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Spring Reading List

Spring Reading Must Haves

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By: Jina Meadows

Diamond Doris by Doris Payne (Memoir)

Did you see the story of the elderly Black woman who was arrested for stealing from a Wal-Mart in Atlanta a couple of years ago? It created a small stir because she was an eighty-six-year-old Black woman. Many wrote it off as her being older and probably not having money to get the things she needed. There was an outcry of sympathy for the feeble-looking Black woman who just needed a few things to survive. Little did the public know that she was international jewel thief, Doris Payne. Diamond Doris is her story narrated in her distinctly humorous voice. This book follows her humble beginnings in West Virginia to her jet-setting across Europe and gaining access to the most exclusive jewelry stores. Reading, mouth agape, about how she so effortlessly finessed even the most punctilious jewelers made me feel like I was a part of the con! Her life was lived like a movie (and will soon be one). Hey Doris, if you are reading this, teach me.

Diamond Doris: The True Story of the World's Most Notorious Jewel Thief:  Payne, Doris: 9780062918000: Amazon.com: Books

SLAY by Brittney Morris (Young Adult)

Brittney Morris wrote the book I didn’t know I wanted to read. I don’t game and I’m not a teenager with Ivy League aspirations, yet here I am enthralled with this read. Kiera Johnson is a high school senior living a double life as a game developer of her own multiplayer online role-playing card game. Now did I know what that was before reading? No. Kiera creates this game as a safe place for Black gamers to play in a universe where their differences are not ostracized or belittled but celebrated with hundreds of battle cards, some titled: Jimi Hendrix, Swerve, Twist Out, and Purple Rain where a haze of purple clouds surrounds the opponent and blocks their view. Morris had me on the edge of my seat with the twist and turns of the battles. A kid is murdered IRL (in real life) because of the game and it turns Kiera’s world upside down. The purpose for the exclusiveness of the game evolves to be the reason people try to take it down. I loved every moment of it! The young adult genre has been booming with hits and this is one.

A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown (Memoir)

This memoir is one of determination, resilience, and perseverance. Cupcake Brown (her real name) writes from the perspective of each defining moment in her life: the funny eleven-year-old, the teen trying to find herself, and the functional drug addict. Anything damaging that can happen to a person happens to Cupcake. From being a foster care system casualty to gang-banging to selling the drugs she gets hooked on. Her determination to overcome the many obstacles placed in her way makes this book a profile in courage. Think I have given most of the book away? You have no idea what you are in store for. You wonder how you can read this story of a traumatic upbringing and laugh, but Cupcake can weave any event into a comedy set. Her wit makes it an easy read. With all she endured, you have to laugh to keep from crying, and Cupcake will definitely keep you laughing. Buckle up!

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deeshaw Philyaw (short stories)

I am in no way a fan of short stories. They always leave me wanting more, so I shy away from anything remotely close to it. Deeshaw got me. She roped me in with the title. Who would not want to know about the secret lives of church ladies? She shattered all of my expectations of these stories because they literally are the lives of women who are the backbone of an organization that sometimes pushes them into the shadows. There is a mélange of stories ranging from a creeping pastor to adult children of side relationships. Philyaw addresses it all and ends every story perfectly. Of course, I have a favorite story, but what’s yours?

Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jayne Allen (fiction)

“A lot of times it does feel exhausting. Because everything bad in society is about you, but when it comes to good, nothing is for you. I feel like I’m not enough and too much, all at the same time. And then, other times, being Black feels exhilarating—because every good thing that happens feels like a victory.” Whew! I believe I stood and did a slow clap when I read this line. Jayne Allen was killing me softly with her words in this book. I loved and hated her all at the same time because how could she look into my life and write my story? How did she so succinctly dissect the single, 30+, Black woman experience? After the first chapter I wondered, what sorcery was this? I was moved to tears. Finally, a book with experiences felt by a myriad of Black women. Tabitha is a thirty-three-year-old Black woman living her best life with a dream job in Los Angeles, sans someone to share it with. And, of course, her clock is ticking. The reader follows her journey to find her special someone and have a baby with him (ASAP), navigating her friendships, and her relationship with her spry grandmother and estranged father. This is a MUST read.

Kindred by Octavia Butler (Graphic Novel)

“I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm.” It is the summer of 1976, twenty-six-year-old Dana is happily arranging books on a shelf in a new home she and her husband, Kevin, share when she starts to disappear. Literally, she disappears into thin air. Where does she reappear? The bank of a river, somewhere in the early 1800s. Dana disappears to the antebellum South every time Rufus, a mischievous red-haired boy, is in danger. There is an imperative reason for Dana being “called” back to slavery days whenever Rufus is in danger of losing his life. You won’t believe it when you discover the reason. Octavia Butler’s science-fiction blockbuster debuted in 1979, but this graphic novel adaptation is timely. If you have yet to discover the joy of graphic novels, this is absolutely the one to cut your teeth on. Get into it.

Share your thoughts with us about these books and With your book club.

What is your book club reading this spring? Comment Below.

Ultimate Staff
Author: Ultimate Staff

Ultimate Staff

1 comment

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