My Back to School Reading List

My Back to School + Fall Reading List I'm rounding out my back to school series with my fall reading list. I read short articles mostly and the occasional long-form essays. But in terms of novel reading, your girl has been slipping since college. In the name of intellectual stimulation and the widening of my world view, I have developed this list of the books I want to read (or re-read) this fall.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe: I first "read" this book in high school. And by read I mean, skimmed and googled enough to answer my reading prompts. I kinda remember discussing this book in class, and not quite understanding the novel's content and, unfortunately losing interest it. I started re-reading it a few months ago and this time actually taking my time to understand what I was reading. And with new experiences behind me (mainly the #BlackLivesMatter movement and having an African boyfriend), understanding the book in turn helped me understand my world just a mor

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I know I'm a bit late to this book. Everyone has already read it and everyone already loves it. Besides wanting to read it to be like the cool kids, the topic of the book is something that intrigues. The book examines what is means to be African in different times and spaces. This will certainly challenge my personal view of "blackness" and see "black" experiences through other's eyes. This book speaks to the vastness of the diaspora and the changes in how blackness is perceived globally.

More titles after the break!

Between Me and The World by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The parallels between the author Ta-Nehisi Coates and I, born in the same city (Baltimore), went to the same Baltimore high school (Poly), went to same HBCU (Howard), originally motivated me to read this work. But once I found out the actual subject matter of the book, I knew I had to read it. In letters to his teenage son, Coates speaks about the current racial climate in America in the vein of James Baldwin's 1963 "The Fire Next Time". One excerpt in particular rings true to my current experiences; what Coates calls "The Dream" and "The Dreamers". For black people, and especially black woman in my opinion, "The Dream" is a fallacy and the "The Dreamers" want nothing more than to silence and suppress the African spirit. Some have criticized for not writing more hope like Baldwin, but in the past year, having protested in Baltimore, D.C., and New York, I have watched my concept of the "American Dream" crumble around me. It's not that I have no hope, it's that I have no hoped in "The Dream".

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay: Along with my racial identity over the past few years, my feminist identity has as well arose from its slumber.  But I can admit that I am no as well versed on feminist thoughts and concepts as I am racial ones. So after hearing Roxane Gay on one of my favorite podcasts, Another Round, I've decided to start my feminist re-education with her book "Bad Feminist". From her description on BuzzFeed, the essays in Gay's book call out the flaws of "traditional" feminism (which seems rather restrictive to me to be honest), and advocate for a more inclusive feminism which speaks on behalf of all women, not just the rich, cis, white, straight population. #Intersectionality.

God Help The Child by Toni Morrison: Another awarding winning Howard trained author, Toni Morrison, first introduced me to the idea of "colorism" in her book The Bluest Eye. This theme is also present in her newest novel, "God Help The Child.", only her second modern-day set novel. The main character is a beauty company executive in California (can you say dream job?!), who deals with childhood traumas, internalized racism and colorism, superficially hidden behind her physical beauty, which starts to betray her. With comparisons to my favorite Morrison novel, The Bluest Eye, and a main character who struggles with t real life "beauty girl" issues, "God Help The Child" is high on my to read list.

Honorable mentions:

  1. Black Boy by Richard Wright,
  2. Native Son by Richard Wright
  3. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  4. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  5. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

What are you reading this fall? What else should I be reading?

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