#BookBingoNW2021 Black Joy

A short list of good reads that can be applied to the Black Joy 2021 Book Bingo square. These are funny, romantic stories that follow Black characters whose best lives find them.

Girl Gurl Grrrl: On womanhood and belonging in the age of Black girl magic by Kenya Hunt, deputy editor of the fashion magazine Grazia UK, is an anthology of essays about her life and career, sharing the joys and trials of being a Black American in the UK. 

28-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate in Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers, having just completed her PhD in astronomy. A straight-A high achiever, she is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman she doesn’t know, until she does exactly that… Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 Black Joy”

#BookBingoNW2021 Coming of Age

Looking to fill your book bingo Coming of Age square? Check out one of these titles, in which characters confront confusing situations and pursue big dreams as they enter adulthood.

White Ivy by Susie Yang
As a teenager, Chinese-American Ivy is caught between the disapproval and harsh parenting style of her parents, and the love of a grandmother who teaches her how to steal to acquire the trappings of success. As an adult, Ivy reencounters her teenage crush, golden boy Gideon Speyer, and sees a chance to realize her youthful dreams, even as past secrets threaten to derail her.

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
In 1989, the Danvers (MA) high school field hockey team dabbles in some light witchcraft in order to get to the state championships. Structured as a group story, told from a collective perspective, each character also has a chance to narrate. This is full of sly humor, 80s cultural references, and whip smart girls figuring it all out. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 Coming of Age”

#BookBingoNW2021 Beach Read

Fellow readers, let’s talk beach reads. Don’t be put off by the name – these can be read at the beach, sure, but also by a lake; in a park or on your lawn; on your couch – anywhere you’re taking some time for yourself. And any book can be a beach read*, so long as it is something you find gripping. To get started, here are suggestions for books across genres that grab you and don’t let go until you’ve turned the last page.

Looking to be kept on the edge of your seat? (or beach towel?) Go behind enemy lines with WWII spy Nancy Wake as she trains the French Resistance in Ariel Lawhon’s Code Name Hélène. Or enjoy a tale of revenge and ego as a film shoot in the Caribbean goes awry in The Siren by Katherine St. John. The dark side of office politics are on display in The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris, as editorial assistant Nella realizes the new girl isn’t what she seems. And when her husband disappears, newlywed Hannah and her stepdaughter Bailey race against time to figure out his true identity in The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave.

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#BookBingoNW2021 Small Press

Those who follow the literary world know the agglomeration of mega-publishers that was once termed the “big six” long ago became the “big five,” and through yet another merger/acquisition will soon become the “big four.” It seems just a matter of time before we’re talking about the “big one.” Fortunately, there are many many small publishers out there bringing a panorama of distinct editorial styles and missions to bookstore and library shelves. As you approach this Book Bingo square, you may want to browse this mega-list of small and independent publishers from our catalog. Here are just a few of my own favorites from this eclectic list:

Archipelago Books specializes in beautifully produced international titles, often in their English language debuts, making them a sort of United Nations of literature. Their big cash cow has been Karl Ove Knausgaard’s popular soul-searching six volume memoir My Struggle, the kind of commercial success that most small publishers dream of, and one that helps underwrite a wide range of other less profitable but no less fascinating titles. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 Small Press”

#BookBingoNW2021: Graphic Novel or Comic

This is a short list of my favorite reads that can be applied to the graphic novel or comic 2021 Book Bingo square. These are thrilling, heart wrenching, thoughtful stories.

Infinitum: An Afrofuturist Tale by Tim Fielder
From the distant past through to the unforeseeable future, King Aja Oba lives many lives, made immortal by a curse that seeks to destroy his spirit.. From royal warlord, to soldier, to god, Oba’s fate is tied to that of the universe as he lives through the history of and is witness to the demise of his fellow enslaved Africans and early Black Americans. This uplifting graphic novel contains elements of  historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, humor and horror.

Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974 by Jean David Morvan
Part graphic novel, part historical black and white photograph collection, Morvan’s book relives Muhammad Ali’s reclaiming of the world champion boxing title through the eyes of photojournalist Abbas for Young Africa Magazine.

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