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Off the Shelf: 9 Must Read Books Centred on Black Love

Off the Shelf: 9 Must Read Books Centred on Black Love

List inspired by Simon & Schuster, Inc 'Off the Shelf' Newsletter. What better way to celebrate Black History Month (and also Valentine’s Day) this February than by reading stories where Black love is at the forefront? The books in this list capture love’s power to repair wounds, cross boundaries, communicate the inexplicable, and so much more. While they grapple with tough issues, at heart these are hopeful stories with characters you won’t be able to resist falling in love with yourself.

Playlist Tags: AkooBooks genre: Romance black love black history month topic: love romance

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How to Catch a Queen

Runaway Royals

By Alyssa Cole
Narrated by: Karen Chilton
Length: 10 hours 53 minutes

How to Catch a Queen

“In a time when Black kings and queens are a much-need balm to a seeming overflow of anti-Black sentiment, I fell in love with Shanti and Sanyu. Bogged down by tradition, ritual, and grief, Sanyu is trapped in a well of unrealistic expectations. Shanti, a queen searching for her kingdom, is the self-assured heroine we all look for and want to be. This story of their partnership turned love affair is filled with forbidden heat and flames, as well as the promise of a better tomorrow. Complex characters for complex times. I loved it.”

East City Bookshop image Keiana Mayfield, East City Bookshop
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Yonder

A Novel

By Jabari Asim
Narrated by: Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Lamarr Gulley, JD Jackson, Adam Lazarre-White, Imani Jade Powers & Janina Edwards
Length: 8 hours 16 minutes

The Water Dancer meets The Prophets in this spare, gripping, and beautifully rendered novel exploring love and friendship among a group of enslaved Black strivers in the mid-19th century.

They call themselves the Stolen. Their owners call them captives. They are taught their captors’ tongues and their beliefs but they have a language and rituals... Read more »

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Black Joy

By Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts
Narrated by: Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts
Length: 7 hours 15 minutes

With deeply personal and uplifting essays in the vein of Black Girls Rock, You Are Your Best Thing, and I Really Needed This Today, this is “a necessary testimony on the magic and beauty of our capacity to live and love fully and out loud” (Kerry Washington).

When Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts wrote an essay on Black joy for The Washington Post, she... Read more »

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Seven Days in June

By Tia Williams
Narrated by: Mela Lee
Length: 10 hours 32 minutes

Seven Days in June

“Fans of second chances and epic teenage love will fall hard for this book. There is just so much feeling and feelings. Chemistry just crackles off the page.”

A Great Good Place for Books image Zinna, A Great Good Place for Books
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Real Men Knit

Real Men Knit series: Book #1

By Kwana Jackson
Narrated by: Keylor Leigh
Length: 8 hours 52 minutes

"If you're looking for an easy charmer, this is the novel for you."—Shondaland
 
When their foster-turned-adoptive mother suddenly dies, four brothers struggle to keep open the doors of her beloved Harlem knitting shop.


Jesse Strong is known for two things: his devotion to his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, and his reputation for breaking hearts. When... Read more »

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Love Radio

By Ebony LaDelle
Narrated by: Joniece Abbott-Pratt & JaQwan J. Kelly
Length: 8 hours 49 minutes

Hitch meets The Sun Is Also a Star in this witty and romantic teen novel about a self-professed teen love doctor with a popular radio segment who believes he can get a girl who hates all things romance to fall in love with him in only three dates.

Prince Jones is the guy with all the answers—or so it seems. After all, at seventeen, he has his own... Read more »

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From Scratch

A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home

By Tembi Locke
Narrated by: Tembi Locke
Length: 10 hours 17 minutes

From Scratch

“I just finished wiping away my last tear as I close the curtain on From Scratch, a brilliant, compelling memoir. Tembi Locke lost her larger-than-life Italian chef husband at an early age to cancer. The book is a love letter to him as well as to enchanting Sicily and its aromatic, tantalizing food. But more than anything, it is the most memorable and thoughtful gift that her daughter will ever receive. I highly recommend the audio version which is read by the author. From Scratch is one of the best memoirs that I have ever read and one of my top five best books that I read this Summer.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Melinda, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty

A Novel

By Akwaeke Emezi
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 9 hours 57 minutes

A Good Morning America Buzz Pick, and a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by The Washington Post, Oprah Daily, Vulture, Harper’s Bazaar, Thrillist, Essence, Good Housekeeping, Glamour, Marie Claire, Parade, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Refinery29, Business Insider, The Guardian, Financial Times, PopSugar, Book Riot, LitHub, Bookish, LGBTQ Reads, and more!

“A... Read more »

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