BLM Book Recommendations – Starter Pack

I’ve been making my way through reading material that furthers my personal education about racial issues – especially since I didn’t get this education in school. There’s a lot of action that can be taken to help further the black lives matter movement, and that starts with educating yourself on how to act and what you can do. I’ll be sharing all the books I read here and being honest with my recommendations; and to start us off, I’m going to go through the first set of books in the order in which I recommend them, which is actually the opposite order in which I read them.

1. So You Wanna Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
If you only read one book this year, MAKE IT THIS ONE. Everything I wanted to read, learn, and explore was in this book. I appreciate so many things about this book – specifically how much intersectionality is highlighted. Ijeoma Oluo is an amazing writer, includes her own experiences, and speaks in a way that is truly eye opening. She gets into the good stuff right away, balances topics beautifully from chapter to chapter, and writes for all readers to walk away with insight. She covers areas such as affirmative action, cultural appropriation, the school-to-prison pipeline, the Martin/Malcom dichotomy, microaggressions, hair, the model-minority myth, anger, accountability, and so much more. I will be spending a lot of time suggesting this book on my social media and to people in my life, and I recommend it to anyone who is ready to have productive conversations about race in this world.

Privilege Check from So You Wanna Talk About Race: Are you white? Are you male? Are you non-disabled? Are you neuro-typical? Are you a documented citizen of the country you live in? Are you cisgender? Are you straight? Did you grow up middle class? Did you grow up in a stable home environment? Are you tall / thin / conventionally attractive?

2. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
This book took a deep dive into how white people (even those who don’t consider themselves racist) are hurting and helping, for which I am grateful. I feel like this book held a mirror up to my white experience, down to even analyzing my experience as a white-presenting Hispanic individual. White people can benefit from reading this book because it points out how we fit into the mix, and then acknowledges how we should and should not react to conversations about race. She asks questions and explores ideas that opened my eyes to things I had not thought of before – to the point where I found some areas in which I needed to hold myself accountable. I’d recommend this read for white people, so we can make sure that we are better allies to people of color – there’s a lot to learn here.

3. Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
While I very much appreciate all the dialogue that Emmanuel put into this book, I would categorize this as more of a “starter” book. The book does a great job of unpacking the basics and explaining things in a way that non-people of color can start to look at the world through a new lens, and there’s a huge reference section of additional reads and resources. However, for myself, a lot of the book was things I very much already knew, although I do appreciate learning some new ways to explain ideas I’ve already digested. I would also give just a small critique that the book was very much written from a straight male perspective; I would have loved more information about what black women specifically deal with, as well as trans and LGBTQ perspectives too. Again, this is packed full of great information and would be an easy read to recommend to your co-worker or relative that is just starting to understand the importance of these topics.

I will be reading so so so many more books, as this is just the beginning. Check back to keep up with all my reads, or reach out on social media for more recommendations.

Thanks for reading!

Diverse Love Story Books

Enough of the standard, predictable, rom-com, overplayed, typical love story. I want queer couples, diverse couples, and stories that break the mold. So, here are 3 books I read that do just that:

1. Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
This has quickly become one of my all time favorite books ever ever ever ever ever. It’s written so beautifully, so poetically and lyrically, which was a lovely after I had just finished some poetry books and was coming back to novels. As a reader, you really get a unique perspective into the characters’ thought paths and experiences. The rhythm of these words was so incredibly special and unusual in the best way. The ups and downs of this story, however big or small, tugged at my heart strings in a way I was not expecting. It also gave me a unique perspective on the anxieties that black people face in this America. The heartbreak that the main character feels after an unjust tragedy strikes yet again is prominent and impactful, and the story is important, significant, and realistic. I’m seriously still obsessed with the way this was written – I’ve never read anything like it and I already can’t wait to read it again. Update: I read it again, and it was still just as wonderful as the first time.

2. Written In The Stars by Alexandra Bellefleur
I will say this – this story is very much a typical romantic comedy. It was predictable, cheesy, and hardly really broke the mold at all. The only way that this differs from every other rom-com ever created – the story is about a lesbian couple. Within 10 pages into the book, I correctly predicted the entire plotlines and ending of the book. However, I still couldn’t stop reading and I had to see for myself. Yes, it all played out the way I was expecting it to – but hey, it was lesbians, so I had to finish the story. I will say that the characters are interesting, and even us queer women deserve to read cheesy romantic comedies that we can relate to and dream about. I would recommend this book to young adults who are looking for that typical silly love story, but queer.

3. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
When I first heard that this was a lesbian subway time-travel love story, I have to admit that I was weary. However, this ended up being super enjoyable and not as predictable as I had imagined. It was written very well, there were connections I was not expecting, and it was queer queer queer queer QUEER. It felt super relatable and familiar… besides the sci-fi aspects of course. It’s all done in a way that I really loved reading, and I appreciated how much diversity and representation that was included. I’d honestly recommend this to anybody who is open to a love story with a small sci-fi twist – and even if you aren’t at first, still consider giving this a try!

If I choose to continue my endeavors with reading love stories, I’d definitely like to keep it diverse.

Thanks for reading!

How Can I Help? By Kayla Danielle #BLM

Honestly, I don’t want to take up too much time here, because my voice is not the one that matters right now. Instead, I want to provide a link to a post by an absolutely beautiful soul with some great resources to support this movement.

Please stop and read the below link and explore the resources that have been provided:

How Can I Help? By Kayla Danielle 

You can find her blog link here: http://kayladanielleblog.com/
and can follow her on Instagram @kayla.greenx.

**Please do not scroll forward until you have clicked and explored the above links.**

 

I promise to continue to do my part to educate myself, show up, speak out, and incite positive change. Here are some pictures from the events I’ve attended:

Black lives matter.

Thanks for reading.