Most Anticipated Books of 2020 by Black Women — Erica L. Williams

Reading a good book is my favorite thing to do. Books have provided a welcome escape to the stressful demands of masking, sanitizing, social distancing, working, and everyday living during this pandemic. When I read, I am transported to a place of joy through the written word. Whether it’s a book about Angela Davis discussing The Meaning of Freedom or a novel about a Black babysitter accused of kidnapping the white toddler she’s babysitting, like in Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. Now more than ever, books are essential.

The effects of reading a book are healing. During World War I, librarians dispensed books to soldiers and hospitals to ease homesickness, boredom, and to aid in recovery and relieve distress.

Whether you have an entire weekend to indulge, or can only steal a few minutes out of your day, I encourage you to get reading. You can support an independent bookseller or your local library, or download a book and start listening.

Here are some recent anticipated books by Black women that are well worth the read:

LUSTER BY RAVEN LEILANI

Leilani’s eagerly awaited book tells the story of Edie, a twenty-something Black woman who becomes involved with Eric, a middle-aged white man in an open marriage. It gets interesting when Edie becomes entangled in a living arrangement with Eric, his wife, and their newly adopted 12-year-old black daughter, who is having trouble acclimating to the white suburbs. Bestselling author Zadie Smith calls Leilani’s writing, “exacting, hilarious, and deadly.”

WANDERING IN STRANGE LANDS: A DAUGHTER OF THE GREAT MIGRATION RECLAIMS HER ROOTS BY MORGAN JERKINS

Jerkins embarks on a journey to connect her Northern heritage to her Southern roots. Jerkins is the NY Times bestselling author of This Will Be My Undoing, a collection of Non-Fiction Essays.

CASTE: THE ORIGINS OF OUR DISCONTENTS BY ISABEL WILKERSON

Caste is the latest Oprah Book Club Selection. Wilkerson, the first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in journalism, examines race and unjust social structures in the book Winfrey calls, “a must read for humanity.”

SAVING RUBY KING BY CATHERINE ADEL WEST

West’s novel tells the story of a young girl whose life is changed by her mother’s murder. USA Today and The Rumpus list Saving Ruby King as one of the year’s most anticipated books.

THE SECRET LIVES OF CHURCH LADIES BY DEESHA PHILYAW

Philyaw received a starred Kirkus Review for this short story collection whose characters and stories are so good they will leave you speechless and eagerly anticipating the next rendering from this force of a writer.

PARTY OF TWO BY JASMINE GUILLORY

NY Times Bestselling Author Jasmine Guillory’s previous book, The Proposal, was chosen by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Bookclub. Guillory proves that she is the queen of romance in this story that follows the life of lawyer Olivia Monroe and a mystery man she meets at a hotel bar.

THE VANISHING HALF BY BRIT BENNET

Bennet’s novel is a multigenerational family story that focuses on identical twin sisters and racial identity. Their lives take different turns after they run away at sixteen. One ends up back in rural Louisiana, the town they were born in, while the other lives a life passing as white. The book debuted on top of the NY Times bestsellers list, and HBO has already bought the rights for a limited series.

TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM BY YAA GYAS I

Gyasi’s book, which comes out in September, but is available for pre-order, is a searing portrait of a Ghanaian immigrant family damaged by addiction and sorrow. Gyasi, born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, AL, is the critically acclaimed author of the novel Homegoing.

Click the link and consider ordering from one of these Black owned independent books stores.

Originally published at https://ericalwilliams.com on August 5, 2020.

MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Work has appeared in Necessary Fiction, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Blood Orange Review, & elsewhere.

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