Hello all. As I’m sure most of you lovely bloggers and readers are aware, Lionel Shriver recently bashed Penguin Random House for their intentions to continue to pursue BAME talents. She basically said that by pursuing BAME authors PRH were compromising on quality… As if people of colour can’t write books as excellent as white people… Because this is obviously a ridiculous and racist comment to make, and an incredible insult to so many award-winning and under-represented authors in the world, I decided to share some of my favourite books from BAME authors from 2018 and what I love about them so much. And in response to her accusation about poor quality writing, have a little look below at the incredible achievements of these books.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
With an insightful and unapologetically honest look at what it’s like to be a person of colour in Britain today, Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People About Race is the perfect read for those furious about the treatment of modern race issues, but also those who might feel unsure or slightly embarrassed about their lack of knowledge.
I devoured this book in a kind of frenzied hunger when I first got it. And, as it’s such an easy to understand and informative writing style, I dip into the different chapters/essays frequently when I feel like I need to look closer at one of my own opinions or a discussion I’ve seen or participated in. It’s important to note that, despite the title (and title of the original essay posted online in 2014) it is in no way some kind of prejudice comment outing all white people as racist as some people suggest *sigh*. That’s not the point of this book at all.
Reni Eddo-Lodge has a focus on White Guilt, White Saviour Complexes, White Superiority, and their effect on society today, and the inequality that people of colour face. I find it incredibly important because, as a light-skinned mixed-raced woman who benefits from White aestheticism, it reminds me to check my privilege and work for my family and friends who do not get the same chances as I do. There are so many instances where you may have not noticed or overlooked an issue of racism because it isn’t overt but it is still important and this is exactly the right book to help you recognise that. You don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) keep asking people of colour “what can I do?”. Do your research and your reading and make a difference. Start here.
WINNER OF A 2018 BRITISH BOOK AWARD
WINNER OF THE 2018 JHALAK PRIZE
WINNER OF THE 2018 BREAD & ROSES AWARD FOR RADICAL PUBLISHING
WINNER OF THE 2018 WOMEN IN CREATIVE INDUSTRIES ‘BOLD MOVES’ AWARD
A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED FOR A 2018 BRITISH BOOK AWARD (NARRATIVE NON-FICTION)
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL WRITING
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2017
FOYLES NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKS ARE MY BAG READERS AWARDS (NON-FICTION) 2017
BLACKWELL’S NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017
SELECTED BY EMMA WATSON AS AN ‘OUR SHARED SHELF’ BOOK CLUB READ
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
If you love fantasy and want more worlds that stem from African cultures, histories and mythologies, I can’t stress enough how fantastic and immersive this book was. I adored this book so much. Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American author and she has created an impressive, detailed world inspired by West African mythology.
There are themes of oppression and power that mimic reality, and project them onto a black fantasy society in which black characters are at the forefront, taking centre stage in a hero plot line. There are moments early on that I really appreciate Tomi Adeyemi including – white aestheticism and the admiration of light skin play a part in one of the main character’s insecurities; it’s such an important and relevant issue that has been prevalent in our societies for hundreds and hundreds of years, and I love the way it is explored.
It’s so refreshing to explore a landscape that isn’t inspired by the Metropolis of modern Western civilisation. The cities and towns outside the main city walls are so fascinating and Tomi Adeyemi gives me everything that I want – animals and wildlife, peoples and customs, forests and elemental magic, gods and goddesses that exist outside my expectations. Reading this book was an incredible experience and I can’t wait for the next one!
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
MOVIE IN PRODUCTION WITH FOX 2000 AND TEMPLE HILL PRODUCTIONS
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I know, I’m only just reading this book. I don’t know what took me so long – I think, if I’m being honest, after limiting my ‘fun reading’ while studying, I missed out on grabbing this book. BUT I’ve finally read it and it honestly destroyed me. It was so beautiful and it engulfed me whole.
Starr’s story was so immersive and it felt like an honour to get to know her better. It was so amazing getting to know her community and the separation between her ‘two lives’, the two different versions of herself that she felt she had to put on. Unfortunately the realness of her situation is so prevalent, the responsibility of being a black teenager in a white school with white privilege is such a difficult situation and can confuse your sense of identity. On top of that, she has to deal with the death of a friend, and come to terms with the fact that it’s a situation that recurs so often that people don’t recognise the importance of it.
There are so many elements of truth in this book that I almost hesitate to call it fiction. The characters are fictional, but the situations, the events, opinions, media influences in the book have and continue to happen. So this is not a story to overlook. You’ll read this book and see elements of it everywhere. Watch the news, read about it online, and you’ll see Starr and Khalil everywhere. If the opinions in White society don’t make you cringe or want to speak out then you need to step away from yourself and recognise how your actions or opinions affect other people from minority backgrounds.
BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK AWARD WINNER
CORETTA SCOTT KING HONOUR
EDGAR ALLAN POE AWARD NOMINEE
MICHAEL L. PRINTZ HONOUR BOOK
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST
WILLIAM C. MORRIS AWARD
MOVIE IN PRODUCTION (OUT AUTUMN 2018)