How the Word Is Passed
A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America
If you enjoyed Long Time Coming, then you’ll love How the Word Is Passed.
“From plantation to Angola Prison. From Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, VA to the African Burial Ground in New York City. From Île de Gorée to Whitney Plantation. From the Emancipation Proclamation to Juneteenth. Clint Smith takes us on an unforgettable journey through the history of slavery in the United States, revealing many truths we’ve never been told. Using lyrical prose, he creates a mesmerizing history lesson told through his personal lens. The facts are punctuated by his reactions to the spaces he visits and the stories he hears in each space. Hard truths told in beautiful language make this a book both highly informative and extremely accessible. Every American should listen to or read it; most of us have a great deal to learn and unlearn. And Smith’s poetic prose and personal voice keep it from feeling like the invaluable sociology and history lesson it is. Definitely one of the best books of the year.”Nancy, Raven Book Store
“Perhaps I have a different perspective on this book because I have a younger brother who is a Black, 20-something man in sales, but this book presents an evocative, honest, complex portrait of being a BIPOC person in a white-dominant workplace (albeit one that is high-powered, sales-driven, and New York City-based). This is a book that allows a reader to be seen if this is their experience, but also for a reader to learn about a different reality if this is not their own. Black Buck is a tightly woven, contemporary debut from an author to watch.”BrocheAroe Fabian, River Dog Book Co.
Ida B. the Queen
Journalist. Suffragist. Antilynching crusader. In 1862, Ida B. Wells was born enslaved in Holly Springs, Mississippi. In 2020, she won a Pulitzer Prize.
Ida B. Wells committed herself to the needs of those who did not have power. In the eyes of the FBI, this made her a “dangerous negro agitator.” In the annals of history, it makes her an icon.
... Read more »
How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All
The epic history of African American women's pursuit of political power -- and how it transformed America.
In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women's movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing... Read more »
The Three Mothers
How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation
This program is read by the author.
Much has been written about Berdis Baldwin's son James, about Alberta King's son Martin Luther, and Louise Little's son Malcolm. But virtually nothing has been said about the extraordinary women who raised them.
In her groundbreaking and essential debut The Three Mothers, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates...
Such a Fun Age
“A racial comedy of manners for the digital age, Such a Fun Age is a hilarious and cringe-inducing look at white people trying to do the right thing: badly, and for all the wrong reasons. Nicole Lewis's reading is a dazzling feat: expertly code-switching between the voice Emira uses with her friends, to the voice she uses with her boss, Alix, to the voice her boss's suburban black friend, Tamara, uses with Alix, to the voice Tamara uses with Emira. I don't think I would have enjoyed this book half as much without this effortlessly nuanced narration.”Rachel, The Book Table
Four Hundred Souls
A Community History of African America, 1619-2019
“An absolutely stunning history of African America for people who do not normally read history. Compiled of short stories, essays, and poems, it is perfect for someone who is intimidated by lists of names and dates. Each individual voice stands on its own but together they truly make a 'choir' that flows together beautifully. This is a one-of-a-kind history that is essential reading for everyone.”Tia, Quail Ridge Books
When No One Is Watching
“Cole’s thriller exposes the underbelly of gentrification and prosperity, taking a searing look at systemic racism. When a pharmaceutical firm plans to move its headquarters to a historically Black Brooklyn neighborhood, an influx of rich white people displace Black residents from their homes and their roots. Timely, groundbreaking, and thought-provoking, When No One Is Watching is essential reading for the #BlackLivesMatter movement.”Alyssa Raymond, Copper Dog Books
Party of Two
A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking in this New York Times bestseller.
Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late... Read more »
The first science fiction written by a Black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of Black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably... Read more »
The Death of Vivek Oji
If you enjoyed Transcendent Kingdom, then you’ll love The Death of Vivek Oji.
“This is a deeply emotional book. It's the story of Vivek’s life and death. Vivek was a person who shifted identities, whose relationship to the world was at once heavy and heartbreakingly delicate. Emezi brings her mastery of characters and language to this book, and you will not want to put it down. The Death Of Vivek Oji is a work of art, it will make you feel.”Izzy, Off the Beaten Path
Hell of a Book
***2021 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER***
***THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER***
Winner of the 2021 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize Finalist, 2022 Chautauqua Prize Finalist, Willie Morris Award for Southern Writing Shortlist, and the 2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize shortlist
A Read With Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!
An... Read more »
Girl, Woman, Other
“The twelve Black British women who are the central characters in Bernardine Evaristo's GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER are so vastly different that when their connections are slowly revealed, like a spider web you didn't see until the light hits it just so, you'll settle in and become entranced. I loved this deep dive into a part of British culture that isn't often depicted. The form is unusual but once you give yourself over to it, you'll see why it works. I particularly loved the last part of the book which reminded me of enjoying a long leisurely meal and still leaving room for the perfect dessert. The ending was terribly satisfying. Highly recommend.”Rachel, Avid Bookshop
A mother and daughter with a shared talent for healing—and for the conjuring of curses—are at the heart of this dazzling first novel
WINNER OF THE SOCIETY OF AMERICAN HISTORIANS PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times • NPR • Parade • Book Riot • PopMatters
“Lush, irresistible . . . It took me into the hearts of... Read more »
“Mothers and daughters and their fraught relationships are the heart of this novel. Secrets, loss, tragedy, and tradition inextricably bind and trap seven women in ways completely unknown to some and only partially known by others. In modern-day Harlem, as gentrification threatens and changes the landscape, life inside one brownstone continues remarkably unchanged and mostly hidden. Using magical realism and fascinating characters, Jerkins creates an often shadowy world. She masterfully highlights the effects of gentrification, racism and inequality, and abuse, while weaving a mesmerizing story of these mothers and daughters.”Nancy, Raven Book Store
Dust Tracks on a Road
“Warm, witty, imaginative.... This is a rich and winning book.”—The New Yorker
Dust Tracks on a Road is the bold, poignant, and funny autobiography of novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, one of American literature’s most compelling and influential authors. Hurston’s powerful novels of the South—including Jonah’s Gourd...Read more »
Here for It
Or, How to Save Your Soul in America; Essays
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Read with Jenna Book Club Pick as Featured on Today • From the creator of Elle’s “Eric Reads the News,” a heartfelt and hilarious memoir-in-essays about growing up seeing the world differently, finding unexpected hope, and experiencing every awkward, extraordinary stumble along the way.
“Pop culture–obsessed, Sedaris-level... Read more »
“Maybe it's because I listened to this book on Libro.fm and the author was the narrator, but this novel felt so personal a story, that I kept thinking it was a memoir. The story follows two men, Benson and Mike, who live together and are in a tense, emotionally distant relationship. While Mike's mom is arriving from Japan for a long stay and visit in their home, Mike is getting on a flight to Japan to care for his father, with no plans to return anytime soon. We follow Benson, the boyfriend left behind, as he meets Mike's mother for the first time and struggles to welcome her into their home while her son leaves her behind with a stranger. The awkwardness of the characters ring so true in this story. I loved Washington's writing that allows us to peek into their very private lives, some stories they won't even tell each other. As Benson's story gets more complicated, dealing with his own family and his loyalty to Mike, the story pivots and we get to see Mike in Japan, awkwardly trying to rekindle a very strained relationship with his stoic father who is slowly dying of cancer. Both characters are nuanced, with plenty of learning and change throughout their stories, we also get glimpses into life in Japan, life as immigrants, and the lives of gay men in modern times.”Jessica, BookBar