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Literary Fiction, Memoir, & Essay Collections by Black Authors

Playlist Tags: Picture Book black authors

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The Vanishing Half

A Novel
By Brit Bennett
Narrated by Shayna Small /  11 hours 33 minutes

The Vanishing Half

“The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett definitely lives up to the glowing reviews it has been receiving. The story reveals an interesting perspective on this history of race in the United States, while also telling a universal story of difficult decisions that change the course of life forever. Bennett doesn't offer pretty bows to tie up her narrative, but a realistic portrait of what we will sacrifice on behalf of our futures.”

Leaves Book and Tea Shop image Tina, Leaves Book and Tea Shop
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$31.50 USD

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The Mothers

A Novel
By Brit Bennett
Narrated by Adenrele Ojo /  9 hours 54 minutes

The Mothers

“The 'mothers' of this book's title refers to the gaggle of elderly churchgoing women who comment on the congregation around them, especially the trio of Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey. But The Mothers is about more than that -- it refers to the concept of motherhood, whether biological, lost, aborted, adoptive, or conflicted. The three young people at the heart of this story are all flawed, but their portrayals are realistic and they are easy for readers to support. This is a book about salvation -- not the spiritual salvation that the gossiping, but well-intentioned mothers seek, but the kind that comes with self-acceptance and growth. The Mothers is an honest, modern, and triumphant book.”

Women & Children First image Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First
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$28.00 USD

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The Girl with the Louding Voice

A Novel
By Abi Daré
Narrated by Adjoa Andoh /  12 hours 6 minutes

The Girl with the Louding Voice

“This year is overflowing with phenomenal debuts — including this one from Abi Daré. It tells the story of Adunni, a young girl in Nigeria whose dreams and ambition focus in on one thing: education. In a city where girls like her are looked down upon and considered unworthy, she comes to find that change can begin with even the smallest of voices. This story is the kind that makes you itch: you’ll ache for Adunni, bristle at the people who treat her so unjustly, and yearn for her to succeed. This is a stunning, important, and fascinating first novel.”

Lindsay Howard image Lindsay Howard, Lark and Owl Booksellers
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$31.50 USD

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We Ride Upon Sticks

A Novel
By Quan Barry
Narrated by Isabel Keating /  14 hours 44 minutes

We Ride Upon Sticks

“This is such a fun romp! It has everything you could possibly want in a book: field hockey, witches, and ’80s bangs that have literally taken on a life of their own. Set in Salem in the 1980s, we follow a group of high school field hockey players as they struggle with their new dark powers and attempt to end their losing streak. One of the strangest, most satisfying books I have read in a long time!”

Hillary Smith image Hillary Smith, Copperfield's Books Calistoga
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$31.50 USD

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Negroland

A Memoir
By Margo Jefferson
Narrated by Robin Miles /  7 hours 59 minutes

At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac-here is a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, and American culture through the prism of Margo Jefferson's rarefied upbringing and education among a black elite concerned with distancing itself from whites and the black generality while tirelessly measuring itself... Read More »

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Real Life

A Novel
By Brandon Taylor
Narrated by Kevin R. Free /  9 hours 25 minutes

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE

“A blistering coming of age story” O: The Oprah Magazine

A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and mercy among friends in a Midwestern university town, from an electric new voice.


Almost everything about Wallace is at odds with the Midwestern university town where he is working uneasily toward a biochem degree.... Read More »

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$28.00 USD

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Heads of the Colored People

Stories
By Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Narrated by Adenrele Ojo /  6 hours 13 minutes

A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these compelling, boundary-pushing vignettes. Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous—from two mothers exchanging snide remarks through... Read More »

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$22.99 USD

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Saving Ruby King

A Novel
By Catherine Adel West
Narrated by Kim Staunton, Imani Parks, Ron Butler, Adam Lazarre-White, Lloyd Roberson II & Terra Strong Lyons /  10 hours 14 minutes

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by Ms. Magazine, USA Today Book Riot, The Rumpus, Library Journal, PureWow, The Every Girl, Parade and more.

“In the midst of widespread protests and calls to end racial injustice, the conversations and understanding tackled in Saving Ruby King are all significant reflections of this country’s reality today.”... Read More »

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$31.04 USD

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The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club)

A Novel
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Narrated by Joe Morton /  14 hours 14 minutes

The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club)

“Ta-Nehisi Coates understands something big and he understands it better than anyone else right now. The Water Dancer led me on a journey up and down the landscape of American slavery with a narrative that feels like The Book of Exodus meets, well, Ta-Nehisi Coates. Over 400 pages I have cried, I have laughed, I have been educated, and I have been enlightened. Coates writes with an honesty that can only come from a sublime, even spiritual, understanding of the souls of the white man and the black man in America. Written with poignancy and humanity, The Water Dancer left me stunned but clear-headed, like I had just been woken up from a deep, dream-filled sleep.”

Norris Rettiger image Norris Rettiger, Lemuria Bookstore
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$31.50 USD

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What We Lose

A Novel
By Zinzi Clemmons
Narrated by Nicole Lewis /  3 hours 46 minutes

What We Lose

“What We Lose is a quietly brilliant book detailing the way loss manifests itself in the life of its narrator, Thandi, and the reader, as Clemmons' writing shines back on you, too. The death of Thandi's mother brings about the loss of childhood innocence, her connection with her past, and her identity as a black woman. Clemmons' book is told in vignettes, stories and thoughts, with the narrative of this time in Thandi's life slowly swirling through it. It's as powerful a meditation on grief as I've ever read.”

Stefanie Schmidt image Stefanie Schmidt, Water Street Books
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$21.00 USD

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Red at the Bone

A Novel
By Jacqueline Woodson
Narrated by Jacqueline Woodson, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Peter Francis James, Shayna Small & Bahni Turpin /  3 hours 52 minutes

Red at the Bone

“Wow. Don't let the length fool you - this book is overflowing with heart. An incredibly poignant story of teen pregnancy told from multiple perspectives and timelines, coalescing into something that is so much more than the sum of its parts. The narration was superb, lending all the more life to Woodson's characters. ”

Second Star to the Right image Britt, Second Star to the Right
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$21.00 USD

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More Than Enough

Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)
By Elaine Welteroth
Narrated by Elaine Welteroth & Adenrele Ojo /  10 hours 30 minutes

“Elaine gifts us all with a beautifully intimate and powerful retelling of her ever-unfolding journey. In sharing her joys, pitfalls, adventures, self-doubt, and successes, she reminds us that through uncovering and discovering the many facets of ourselves, we are more than enough.”
—Yara Shahidi
 
“Elaine’s book is a call for young women to...
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Homegoing

A novel
By Yaa Gyasi
Narrated by Dominic Hoffman /  13 hours 10 minutes

Homegoing

“Homegoing is an epic narrative that is sure to become a treasured staple. Two sisters in Ghana are marked by fiery tragedy: one is married off to an English slave trader, and the other is sold to be a slave in America. The story follows their descendants generation by generation. Homegoing will break your heart over and over, impress you with the resilience of the human spirit and the amazing power of forgiveness, and leave you optimistic and in awe.”

Bookshop Santa Cruz image Nichole McCown, Bookshop Santa Cruz
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$31.50 USD

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Everything Inside

Stories
By Edwidge Danticat
Narrated by Robin Miles /  6 hours 4 minutes

From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of Brother, I'm Dying, a collection of vividly imagined stories about community, family, and love. Rich with hard-won wisdom and humanity, set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond, Everything Inside is at once wide in scope and... Read More »

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$22.99 USD

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Patsy

A Novel
By Nicole Dennis-Benn
Narrated by Sharon Gordon /  17 hours 9 minutes

Patsy

“I feel that Dennis-Benn is unparalleled in writing the insidious unforgivables. The mother who can't find love for her daughter, the more-than-friend who takes everything you give them and never gives back, the daughter told to be a "good girl" who finds difficulty doing either of those things for the woman who ends up raising her. Like her debut, this novel is filled with characters tormented by the compromises they made but whose character Dennis-Benn refuses to compromise. The painfully recognizable humanity of everyone in Patsy asks us all to reach inside for the empathy we're capable of for people we wouldn't normally think to give it to.”

Water Street Bookstore image Alice, Water Street Bookstore
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$28.74 USD

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Gingerbread

A Novel
By Helen Oyeyemi
Narrated by Helen Oyeyemi /  7 hours 28 minutes

Gingerbread

“To me, any new book by Helen Oyeyemi is a cause for celebration, and Gingerbread is no exception. Harriet Lee is a mother, a daughter, a PTA-wannabe, a tutor, and a gingerbread baker. She is also Druhastranian—a refugee from a country that may (or may not) exist. No one is quite sure where Druhastana is or how to get there, but Harriet’s daughter, Perdita, is determined to find out even if it kills her. While still imbued with Oyeyemi’s trademark fairy tale essence, this novel is a departure into weirder, more uncanny territory. Oyeyemi, who lives in Prague, has finally given us her Czech novel, and it’s perfect.”

Book Culture image Devon Dunn, Book Culture
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$24.50 USD

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Freshwater

By Akwaeke Emezi
Narrated by Akwaeke Emezi /  6 hours 42 minutes

An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born "with one foot on the other side." Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of... Read More »

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The Fire This Time

A New Generation Speaks about Race
By Jesmyn Ward
Narrated by Cherise Boothe, Michael Early, Kevin R. Free, Korey Jackson & Susan Spain /  5 hours 36 minutes

National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward takes James Baldwin's 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time, as a jumping off point for this groundbreaking collection of essays and poems about race from the most important voices of her generation and our time. In light of recent tragedies and widespread protests across the nation, The... Read More »

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$18.39 USD

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Sing, Unburied, Sing

A Novel
By Jesmyn Ward
Narrated by Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chris Chalk & Rutina Wesley /  8 hours 22 minutes

Sing, Unburied, Sing

“Sing, Unburied, Sing is a dark and gorgeous song of love and heartbreak, haunting and tragic and disorienting in its timelessness. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill anchors Ward's tale to Mississippi today, which is almost indistinguishable from its notorious yesterday, a present and past (ironically) made more alive in the novel by ghosts and where everyone suffers from the cancers of buried sins. On Jojo's 13th birthday, while Mam is dying and Pop struggles to keep everyone safe, Leonie plans a road trip to the prison to pick up Michael, Jojo and baby Kayla's father. It's The Odyssey meets the Delta blues meets William Faulkner and Toni Morrison and some ineffable something that is Jesmyn Ward's own magic.”

Hudson Booksellers image Sara Hinckley, Hudson Booksellers
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$22.99 USD

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Salvage the Bones

By Jesmyn Ward
Narrated by Cherise Boothe /  9 hours 53 minutes

Best-selling author Jesmyn Ward won the National Book Award for this poignant and poetic novel. Unfolding over 12 days, the story follows a poor family living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. With Hurricane Katrina bearing down on them, the Batistes struggle to maintain their community and familial bonds amid the storm and the stark poverty... Read More »

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