March to be read list

The days are getting lighter, spring is on its way and Black British authors are doing the Lord’s work in providing us with some awesome reads.

Who’s Loving You: Love Stories by Women of Colour edited by Sareeta Domingo

Curated and edited by Sareeta Domingo, Who’s Loving You? is a celebration of love in all its guises written by women of colour, with ten original short stories from bold new voices, literary prize-winners, and national treasures.

Two souls come together and are torn apart, lifetime after lifetime. A seed of hope begins to grow out of the ashes of grief, heartbreak, and loss. Romance sparks in the most unexpected of places. And an unbreakable bond is formed that transcends countries, continents, and even the boundaries of time…

Exploring the full spectrum of love in all its messy, joyful, agonising, and exhilarating forms, Who’s Loving You? celebrates and places women of colour at the centre of romance, passion, and desire, these stories burn with an intensity and longing that lingers long after the final page.

Promising review:
A beautiful collection that I both lost and found myself in. Unbelievably exciting stories from some show-stoppingly talented writers.‘ – Candice Carty-Williams

Living While Black: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Racial Trauma by Guilaine Kinouani

Radical psychologist and therapist Guilaine Kinouani brings together powerful case studies, eye-opening research, and effective coping techniques from her award-nominated blog, Race Reflections, to help readers to protect their mental and physical health from the harm of white supremacy.

Using radical self-care tools to improve day-to-day wellness, Living While Black will teach you how to thrive and find hope – or even joy – in the face of racial adversity. It is also an essential anti-racist resource for allies who want to do better.

Promising reviews:
Living While Black is a powerful wake-up call for Black people interested in learning about self-identity and mental well-being. It also offers important resources for white allies’ – Patrick Vernon OBE, co-author of ‘100 Great Black Britons

Every feeling I’ve experienced as a Black woman navigating my way through this racist world was articulated here. Texts on race often just expose trauma. The beauty of this was she also offered solutions. This book felt like The Ancestors had enveloped me in a huge hug, whispered in my ear and gave me the strength to just keep going’ – Ava Vidal, comedian, and author

Asking for a friend by Andi Osho

Asking for a Friend is an uplifting and hilarious debut by comedian Andi Osho. Forty-something Jemima’s life is on track – well, sort of, she just needs to bat her niggly ex away for good. Twenty-something Meagan is in the midst of her five-phase plan and is nearly ready for phase three: a relationship. While thirty-something Simi has had more it’s not yous than any I dos. These three best friends are going to solve their relationship woes once and for all. It’s time to ditch the dating apps and play the love game by their own rules. What could possibly go wrong?

Promising reviews:
A mistressclass in humour‘ Jo Brand

Hilarious, laugh-out-loud, fun and joyous‘ Shazia Mirza

Bessie Smith by Jackie Kay

The reissue of Jackie Kay’s 1997 book about Bessie Smith brings to life the tempestuous story of the woman called ‘empress of the blues’.

Bessie Smith was born in Tennessee in 1894. Orphaned by the age of nine, she sang on street corners before becoming a big name in travelling shows. In 1923 she made her first recording for a new start-up called Columbia Records. It sold 780,000 copies and made her a star. Her life was notoriously difficult: she was known to drink pints of ‘bathtub gin‘, got into violent fistfights, spent huge sums of money, and had passionate love affairs with men and women.

As a young black girl growing up in Glasgow, Jackie Kay found in Bessie someone with whom she could identify and who she could idolise. In this remarkable book, Kay mixes personal memory, biography, fiction, poetry, and prose to create an enthralling account of an extraordinary life.

Unspoken: Toxic Masculinity and How I Faced the Man Within the Man by Guvna B

Men are bold. Men are brave. Men are strong in the face of fear. But what happens when that strength crumbles?
In this intimate, honest, and unflinching memoir, rapper Guvna B draws on his personal experiences to explore how toxic masculinity affects young men today.

Growing up on a council estate in East London, he thought he knew everything he needed to know about what it means to be a man. But when a personal tragedy sent him reeling, he knew he had to face these assumptions head-on if he was going to be able to overcome his grief. Exploring ideas of male identity, Unspoken is an inspirational account of Guvna’s journey.

All the books are available from the online retailer Hive where you can also make a donation to support an independent bookstore of your choice.


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