What We’re Reading – June 2020

This month, we’re amplifying Black and POC voices because the content we read, watch, and listen to is an essential way to educate and inform ourselves. By no means is what we’ve shared here a comprehensive list of all the incredible work that’s been and continues to be created by our Black community.

This is what we’re reading —

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(Image source: them., Mohammed Fayaz)

Poetry


Counting Descent 

2016
by Clint Smith

“Counting Descent is a tightly-woven collection of poems whose pages act like an invitation. The invitation is intimate and generous and also a challenge; are you up to asking what is blackness? What is black joy? How is black life loved and lived? To whom do we look to for answers? This invitation is not to a narrow street, or a shallow lake, but to a vast exploration of life. And you’re invited.” — Elizabeth Acevedo, Author of Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths

100 pages

 

Citizen: An American Lyric

2014
by Claudia Rankine

This stunning, book-length poem “recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seemingly slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV—everywhere, all the time.”

160 pages

 

Dispatch

2019
by Cam Awkward-Rich

“[The author] reckons with American violence, while endeavoring to live and love in its shadow. Set against a media environment that saturates even our most intimate spaces, these poems grapple with news of racial and gendered violence in the United States today and in its past.”

88 pages

 

Non-Fiction


How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir

by Saeed Jones

“An award-winning poet, Jones has developed a style that’s as beautiful as it is powerful—a voice that’s by turns a river, a blues, and a nightscape set ablaze. How We Fight for Our Lives is a one-of-a-kind memoir that cements Saeed Jones as an essential writer for our time.”

208 pages

 

Becoming a Parent in the Age of Black Lives Matter

June 1, 2020
The Atlantic

“When the movement for black lives began, I did not have children. Now the fight means more to me—coupled with fears that are even deeper.”

3 minutes

 

Between the World and Me 

2015
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.”

176 pages

 

Why I See a Black Gay Therapist

Jan 13, 2020
them.

“The last thing I wanted to do was to have to explain or defend this shit to my therapist. There was also the issue — as depicted so well by a meme of the scene from Get Out when Chris is hypnotized by the white psychiatrist mother of his girlfriend — that it can literally drive you crazy ‘when your mental health care is ran by the people who are the reason you need mental health care.’”

28 minutes

 

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us

2017
by Hanif Abdurraqib

“Each essay is a masterful account of what it means to experience culture and current events in a black body, in a country that so often demands black silence. While Abdurraqib does not hold back the pain, the loss, the injustice, and the grief of this world, he draws attention to the small joys through which we can survive it.”

242 pages

 

Fiction


Beloved

1987
by Toni Morrison

“Toni Morrison’s magnificent Pulitzer Prize–winning work… brought the wrenching experience of slavery into the literature of our time, enlarging our comprehension of America’s original sin.”

345 pages

 

The Underground Railroad

2016
by Colson Whitehead

“Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.”

338 pages

 

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