Kick off Women’s History Month with some great reads

Seeking more titles to stoke the ever-burning flames of your mind and heart? Look no further. Here are five diverse titles written by women to highlight Women’s History Month. Whether it’s satire, poetry, fiction, or memoir, there’s something here for you. These recommendations come from Katrina Spencer, your Librarian for African American and African Studies. For more titles that study the themes of feminism, gender, and/or sexuality, contact Erin Pappas and review the Library’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality research guide.

""How To Rent A Negro“, damali ayo (2005)

Priceless satire befitting our sociocultural moment, “How to Rent a Negro” derisively presents the absurdities of interracial politics and the commodification of racialized bodies. This work is for every Black person who finds themselves “the only” in either professional or social situations and also for those who call on them to represent an entire body of people.

""salt“, Nayyirah Waheed (2013)

Some of the most intimate and touching poetry I have ever read, Waheed’s debut collection, salt, explores the distance, disconnection, amnesias, and longings many Blacks of the Americas feel in relation to Africa. Both potent and arresting, salt stylistically represents Instagram’s sparse poetry movement in which saying less is more.

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston (1937)

A staple in African American literature courses, Hurston’s fiction novel shook the foundations of early 20th century gender norms. Her protagonist, Janie, explores autonomy in a world in which Black women had been owned like chattel and had endured secondary, subordinate roles within their marriages. Try out Ruby Dee’s exquisite audiobook narration of this classic.

An American Marriage“, Tayari Jones (2019)

What is expected of a wife whose innocent husband is locked away for a heinous crime he did not commit? Heavily southern, Jones’ work speaks to the haunting injustices that plague our penal systems and unduly punish not only Black men but also those who love them. This novel begs for a cinematic adaptation.

Becoming“, Michelle Obama (2018)

You remember FLOTUS extraordinaire Michelle Obama: the Ivy league-trained attorney who mentored a young Barack Obama at a law firm? Yes, her. In “Becoming,” she shares intimate stories of her upbringing in Chicago, feelings of uncertainty during her education and career, and her 8-year residency within the most recognizable home in the nation.

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