READS

Browse through literary works by talented black thinkers and writers!

April 10, 2018

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More

Janet Mock

This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.

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Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More

Janet Mock

Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world. This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself. Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself.  
(Summary taken from goodreads.com)
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March 27, 2018

The Weary Blues

Langston Hughes

"I am a Negro: / Black as night is black, / Black the depths of my Africa"-Hughes spoke directly, intimately, and powerfully of the experiences of African Americans, at a time when their voices were newly being heard in our literature.

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The Weary Blues

Langston Hughes

A beautiful new edition of this beloved poet's first collection, originally published in 1926 when he was just twenty-four. From the opening "Proem" (prologue poem) he offers in this first book-"I am a Negro: / Black as night is black, / Black the depths of my Africa"-Hughes spoke directly, intimately, and powerfully of the experiences of African Americans, at a time when their voices were newly being heard in our literature. As his Knopf editor Carl Van Vechten wrote in a brief introduction to the original 1926 volume, illuminating the potential of this promising young voice, "His cabaret songs throb with the true jazz rhythm; his sea-pieces ache with a calm, melancholy lyricism; he cries bitterly from the heart of his race...Always, however, his stanzas are subjective, personal" and, he concludes, they are "the expression [of] an essentially sensitive and subtly illusive nature." That illusive nature darts among these early lines and begins to reveal itself, sometimes with shocking confidence and clarity: "Bring me all of your / Heart melodies / That I may wrap them / In a blue cloud-cloth / Away from the too-rough fingers/ Of the world."  
(Summary taken from goodreads.com)
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March 13, 2018

Second Class Citizen

Maya Angelou

A poignant story of a resourceful Nigerian woman who overcomes strict tribal domination of women and countless setbacks to achieve an independent life for herself and her children.

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Second Class Citizen

Buchi Emecheta

A poignant story of a resourceful Nigerian woman who overcomes strict tribal domination of women and countless setbacks to achieve an independent life for herself and her children

Buchi Emecheta OBE was a Nigerian novelist who has published over 20 books, including Second-Class Citizen (1974), The Bride Price (1976), The Slave Girl (1977) and The Joys of Motherhood (1979). Her themes of child slavery, motherhood, female independence and freedom through education have won her considerable critical acclaim and honours, including an Order of the British Empire in 2005. Emecheta once described her stories as "stories of the world…[where]… women face the universal problems of poverty and oppression, and the longer they stay, no matter where they have come from originally, the more the problems become identical."

 
(Summary taken from goodreads.com)
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January 30, 2018

Letter to My Daughter

Maya Angelou

Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Told in her own inimitable style, this book transcends genres and categories: guidebook, memoir, poetry, and pure delight.

Letter to My Daughter

Maya Angelou

For a world of devoted readers, a much-awaited new volume of absorbing stories and inspirational wisdom from one of our best-loved writers.

Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Told in her own inimitable style, this book transcends genres and categories: guidebook, memoir, poetry, and pure delight. Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that led Angelou to an exalted place in American letters and taught her lessons in compassion and fortitude: how she was brought up by her indomitable grandmother in segregated Arkansas, taken in at thirteen by her more worldly and less religious mother, and grew to be an awkward, six-foot-tall teenager whose first experience of loveless sex paradoxically left her with her greatest gift, a son. Whether she is recalling such lost friends as Coretta Scott King and Ossie Davis, extolling honesty, decrying vulgarity, explaining why becoming a Christian is a “lifelong endeavor,” or simply singing the praises of a meal of red rice–Maya Angelou writes from the heart to millions of women she considers her extended family. Like the rest of her remarkable work, Letter to My Daughterentertains and teaches; it is a book to cherish, savor, re-read, and share.

“I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish speaking, Native Americans and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you.”

 
(Summary taken from goodreads.com)