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People are always asking me for book recommendations, but unfortunately I can never think of my best ones on the spot.  So, this page is a resource.  It is broken down by genre, so if you don't see something that's catching your eye, keep scrolling.  To read some of my full book reviews, check out my feed.

I love receiving recommendations as well, so feel free to leave some in my comments section.

~ With ♥ from Halima


American Gods – Neil Gaiman
One of my biggest problems with Western culture is that it relegates its belief systems to whatever day of the week its followers come together to worship and the rest of the time its forgotten.  This is a novel that addresses that from the perspective of the forgotten, Eastern gods.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine – Michael Lewis
When I bought my home in 2006, I got caught up in the doomsday machine.  This novel is solely considered fiction because it creates characters in order to describe the financial crisis which peaked in 2007.  This definitely had me looking at Wall Street and shaking my head.

If this isn’t a true story, it’s definitely a story based on the lives of countless heartbroken young girls.  In short this is a coming of age story of a young, black girl in the south.  She wants to do something with herself, but is seemingly derailed at every turn by the dark side of human nature – mainly from her own mother.
I picked this one up in a bargain bin a couple years back. Best literary find I’ve every stumbled across.  It’s the story of two 9/11 survivors.  They’re struggling to deal with the trauma of the terrorist event and find a support system in each other.  The style in which this novel is written does so much to give the reader the sense of confusion and loneliness these characters feel.

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
I haven't seen the movie yet, but I absolutely understand why this novel was made into a film. Flynn tells the tale of a dysfunctional, dissolving, downright crazy marriage. The wife goes missing and it seems like every character has a different story as to why. Flynn does a wonderful job of telling the husband's side of the story as well as the wife's because she makes both characters very relatable, until she throws in a plot twist.

This should probably be characterized as a philosophical study more than a novel, but I get it.  In this book, we learn about human nature through looking at it through the eyes of a gorilla.  Sounds crazy, but it’s a must read.
Kindred – Octavia Butler
Usually I’m not into what would be considered science fiction, but I kept hearing so much about Octavia Butler through the years and figured I’d check her out.  I’m under the assumption that this is one of her most popular novels.  Amazing twist on time traveling.  A black woman is living in the '70s with her white husband when some sort of portal allows her to travel through time back to slavery.   Even though it’s dated now, we’re a lot closer to the '70s than we are to slavery, so it still makes you think about how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.

This is a novel about a family split during slavery.  What caused it, how the family coped and the impact it had on all involved – even the slave owners.  For me, the end of this book made it epic in my eyes; amazing imagery.

The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
The author spun a tale around the little known about women of the Bible. Narrated by Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, the reader is taken through a historical, Biblical time from the female point of view.  Click here to read my full review of this novel
Silver Sparrow – Tayari Jones

This is the account of what happens when the daughter of a father with an illegitimate family befriends her half-sister.  Neither knew the other existed, but always longed for something more even though on the surface each had what the other wanted.  Definitely a tale of how one person’s selfishness can spill over into and ruin the lives of everyone around them.  Click here to read my review of this novel.

Set in Afghanistan, this is the story of one woman who had nothing and another who had everything.  But because of war, they both end up married to the same man and learned about the beauty of womanhood. Click here to read my review of this novel.

I love short stories and this is one I always recommend. It’s set in  Haiti, but I don’t go into much more detail because I don’t want to give too much away. You can read my review here.

Mainly set in China although there are some stories about the Chinese experience in America, almost every one of these includes an unexpected yet moving plot twist.

Autobiographies, Bios and Other Writings                   

Angela Davis: An Autobiography
All I can say is, Angela Davis is brilliant.  She wrote her autobiography in her 20s and her level of thinking at that time was amazing.  Definitely a must read for young adults.  Read more about my thoughts in my book review.

This was a truly beautiful story about Morrie, a retired professor, whose former student, Mitch Albom - the author-  reconnected with him in his last days. The life lessons Morrie relayed to Albom were, in my opinion, the key to a happy life.  You can read more about my thoughts on this book in my review.  

I Write What I Like - Steve Biko
I enjoy any book about or by strong leaders.  For those who don’t know, Steve Biko was an activist against South African apartheid.  What I found most striking about his writings is that he was so intelligent and passionate - and young.  In fact, his career was only public for about three years.  Definitely another must read for young adults.

Brain Food                                                                            

Democracy Matters – Cornel WestI never really thought much about Cornel West until I read this as part of a book club a used to run.  Definitely developed respect for him based on this book.  In short, he discussed how America prides itself in assisting in the development of democracy in other countries, but our own version of it is still flawed.

Kill Them Before They Grow: Misdiagnosis of African American Boys in American Classrooms – Michael Porter
I’ve seen so many brown men and boys around me who have had their life progress delayed or derailed because of false philosophies surrounding them.  These schools of thoughts and tactics assault them simply because of the color of their skin.  This book gave credence to my thoughts and more insight into this malicious strategy.

Outside of just the black community, America has this cookie cutter image of what everything should look like.  This book focuses on its ideal education system, which does not benefit those who aren’t living the American dream.   One big example is that America does not highly value and therefore does not invest in technically skilled individuals.  But it doesn’t make a way for many people of color to have anything, but technical occupations.  So, this leads to lack lifestyle, but more importantly lack of pride in self.

I picked this one up because I was curious about the process of fiction writing and I greI got a lot more than I bargained for with this one.  Really expanded the way I look at and think about blackness in literature that is not our own.  Morrison did this by exploring the thought process of other authors.  You can read my review here.

Simply put, West has analyzed and discussed race in America.  

This one is a must read for any professional, brown woman.  For every time you come home from work frustrated because you feel you wouldn’t have been treated a certain way if you were anyone else and you couldn’t react the way you wanted to for fear of becoming “the angry black woman” and affirming stereotypes.  This is a collection of stories just like yours to let us know we’re not alone.  The authors do analyze our experience as well so the reader gets insight in addition to the stories.

I was given this book as a gift, but never read it until it was recommended by one of my Twitter followers.  This is definitely one of those books you need to  be in a certain place in life to understand.  The second recommendation came at a time in my life when  I was learning to say “no” so I may take care of myself.  To read more about the book and my personal process, please read my book review.

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