Now that the summer is officially over, I can share with you what I’ve been reading. I challenged myself to read as many books as possible this summer because I’ve been slacking. I love to read, I really do, but sometimes with my hectic schedule, I find it hard to allot time to actually read!
The Solution: I discovered Audible. Audible is an Amazon-based service that allows you to listen to books as opposed to reading them. I was able to read (listen to) A Piece of Cake, Purpose Driven Life-What On Earth Am I Here For? (Still Reading), and Why Not Me? However, there’s something about holding a book and turning each page with curiosity that I can’t substitute, no matter how convenient audiobooks might be.
Here are some of the books I’ve been engulfed in this past summer:
1. The Sisters are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America
Describe it in one word: Empowering
I enjoyed the conversation in this book. It brought to the forefront topics that affect black women ranging from beauty and health to sex and anger. I loved that it reinforced the idea that we are magic. Maybe the world doesn’t see it, but we are a superb breed. However, it read like a couple of books that I’ve read in the past about black women including Shifting and When Chicken Heads Come Home to Roost.
2.The Little Black Book Of Success: Laws Of Leadership for Black Woman
Describe it in one word: Insightful
This book is a good read but a lot of the lessons that the authors teach I’ve already learned through experience at work. Therefore, I would suggest this book for someone just entering the workplace. It jumps from finding mentors to being a leader and executive and sometimes the career track isn’t that fast. Actually, I know it’s not. Great book nevertheless.
3. Miss Jessies: Creating A Successful Business from Scratch Naturally
Describe it in one word: Warmed my heart (3-words)
This book was a page-turner from beginning to end. Not in the suspenseful kind of way, but simply because if you know anything about natural hair and natural hair products, then you know that these two women were a part of the pioneers of that industry. Miko Branch takes us on a journey from the beginning, growing up in Queens, New York in the ’80s. Her story of their humble beginnings makes you feel as if you’re their kin. I loved the trajectory. I loved the name dropping. I loved the transparency when it came to relationships and family disagreements. I loved the business advice. You are literally on a journey with the Branch Sisters through the ups and the downs.
4. Lost & Found
Describe it in one word: Transparent
Sarah Jakes holds nothing back. From her struggles with being Bishop TD Jake’s daughter and having everyone try to get close to her for that reason alone to her tumultuous relationship with a college football star who eventually went off to the NFL. This book deals with it all: teen pregnancy, feelings of inadequacy, highs, lows, cheating, relationships, forgiveness, and finding purpose. I loved everything about Sarah Jakes story and to be honest it changed me. It made me want to be more transparent and real when I write, which was why after reading Lost & Found I wrote Listen To Your Heart.
5. Why Not Me?
Describe in one word: Quirky
This book, Why Not Me? was interesting. It starts off with Mindy’s desperation for making friends in elementary school. It progresses into the various awkward situations she’s been through in life which separates her from everyone else. Some parts of the book I found to be annoying. Other parts were inspiring, including her meeting with President Obama because Malia Obama was reading her first book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? while on vacation. I also thought it was pretty impressive that she started writing for the show The Office at such a young age and was able to snag her own show The Mindy Project as a result. She might be annoying, but she’s totally blessed.
6. We Should All Be Feminist
Describe in one word: Flawless
This is a really short book. I think I read it in 15 minutes while at Barnes & Noble. It’s not really a book, it’s a Ted Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (which was sampled in Beyonce’s “Flawless” song), where she drops straight jewels on the state of women and why women should be upheld to the same standards as men and vice versa. She talks about feminism having a negative connotation and how people tried to denounce her for calling herself a feminist. She also expresses her subversiveness when it comes to being boxed according to societal standards.
7. Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America
Describe in one word: Enlightening
This book was awesome. I finished it back in June, after putting it down for some time. I learned so much, probably all I needed to know about the history of black hair. The book starts from our beginnings in Africa and chronicles through the present day. If you’re interested in hair or even black history, this is a great book to read. Probably one of the best on this list because of all the rigorous research the authors put into making it as accurate as possible.
8. A Piece of Cake
Describe in one word: Heartwrenching
This was by far one of the hardest books I’ve ever read in my life. Cupcake Brown was only 11 years old when her loving mother died. She was forced into the California Foster Care System which failed her. The first three days in the system she was raped viciously, and this cycle of abuse, rape, drugs, and alcohol followed her for years. She was angry, she joined gangs, she turned tricks and she survived. I won’t ruin the ending but it is so amazing how God works in our lives. This is not a tragic story, it’s one of resilience and success.
9. Dark Girls
Describe in one word: Necessary
It’s actually quite sad that a book like Dark Girls has to be put out to empower black women. You would think in the year 2015, we would have moved past trivial issues such as judging someone based on how dark or light their skin is. I bought this book, keeping my future daughter in mind. I want her to understand the beauty and versatility that comes with black skin. It doesn’t matter what hue you are, you are BEAUTIFUL. I also bought it because the images inside are so powerful. The stories that our sisters had to endure because of their rich dark skin are disheartening but they are not asking to be viewed as victims. They are sharing their stories solely for a breakthrough in societal thought. We have to move beyond the surface people!