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25 amazing books from Asian American and Pacific Islander authors you need to read



Black History Month gives us 29 days to honor African Americans and their ever-growing contributions to culture. Literature in particular was a place where black authors could tell their stories authentically, and bookworms looking for good reading can choose from a range of fiction, poems, historical texts, essays and memoirs. From literary icons to fresh, enterprising talents, we present 25 books by African-American authors that you should add to your reading list today.

1. Kindred // Octavia Butler

  The cover of & # 39; Kindred & # 39; by Octavia Butler

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Octavia Butler's Kindred (1979) is one of a series of novels that she wrote about black female protagonists that were unprecedented in a science and speculation space dominated by white men. This story revolves around Dana, a young 1970s Los Angeles writer who is unexpectedly kidnapped to 19th century Antebellum South, where she saves the life of Rufus Weylin, the son of a plantation owner. When Dana's white husband, initially suspicious of her claims, is brought back in time with her, complicated circumstances arise as marriage between different races was considered illegal in America until 1967. To paint a precise picture of the slavery era, Butler told In Motion Magazine in 2004, she studied slave narratives and books from the women of the plantation owners.

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  The cover of & # 39; Hunger & # 39; by Roxane Gay

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In the second entry of her memoir from 2017 Hunger Roxane Gay writes: "… this is a book about the disappearance and loss and the desire for so much, to be seen and understood." The New York Times bestselling author reveals deep-seated emotions from a range of experiences, such as a fearful visit to a doctor's office about gastric bypass surgery and turning to food to deal with a boy who rapes her did when she was a girl. In six powerful parts, the daughter of Haitian immigrants and finalist of the National Book Award regains the space necessary to document her truth – and uses it to get out of the shadows in which she once deliberately hid.

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  The fire next time by James Baldwin

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James Baldwin is considered a key figure among the great thinkers of the 20th century for his broad criticism of literature, film and culture and his revelations about the race in America. One of his most famous literary contributions was his book The Fire Next Time published in 1963, a text with two essays. One is a letter to his 14-year-old nephew in which he encourages him not to give in to racist ideas that blackness makes him less. The second essay, "Down At The Cross," takes the reader back to Baldwin's childhood in Harlem, in which he describes the conditions of poverty, his struggle with religious authorities, and his relationship with his father.

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  The cover of & # 39; Between the world and me & # 39; by Ta-Nahisi Coates

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After re-reading James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time Ta-Nehisi Coates was inspired to write a book-length essay on blackness in America for his teenage son. warns him of the emergency that comes with white supremacy. The result was the National Book Award 2015 Between the World and Me . New York magazine reported that Toni Morrison wrote after reading: "I was wondering who could fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin's death. It is clearly Ta-Nehisi Coates . " Throughout the book, Coates tells of how he witnessed violence and police brutality in Baltimore, reflects on his time at historically black Howard University, and poses difficult questions about the past and future of the breed in America.

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  Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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Ralph Ellison's 1952 classic Invisible Man followed an African American's search for identity in the 1920s and 1930s. Because of the racism to which he is exposed, the nameless protagonist, known as "Invisible Man", does not feel seen by society and tells the reader through a series of unfortunate and happy events he undertakes to adjust while in the South and later lives in Harlem, New York City. 1953 Invisible Man was awarded the National Book Award. This made Ellison the first African-American author to receive the prestigious fiction award.

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6. Geliebte // Toni Morrison

  The cover of & # 39; Geliebte & # 39; by Toni Morrison

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Toni Morrison's 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved brings Sethe, a former 1873 slave in Cincinnati, Ohio, into contact with the supernatural. Before becoming a free woman, Sethe tried to kill her children to save them from a life of enslavement. While her sons and daughter survived, her little daughter, known only as a lover, died. Sete's family is haunted by a ghost that is believed to be loved, and Morrison offers a multi-layered account of the plight of black life after slavery with magical surrealism when Sethe learns that she is clearing her repressed memories of trauma and must put her previous life in bondage.

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  The cover of & # 39; All about love: New visions & # 39; by Bell Hooks

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In the book All About Love published in 2000, the feminist scholar deals with the question of how people are generally socialized in order to perceive love in modern society. She uses a number of examples to deal with the topic, from her personal childhood and dating reflections to popular cultural references. This is a powerful, essential text that encourages people to revise a new, healthier blueprint for love that is free from patriarchal gender restrictions and dominant behaviors that do not serve human emotional needs.

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19659032] The cover of & # 39; The Autobiography of Malcom X & # 39; “/>

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Throughout 1963, Malcolm X drove from his Harlem home to Alex Haley's apartment in Greenwich Village, New York, to work on his autobiography. Unfortunately, the minister and activist did not see it in print – Malcolm X's autobiography was published in 1965, not long after his assassination in February this year. The books document the many lessons that young Malcolm (née Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska) learned when he witnessed his parents' struggles with racism in childhood and his problematic young adulthood with drugs and detention and his later development one of them dealt with the most iconic voices in the Black Liberation Movement.

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  The cover of & # 39; your eyes watched God & # 39; by Zora Neale Hurston

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During Zora Neale Hurston's career, she was more concerned with authentic writing about the lives of African Americans who enlivened their existence rather than focusing on their trauma. Her most famous work, 1937 . Your eyes watching God is an example of this philosophy. This is followed by Janie Mae Crawford, a middle-aged woman in Florida who describes details about love and finding someone after three marriages. Hurston used the black dialect of the south in the characters' dialogue to proudly portray their voices and style.

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  The cover of & # 39; The New Jim Crow & # 39; by Michelle Alexander

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The Jim Crow laws of the 19th and 20th centuries were intended to marginalize black Americans who founded their own businesses during the reconstruction, entered the work system and applied for office. Although a number of anti-discrimination decisions such as Brown vs. Board of Education and the Voting Rights Act passed, Michelle Alexander's 2010 book argues that mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow that affects black American life, especially black men. In the text, Alexander examines how the war on drugs, controlled by the Ronald Reagan administration, created a system in which black Americans were deprived of their rights after serving time for non-violent drug crimes.

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  The cover of & # 39; Sister Outsider & # 39; by Audre Lorde

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Originally published in 1984, Sister Outsider is a collection of 15 essays and speeches by the lesbian-feminist writer and poet Audre Lorde. The titles of her works are as fascinating as the content is eye-opening. "Using Eroticism: Eroticism as Power" examines how people, especially women, lose when they keep eroticism – or deep passion – from their work and explore their spiritual and political desires. In "The Tools of the Master Will Never Disassemble the Master's House," Lorde explains how feminism fails by omitting the voices of black women, queer women, and poor women. Lorde's ideas continue to shape discussions about feminism today, and their writing is worth revisiting.

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  The cover of & # 39; The Audacity & # 39; of Hope by Barack Obama

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Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope was his second book and # 1 Best Seller by the New York Times when it was published in fall 2006. The title was removed from derived from a sermon that Pastor Jeremiah Wright heard entitled "The Audacity to Hope". It was also the title of the keynote speech delivered by the then Illinois State Senator at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Before becoming the 44th President of the United States, Obama's Audacity of Hope outlined his optimistic vision of bridging political parties so that the government could better serve the needs of the American people.

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  The cover of & # 39; The warmth of other suns & # 39; by Isabel Wilkerson

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During the great migration, millions of African Americans left the southern states in northern and western cities to escape Jim Crow's laws, lynching, and failed share cropping system. Isabel Wilkerson, the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Journalism Award, documented these movements in her 2010 book, which included 15 years of research and interviews with 1200 people. The book highlights the stories of three people and their travels from Florida to New York City, Mississippi to Chicago, and Louisiana to Los Angeles. Wilkerson's excellent and detailed documentation earned her a National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction.

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  The cover of & # 39; Brown Girl Dreaming & # 39; by Jacqueline Woodson

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Jacqueline Woodson's children's books and YA novels are inspired by her desire to highlight the life of color communities – stories that she felt were missing from the literary landscape. In her National Book Award 2014 autobiography Brown Girl Dreaming Woodson uses her own childhood story in verse form to fill these gaps in representation. The author grew up during the civil rights movement and later the Black Power movement and lived between the relaxed lifestyle of South Carolina and the fast-paced New York City. Through their work, we are reminded of how family and community play a role in helping individuals survive the trials of life.

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  The cover of & # 39; Redefining Realness & # 39; by Janet Mock

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Janet Mock, an African-American and native Hawaiian transgender activist and writer, began her media career as an editor at People . In 2011 Mock decided to share her story with the world and appeared as a transgender woman in an article by Marie Claire . She published this New York Times bestseller memoir in 2014. Mock used her platform to talk extensively about her education as a colored person in poverty and her transgender identity.

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  The cover of & # 39; Fire Shut Up in My Bones & # 39; by Charles M. Blow

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In his 2014 memoir Fire Shut Up in My Bones New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow started growing up in a separate Louisiana city in the 1970s as the youngest of five brothers. In 12 chapters, Blow offers a deep look at his path to overcoming poverty, the trauma of being raped in childhood, and his gradual understanding of his bisexuality. Although difficult to say, as Blow NPR said in 2014, he wrote this book specifically for those who have had similar experiences and need to know that despite painful circumstances, their lives are still worth living.

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  The cover of & # 39; I know why the cage bird sings & # 39; by Maya Angelou

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If you want to read about the late, great, prophetic poet Maya Angelou, I know why the imprisoned bird is singing should be at the top of your list. It provides detailed insight into the obstacles that shaped her early life. Angelou's childhood and teenage years were nomadic when her separated parents moved her and her brother from rural Arkansas to St. Louis, Missouri, and finally to California, where she lived at different times in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland. In addition to the apparent racism that she saw around her in the south, a young Maya was also subjected to rape in her childhood and as a teenager, homeless and pregnant. After its publication in 1969, Angelou, who initially was reluctant to write the book, was the first African American woman to have a non-fiction bestseller.

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18th Babel-17 // Samuel R. Delany

  The cover of & # 39; Babel-17 & # 39; by Samuel R. Delany

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In 2015, Samuel R. Delany told The Nation that when he first attended science fiction conferences in the 1960s, he was one of the few black writers and enthusiasts present. Over the years, with his contributions and the work of others like Octavia Butler – whom he supervised – he opened doors for black writers of the genre. If you are looking for a science fiction thriller that takes place in space and focuses on a protagonist of the female leader, Delanys 1967 with the Nebula Award Babel-17 is the right choice. Rydra Wong, a spaceship captain, is intrigued by a mysterious language called Babel-17, which can change a person's perception of themselves and others and possibly brainwash them to betray their government.

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  The cover of & # 39; Splay Anthem & # 39; by Nathaniel Mackey

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The readers of Nathaniel Mackey's poems are often fascinated by his ability to bring the worlds of music (especially jazz) and poetry together into soul-engaging rhythmic prose. Splay Anthem is a masterpiece that shows its style. The 2006 collection contains two poems that Mackey has been writing for more than 20 years: "Song of the Andoumboulou" on a ritual funeral song of today's Dogon Mali; and "Mu." Splay Anthem is divided into three sections: "Braid", "Fray" and "Nub", in which two characters travel through space and time and their ultimate goals are unclear. Mackey's non-linear form is deliberate: "There is a lot of emphasis on movement in the poems and there are many questions about the final arrival, whether there is such a condition or location," he said in A Community Writing Itself: Conversations with Avant-Garde -Writers of the Bay Area .

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  The cover of & # 39; The Hate U Give & # 39; by Angie Thomas

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Angie Thomas is part of a new group of African American authors who are bringing new books to your bookshelves. Her 2017 debut novel for young adults, The Hate U Give was inspired by the protests of the Black Lives Matter movement. Starr Carter, a 16-year-old who witnessed the police shooting her best friend Khalil, follows. The book that topped the New York Times bestseller chart is a recent fictional story that humanizes the voices behind one of the greatest movements of the present day.

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 ] The cover of & # 39; Not Without Laughter & # 39; by Langston Hughes

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Bring it back to Harlem Renaissance legend Langston Hughes began his novel-like bibliography. In the 1930s Not Without Laughter Sandy Rogers is an African American boy who grew up in Kansas in the early 1900s – a story loosely based on Hughes’s own experience in Lawrence and Topeka, Kansas, based. Hughes paints his characters vividly after the "typical Negro family in the Midwest" with whom he grew up, he explained in his autobiography The Big Sea . In this way, Hughes paved the way for more stories about black life outside of big cities.

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  The cover of & # 39; Salvage the Bones & # 39; by Jesmyn Ward

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Jesmyn Ward's novel from 2011 Salvage the Bones combines fiction with her real life experience when she survived Hurricane Katrina as a native of rural Mississippi. Ward tells a new story through the eyes of Esch, a pregnant teenage girl living in poverty with his three brothers and a father who fights alcoholism in a fictional city called Bois Sauvage. In this National Book Award-winning story, Ward writes an emotionally intense and deep account of a family that needs to find a way to overcome differences and stick together to survive the temporary storm.

Buy it from Amazon. [19659093] The cover of & # 39; Don & # 39; t Call Us Dead & # 39; by Danez Smith “/>

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Don't Call Us Dead is a cathartic poem series that imagines a life after death in which black men can be themselves. Danez Smith's poignant words take heartbreaking images of violence against the bodies of black men and contrast them with scenes on a new level that is much better than the existence these men previously lived. On arrival it is a festival as men and boys are hugged by their brothers and can really experience how to "live". Smith's prose remains, and you will think deeply about the delicacies of life and death long after you put the book back on the shelf.

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  The cover of & # 39; The Underground Railroad & # 39; by Colson Whitehead

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Colson Whitehead brings a bit of fantasy into historical fiction in his novel The Underground Railroad . Historically, the subway was a network of safe houses for outliers on their way to the liberated states. But in his novel, Whitehead invents a literally secret subway with real rails and trains. This system takes its protagonist Cora, a woman who escaped a plantation in Georgia, to various states and stops. On her journey, she faces a number of terrible hurdles that could prevent her from gaining her freedom.

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<img typeof = "foaf: Image" src = "https://images2.minutemediacdn.com/image/upload/c_fit,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto,w_728/v1555461119/shape/mentalfloss/532058.books_.252x .jpg? itok = lFo3mmS7 "alt =" The cover of & # 39; Devil in a Blue Dress & # 39; by Walter Mosley [19659004] Background: iStock. Book cover: Amazon.

If you have a puzzle, Walter Mosley but don't know, it's time to catch up with him, the crime writer has published over 40 books, with his Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins series being his most popular. Mosley's 1990 debut (and also Easy's debut) Devil in a Blue Dress takes the reader to the 1940s Watts, a neighborhood in Los Angeles where Easy recently moved after losing his job in Houston and finds a new job as a detective when a man in a bar wants him to he locates a woman named Daphne Monet to begin a career that spans (and counts) 14 novels.

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