These times are hard; they’re especially hard for Black people – and even more so with multiple marginalization. It’s time to start to read more diverse literature. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is.
Here are six books you can do that for right now.
Find these books. Buy them with your money if you can, and add them to your To Be Read piles. Or, read them, give them away, make them into art projects. Buy them because you’d do it with another release for a white person, or a cis person, or both. Do it because these books deserve readership, because the authors deserve to be paid, because you can, and, just because.
Some of these books contain exploration of heavy topics, such as racism, sexual assault, colonialism, transphobia, etc. Please take care of yourself if you’re going to read these!
Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender
An ambitious young woman with the power to control minds seeks vengeance against the royals who murdered her family, in a Caribbean-inspired fantasy world embattled by colonial oppression.
Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik. When she was a child, her family was murdered by the islands’ colonizers, who have massacred and enslaved generations of her people—and now, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.
When the childless king of the islands declares that he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney uses her ability to read and control minds to manipulate her way onto the royal island and into the ranks of the ruling colonizers. But when she arrives, prepared to fight for control of all the islands, Sigourney finds herself the target of a dangerous, unknown magic.
Someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. As the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers… lest she become the next victim.
The Deep by Rivers Solomon
The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’ rap group Clipping.
Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.
Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.
Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.
Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.
Young Adult Fantasy
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Pet is here to hunt a monster. Are you brave enough to look?
There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster—and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also uncover the truth, and the answer to the question—How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?
In their riveting and timely young adult debut, acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi asks difficult questions about what choices you can make when the society around you is in denial.
Every Dark Desire by Fiona Zedde
Desire can be dangerous. No one knows better than Naomi McElroy who, during a moment of intense ecstasy, is transformed into Belle, a ruthless beast whose hungers know no bounds. Hungers that inevitably endanger the people she loves. Set in the lush landscapes of modern day Jamaica and Alaska, EVERY DARK DESIRE is a vampire’s tale of passion, discovery, and survival under starlight.
Soul to Keep by Rebekah Weatherspoon
With every commitment comes sacrifice …
College junior Jill Babineux knows where her priorities lie. Between a full course load, her blood pledge to feed a certain vampire, and all the community service hours she’s got to log with her sisters in Alpha Beta Omega Sorority, the last thing on her mind is finding love, especially with an immortal.
Which works out just fine for Miyoko “Tokyo” Hayashi who’s been so busy enjoying her wild days and even kinkier nights, she’s never had a reason to speak to the tiny know-it-all. But after a random run-in and a few carefully plotted encounters, Miyoko learns that there’s more to the sorority’s least favorite member.
Miyoko never thought she’d actually start to like the girl, let alone love her, but when true evil comes for Jill, Miyoko finds herself willing to do anything to protect her. Anything.
A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
Long after the Towers left the world but before the dragons came to Daluça, the emperor brought his delegation of gods and diplomats to Olorum. As the royalty negotiates over trade routes and public services, the divinity seeks arcane assistance among the local gods.
Aqib bgm Sadiqi, fourth-cousin to the royal family and son of the Master of Beasts, has more mortal and pressing concerns. His heart has been captured for the first time by a handsome Daluçan soldier named Lucrio. In defiance of Saintly Canon, gossiping servants, and the furious disapproval of his father and brother, Aqib finds himself swept up in a whirlwind gay romance. But neither Aqib nor Lucrio know whether their love can survive all the hardships the world has to throw at them.
Then boost these books, boost these authors, boost their stories. Find posts written by Black people about books like these and then give those posts a boost, too! Word of mouth is how most books are sold outside of major advertising money, so do the leg work to help these folks out!
You don’t have to have money to contribute! You can do more than what you think you can!
And remember, always
Black Lives Matter