Monday, February 23, 2015

Historical Fiction February: Top 5 Black History Month Books

When I started to plan out this historical fiction event I wasn't even thinking about February being Black History Month. I took a Civil Rights Era seminar in college so I have read a decent chunk of books dealing with the subject so I have a few books I want to highlight and recommend.

Please feel free to leave me any other suggestions in the comments.

Beloved By Toni Morrison

I read this book in AP English in high school and I have to admit that at first glance this novel frustrated me. I think the reason for that is that it is such a disturbing yet real novel about what life was like for escaped slaves and the sacrifices they made. This book also gets into somewhat magical realism when the character of Beloved shows up. I didn't know this was a part of a trilogy, but I think this is a powerful novel that is hard to swallow.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Alice Walker's novel is another novel about women of color that is hard to swallow. There is a lot of graphic abuse in this novel, so if you are going to read it I think you might want that warning beforehand. The novel is set in 1930s Georgia but it really shows that even though slavery was gone the prejudice and social unjust was still very prevalent.

Bud, Not Buddy By Christopher Paul Curtis

I read this novel about Bud, an orphaned African American boy in 1930s America when I was in the fifth grade and it's just one of those novels that has stuck with me over the years. Like the previous book I featured, this one also shows a lot of racial tension that was still heavily entrenched in society, but this one is set in a child's perspective. I think it's important to see this time period in both the adult and child's perspective. 

To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

I was a little hesitant to include Harper Lee's novel because although it is one of my favorite novels, I think it does utilize the white savior narrative too much. I do still think the novel has merit and I think it is an important piece to look at.

Long George Alley By Richard Hall

I tried to write my final paper in my seminar on this novel, but I struggled because there was not a lot of peer review on it. I don't know where my professor dug up this novel because there are barely any reviews on Good Reads either. This is a novel told in multiple perspective during the height of the civil rights movement so I think it's an essential book to add to your pile. I just wish there had been more criticism and discussion on this book. 

So these are just a few good books I selected to highlight for black history month. These are five books I have read and enjoyed, but I want to hear from you. Do you have any book suggestions for black history month?

Happy Reads Everyone!