This February, we all have a little extra time to celebrate Black History Month. Almost hitting a year in quarantine, I have found refuge in my bookshelf. You can adventure through stories andcharacters when you cannot adventure through the world. To celebrate Black authors, creators, and storytellers, consider taking some time to appreciate these amazing novels this month. These are just three (my personal favorites) of the many incredible works you can experience to learn and educate yourself about Black history by admiring those who have written it.
Wouldn’t Take Nothing for my Journey Now by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou is one of those voices you can’t get out of your head. This short but sweet read is a different kind of book, one you can finish in one sitting but stays with you in all moments of life. Maya Angelou details her core values, offering intimate anecdotes and an authentic glimpse into her story. I am sure this book will always stay on my shelf, and will be a constant recommendation and book gift.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurtson
When anyone asks what my favorite book is, one of my go-to responses is Their Eyes Were Watching God. I devoured this novel in my high school AP Literature class. The way Zora Neal Hurtson paints the characters, sets the stage, and operationalizes language, creates a scene that you immediately connect and care about on a level you didn’t think was possible. This book will forever frame your concept of time, relationships, and yourself, as Zora Neal Hurtson reminds us that the walk of life is anything but a straight line.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
What I love most about Washington Black are the memories I associate with it. As a freshman coming to Georgetown, every student had to read Washington Black and there was a complementary talk with Esi Edugyan. My roommate and I were eager to attend, having our book copies signed by the author. This novel reminds me of my first months finding my place and discovering myself on this hilltop, ironically what the story is similarly about. Somehow, I ended up with three copies that belong to my friends, none of which is my original one, but I don’t mind. Each copy takes the place of people that shaped my first year at Georgetown.
I could never give these books justice for what they deserve. Each author in her own right has accomplished an incredible piece of literature that will last for lifetimes. This February, take the time to truly and sincerely infuse these books into your world. I guarantee you that they will mold your mind, challenge your beliefs, and offer a lens into a world you have never seen.