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Reading has been something I have always enjoyed and something that I truly have a passion for. No matter what type of books you prefer to read, reading is so important for various different reasons. Not only does it improve your spelling and grammar, but it introduces you to so many stories, fiction and non fiction, that are influenced by the world around us. Though we may not read as many books as we hope to (I am guilty of this too!), picking one up and turning the page is the start we need. I have put together a list of books I think everyone should read this year, and hopefully once you’ve finished reading them, you will agree too.
1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Spanning over 300 years, Homegoing chronicles the life and family tree of 2 half sisters, Effie and Esi, from 18th century Ghana to 21st century America. This books covers themes of family, tradition, colonialism, slavery, identity and more, but all done in a way that grips the reader on every page. I am always interested in reading about history, especially Black History, and so I was very happy that this book was so easy to read, understand and digest. I am purposely giving away very little so I don't spoil the story and in hopes it'll intrigue you into reading it. Truly a fantastic read and so very well written, pick this one up as soon as you can!
2. Nina Simone: The Biography by David Brun-Lambert
Before picking up this book, I knew very little about the legend that is Nina Simone. Of course I had heard of her music, but other than that I knew nothing about her. I started this book not having an opinion on Nina Simone, but after finishing it I do now; I don’t like her very much. Aside from this fact, this is still a great book that kept me reading on. Nina Simone had a very intriguing life and her art reflects that. She was a fantastic musician and of course, at the time she rose to fame, her dark black skin was something she had to defend and showcase as just as beautiful. Even if you are not a fan, I would still suggest reading this book as you will definitely learn something new about the world and Nina.
3. Headscarves and Hymens: Why The Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy
Mona Eltahawy discusses, breaks down, directs and analyses patriarchy, sexism and misogny in the Middle East. As an Egyptian, the writer uses her own personal experiences to both chronicle and decry the injustices women face in the Arab world. Not only do you learn so much about Arabwomen’s strong resilience but it also puts into perspective the fight we are all fighting. This has to be one of the best books I’ve ever read as it gripped me on every page; its safe to say I was close to tears when I finished it. If intersectional feminism is your cup of tea, run and pick up this book NOW.
4. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Juno Diaz is a phenomenal writer! I have read at least 3 of his books so far and this man really knows how to tell a story. This book was my first read of Hispanic/Latinx literature and I am so glad it was. Following the life of loveable nerd Oscar Wao and his Dominican family, this book will probably make you laugh and cry within the same chapter. Oscar becomes our personal hero even though his life isn’t really that great, but at least he still has his dreams of becoming a famous writer and falling in love! If like me, and you want to open up your reading list to more POC writers then this is a fantastic start and you won't be disappointed.
5. Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
I haven’t stopped ranting and raving about this book since I first picked it up. Reni Eddo Lodge captures the Black British experience so perfectly in this book that it shocked me. Often we get left out of the British conversation and get erased from history altogether, but Eddo Lodge put an end to that. The very first chapter will figuratively knock you out. This chapter details our Black British history and opens your eyes to so much. It let’s you now just how long we have been in the UK and what we have had to go through. I call this book my own personal bible as it managed to encompass all the thoughts I was having about black British identity, race and talking to white people about it. I could go on and on but honestly just read the book; join me in my post book wonder!
Nabilla Doma // @bilzyb