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Chapter 9 - Their Eyes Were Watching God

I enjoy authors from all walks of life and various ethnicities. If the book is good I don't really care who wrote it. I certainly agree with the concept that you should write what you know and I crawl into books to live different lives and have different understandings about the world. If I only read about middle aged white people who live in America, not only would my reading life be boring but I wouldn't learn anything.

As February is Black History Month I've been reflecting on books by black authors. There are so many good books by black authors I have read that I would be hard pressed to name them all. But here are some books which I have found particularly enjoyable.

Selected Poems by Langston Hughes - This is just a general category because if you pick up any book of poetry by Langston Hughes you would enjoy it. He also wrote novels and plays as well.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston - This book is about the relationships of a strong female, Janie, and the men she married. Themes include stereotyping, domestic violence, and a woman's fight for independence.

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nahesi Coates - Soon to be a movie, Hiram Walker is a black man born into slavery. When his mother was sold into slavery he lost all memory of her but was gifted with a power over water. Years later he uses this power to help his family escape from bondage.

All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles - This nonfiction book is a story about how a slave in South Carolina packed keepsakes in a bag for her 9 year old daughter before the child was sold. As the keepsakes are passed down from generation to generation, a family's history is revealed.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead - Whitehead is one of those authors who I would tell you to read all of his books but this one is a good introduction to his writing. The novel is about a brutal youth incarceration camp in Florida and two boys who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Hidden Figures by Margo Lee Shetterly - Another nonfiction to add to the list, the book is the story of the extremely intelligent black women who helped to engineer World War II airplanes and who eventually contributed significantly to the space program. Read the book before (and instead of) watching the movie!

Do you have any favorite books by black authors? Please share!


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