THE LIT CLUB:
FEBRUARY EDITION


Typography and article by: Adele Lukusa

February is the month of love, with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, and if you’re North American, the month to celebrate Black History. So, for this month, we’ve decided to fill our recommendations and reviews with books by black authors, with a few involving romance for those in need of that this season.


RECOMMENDATIONS


Twintuition: Double Vision by Tia Mowry and Tamera Mowry


“From actresses Tia and Tamera Mowry comes the story of tween twins Cassie and Caitlyn and their discovery that they have the ability to see things before they occur!


When their mother’s new job forces them to move from bustling San Antonio to middle-of-nowhere Aura, Texas, Caitlyn tries to stay positive, focusing on meeting new people and having new adventures. Cassie, on the other hand, is convinced that it’s only a matter of time until they’ll be sick of Aura and ready to move back to the big city.


But being the new kids isn’t their only challenge. The girls start experiencing strange visions, and they must work together to change the future before it can happen.


Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tamera Mowry-Housley gained initial fame on the ’90s sitcom Sister, Sister. Tia can now be seen starring in and producing the Nickelodeon series Instant Mom and on the Cooking Channel’s show Tia Mowry at Home. Tamera is a host and producer on the hit daytime talk show The Real, currently airing on FOX. Together they’ve created a magical series about twin sisters with a powerful gift and an even stronger connection.” — Goodreads


How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon


“When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.


In the aftermath of Tariq's death, everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the truth.
Tariq's friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy, and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down” — Goodreads


Dear White People by Justin Simien


“In the satirical tradition of the New York Times bestseller Stuff White People Like comes this witty companion book to the incredibly entertaining (Indiewire) film of the same name, which heralds a fresh and funny new voice (Variety).


Right out of college, Justin Simien wrote a screenplay about the nuanced experiences of four black students on a predominantly white college campus. The film, Dear White People, garnered a Sundance Award for Breakthrough Talent and has been hailed by critics everywhere. Channeling the sensibility of the film into this book, Simien will keep you laughing with his humorous observations, even if you haven't seen the satiric film.


News Flash: the minimum number of black friends needed to not seem racist has just been raised to two. Rather than panic, readers are advised to purchase a copy of Dear White People. Whether you are a white person wondering why your black office mate is avoiding eye contact with you after you ran your fingers through her hair or you're a black nerd who has to break it to your white friends that you've never seen The Wire, this myth-busting, stereotype-diffusing guide to a post-Obama world has something for you!


With decision-making trees to help you decide when it's the right time to wear Blackface (hint: probably never) and quizzes to determine whether you've become the Token Black Friend, Dear White People is the ultimate silly-yet-authoritative handbook to help the curious and confused navigate racial microaggressions in their daily lives.


Based on the eponymous award-winning film, which has been lauded as a smart, hilarious satire, this tongue-in-cheek guide is a must-have that anybody who is in semi-regular contact with black people can't afford to miss!” — Goodreads


Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile


“A mother-daughter story of reinvention—about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana


Why exactly Charley Bordelon’s late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her eleven-year-old daughter, Micah, say goodbye to Los Angeles.


They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that’s mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.


Penguin has a rich tradition of publishing strong Southern debut fiction—from Sue Monk Kidd to Kathryn Stockett to Beth Hoffman. In Queen Sugar, we now have a debut from the African American point of view. Stirring in its storytelling of one woman against the odds and intimate in its exploration of the complexities of contemporary southern life, Queen Sugar is an unforgettable tale of endurance and hope.” — Goodreads


Genre: Fiction


REVIEWS


Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans by Roland Laird, Taneshia Nash Laird and Elihu "Adofo" Bey


Written by  Roland Laird, Taneshia Nash Laird and Elihu Bey, Still I Rise is a graphic novel on black history in America, passing over multiple events from the beginning to slavery all the way to Barack Obama’s presidency.


When reading graphic novels, I’m usually reading fiction, but this novel surprised me when I spotted Martin Luther King and Obama on the cover. Although it’s 240 pages, the information within the graphic novel itself is quite lengthy. I found myself having to reread certain parts or getting bored during certain ares. As a book that sells itself on its art, I felt as if it dragged on for long and was growing more and more unmotivated to finish it. When the book hits the 19th century and later, the reading becomes a lot more interesting, as it touches on icons within black history many are familiar with. I love learning about the history of black people in America, but the stories seemed to take a bigger part in the book instead of the art, when there should be a balance or even the art overpowering the writing.


I would recommend this book for all those who want to learn more about black history, as long as it is in textbook form. As long as you’re fine with writing being more important than the art of the graphic novel, then Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans, is the perfect book for you.

Adele’s review: 2.4/5 stars

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