After being in quarantine for 5-6 months (and still practicing safe social distancing!), A lot of people have taken up other forms of entertainment and ways to learn and better themselves. As an avid reader and writer, this was an amazing thing to see on social media: the awareness of Black authors getting recognized, and the influx of Black people, from children to adults, taking up the hobby and finding something they love through recognition and representation.
Get A Life, Chole Brown & Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibert (books 1-2 of a trilogy)
Chloe Brown, a computer geek with a goal, a list, and a plan that is always written in one of her many journals she keeps strewn around her house. She also happens to be chronically ill. After an *almost near-death experience as she trudges through her dull, watered-down life, she decides to make another list to help her “Get a Life”. She’s already completed moving out of her parent’s house. Next, she wants to tackle these items:
Enjoy a drunken night out
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex
Do something bad
She knows she can’t accomplish half of those things on her list alone, so she asks the one person she thinks will help her finish her bucket list.
Redford Morgan: tall, tattooed painter with tons of sex appeal. Also Chloe Brown’s current apartment superintendent. When he’s enlisted by Chloe on her journey to “Get a Life”, she learns some things she never thought should be added to her own list. And what’s really under his rough, bad-boy exterior.
Danika Brown has very clear goals: professional success, academic renown, and occasional sex to relieve all of her hard-working tension. As long as zero romance was involved. In touch with her spirituality and relationship with the universe, she asks vehemently for the perfect friends-with-benefits.
When Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a fire drill gone wrong, Dani takes it as an obvious sign from the universe. Before she can tell Zafir and get the ball rolling, her heroic rescue goes viral thanks to one of the many onlooking college students. Now, without warning, half the internet is shipping her and the ex-rugby player. Dani is unsure Zafir could really utilize Dani playing along for his low-profile kids’ charity to get some exposure. How could she say no?
When the two decide to play social media’s game Dani finds out that Zafir is a hopeless romantic and he is determined to change Dani’s mind. Now Dani can’t make out if she’s being tested or of the universe is telling her to take a hint.
Worth the Read?
If you’re a hopeless romantic and want to take a dive into the world where everything is possible amongst the chaos, the first two books in this trilogy are definitely worth the read. Get a Life, Chole Brown and Take a Hint, Dani Brown are the first two installments in Talia Hibert’s Brown Sister trilogy. This series follows three sisters who are on their journey to self-discovery and, soon, love. These women and their role models are strong, unapologetically Black, and successful, getting the love and respect they deserve and more. Who doesn’t love a happily ever after?
Stay tuned for the third installment to this series, Act Your Age, Eve Brown, available 2021.
Passing by Nella Larson
In this beautifully written classic renaissance novel, Nella Larsen writes a thrilling story about Black women who can pass. Irene Redfield is a woman all would be envious of. She lives in Harlem in the 1930s with her husband who is a physician. She frequents charities and gathers with Harlem’s elite, all of which keep her reputation and respect afloat. Her life is all galas and balls until she stumbles upon a childhood friend, Clare Kendry, a beautiful and enchanting light-skinned woman. Clare informs Irene that after her father’s death, she left their all-black neighborhood and began passing as white, hiding her true identity from everyone, including her racist husband. Clare soon starts to infiltrate Irene’s perfect life leaving Irene to face the consequences of Clare’s dangerous and shady behavior.
Worth the Read?
This book is definitely worth the read. Larsen’s captivating writing draws readers in. The short novel is a page-turner if I ever saw one! Wanting to know how these two characters change each other’s lives in ways we can’t figure out leaves a lasting impression. This novel makes one question the reality of their own personality, and the ways in which society warps our minds, especially those of Black women. This novel is not for the weak-hearted, and if you don’t like cliffhangers, this book is not for you!
The Write Escape by Charish Reid
Antonia Harper thought she was thriving. A successful career in literary editing, a dashing fiance, and the promise of an elite future. Fast-forward and Antonia is jobless, single, and decides she wants to travel the world. A one-woman honeymoon on Emerald Isle sounded like the right decision to make in Antonia’s now upside-down world.
Aiden Byrnes was a literary professor who had a way with words...until he met Antonia. He’s meant to be taking this time in the little village of Tully Cross to work, but his witty, intelligent, beautiful neighbor, Antonia, sparks something inside him. When they both decide to take a leap of faith, real-life catches up to them, and they find themselves having to make a big decision. One that will change everything.
Worth the Read?
This is another novel for the hopeless romantic. A successful Black woman in Academia who’s been dealt a bad hand now has the chance to work on her own craft and find love on her own terms. As the temperature drops, this is a perfect time to grab this lighthearted romance, cuddle up with blankets and hot chocolate, and take a break from the real world!
Why I Keep Running Back to Jamaica by Veronica Chambers
This short story follows Veronica Chamber’s “writer revelation”. She talks about the influence of Black women authors and how they helped her see herself for what she was: a writer. Even when she, a dark-skinned Afro-Latina, though she had no place in this world.
“I didn’t feel beautiful, but I loved to read and I loved to jump rope, and I thought if I could lay all the books and the double dutch ropes out in a line it might help me create a map, a place where a girl like me could survive and thrive.” - Veronica Chambers
This story is one of many in Glory Edim’s 2018 anthology Well-Read Black Girl.
Worth the Read?
Absolutely! Glory Edim changed the game when she released this anthology. While there are already so many greats upon us, Edim shines the light on Black women and their journeys to finding themselves and creating masterpieces as the greats did for them. With the influence and praise of authors like Toni Morrison, Jamaica Kincaid, Nikki Giovani, and so many others, this anthology should definitely take a place on your bookshelf.