There’s a movement to buy two books by Black writers this week (6/14-6/20), so I’m posting recommendations of authors/books.
Today is classics. Some of these you may have read at school (but probably only one because sadly the “canon” favors straight white cis dudes.)
In Kim McLarin’s workshop, we talked about writers who were only good at short stories and writers who were only good at novels. It’s hard to do both well, but that’s exactly what Zora Neale Hurston did, as well as collecting folklore. You may have read Their Eyes Were Watching God, but “The Gilded Six-Bits” is one of the best short stories I’ve ever read. She died in poverty, but you can keep her legacy alive here.
Maya Angelou is someone else you may have read in high school, but don’t stop there. You’ve got to read more of her work. She’s a spectacular poet and her memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is hilarious and filled with joy. Get more here.
James Baldwin is amazing. The Tulsa library has a lot of his works on audiobook and yours should too. He’s a great essayist, novelist, and short story writer. The Fire Next Time feels as relevant now as it did fifty years ago, but everything he wrote fits this political moment so well. Maybe none better than the short story “Going to Meet the Man,” written from the point of view of a white police officer. Find Baldwin here.
If you’ve been waiting on buying books, today is the day to start! Please buy two! Happy Juneteenth!