As another Black History Month closes, we go straight into celebrating Women’s History Month with the same energy. We are still (and always will be) in a celebratory mood when it comes to Black Women. So to celebrate, we’re getting cozy with a glass of wine or mug of tea and getting lost in an amazing book. These new and upcoming books of 2021, and some best-sellers from 2020, are the first on our list to get into this year. From memoir to fiction, each book tells awe-inspiring stories of Black lives that should always be heard and recognized.
“Just As I Am: A Memoir” by Cicely Tyson
First, we’re beginning with one of the giants of our generation that has left a legacy that will live on for decades. Before she transitioned to an ancestor, Ms. Cicely Tyson left the world one last gift. A memoir, or personal love letter, to us about her well-lived life. From the words of President Barack Obama as he presented her at the 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony, “In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history,” and we cannot agree more.
“Just As I Am: A Memoir” unveils the pain and suffering she felt as a Black Woman in American and her career. She describes her life from a young, church girl who rarely spoke a word to the actress who blessed the stage and screen for six decades. We can’t celebrate Black Excellence without continuing to give the people before us their flowers. We look forward to diving into Cicely Tyson’s memoir and have this book in our collection to always come back to.
“The Other Black Girl” by Zakiya Dalila Harris
This read is already named on the Most Anticipated Books of 2021 list by Time, The Washington Post, and Harper’s Bazaar, just to name a few. We are excited to get our hands on “The Other Black Girl” coming this June. Author, Zakiya Dalila Harris takes us to a place where Get Out and Devil Wears Prada meets. From that alone, we know this is a storyline to tune into.
The book’s overview reads, “Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust. Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW. It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.” (barnesandnoble.com) Pre-order your copy now and be the first to dive in on June 1, 2021.
“Transcendent Kingdom” by Yaa Gyasi
Next, we’re going back to 2020’s Best-Selling books as everyone is still raving about “Transcendent Kingdom”. Yaa Gyasi receives a standing ovation with this follow-up to her acclaimed nation bestseller and debut “Homegoing”. The book follows a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience at the Stanford University School of Medicine named Gifty. She is determined to discover the scientific basis of all of the pain and suffering she sees around her. As she tries to stay focused on her studies on “reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction” tragedy strikes. Gifty’s mother has to come to stay with her after a relapse of severe depression from her brother’s death.
“Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief—a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasís phenomenal debut.” (barnesandnoble)
“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett
This is another 2020 release, however, this is also on our upcoming television series to watch list as well. After a highly competitive battle between 17 bidders and a 7-figure deal, HBO acquired “The Vanishing Half” in 2020. HBO recently hired writers, Aziza Barnes (BLKS) and Jeremy O. Harris (Slave Play), and producers, Issa Rae and Stephanie Allain to bring the book into production. So of course we had to put this on our list to read before it hits television.
“The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined.” (barnesandnoble)
“Life After Death” by Sister Souljah
Last, but certainly not least, this book is a highly anticipated feature on this year’s book list. The Return of Winter Santiaga finally makes her way back to bookshelves on March 2, 2021, in “Life After Death” by Sister Souljah. This is the sequel to her million-copy bestseller, “The Coldest Winter Ever”. 22 years later, Sister Souljah ends her silence and we cannot wait to see how the story continues.
Still stunning, still pretty, and still bold, Winter Santiaga is released from a 15-year sentence after taking the fall for a hustler boyfriend’s drug dealing. She’s eager for revenge, ready to rebuild her father’s empire and reset his crown, and ultimately to snatch Midnight back into her life no matter who had him while she was in jail. But Winter is not the only one with revenge on her mind.
As we start Women’s History Month, we highly recommend adding these books to your list. Spend time diving into the lives of these Black characters as they each deal with similar issues we see today. These best-selling books are guaranteed to take you for a ride, but most importantly, continue the conversations of Black lives that should never go unheard.
featured image by @book_girl_magic