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Mixtape 19: Reading as Fundamental

In addition to being fundamental reading allows us to:

  • Re/discover ourselves-connecting to events emotions, experiences, and characters in books

  • Broaden our dimensions of likes and dislikes, learning what pleases us.

  • Receive valuable lessons from an author’s years of research.

  • Reduces stress and receive better sleep-According to research even six minutes can reduce your stress levels by as high as 68 percent! Psychologists believe that reading provides distraction from the real world.

  • Experience a myriad of emotions including joy and happiness.

  • To be humble as we’re reminded how much we don't know.


New People - Danzy Senna

New People is a sharp commentary on race disguised as a suspense thriller. The book follows Maria, a biracial New Yorker who seems to have the perfect life. She's a research scholar, she's engaged to an entrepreneur who's launching a new internet venture, and she's the star of a documentary about biracial Americans. However, when Maria becomes obsessed with a poet, she begins to question what it means to be black and what it means to be successful in a world where there seems to be defined expectations for both. "I'm interested in narratives with black protagonists that don't follow an expected script," This novel will leave you think about the plight of Maria long after you've turned the last page.

The Other Black Girl -

Zakiya Dalila Harris

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel

starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the


Summer on the Bluffs - Sunny Hostin

Welcome to Oak Bluffs, the most exclusive black beach community in the country. Known for its gingerbread Victorian-style houses and modern architectural marvels, this picturesque town hugging the

sea is a mecca for the cr me de la cr me of black society—where Michelle and Barack Obama vacation and Meghan Markle has shopped for a house for her mom. Black people have lived in this pretty slip of the Vineyard since the 1600s and began buying property in the 1800s, making this posh town the embodiment of “old money.”

An American Marriage - Tayari Jones

If there is one book that demonstrates that fiction can be as revealing as even the most grounded nonfiction, it's Tayari Jones's An American Marriage. The book follows a newlywed couple, Celeste and Roy,

who are trying to build a life together. But when Roy is arrested for a crime he didn't commit, Celeste and Roy's world is thrown into disarray, resulting in a gripping tale about race, love, and family, as well as the forces like incarceration that can disrupt them and what we will do to hold onto the future we want for ourselves.

Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts- Rebecca Hall

Part graphic novel, part memoir, Wake is an imaginative tour-de-force that tells the story of women-led slave revolts and chronicles scholar Rebecca Hall’s efforts to uncover the truth about these women warriors who, until now, have been left out of the historical record. Women warriors planned and led slave revolts on slave ships during the Middle Passage. They fought their enslavers throughout the Americas. And then they were erased from history. Wake tells the story of

Dr. Rebecca Hall, a historian, granddaughter of slaves, and a woman haunted by the legacy of slavery. The accepted history of slave revolts has always told her that enslaved women took a back seat. But Rebecca decides to look deeper, and her journey takes her through old court records, slave ship captain’s logs.

Compilations: Essay - Poetry

Thick: And Other Essays - Tressie McMillan Cottom

In this collection of essays, Cottom discusses her life experiences in the context of social and political theories she's studied in order to explore different facets of the black female experience in the U.S. It’s

the perfect blend of scholarly writing and personal anecdote. She touches on race, beauty, and even BBQ Becky.

Don't Call Us Dead - Danez Smith

Danez Smith's poetry collection Don't Call Us Dead is a breathtaking look at being black, being queer, and living with HIV, when the world seems hostile to those very identities. The opening poem, "summer,

somewhere," is a 25-page-long elegy that imagines paradise for black boys killed by police violence, and will leave readers vibrating with anger, sadness and resolve as a result of Smith's haunting prose.

Best Black Women’s Erotica 2 - edited by Samiyah Bashir

Whether you hide this book under your mattress, or display it proudly on your coffee table, Samiyah Bashir’s compilation is an exciting exploration of Black woman’s sexuality. I highly recommend the second

anthology because “Lujon 1” by Kimberly White is my favorite short story of all time.

Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge

Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race is an essay collection that examines structural racism. It was borne out of frustration about conversations about race. The book began as a 2014 blog post by the same title, in which Eddo-Lodge wrote "I can no longer engage with the gulf of an emotional disconnect that white people display when a person of colour articulates our experiences." Throughout her collection, Eddo-Lodge discusses class, race, gender, and privilege, through the framework of British culture and history. But whether you're English or not, the book's exploration of inequality will echo with readers all over the world.

The 100 Best African American Poems - edited by Nikki Giovanni

As Black women, we live poetry. There’s a rhythm in our walk, there’s a cadence in our talk. Our lives will bring you to tears of sadness and of pride. Nikki Giovanni compiled an anthology of the 100 greatest African American poems. And I agree with every last one of them. Even if you aren’t a poet, even if you don’t spend your weekends at poetry slams, you’ll like this collection. Trust me.

Sistah Vegan edited by A. Breeze Harper

Reading this book is like eavesdropping on a conversation between best friends. Here, Black women explore being Black and health conscious. I know, I know. The world doesn’t think that exists. And yet, in this book, our sisters talk about what it’s like to be in a Black family, on a Black date, or in a Black marriage while vegan. This is motivation for anyone—whether you are vegan or simply trying to become a

healthier woman.

Four Hundred Souls - Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 is a unique one-volume “community” history of African Americans. The editors, Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, have

assembled ninety brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five-year period of that four-hundred-year span. The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes, and fiery polemics. They approach history from various perspectives: through the eyes of towering historical icons or the untold stories of ordinary people; through places, laws, and objects. While themes of resistance and struggle, of hope and reinvention, course through the book, this collection of diverse pieces from ninety different minds, reflecting ninety different perspectives, crumbling correspondence, and even the forensic evidence from the bones of enslaved women from the “negro burying ground” uncovered in Manhattan. She finds women warriors everywhere.

This Will Be My Undoing - Morgan Jerkins

In her debut book, writer and journalist Morgan Jerkins dives into what it means to a black woman in modern society. Through essays about everything from Sailor Moon to the "Black Girl Magic" movement, Jerkins outlines how race, womanhood, and feminism intersect. It's all delivered with the sharp criticism that has made Jerkins a must-follow voice in today's media landscape.

You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience - Tarana Burke and

Brene Brown

Tarana Burke and Dr. Bren  Brown bring together a dynamic group of Black writers, organizers, artists, academics, and cultural figures to discuss the topics the two have dedicated their lives to understanding and teaching: vulnerability and shame resilience. It started as a text between two friends. Tarana Burke, founder of the ‘me too.’ Movement, texted researcher and writer Bren  Brown to see if she was free to jump on a call. Bren  assumed that Tarana wanted to talk about wallpaper. They had been trading home decorating inspiration boards in their last text conversation so Bren  started scrolling to find her latest Pinterest pictures when the phone rang. But it was immediately clear to Bren  that the conversation wasn’t going to be about wallpaper. Tarana’s hello was serious and she hesitated for a bit before saying, “Bren, you know your work affected me so deeply, but as a Black woman, I’ve sometimes had to feel like I have to contort myself to fit into some of your words. The core of it rings so true for me, but the application has been harder.” Bren replied, “I’m so glad we’re talking about this. It makes sense to me. Especially in terms of vulnerability. How do you take the armor off in a country where you’re not physically or emotionally safe?”

We Were Eight Years In Power - Ta-Nehisi Coates

We Were Eight Years In Power is a collection of Coates' essays written about race, history, and power during the eight years of Obama's presidency. Many of the essays were previously published in The

Atlantic, and then Coates augmented the book with eight new essays, one written for each year of the Obama era. Put together, they provide an important element for processing modern-day America: context. A critical look at race in the U.S. delivered with Coates' characteristic thoughtfulness and wisdom, We Were Eight Years In Power situates the current social, political, and cultural conversations we're having as a country within the larger web of history, making it a must-read.


When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele

When They Call You A Terrorist is a fact check of public record. The book tells the story of the creation of Black Lives Matter, the movement dedicated to fighting injustice that was subject of a petition aiming to

label it a terrorist organization. The book also details the coming of age story of the woman who cocreated the movement, Patrisse Cullors. But the book is more than a recounting of the past. This memoir acts as a beacon of hope for readers — that community activism makes a difference, that it is possible to stand up to injustice, and that no matter who you are, you still get to tell your own story.

A Piece of Cake - Cupcake Brown

Black women be surviving, don’t we? We survive the loss of our parents, we survive poverty, we survive rape, we survive lies, we survive low self-esteem. We survive doubt. And we graduate, and we succeed. And when you meet us, you wouldn’t know we’ve suffered a day in our life. Read Cupcake Brown’s memoir and be inspired. You, too, can make it.

How to Be An Antiracist - Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi is a black man and an award-winning scholar who's studied the history of racist ideas. In his 2019 book, How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi arguably takes a risky self-critical approach by looking at how racist thoughts took root in his own life. Kendi argues that without the capacity for honest self-reflection and critical thinking, we'll remain a nation of Americans who swear they’re not racist but continue to hold racist views and support racist policies. The book effectively weaves together memoir and analysis while showing readers specifically how to become the antiracists this country needs them to be.

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness - Austin Channing Brown

Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker, and expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion.

How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice – Jemar Tisby

How to Fight Racism is a handbook for pursuing racial justice with hands-on suggestions bolstered by realworld

examples of change. Tisby offers an array of actionable items to confront racism in our relationships and in everyday life through a simple framework--the A.R.C. Of Racial Justice--that helps

readers consistently interrogate their own actions and maintain a consistent posture of anti-racist action. This book is for anyone who believes it is time to stop compromising with racism and courageously confront it.

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America Hardcover – Ijeoma Oluo

What happens to a country that tells generation after generation of white men that they deserve power? What happens when success is defined by status over women and people of color, instead of by actual accomplishments? Through the last 150 years of American history - from the post-reconstruction South and the mythic

stories of cowboys in the West, to the present-day controversy over NFL protests and the backlash against the rise of women in politics - Ijeoma Oluo exposes the devastating consequences of white male

supremacy on women, people of color, and white men themselves. Mediocre investigates the real costs of this phenomenon in order to imagine a new white male identity, one free from racism and sexism.

Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires

Shomari Wills

Annie Turnbo Malone created the largest hair care brand in the country. Robert Reed Church was, at one point, one of the largest landowners in Memphis. Turnbo Malone was the daughter of slaves and Church

escaped slavery, but both went on to become entrepreneurs and millionaires. Author Shomari Wills details those and other similar improbable success stories in Black Fortunes.

They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South

Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers

In this book, historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers makes the case that white women benefited just as much from the American slave system as white men — and she has the sources to prove it. She focuses

on testimonies of formerly enslaved people to illustrate how white female slave owners punished slaves, and used them to gain wealth, status, and independence from men. Jones-Rogers' findings will force

many readers to confront the fact that white women who owned slaves could be just as brutal as male slave owners.

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together – Heather McGhee

Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the

American public. From the financial crisis to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a common root problem: racism. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out?

A Woman's Guide to Cannabis - Nikki Furrer Narrated by: Donna Postel

A woman's handbook to demystifying the world of weed, whether it's being used for pain relief, a moment of calm, or a fit of giggles. Women of all ages are using cannabis to feel and look better. For rookies and experienced marijuana

users alike, this lively, information-filled audiobook is just the supportive guide you need to find the right dose to relieve anxiety, depression, and inflammation, and mitigate the onset of dementia and other signs of aging. Plus boost moods, ease aches, even lose weight, and get restful sleep. And a dose just for fun? Well, that works, too!

• Length: 4 hrs and 41 mins

• Unabridged Audiobook

Unfinished Business: Black Women, the Black Church, and the Struggle to Thrive in America – Keri Day

M. Day approaches her subject-matter with an admirable zeal, making a case on behalf of not only black females but of women of any ethnicity who find themselves on the outside looking-in. . . Dr. Day's fervent hope is that "By promoting socially-conscious capitalism among black businesses and capitalists, black churches can develop a theology of holistic prosperity that considers the thriving of all members within

society." Sadly, that's apt to prove easier said than done in the face of an economic system all too comfortable with exploiting the human condition. -Kam Williams,


Notes from a Young Black Chef - Kwame Onwuachi with Joshua David Stein

“Kwame Onwuachi’s story shines a light on food and culture not just in American restaurants or African American communities but around the world.” —Questlove

By the time he was twenty-seven years old, Kwame Onwuachi had opened—and closed—one of the most talked about restaurants in America. He had sold drugs in New York and been shipped off to rural Nigeria to “learn respect.” He had launched his own catering company with twenty thousand dollars made from selling candy on the subway and starred on Top Chef. Through it all, Onwuachi’s love of food and cooking remained a constant, even when, as a young chef, he was forced to grapple with just how unwelcoming the food world can be for people of color. In this inspirational memoir about the intersection of race, fame, and food, he shares the remarkable story of his culinary coming-of-age; a powerful, heartfelt, and shockingly honest account of chasing your dreams—even when they don’t turn out as you expected.

High on the Hog – 2012 - Jessica B. Harris (Author), Maya Angelou (Foreword)

From chitlins and ham hocks to fried chicken and vegan soul, Harris celebrates the delicious and restorative foods of the African American experience and details how each came to form such an

important part of African American culture, history, and identity. Although the story of African cuisine in America begins with slavery, High on the Hog ultimately chronicles a thrilling history of triumph and survival. The work of a masterful storyteller and an acclaimed scholar, Jessica B. Harris's High on the Hog fills an important gap in our culinary history.

The Cooking Gene - Michael W. Twitty

A renowned culinary historian offers a fresh perspective on our most divisive cultural issue, race, in this illuminating memoir of Southern cuisine and food culture that traces his ancestry—both black and

white—through food, from Africa to America and slavery to freedom.

Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who "owns" it is one of the most provocative touch points in our ongoing struggles over race. In this unique memoir, culinary

historian Michael W. Twitty takes readers to the white-hot center of this fight, tracing the roots of his own family and the charged politics surrounding the origins of soul food, barbecue, and all Southern


Cannabis Cookbook - Timothy De Jong Narrated by Elizabeth Cheela

• Length: 4 hrs and 2 mins

• Unabridged Audiobook

• Categories: Health & Wellness, Alternative & Complementary Medicine

The most common way of using medical marijuana is by smoking it, yet there are healthier and more effective ways of experiencing its benefits; for example, you can also ingest it. Compared with smoking,

ingesting offers the biggest advantage of preventing dangerous carcinogenic chemicals and tar from entering the body's respiratory system. Sample of what you will find inside:

• How to use hemp seeds to burn fats

• Learning how to make CBD brownies by using CBD oil

• How to make chocolate cookies with marijuana

• Ways to make weed soup

Young Adult

The Nickel Boys - Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead based this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel on a real-life reform school in Florida where

boys were regularly beaten and dozens were killed over the course of a century. His story focuses on

Elwood Curtis, a black teen who wrongly ends up in the fictional Nickel Academy, and Curtis’ friendship with another black student, Jack Turner. Set in the 1960s, the pair confront the tragic reality of what it means to be a black boy in America. Whitehead’s masterful narrative forces the reader to contemplate why and how certain stories are wiped from our history and collective memory.

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give has been a New York Times best seller since it debuted a year ago, and for good reason. The novel tells the tale of Starr Carter, a 16-year-old who is trying to reconcile going to a predominantly white high school without feeling like she is abandoning her friends and family in her predominantly black

neighborhood. But when Starr is the sole witness to a police shooting of an unarmed black teen, she must develop the courage to find her voice and speak out against injustice. What makes The Hate U Give so

brilliant is the seamless way that it blends a stirring and universal coming-of-age story with an important lesson about standing up against institutional corruption.

Sing, Unburied, Sing - Jesmyn Ward

If there is one word that describes Jesmyn Ward's National Book Award winning novel Sing, Unburied, Sing it's "haunting." The novel is a beautifully written portrait of a family navigating the embattled racial dynamics, past and present, of the American South, as 13-year-old Jojo and his mother Leonie road trip to pick up Jojo's father from prison in Mississippi. In her acceptance speech, Ward highlighted the

importance of representation in literature. "“You looked at my poor, my black, my southern women, and you saw yourself. I am deeply honored to each and everyone of you who looks at my work and sees

something in it. I hope to continue this conversation with you for all of our days."

Dear Martin - Nic Stone

In her YA novel Dear Martin, debut author Nic Stone explores what its like to come of age as a black boy in a white world. The story follows Justyce McAllister, a black boy attending a predominantly white prep school. When Justyce is handcuffed by a cop who wrongfully assumes he's attacking a drunk friend he's

trying to help, his eyes are suddenly opened to the various racial dynamics at play around him. Drawing on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Dear Martin asks one resounding question: why should you try to be your best in a world that already assumes the worst of you?

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You - Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram Kendi and young adult author Jason Reynolds teamed up to write Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. The book, written in Reynolds’ fresh voice, condenses Kendi’s expansive non-fiction

masterpiece Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America for youth and beginner audiences. The book plows through centuries of history in a snappy 246 pages. Chapters are typically no longer than 10 pages. Sometimes the font is bolded and enlarged to drive home a point, and numbered lists frequently break down complex ideas. The book is full of Reynolds' rhetorical flourishes and asides, which are at turns entertaining and devastating. fundamentally deconstructs the idea that

Africans in America are a monolith—instead it unlocks the startling range of experiences and ideas that have always existed within the community of Blackness.

100 Things Every Black Girl Should Know: For Girls 10-100 - Taura Stinson

100 Things Every Black Girl Should Know is the quintessential collection of invaluable advice designed specifically for you, the young black girl trying to navigate her way through life, as well-seasoned woman looking to brush up on the essentials. This lighthearted but serious gem of a book has made an impact on various races (in testing), but the author wrote it from her perspective as a black woman who was once a young girl who wishes she knew then what she knows now. Since that isn’t possible, she has compiled some of her best and hardest lessons into ten chapters that each include ten “things you should know”, ranging from oral care to the inevitability of heartbreak. This book is intended to spark conversations and change the narrative between sister-friends, mothers and daughters.

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