little the world has changed since the Harlem Renaissance, a truth that's stark yet unsurprising." - Tyler
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