A good summer read gets me excited! What made me a Happy Black Daughter growing up was sitting on the stoop in Bushwick, Brooklyn getting my hair braided while slurping on some ice-cold Italian icy then reading a newspaper, or a few good books I checked out from the library.
I would take jump rope breaks in between my reading marathon. My jump rope breaks would cease once the ice-cream truck rolled up on the block. Yes, summer for me was all about fun and part of that fun was reading a great book.
I've read some amazing books that have inspired me and has left an everlasting impression on me as a person and as a writer. Allow me to share some of these books with you and perhaps you might want to pick up a copy for yourself and get your summer reading going!
(Click book and synopsis for more info)
"The novel explores life in southern Mississippi in a climate of racism where many are persecuted for the color of their skin. Throughout the book, the reader learns about the importance of land and the effects of racism, at the same time as Cassie Logan (the narrator) learns 'the way things are'. It is key to this story that the narrator is a child as it adds emphasis upon what it was like to grow up in "The South", and it also helps the reader to understand the true impact of racism at this time."
"...decidedly intimate look into the life of the modern black woman: a complex world where feminists often have not-so-clandestine affairs with the most sexist of men; where women who treasure their independence often prefer men who pick up the tab; where the deluge of babymothers and babyfathers reminds black women, who long for marriage, that traditional nuclear families are a reality for less than 40 percent of the African-American population; and where black women are forced to make sense of a world where "truth is no longer black and white but subtle, intriguing shades of gray."
"...widely regarded as one of the great Senators in the nation's history. He is also the patriarch of America's most heralded family. In this landmark autobiography, five years in the making, Senator Kennedy speaks with unprecedented candor about his extraordinary life."
- The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien
A book about Vietnam
“It sits on the narrow shelf of indispensable works by witnesses to and participants in the fighting, alongside Michael Herr’s Dispatches, Tobias Wolff’s In Pharaoh’s Army, and James Webb’s Fields of Fire.” -A.O. Scott
-A long Way From Home, by Claude McKay
"A Long Way from Home, McKay explains what it means to be a black “rebel sojourner” and presents one of the first unflattering, yet informative, exposés of the Harlem Renaissance. Reprinted here with a critical introduction by Gene Andrew Jarrett, this book will challenge readers to rethink McKay’s articulation of identity, art, race, and politics and situate these topics in terms of his oeuvre and his literary contemporaries between the world wars."
"We Will Tell Our Own Story joins a growing number of Afrocentric books that are already revolutionizing the way Africans view themselves and their academies. The creation of a cadre of scholars devoted to truth, rigor, ancestrality, and values is a mark of a mature civilization; these authors are the necessary foundation for further growth." - SWAHILI SMT
Now, as I said, these are just a few that I'm sharing with you, however, there are tons more! Looking back at those summer reading adventures, I can profoundly say that reading makes me happy. Perhaps it's no surprise that as a reader, I found myself wanting to write more. Writing for me transcends my limitations as just being a reader. It puts me in a position to crank up my creative juices and let it all out on paper. It releases me from the confines of some of my thoughts and takes me to a meaningful place. Also, I'm striving to become better at it each time I put that pen to paper. Reading, however, I believe will make any writer improve their skill. You can not be a writer and not read something that will inspire you.
My debut book, The Happy Black Daughter was released this Spring and I am so proud of it. My very first published work of art! Inspired by not only the teachings from my father but the many books that I've read along my life's journey thus far, including those that I've mentioned above. I always dreamed about what would my first book look like? How would people respond to the book? Now that my book has been in print for a few months, so many people have emailed me, texted me and in-boxed me about how the book has changed the way they see black men, others have said, reading 'The Happy Black Daughter' makes them want to be a better man, and a better father. That is a great feeling indeed!
If you want to know more about 'The Happy Black Daughter', check out the synopsis here.
Enjoy your summer and happy reading to you. :-)