By Lalaa Comrie
We all aim to give that gift that gets all the ‘ohhs’ and ‘ahhs’ imaginable. And what’s better than giving the gift of a great read.
After all, books are a gift you can open again and again.
While the options are endless let’s face it, the clock is ticking on your holiday shopping days. Here are a few great reads for everyone on your list that you can give.
Adults Fiction & Non-Fiction
Harlem Shuffle By Colson Whitehead – https://amzn.to/33OLoy9
From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys, a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in Harlem in the 1960s. Need I say more. Whitehead tells a story like no one else can and transports you to another world.
The Love Song of WEB Dubois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers https://amzn.to/32eD0aA
‘The Love Songs of W.E.B Du Bois’, is so beautifully written and moving. It is like reading something so intimate and special you cannot stop reading although you feel as though you are looking at private words that are meant for you. The great scholar, W. E. B. Du Bois, once wrote about the Problem of race in America, and what he called “Double Consciousness,” a sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive. Since childhood, Ailey Pearl Garfield has understood Du Bois’s words all too well. Bearing the names of two formidable Black Americans—the revered choreographer Alvin Ailey and her great grandmother Pearl, the descendant of enslaved Georgians and tenant farmers—Ailey carries Du Bois’s Problem on her shoulders. We follow her journey as a child, teenager, and adult and we learn her history and that of her family. Truly moving.
City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert – https://amzn.to/3pfIbjd
Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.
The Testaments: The Sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ – https://amzn.to/3eaHhhQ
More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry – https://amzn.to/3ec9mFh
Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since. Poppy takes a chance to fix what’s broken between them and she has a week to do so.
Homegoing by Yaa Ghasi –https://amzn.to/3mnCKwS
This is one of those books that I buy and give out as a gift almost every single year. The story follows the descendants of an Asante woman in the 1700s named Maame. Maame has one daughter while enslaved in a Fante village and another daughter after escaping back to Asanteland; as a consequence, her daughters never meet. Each chapter is dedicated to a descendant of one of the sisters and follows their journey of family, heritage, prejudice, love, marriage, discrimination, and slavery. Attempting to understand systematic racism and the plague that slavery had and continues to have on families is next to impossible. But through this novel, we can see how each generation is connected to the previous one and how some of the issues that plague one generation trickles to the next.
The Push: A Novel by Ashley Audrain – https://amzn.to/3snvjtx
A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family–and a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for–and everything she feared.
Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford – https://amzn.to/3stZJKy
Through poverty, adolescence, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley C. Ford wishes she could turn to her father for hope and encouragement. There are just a few problems: he’s in prison, and she doesn’t know what he did to end up there. She doesn’t know how to deal with the incessant worries that keep her up at night, or how to handle the changes in her body that draw unwanted attention from men. Somebody’s Daughter explores growing up a poor Black girl in Indiana with a family fragmented by incarceration.
Lalaa Comrie is an award-winning writer, literacy advocate, book blogger, and host of the Getting Lit Podcast, a podcast dedicated to reviews and recommendations for diverse reads coming out for the month. Her work has been highlighted by Toronto Life Magazine and she has worked with Twitter Canada, Books for Africa, Canada Reads, and Tech Spark Canada. Lalaa works at the York Region Arts Council helping to promote local arts and culture and also shares ways to #DiversifyYourBookshelf on her blog thisblackgirlreads.ca
Main photo: W.E. B. Dubois