One of my favorite parts of February is getting to celebrate Black History Month by reading alongside many of you.
Now, in the past, I’ve not limited myself to only reading books by black authors in the month of February. I highly recommend doing this yourself, especially if you have a tendency to read books written by people who look like you and think like you and act like you. (Although, this I cannot all the way do this month, as in the midst of rewrites and edits, I’m taking part in a little crash-course of my own on white privilege, by a couple of white authors). But really, you should give it a try!
That being said, I have two books I’d love to read and discuss with you. So, who’s in? Who wants to read?
For those of you who identify as Christian, Rethinking Incarceration by Dominique DuBois Gilliard is getting a whole lot of attention. From the back cover: “Mass incarceration has become a lucrative industry, and the criminal justice system is plagued with bias and unjust practices. And the church has unwittingly contributed to the problem.” Gilliard’s book releases on February 6th, so do yourself a favor and put it in your Amazon cart today!
And for those of you who can’t get enough of fiction, Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue has been on my to-read list for quite awhile now, especially after Oprah selected it for her book club. (I know some of you are Oprah Book Club haters, but as an #OMagInsider, I tend to really, really love her selections). From the back cover: “Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at their summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last imagine a brighter future. However, the world of great privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employer’s facades.” With all the conversation surrounding issues of immigration and privilege in our country today, I can’t think of a better fictional read to jump-start dialogue!
So, who’s in? I anticipate a discussion sometime the first week of March, which will likely happen over Facebook.
So, what are you reading with intention for Black History Month? No matter the color of your skin, this month is for all of us – and especially for those of us who are white, reading books written by people who don’t look like you is a great place to start!
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