This is a Good Book Cherry Saturday

I have no idea what holiday it is, I just know it’s the day after my-root-canal-turned-out-to-be-an-extraction-with-implant-and-bone-graft-and-I-need-stronger-pain-meds. So I will be MIA today, but I thought this would be a good time to put up the request for books by authors of color, movies by directors and writers of color, music by composers of color . . . you get the idea.

Also, just in passing, a couple of people have mentioned that they didn’t think the community here is diverse. Just wanted to say that I have no idea. We do not keep stats on any of you so we have no information on you short of the e-mail addresses you use to sign on, and we don’t keep those. We will never sell your information and we will never ask you for demographic or any other personal information. Because we don’t care, we know who you are from your comments and that’s all we need to know.

Now I’m going to go try to sleep sitting up while avoiding any pressure on the right side of my head. There’s a good chance I’m going to be bitchy for a stretch here; I’ve already warned Mollie, Krissie, and Bob, none of whom were surprised.

Knock yourselves out.

66 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Cherry Saturday

  1. Love and light and very good vibes.

    Congratulations to Sarah Wynde.
    Best recovery wishes to Audrey, too.

    Authors: Talia Hibbert, Nalini Singh, Alisha Rai, Sonali Dev,

    Online: Desi Geek Girls, the Thirst Trap.

    Real Scientists on Twitter has many Scientists of Colour to follow. Just look at who @RealScientists are following for more.

  2. If you haven’t read Zen Cho’s books yet – The Sorcerer to the Crown and The True Queen – they’re a fantastic read.

    Look after yourself, Jenny, and I hope you’re feeling better soon. That kind of dental surgery is no joke.

  3. Good luck with your healing, Jenny!

    There are lots of great writers and creators of color, but I’m going to focus on Black authors, since what’s going on the US is specifically about anti-Black racism.

    my “well duh” choices (mostly classics) are

    “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Huston. It is a classic for a reason. I remember reading it as a teenager, just completely swept up (sobbing) and finishing it in a day.
    “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry (I love plays)
    “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
    “So You Want to Talk about Race” by Ijeoma Oluo. Not a comfortable book to read, but that’s kind of the point.

    For romance I know someone mentioned Talia Hibbert already yesterday, so I will say

    Alyssa Cole,
    she writes a little bit of everything, historical, contemporary. She has some suspense coming out this fall. My favorite of The Reluctant Royals. Fluffy, happy books with wonderful heroines. They’re all very different, which I like. Some authors tend to write one kind of character over and over again. Alyssa Cole doesn’t.

    Charish Reid-
    she is a newer author and I’ve only read her first book (The Write Escape), but it was delightful. A woman breaks up with her fiance right before the wedding and goes on her honeymoon alone, only to meet up with a charming Irishman. I’ve got her second book and am looking forward to it.

    For YA –
    “The Sun is Also a Star” by Nicola Yoon. A young woman whose family is Jamaican has one day to enjoy New York City (the only home she’s ever known) before she is deported. She’s very practical and of course, on that day is the day she meets someone and falls in love. I love this book b/c it has some interweaving story lines and musings about fate, which I always enjoy (even though I don’t actually believe in fate in real life, I enjoy fictional fate).

    “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. I think this is modern classic and yes, it is very directly about Black Lives Matter, but I think the quality that stayed with me is how carefully Angie Thomas delineated all the different relationships in the neighborhood. The main character, Starr, has a dad who owns the corner store and there’s so many interesting observations about the people who live there and how they all come together in difficult moments.

    And for a. . . maybe? Out of the box choice

    The podcast “Thirst Aid Kit” by Nichole Perkins and Bim Adewunmi. These are two Black women talking about Thirst. As they describe Thirst, it is about the performance of desire. Usually what they do is discuss celebrity crushes, break down what they find attractive about that person and then post a little piece of fanfic about the character. I find them saucy and hilarious (I love it when they crack each other up), but it’s definitely not for little ears or the easily offended. Nichole is from Tennessee and Bim is from London, so to (flat Midwestern twang) me they both have charming accents which are delightful to listen to.

    1. Wait, I think that Thirst AidKit is the one I meant but misremembered the name. Thanks!

    2. I read these comments yesterday morning, bought The Write Escape on my kindle, and romped through it – thank you!

    1. I love her “Amber says What” pieces so I clicked on the link to watch this segment and also the one she did the next night.

      The incidents she described are harrowing by themselves. It’s out of my realm of experience to have that kind of fear and expectation of harm. What really rocked me was her calmness as she told of her experiences. That disturbed me almost as much as her story; it wasn’t acceptance or resignation but there was a flavor of that somehow.

    2. Amber is probably my favorite part of Late Night; all her segments are awesome. It’s depressing but not at all surprising she had so many stories to tell about police encounters.

  4. For science fiction, Samuel R. Delany, Octavia E. Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, Minister Faust, Nnedi Okorafor, N. K. Jemisin, Tananarive Due, Andrea Hairston, Geoffrey Thorne, Nisi Shawl, and Carl Hancock Rux.

    1. I love Octavia Butler! Kindred is one of my go to recommendations for book clubs and reluctant sci fi readers

  5. Oh, my condolences for the dental horror show! I hope you heal fast and that the pain eases up soon!

  6. A few recents that come to mind:

    Trevor Noah’s autobiography Born a Crime (he reads the audio version which is how I experienced it)

    Michelle Obama’s Becoming (I also listened to hear read this)

    Tiffany Haddish: The Last Black Unicorn

    (If you don’t know her, she’s a comedienne, and I did this one as an audiobook too. I really enjoy listening to autobiographies when possible over reading them -especially when delivered by funny performers- there’s something that feels more intimate and it helps bring out the nuances of word choices to hear how and when they emphasize certain words)

    Netflix rom coms:

    The Lovebirds

    Always Be My Maybe

    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before &
    To all the boys pS I still love you (based on a very good trilogy by Jenny Han)

    I second the recommendations for Alyssa Cole and Angie Thomas too.

    And add Jasmine Guillory’s The Proposal

  7. I’ve read books common to readers by black writers. All of Zora Neale Hurston. All of Alice Walker. Langston Hughes.
    As for currently I don’t often know the race of a writer because I read digitally and I don’t much pay attention.
    Years ago I read a book I really loved by Pearl Cleage. The book is What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day. I looked her up at the time and she is black. Looking her up again just now I see she has written other stuff and I am going to check it out.

    1. Sometime this week I texted my goddaughter “I think I’m going to bed and read some Langston.” I’m not a modern poetry person, (just as I’m not a modern music person) but I noticed after college that the only modern poets I liked were either black or female or both.

  8. Since many of us are fans of Martha Wells, I’d like to note that while she’s not a person of color, she’s always been a big booster of marginalized authors. She has a regular feature on her blog of recommended books that are ALWAYS by marginalized authors (not just writers of color, but also LGBTQ).

    For SF, I’ve read and enjoyed NK Jemison’s books and can recommend them.

    For mysteries, there’s a group called Crime Writers of Color with a website that has a lot of info. It has a speakers directory and a podcast! Joe Ide writes dark mysteries (too dark for me, but I admire his writing skill), and describes his series as a Black Sherlock Holmes. Abby Collette (aka Abby VanDiver) writes cozy mysteries, with the first in a new series just released that’s set in an ice cream parlor with a Black female protagonist. (She joined my agent’s list right around the same time I did, and her series is set in Chagrin Falls, OH — a real place — where I lived as a teen.)

  9. Ouch on the tooth thing. Can empathize.

    A while back, I had a wisdom tooth extraction that included root drilling and stitches. Not pretty. But all I can say is ice packs are fab for recovery. Both for pain relief and inflammation reduction, but also helps prevent bruising and speeds recovery time.

    Another tip is to avoid straws. Very important. And doing salt water rinses when able. So helpful.

    Wishing you fast healing:)

    1. Ditto on the ice packs and salt water rinses (BUT NOT AT FIRST, because of the risk of dry socket — forget how long you need to wait for that) and no straws. I got the same advice after some extractions when previous root canals failed. And for extractions as well as root canals, Naproxen is the pain reliever of choice after the initial opiates (but it takes a while to kick in, so you may need a little overlap).

      I remember the “no lying down flat” thing for — what is it? three days? — and that was worse for me than any pain after the first day!

    2. I had all four wisdom teeth out last year, two rounds in the chair, and I can’t take opiates because I work in a safety critical role for an airline. After the second round I got dry socket, and it is to be avoided at all costs! I had to alternate paracetamol and ibuprofen, and it’s a damn good thing it didn’t happen for the first round or I would still have those last two teeth.

      But yes, the salt rinse does help.

  10. Many great titles and authors already suggested. I also liked:

    Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi a book that is just haunting. It takes place over 300 years in both the U.S. and Ghana. I read it a couple of years ago and I still think about it.

    An American Marriage by Tayari is a gripping story of racial injustice as well as the story of a marriage. Beautiful and sad.

    Jesmyn Ward’s books Sing, Unburied, Sing and also Salvage the Bones.

    For children and young adults, Jason Reynolds. He is an American treasure. I especially love the first in his track series, Ghost. But I would recommend any of his books.

    1. Thank you for the link, I’ve heard of nap ministry but never checked it out!

  11. Sharing some artists I admire:

    Faith Ringgold – a story quilter

    The quilters of Gees Bend. Incredibly moving artistry

    BIPOC in Fiber – founded by Jeanette Sloan – just found this on Ravelry. Lifting up, lifting out

    Alice Walker – “Everyday Use” is a short story in her short story collection In Love and Trouble. Still think about this one very often, read it in 1990

    Mashama Bailey – The Grey Restaurant. Documentary, Chef’s Table, Season 6, Episode 1 (On Netflix). Must see if you have Netflix

    Benjamina Ebuehi – The New Way to Cake (Great British Baking Show contestant and amazing baker). Such a talented baker. Has published a new cookbook

    Kobna Holdbrook-Smith does a beautiful job of narrating the audiobooks of Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. Got me through some long stitching

    @400northcreative – a photojournalist and veteran on Instagram. Remarkable photography

    1. Benjamina has a cookbook out? She was definitely one of my favorite contestants. I must take a look at her book.

    2. I forgot about the quilters of Gee’s Bend. There’s at least one book on them, and I think a PBS show (might be Crafts in America) did an episode (or more?) on them, and it might be in the archives for anyone who’s a member of their local station. There’s a whole genre of quilts now (called Modern Quilts, but not just because they’re being made now, more of an aesthetic) that are highly influenced by the Gee’s Bend quilts.

      1. I went to a quilting workshop with some of the Gee’s Bend quilters. It was very interesting and attendees came from a lot of different interests. But you could tell the quilters. We came with our own sewing machines and irons and a lot of us had real problems because we were told to sew the line until it felt right and then trim it andove on and we were ‘but the corners don’t match and the lines aren’t straight.’ All those rules we learned, didn’t matter. I’m sure it was fun to watch our heads explode.

      2. I’ve got The Quilts of Gees Bend book and its a beautiful, coffee-table-suitable book that is incidentally incredibly inspirational both for craft and humanity in general. All the makers are fully credited.

  12. Some romance book recs by authors of color that I’ve read in the past year:

    The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
    The Friend Zone by Abby Jiminez
    The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
    The Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan
    The Kiss Quotient séries by Helen Hoang

  13. I’ve been really enjoying the movies that streaming apps are making available that are by African Americans. Some I haven’t seen in years, and I am currently going through a Spike Lee phase. I forgot how much I liked “Do The Right Thing” and highly recommend.

    Sorry about your dental experiences. I hope the healing is fast and the pain meds are good.

  14. Food – Chef Michael W Twitty, a James Beard award winner.

    His book is called The Cooking Gene.

  15. I second the recommendation for Alyssa Cole’s reluctant royals series. It is escapism of the highest order and her heroines are unique. I tried one or two of her historicals, but they didn’t have the degree of escapism I was craving.

    The reason I was so late to the party today is because I just got my copy of Alisha Rai’s latest (Girl Gone Viral) last night and stayed up way too late reading it.

    I can also recommend Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It is written as a letter to his adolescent son about being a black man in America and was a real eye opener for me.

    Jenny, you have my greatest sympathy and wishes for a speedy recovery. May you get better drugs soon and sleep through the pain.

  16. I’m so sorry for all the dental pain. Be very gentle with yourself and take all the good meds you are offered.

  17. I really liked a YA book by Elizabeth Acevido titled With the Fire on High. It has a part Hispanic, part African American main character who had a baby at the age of 14 and is determined to not only graduate from high school, but go on to attend culinary school. While I liked the character and the story line, I loved the descriptions of the meals she makes too.

  18. I’d recommend Alexia Gordon who is a physician and a writer of mysteries about her character Gethsemane Brown who is a musician who finds herself teaching at a school in Ireland and living in a cottage with a resident ghost. She has so far published five books in the series and I’ve enjoyed them all.

    Jenny, I hope your dental procedures progress smoothly and with minimal pain. That must have been a shock to be mentally prepared for a root canal and then to have so much more be done. Pain meds and puppies are obviously needed for fast healing.

  19. The only thing I learned from Demolition Man is “Be well, Jennifer Crusie.”

    I still don’t know what the seashells do.

  20. I sorry about the dental pain. Hope it heals quickly.

    A book that I haven’t seen mentioned is the Color of Water:A Black man’s tribute to his white mother by James McBride. It is an interesting look at race relations. His mother was Jewish and moved to Harlem.

  21. Very sorry about the dental trauma. I hope you now have all the good drugs and also a milkshake because you won’t want to chew.

    Good book: still reading The Reluctant Widow, Heyer. Such a fun caper.

    and bought the picture book The Little Gardner by Emily Hughes because the art is fantastic and so is the message and you never outgrow a good picture book (also my youngest thought it was great)

  22. I approach the topic through food. Several cook books in my home library, but currently reading Princess Pamela’s Soul Food Cookbook reissued by the brothers Matt Lee and Ted Lee.

    1. Not sure you’ll see this, but if you come back to find more book suggestions (I know I do), yesterday I read an article on Narratively by Jenny Dorsey, which I’m still thinking about, since I approach a lot of things through food culture too – small town white girl growing up in the Greek culture, when a stepparent joined the family. Spaghettios, Velveeta and Jello meets Pastitsi, Dolmadas, Moussaka and Koulurakia. I love how the words musically roll around in my mouth when I whisper them to myself. They sound like magical spells.

      “Yes, This Meal Is Supposed to Make You Feel Uncomfortable” by Jenny Dorsey.

  23. Ugh. Nobody likes dental surprises. They are always both painful and expensive. When I had my two root canals they just gave me Ibuprofen. I hope you got something better for this. Do you have to get further work done for an implant? Hugs, and feel better.

  24. If anyone likes mysteries, I highly recommend the Easy Rawlins series by Walter Mosley. the first book in the series is called “Devil in a blue dress”. The books are set in the 1940’s in L.A. They are a fascinating look at how life was for African Americans during that period of time and also excellent mysteries.

  25. The electric sign over the highway on the way to work this morning informed me that today is National Secure Load Day. “Have you tied your cargo down?” it inquired. So. Now we all know.

  26. No one mentioned Beverly Jenkins who is one of my top authors. I adore her Blessings series. Pure escapism. I also love her historicals Vivid is about the first black women doctor. My critique partener Andra J Loney has three wonderul picturebooks out. Take a Picture of Me James Vanderzee won the Lee nd Low award. Bunny Bear was nominated for the Brown Book List and Double Base Blues just won a Caldecott.
    In my RWA Chapter Saharra K Sandhu has some fun books. I loved Daughter of the Missing.
    There are so many more.
    When filming resumes, I am working on a multinational and multicultural film The Tragedy of Macbeth which I believe will be magical.
    A wonderul cast and crew and it stars Frances McDormand and Denzel Washington. There are tons more films. ROC is another TV show.
    Deepest sympathy on the tooth. Demand the pain killers. You won’t need than forever and a transpant is SO much better than false teeth,.

  27. Love Helen Hoang, enjoying Courtney Milan, and will have to try Alyssa Cole. This bunch never stears me wrong.

    Hope your pain goes awy soon, Jenny.

  28. People have already listed many of the more current authors I would have named, although I think Maya Angelou might’ve been overlooked?

    The following are older selections of literary fiction and non fiction and are not easy reads (they made me depressed and angry at times), but I have found them to be educational in many different ways.

    Decolonizing the Mind by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

    I Will Marry When I Want by Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Ngugi wa Miri

    In the Fog of the Season’s End by Alex la Guma

    The Collector of Treasures by Bessie Head

    I, Rigoberta by Rigoberta Menchu

    Palestine’s Children by Ghassan Kanafani

  29. So sorry to hear about your tooth operation, Jenny. I hope things improve dramatically very soon.

    And thanks to everyone for posting so many interesting looking books. It has also sent me looking for Indigenous Australian authors I haven’t read.

  30. Feel better!

    We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is fabulous. Also very short, as it is a transcript of her Ted Talk. So is Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. I haven’t read Purple Hibiscus yet. Been carrying it around for the last few weeks, so I will have to let you know.

    I second Zora Neal Hurston, Nalini Singh and Helen Huang. Oh and Courtney Milan.

  31. Also try Sarah Kuhn and her Heroine fantasy series involving young female superheroes learning how to adult. There’s a new one coming out next month.

  32. As someone who just had corrective surgery for an Achilles’ tendon repair that went wrong, I am telling you that it is the perfect time for you to have a rant against all the opioid addicts who have caused doctors to become niggardly in handing out narcotics to PEOPLE WHO REALLY NEED THEM! They are STINGY these days, I tell you.

    So much sympathy for the root canal gone wrong and I sincerely hope you stop hurting soon

  33. Feel better Jenny!
    Second Alyssa Cole and Courtney Milan in romance.
    For Native American I highly recommend Louise Erdrich. Her first book Love Medicine is almost poetry.
    No one has mentioned Toni Morrison.

  34. I’d like to add:

    Roshani Chokshi who is South-East Asian.

    Rebecca Roanhorse who is an Indigenous writer who is, I believe, Navajo and writes about Navajo characters. Mostly fantasy.

    Rin Chupeco is Chinese-Filipino and writes fantasy.

    Victor LaValle is fantastic. He is a Black American man, urban fantasy and seems to like to take a sledgehammer to Lovecraft which I can’t say I’m sorry to see.

  35. Poor baby! Sending a virtual hug and many healing vibes to you.

    So many people have suggested wonderful print authors. I just walked past my daughter’s room and she was playing Janelle Monae. If you are unfamiliar with her, I suggest first watching “Dirty Computer,” an extended video movie (approx 50 min) from which her album is based (or vice versa). I also recommend watching it without commercial interruption, but you can watch in on YouTube here:

    Then, I recommend turning on the album for whenever you need some music to motivate.

  36. This is a small selection off the top of my head and in no particular order of preference.

    Re books by black people:
    I’d read absolutely anything by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. My absolute favourites of hers are Americanah and Half of A Yellow Sun. She’s a Nigerian author and an incredible writer, has won a number of awards. She also has a couple of famous Ted Talks – ‘Why we should all be feminists‘, ‘The Danger of a Single Story’.
    Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
    Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid

    For non fiction
    Born a crime – Trevor Noah. One of the funniest books I’ve read in a while
    Becoming – Michelle Obama
    Why I’m no longer talking to White people about race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
    Small Doses: Potent Truths for Everyday Use – Amanda Seales
    We’re going to need more wine – Gabrielle Union
    Natives – Akala
    Don’t Touch my Hair – Emma Dabiri
    The Last Black Unicorn – Tiffany Haddish

    TV shows
    Insecure – it’s fantastic. It’s on HBO and gets rave reviews
    How to get Away with Murder
    The Wire – an oldie but a goodie. Also an HBO show and one of those people go on and on about.
    When They See Us – Netflix mini series

    Queen and Slim
    Selma – in fact anything by Ava Duvernay (a black female director).
    If Beale Street Could Talk
    Black Panther
    Why did I get married?
    Fruitvale station
    The Hate U Give

    I feel like music is easily found – I guess just google black artists in whatever genre you prefer?


  37. So many amazing WOC in romance!

    Alyssa Cole
    Courtney Milan
    Alisha Rai
    Helen Hoang
    Talia Hibbert
    Rebekah Weatherspoon
    Naima Simone
    Kennedy Ryan
    Priscilla Oliveras
    Jackie Lau
    Beverly Jenkins
    Suleikha Snyder
    Sherry Thomas
    Adriana Herrera
    Alexis Daria
    Tif Marcelo
    Farrah Rochon
    Mariana Zapata
    Tracey Livesay
    Nalini Singh

    I gathered these names from my Goodreads account, so they’re all authors I’ve read and enjoyed. I’m pleased to see that my reading has incorporated more diverse authors (race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+, ability) in recent years. The quality of my reading has also increased–I rarely read anything anymore that I don’t enjoy. Maybe I’m just finding reviews that are in sync with my reading tastes. But I can highly recommend all of these authors if you’re in the market for new romances to read.

  38. Thanks, Jenny. Especially for being imperfect and taking the next step wiser, still imperfect. I am happier knowing a laugh-out-loud is always available because you write books. Hug.
    Stunning p.o.v. examinations populate Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, a linked series of stories about Socrates Fortlow by Walter Mosley. Paul Winfield recorded it, and his rich voice elevates the persona by adding a black vocal. Anything Mosley writes is superb, in his many genres, never losing site of the influence of race in America.
    Kwei Quartey writes a mystery series set in Ghana, where a black Police Detective, Darko Dawson, sees with new eyes the many cultural layers in his country. Very engaging.
    Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, Jessye Norman, Leontyne Price (see The Opera House, 2019, autobio film) so many historic and current artists shaping who we all are.
    Who wrote Hamilton? Who performed it? What are they performing now on utube for and about America? Elementary school kids know about the revolutionary era now, and think it is exciting, through Lin-Manuel Miranda’s songs.
    Langston Hughes, I Am the Darker Brother, selected poetry, I laugh … and eat well … and grow strong.

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