When I started ordering books for the library years ago, it was difficult to find fiction titles from diverse authors and subject matter. Thankfully, the trend toward including voices from many backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures grows every year. We like to celebrate wonderful fiction, period, so this month I’ve created a book display in the library that features new fiction from black authors. It includes a wide range of themes and genres, and we hope you consider sampling some of these great reads, many of which people are buzzing about on readers’ blogs and online chats. Below are just some of the highly-rated titles we have for you to check out.
At Night All Blood is Black
by David Diop
Alfa Ndiaye is a Senegalese man who, never before having left his village, finds himself fighting as a so-called “Chocolat” soldier with the French army during World War I. When his friend Mademba Diop, in the same regiment, is seriously injured in battle, Diop begs Alfa to kill him and spare him the pain of a long and agonizing death in No Man’s Land.
Unable to commit this mercy killing, madness creeps into Alfa’s mind as he comes to see this refusal as a cruel moment of cowardice. Anxious to avenge the death of his friend and find forgiveness for himself, he begins a macabre ritual: every night he sneaks across enemy lines to find and murder a blue-eyed German soldier, and every night he returns to base, unharmed, with the German’s severed hand.
The Awkward Black Man: Stories
by Walter Mosley
The Awkward Black Man collects seventeen of Mosley's most accomplished short stories to showcase the full range of his remarkable talent. Touching, contemplative, and always surprising, these stories introduce an array of imperfect characters--awkward, self-defeating, elf-involved, or just plain odd.Check Availability
by Mateo Askaripour
An unambitious twenty-two-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother, who wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential as the valedictorian of Bronx Science. But Darren is content working at Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building, hanging out with his girlfriend, Soraya, and eating his mother’s home-cooked meals. All that changes when a chance encounter with Rhett Daniels, the silver-tongued CEO of Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech startup, results in an exclusive invitation for Darren to join an elite sales team on the thirty-sixth floor.Check Availability
A Girl is a Body of Water
by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
In her twelfth year, Kirabo, a young Ugandan girl, confronts a piercing question that has haunted her childhood: who is my mother? Kirabo has been raised by women in the small village of Nattetta—her grandmother, her best friend, and her many aunts, but the absence of her mother follows her like a shadow. Complicating these feelings of abandonment, as Kirabo comes of age she feels the emergence of a mysterious second self, a headstrong and confusing force inside her at odds with her sweet and obedient nature.Check Availability
by Bryan Washington
Benson and Mike are two young guys who live together in Houston. Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson's a Black day care teacher, and they've been together for a few years -- good years -- but now they're not sure why they're still a couple. There's the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other.
But when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Texas for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he undergoes an extraordinary transformation, discovering the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted.
A Million Aunties: a Novel
by Alecia McKenzie
After a personal tragedy upends his world, American-born artist Chris travels to his mother’s homeland in the Caribbean hoping to find some peace and tranquility. He plans to spend his time painting in solitude and coming to terms with his recent loss and his fractured relationship with his father. Instead, he discovers a new extended and complicated “family,” with their own startling stories, including a love triangle. The people he meets help him to heal, even as he supports them in unexpected ways, through his art.
Told from different points of view, this is a compelling novel about unlikely love, friendship, and community, with several surprises along the way. The story takes place against the backdrop of rural Jamaica, New York City, and Paris, France.Check Availability
Ring Shout, or, Hunting Ku Kluxes in the End Times
by Clark P. DjeliD. W. Griffith is a sorcerer, and The Birth of a Nation is a spell that drew upon the darkest thoughts and wishes from the heart of America. Now, rising in power and prominence, the Klan has a plot to unleash Hell on Earth.
Luckily, Maryse Boudreaux has a magic sword and a head full of tales. When she's not running bootleg whiskey through Prohibition Georgia, she's fighting monsters she calls "Ku Kluxes." She's damn good at it, too. But to confront this ongoing evil, she must journey between worlds to face nightmares made flesh--and her own demons. Together with a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter, Maryse sets out to save a world from the hate that would consume it.Check Availability
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
by Deesha Philyaw
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church's double standards and their own needs and passions.Check Availability
A Spy in the Struggle
by Aya de Leon
Since childhood, Yolanda Vance has forged her desire to escape poverty into a laser-like focus that took her through prep school and Harvard Law. So when her prestigious New York law firm is raided by the FBI, Yolanda turns in her corrupt bosses to save her career—and goes to work for the Bureau. Soon she's sent undercover at Red, Black, and Green—an African-American “extremist” activist group back in her California college town. They claim a biotech corporation fueled by Pentagon funding is exploiting the neighborhood. But Yolanda is determined to put this assignment in her win column, head back to corporate law, and regain her comfortable life...Check Availability
by Sadeqa Johnson
Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Brown was promised her freedom on her eighteenth birthday. But when her birthday finally comes around, instead of the idyllic life she was hoping for with her true love, she finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half-Acre, a jail where slaves are broken, tortured, and sold every day. Forced to become the mistress of the brutal man who owns the jail, Pheby faces the ultimate sacrifice to protect her heart in this powerful, thrilling story of one slave’s fight for freedom.Check Availability
About the Author
Cary is our Development & Outreach Librarian. Her idea of a perfect day is reading or watching British crime fiction with a cup of hot tea close at hand, her favorite quilt, and her cat Clio on her lap.