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Welcome to our Reading List! Find new recommended reads here every month, find spotlights and recommendations for our book world friends, and shop with us!

A portion of the proceeds from all of your purchases at our store on Bookshop.org are donated back to us, helping us keep our fight for cultural equity going!

You can now also purchase gift cards through our Bookshop!

February 2023 Reading Recommendations 
Bookshop List 

HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH!
From honoring Black History Month to delving into an assortment of other exciting publications, we’ve tailored a knock-out list of the best upcoming reads to get you through February.

*use the links to buy via The Word's Bookshop - proceeds from each sale will be donated to support our cultural equity programs!

See and purchase all the books HERE!

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Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones

Genre: Horror

Blurb: December 12th, 2019, Jade returns to the rural lake town of Proofrock the same day as convicted Indigenous serial killer Dark Mill South escapes into town to complete his revenge killings, in this riveting sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author, Stephen Graham Jones. – Bookshop.org

 

The House of Eve: A Novel by Sadeqa Johnson

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb: From the award-winning author of Yellow Wife, a daring and redemptive novel set in 1950s Philadelphia and Washington, DC, that explores what it means to be a woman and a mother, and how much one is willing to sacrifice to achieve her greatest goal.

– Bookshop.org

 

These Infinite Threads by Taherah Mafi

Genre: Fantasy

Blurb: The breathtaking sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller This Woven Kingdom! Full of explosive magic, searing romance, and heartbreaking betrayal, this series from the award-winning and bestselling author of the Shatter Me series is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Sabaa Tahir, and Tomi Adeyemi. – Bookshop.org

 

Daughters of Oduma by Moses Ose Utomi

Genre: Fantasy

Blurb: An elite female fighter must reenter the competition to protect her found family of younger sisters in this scintillating young adult fantasy inspired by West African culture, perfect for fans of The Gilded Ones and Creed. – Bookshop.org

 

When You Wish Upon a Lantern by Gloria Chao

Genre: YA Romance

Blurb: Acclaimed author Gloria Chao creates real-world magic in this luminous romance about teens who devote themselves to granting other people's wishes but are too afraid to let themselves have their own hearts' desires--each other. –Bookshop.org

 

VenCo by Cherie Dimaline

Genre: Fantasy

Blurb: For fans of The Once and Future Witches and Practical Magic, comes an incredibly imaginative, highly anticipated new novel featuring witches, magic, and a road trip across America--from Cherie Dimaline, the critically acclaimed author of Empire of Wild.

– Bookshop.org

 

Promises of Gold / Promesas de Oro by José Olivarez

Genre: Poetry

Blurb: A groundbreaking collection of poems addressing how every kind of love--self, brotherly, romantic, familial, cultural--is birthed, shaped, and complicated by the invisible forces of gender, capitalism, religion, migration, and so on. – Bookshop.org

 

Chrome Valley by Mahogany L. Browne

Genre: Poetry

Blurb: Boldly lyrical and fiercely honest, Mahogany L. Browne's Chrome Valley offers an intricate portrait of Black womanhood in America. – Bookshop.org

 

A Spell of Good Things by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

Genre: Literary fiction

Blurb: A dazzling story of modern Nigeria and two families caught in the riptides of wealth, power, romantic obsession, and political corruption from the celebrated author of Stay with Me.  – Bookshop.org

 

Come Home Safe by Brian G. Buckmire

Genre: YA fiction

Blurb: A normal day. Until two siblings are accused of crimes they didn't commit. Come Home Safe explores the pain, the truths, and the hopes that come with growing up as a person of color in America, as well as why "the talk" and discussions about social justice are so important in the community. – Bookshop.org

 

Transitional: In One Way or Another, We All Transition by Munroe Bergdorf

Genre: Nonfiction

Blurb: The wise, life-changing, ground-breaking book from writer and activist Munroe Bergdorf. – Bookshop.org

 

Black Candle Women by Diane Marie Brown

Genre: Magical realism

Blurb: A warm and wry family drama with a magical twist about four generations of Black women living under one roof and the family curse that stems back to a Voodoo shop in 1950s New Orleans. – Bookshop.org

 

Tisa: New-Generation African Poets, a Chapbook Box Set edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani

Genre: Poetry

Blurb: This twelve-piece, limited-edition box set--an African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) project--features the work of eleven new African poets. – Bookshop.org

 

Of Blood and Sweat: Black Lives and the Making of White Power and Wealth by Clyde W. Ford

Genre: Nonfiction

Blurb: In this, provocative, timely, and painstakingly researched book, the award-winning author of Think Black tells the story of how Black labor helped to create and sustain the wealth of the white one percent throughout American history. – Bookshop.org

 

You Are Only Just Beginning: Lessons for the Journey Ahead by Morgan Harper Nichols

Genre: Poetry, self-help

Blurb: From bestselling author and beloved artist Morgan Harper Nichols, this illustrated collection of poetry empowers you to embrace your next adventure with confidence and grace. – Bookshop.org

LIZA'S HEALING

SELECTIONS

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The Healing Reads List is a reading list that goes beyond anti-racism books. This list is all about healing and uplifting within and across communities. The books shared on this list have been sources of healing for us throughout this year. This is a rolling list so stay tuned for new healing reads being added!

Liza Michelle Bevams is a writer and multimedia artist exploring life in the Rocky Mountains. She is currently working on her first novel.

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Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems

by Joy Harjo 

Poetry

"In these poems, the joys and struggles of the everyday are played against the grinding politics of being human."
Bookshop.org

Grab a copy here

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Directed by Desire
by June Jordan 

Poetry

"Directed by Desire . . . is a powerful addition to the entire canon of American poetry."
Booklist


“I must become the action of my fate”

June Jordan in “I Must Become a Menace to My Enemies”

Grab a copy here

Soft Science
by Franny Choi 

Poetry

"Choi creates an exhilarating matrix of poetry, science, and technology."

Publishers Weekly

Grab a copy here

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American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

by Terrance Hayes

Poetry

Overwhelming in every sense. Overwhelming in its brilliance, yes, but also overwhelming in its pacing, its style . . . The book, despite its breadth and clever turns, is a confrontation . . . His poems are like the slow and steady picking of a lock, until the door handle clicks."

Hanif Abdurraqib, Poets and Writers

Grab a copy here

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The New Testament

by Jericho Brown

Poetry

“To read Jericho Brown's poems is to encounter devastating genius."

—Claudia Rankine

Grab a copy here

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Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi 

Fiction

“An extraordinarily powerful and very different kind of physical and psychological migration story."

—Edwidge Danticat, The New Yorker

Grab a copy here

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 The Sentences That Create Us: Crafting a Writer’s Life in Prison

Edited by Caits Meissner, Pen America

Nonfiction

“This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read.” —Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Questions for Ada
by Ijeoma Umebinyuo 

Poetry

“These poems trace a path of healing full of power and vulnerability that resonates long after reading them."

—Liza

Grab a copy here

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Teahouse of the Almighty by Patricia Smith

Poetry

“This book took my breath away.” —Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams.

"I could not put this book down!"

—Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses

Nonfiction

"A real eye opener . . . It unpacks the seemingly 'universal' lessons we learn about what makes fiction good to reveal how whiteness and maleness have shaped those values." -Kumari Devarajan, Code Switch, NPR

Grab a copy here »

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The Book of Delights by Ross Gay

Nonfiction Essays

"The delights he extols here (music, laughter, generosity, poetry, lots of nature) are bulwarks against casual cruelties. As such they feel purposeful and imperative as well as contagious in their joy." -The New York Times Book Review

Grab a copy here »

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Wounds of Passions: A Writing Life by bell hooks

Nonfiction

“This book speaks to the heart.” -Liza Bevams

Grab a copy here »

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Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Sci-fi/Fantasy

“A prophetic and transformative novel.”

-Liza Bevams

Grab a copy here »

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Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

Autobiographical Novel

“This book is a gift of radical love that keeps unfolding and unfolding.” -Liza Bevams

Grab a copy here »

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The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor

Nonfiction

"This book took my breath away. It's an unexpected and urgent embrace of truth." --Brené Brown, Ph.D., author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, Dare to Lead

Grab a copy here »

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The Magic My Body Becomes: Poems by Jess Rizkallah

Poetry

"The Magic My Body Becomes is an extraordinary collection that captures the beauty and complexities of identity." —Liza

Grab a copy here »

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George M. Johnson- All Boys Aren't Blue

YA Nonfiction

"An absolute necessity . . . the personal stories and the healing and reconciliation of self in this title are all undeniably honest and relatable--a reminder of our shared imperfection and humanity." -Booklist

Grab a copy here »

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Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought- Briona Simone Jones (Editor)

Nonfiction

 "This collection of multi-generational writing is a demonstration of how radical and transformative love, self-love, can be." —Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Bernardine Evaristo- Girl, Woman, Other

Fiction

 "Girl, Woman, Other, the intermingling stories of generations of black British women told in a gloriously rich and readable free verse, will surely be seen as a landmark in British fiction."

-The Guardian

Grab a copy here »

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Natalie Diaz- Postcolonial Love Poem

Poetry

"Diaz's collection is no doubt one of the most important poetry releases in years, one to applaud for its considerable demonstration of skill, its resistance to dominant perspectives and its light wrought of desire."- The New York Times Book Review

Grab a copy here »

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Leslie Marmon Silko- Storyteller

Fiction and Poetry

"A source of healing, inspiration, and community." -Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Kiese Laymon- Heavy: An American Memoir

Nonfiction

"Reading this book gave me a new perspective on writing, love, forgiveness, and facing things that are difficult and uncomfortable to acknowledge. Kiese Laymon is a brilliant wordsmith." -Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Toi Derricotte- The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey

Nonfiction

"This is an insightful, courageous, and vibrant book. Derricotte's words linger and touch your soul." -Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Key Ballah- Preparing My Daughter For Rain

Poetry

"There is so much forgiveness and freedom in this book."- Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Toni Morrison- The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations

Nonfiction

"Morrison is more than the standard bearer of American literature. She is our greatest singer. And this book is perhaps her most important song" -The New York Times

Grab a copy here »

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Ibi Zoboi- My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich

Middle Grade

"Highlights the importance of imagination and learning to celebrate what it means to be different in a world that demands conformity."- Horn Book

Grab a copy here »

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Upile Chisala- Nectar

Poetry

These poems celebrate, encourage, and offer the reader a new perspective on hope and self-love. 

Grab a copy here »

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Black Imagination - Curated by Natasha Marin

Anthology

"(D)on't think for one minute that Black Imagination is easy. As you will read here, it is hard-earned and sometimes dangerous, but it's necessary, and radical, to claim and work towards. Listening to my people in this book gave me so much life, and I'm pretty sure, dear reader, you're in for the same."- from the Foreword by Steven Dunn

Grab a copy here »

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Yrsa Daley-Ward- bone

Poetry

Yrsa Daley-Ward's collection bone captures desire, vulnerability, and joy beautifully. This book is a place to find solace..

Grab a copy here »

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