Recommended Reads - Black History Month - Adult Collection

Celebrate Black History month with the voices of the Black Diaspora, which are as varied as the continent it rose from. Enjoy these diverse stories of the modern Black experience.

American Sweethearts

by Adriana Herrera

Juan Pablo Campos doesn't do regrets. He's living the dream as a physical therapist with his beloved New York Yankees. He has the best friends and family in the world and simply no time to dwell on what could've been. Except when it comes to Priscilla, the childhood friend he's loved for what seems like forever. New York City police detective Priscilla Gutierrez has never been afraid to go after what she wants. Second guessing herself isn't a thing she does. But lately, the once-clear vision she had for herself--her career, her relationships, her life--is no longer what she wants. What she especially doesn't want is to be stuck on a private jet to the Dominican Republic with JuanPa, the one person who knows her better than anyone else. By the end of a single week in paradise, the love/hate thing JuanPa and Pris have been doing for sixteen years has risen to epic proportions. No one can argue their connection is still there. And they can both finally admit--if only to themselves--they've always been a perfect match. The future they dreamed of together is still within reach...if they can just accept each other as they are.

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Any Known Blood

by Lawrence Hill

There were Canes in Canada before the United States erupted into civil war. Their roots are deep, their legacy is rich, but Langston Cane V knows little of his heritage. He is thirty-eight, divorced, and childless and has just been fired for sabotaging a government official's speech. The eldest son of a white mother and prominent black father, Langston feels more acutely than ever the burden of his illustrious family name and his racially mixed heritage. To be black in a white society is hard enough; to be half-black, half-white is to have no identity at all. Or so Langston believes. After a run-in with his father, Langston takes off for his feisty aunt's house in Baltimore, where he embarks on a remarkable quest for his family's past.

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Ayiti

by Roxane Gay

Clever and haunting by turns, Ayiti explores the Haitian diaspora experience. A married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A mother takes a foreign soldier into her home as a boarder, and into her bed. And a woman conceives a daughter on the bank of a river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood.

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The Black God’s Drums

by P. Djeli Clark

In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air—in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie's trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God's Drums. But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations. Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God's Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans

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The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

by Anissa Gray

The Butler family has had their share of trials, as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest, but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives. Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened. As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister's teenage daughters.

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Five-Carat Soul

by James McBride

An antiques dealer discovers that a legendary toy commissioned by Civil War General Robert E. Lee now sits in the home of a black minister in Queens. Five strangers find themselves thrown together and face unexpected judgment. An American president draws inspiration from a conversation he overhears in a stable. And members of The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band recount stories from their own messy and hilarious lives.

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Heads of the Colored People

by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with race, identity politics, and the contemporary middle class. Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous—two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids' backpacks—while others are devastatingly poignant. In the title story, when a cosplayer, dressed as his favorite anime character, is mistaken for a violent threat the consequences are dire; in another story, a teen struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with so-called black culture. Thompson-Spires fearlessly shines a light on the simmering tensions and precariousness of black citizenship.

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Hollywood Homicide

by Kellye Garrett

Dayna Anderson doesn't set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. So after witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she pursues the fifteen grand reward. But Dayna soon finds herself doing a full-on investigation, wanting more than just money she wants justice for the victim. She chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes, and movie premieres, loving every second of it until someone tries to kill her. And there are no second takes in real life.

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How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?

by N.K. Jemisin

In the first collection of her evocative short fiction, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story "The City Born Great," a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis's soul.

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Knucklehead

by Adam Smyer

Marcus Hayes is a black law student who struggles, sometimes unsuccessfully, with the impulse to confront everyday bad behavior with swift and antisocial action. The cause of this impulse is unknown to him. When Marcus unexpectedly becomes involved with the brilliant and kind Amalia Stewart, her love and acceptance pacify his demons. But when his demons return, he is no longer inclined to contain them.

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