Authors of Color Only: What I'm Reading this Black History Month

It's no secret that I read a lot. The more more I read, though, and the more I reflect on what (and who) I'm reading, the more I realize it's easy to read only things you like, or only things by people who are like you.

I'm making it my mission to work on that.

This year, as one of my 2017 bucket list items, I set a goal to read 10 books by authors of other ethnicities. I have heard all the arguments both for and against reading books purely because the author is of a certain race, but hear me out on this: if we never expose ourselves to opinions, perspectives, thoughts, experiences, and insights from those who are different than us, how we will ever understand, learn, grow, and engage well?

This month is Black History Month, and it felt like the perfect opportunity to really make headway on this goal of mine.

I know you might be thinking, "Oh, great, a white girl decided to read books by black authors just because it's Black History Month, big deal." And I hear you. But as I want to engage well in the conversations around me this month, this was good timing. It's also something I want to continue long after just this month, so it isn't just some passing trend in my mind. It's just a start. We all have to start somewhere.

For all of February, I'm only going to read books by African-American authors. I've scoured tons of lists of "best Black History Month books" and browed through my own shelves and to-read lists and have compiled a list of 12 books I plan to read this month. Hopefully I get through them all, but if not, at least this is a starting point! I found all of these at my local library (three cheers for libraries!) and have already started reading.

If you have a must-read book by an author of color, I would LOVE your recommendations. I'd love to challenge you to join me in reading diverse books this month (and beyond), too! 

What was it that Atticus Finch said in To Kill a Mockingbird

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

Here are the books I'll be climbing into and walking around in this month:

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks

You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

March: Book One, Book Two, and Book Three by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

Blues People: Negro Music in White America by Amiri Baraka

Selected Poems by Langston Hughes

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae

What book(s) by authors of color have you loved or are you planning to read this month?!

One year ago on the blog: My January 2016 Reads