Ello Bookworms!! :)
Yesterday was Memorial Day for those of you in the states :) many of you were probably out all day either on the beach or at a barbecue...soaking up the sun and making amazing memories with family and friends.
Memorial Day is usually the sign that summer is right around the corner approaching with block parties, suntan lotion, beach days, road trips, out of town visitors, and most of all free time to catch up on some good reads. I used to live for summer vacation when I was in high school; even during my earlier university years. It meant that I could read - and not just read whatever assignment was given but I could read what I wanted to. In middle and high school we were given summer reading lists of maybe 20 or so books that we could choose from and that always excited me. Trips to Barnes and Nobles always meant I could get a few books off of the summer reading list as well as pick up a few that I wanted to get started on leisurely.
Today I'm giving you all my top 15 Summer Reading Recommendations featuring some newbies, that haven't even been released yet but are available for pre-order, and some oldies that are definitely worth the reread :)
1. Here Comes The Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn (July 19)
This novel takes place in the beautiful island of Jamaica. Dennis-Benn paints not just the picture of a beautiful Jamaica that we have all either seen or heard of but she also exposes the reader to the nitty gritty true thoughts and experiences of the island natives - whether it be the staff at the resort that you are calling home during your visit or the locals that you encounter as you explore this beautiful island. Dennis-Benn writes in Jamaican Patois, which makes the read even more authentic. This is a must read. Buckle up and get ready to experience Jamaica in a way in which you probably haven't before...the true Jamaica.
2. The 24-Day Conversation with the Universe by Bianca Y. Rose
I previously reviewed this book before it's release in February. As Rose says, "the time for consciousness is always now". She teaches us of the energy we want to surround ourselves with; always good vibes. Her expressions and thoughts may be that of so many of us however most don't or won't express themselves in the manner in which she has. She uses her words to connect us all as her thoughts and experiences jump off of the page. She reminds us of having gratitude, being humble, and staying grounded. Once done reading this you, as well, will want to have a 24-Day Conversation with the Universe to become more rooted and defined as you carry out your life.
3. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
Many of us know Shonda Rhimes as the woman behind TGIT on ABC. She has glued us to our TVs with shows like Scandal, Grey's Anatomy, HTGAWM, The Catch, etc. Well, if you know anything about Shonda Rhimes then you would know that she is an introvert. Everything changed for Rhimes when her sister challenged her to change her responses to invitations and outings. When that happened she gifted us with 'The Year of Yes'. Rhimes shows us how saying yes can change our lives, for the better.
4. Whiskey Words & A Shovel (Volume II) by r.h Sin (June 7)
Most of us know r.h Sin's pieces of poetry from social media. Many of us have screenshot his work and reposted it on our own pages. This is volume II of his compilation of poems. Sin's poetry is expressive and relatable. Poems of love, pain, growth, self discovery, and so much more. This is worth the read for both men and women. His work is beautiful. I would suggest preordering this gem and if you haven't yet pick up volume I at your local barnes and nobles so that you're all caught up for volume II.
5. Give It Back by Danielle Esplin
Oh what a thriller!! You won't want to put this book down as you read through the point of views of the three main characters Lexy, Ella, and Lorraine. The book is suspenseful as well as heartwarming, We experience severe illness, sadness, heartbreak, disappearances, and so much more. Just when you think you've figured it all out here comes a plot twist! Esplin does not disappoint us with this novel. I am dying for another novel from her already!
6. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Heartache and pain is not easy to deal with for every bitter experience there comes sweetness. Kaur divides this book into (4) chapters that takes us through four different types of pain and therefore heals us (4) different ways. This is another book of compiled poems that keeps the reader wanting more. Kaur's style of writing is true to self. Her poems are the poems and experiences of every woman.
7. KingSun: The Testament of Sunlight and Water by Gladstone Taylor
Kingsun is a compilation of quotes, poems, and short stories that tells us of the youth as they begin self discovery and self value yet it also tells us of Kingston, JA; a city that has grown, it's citizens have struggled and still do struggle. How does a young man or woman stay focused and balanced with the chaos and dysfunction around them? It takes us on journey through Taylor's conscious mind. Take your time to ensure that symbolism and diction soaks in. Taylor's choice of how he expresses balance and duality, religion, etc is like no other. This chapbook doesn't disappoint.
8. Her 20 Somethings by Zakiyrah Ficklin
Like many of us in our 20s, Zakiyrah struggled with finding her purpose. She did us all a favor by writing this book that guides us through the 20 things that we need to know in order to survive our 20s. She sets us up for success. This book is similar to an interactive journal. It comes equipped with various exercises for a young woman to execute and gain insight. Every young woman should have this on her book shelf.
9. Salt. by Nayyirah Waheed
This beautiful compilation of poetry takes the reader on a journey through diaspora blues, self love and care, self exploration, true identity and love. Waheed's words are clear and breakdown so many barriers. Her writing is extremely honest and raw; beautiful to say the least. Her work truly proves how power words are. Don't race through this beautiful piece. Allow her words to resonate with you. They will evoke thought.
10. My Voice: A Memoir by Angie Martinez
Most of us know Angie Martinez as the 'Voice of NY'. If you've ever traveled to NY in the 90s or early 2000s then you would've heard Angie on Hot 97. She always had the most exclusive interviews and the artists loved her. She truly kept that station alive. Well, Angie has moved on now to Power 105.1 and still sitting on her throne as the 'Voice of NY'. This memoir features a beautifully poetic forward by J.Cole. That alone should reel you in. Angie takes us through rap radio rivalry, exclusive interviews with artists like Tupac, and even her accidental experience with crack. This is a must read for anyone who appreciates hip-hop and how it has shaped our culture.
11. A Moment of Silence: Midnight III by Sister Souljah
If you've read the Coldest Winter Ever then you, too, have probably been obsessed with Sister Souljah's writing ever since and have been waiting for some of her new novels to dive into. Well, look no further. If you haven't caught up as of yet then I would recommend you reading the two previous books as this one is the third novel in the midnight series. As usual, Sister Souljah is extremely descriptive and her writing paints clear and vivid images. This novel is passionate, dangerous, tempting and adventurous. Midnight, a young handsome Muslim man, finds himself surrounded by Americans who have different values and morals. After a moment of lost control he risks everything he loves but will he lose it all?
12. Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile
The main character is Charley, an African American single mother who lives in Los Angeles and is struggling to make ends meet. The last thing she thought she would be doing is packing up and moving to Louisiana to become a sugarcane farmer but her father left her an 800 acre farm after he passed - so why not seize the moment? The twists and turns of Charley's life certainly make this book unpredictable. You won't know whats coming up next as she juggles caring for her homesick daughter, being a new farmer, and a jealously bitter brother.
13. I Love My Love by Reyna Biddy
Many of you may know Reyna Biddy from Tumblr, Twitter, and/or Instagram. She is known for her writing. She paints clear and sincere images of relatable journeys that we have all experienced. Similar to this wave of writing seen by authors such as Alex Elle, r.h. Sin, RM Drake, etc she express herself poetically. The words jump off of the page. This book is a quick read and I am sure you will all be able to relate to her expressions.
14. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (June 7)
What a phenomenal read. This novel begins in 18th century Ghana and travels down 7 generations ending in 20th century Harlem. It tells the tale of two half sisters, who didn't know one another, and their descendants. They lead completely different lives - one as royalty and the other as a slave. Of course this has also altered the outcome of their descendants' lives as well. You won't want to put this down.
15. Travelers' Tales of Old Cuba edited by John Jenkins
A compilation of short stories from travelers who explored Cuba, its beautiful land and rich culture. There are a variety of stories from the late 1800s to early/mid 1900s. Most of the stories are fictional but they certainly read as history verse propaganda. With the new travel opportunities that are available between the US and Cuba this is certainly worth picking up. This will have you ready to hop on a Carnival Cruise headed straight for Cuba.