Books by Black Authors to Read in 2021

Black authors have been neglected from the very beginning. However, the last year saw an unprecedented increase in popularizing their works following the heightened rage against years of systematic racism. This article presents you with some incredible books by talented authors that most people looked down upon based on their internalized conditioning along with my TBR for the year so I can catch up on more indulgent reads.

Books by black authors should not be limited to just presenting a sense of social awareness or tokenistic activism but must view these writers as individuals who are just as competent as the rest of the world and celebrate their creativity showcased in the form of books, be it fictional or an account of their lives. This is how normalcy in this realm should be implemented in society. Feel free to update your Goodreads or Notion page accordingly!

1. The Good House by Tananarive Due

It is high time we celebrate black authors from all genres in 2021. This one is for all the horror fans out there. The story revolves around Angela Toussaint, a lawyer based in California whose son commits suicide in her late grandmother’s mysterious house who practiced voodoo. The supernatural elements and the discovery that Angela makes by rediscovering the house to figure out the reasons that led her son to take such drastic steps gives it a mysterious touch along with the gripping horrific moments and secrets that every horror fan thrives on! If you love a good horror read, definitely give this one a go.

2. The Pretty One by Keah Brown

A collection of essays by a black disability activist who shares her love for pop culture and presents an accurate narrative on disability as opposed to what the media has misled us to believe. This one is real, heartwarming and advocates for proper representation for the disabled in society. The author provides a fresh perspective and shifts the existing paradigm of viewing the disabled as weak to providing a notion of self-love in this aspect. She also talks about her experiences of having an able-bodied twin sister who is referred to as the ‘pretty one’. This heartwarming book will lend you a clear perspective and is a must-read for everyone.

3. Clever Girl Finance by Bola Sokunbi

Through this book, the author takes one on a journey through many inspiring women who found their middle ground in managing their finances. It provides the necessary tools for saving money, getting out of debt, and building a solid foundation inspired by real-life experiences and her personal wisdom. It is relatable, practical, and gives room to hope in an avenue where everyone seems to struggle.

4. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

One of my personal favorites, this book-length essay captures the essence of feminism in the 21st century and goes beyond the general definitions and dispositions that people hold highlighting the importance and ground reality of the movement that needs more acknowledgment than ever. It gives importance to inclusivity and molds the accurate definition of feminism. An important read for everyone for more discussions on this topic to enable radical changes in society.

5. I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes

This is a children’s illustration book and I wish I had this when I was growing up. It is poignant, hopeful, and inspiring. It inspires children to be everything that they aspire to be while simultaneously enjoying life. It shows us that it is okay to make mistakes, ask for help and get back up. It is a book that kids need growing up to affirm that they matter regardless of how their surroundings treat them. I personally feel that this is a pre-requisite that will enable kids to be prepared in the face of the conditioned norms of society.

Here are some of the books by black authors in my TBR (to be read) collection and I hope you give these a go too!

•   The Seven League Boots by Albert Murray

•   Jazz by Tori Morrison

•   Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed

•   I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi Jones

•   The Healing by Gayle Jones

Let’s normalize reading a wide variety of novels by diverse authors and build an inclusive and safe space for more artists and creators to hone their talents and skills!