Books have a powerful impact on their readers. One can be inspired, transform as well as get an enlightenment on certain things that bring out a better outcome. African American authors on the following best selling African American books offer their rich and diverse works to the readers.
Get ready to be amazed with the following African American book list written by people who know what enslavement, abuse and discrimination better than others.
Recommendation of the Best Selling African American Books
The books you are about to learn vary from a bestselling novel to a memoirs from the United States’ first African American first lady. Please, enjoy!
1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
The author of the book needs no introduction given that she was the first United States’ African American first lady. Released in 2018, Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ instantly became no 1 New York Times best-seller. It is a memoir of her life before and after becoming the first lady as well as her marriage.
Written in a thought-provoking and inspiring way, this book is highly recommended for you to read. Aside from all the great inspiration and thought-provoking memoirs, there are also some humor and heartbreaking truths that will bring you to tears.
2. Beloved by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison is in the List of African American authors who received the Pulitzer Prize on Fiction category in 1988 for this amazing book. He is able to transform history into a wonderful as well as touching story. The inspiration of the story comes from Margaret Garner who was a slave in Kentucky. She crossed the Ohio River in 1856 to be free.
The protagonist is Sethe, a woman who was born and used to be a slave who ran away from her enslavement in 1873. She is no longer a slave now but something in the past keeps on haunting her.
She once tried to kill her children as an attempt to prevent them from having the same fate as she was: a slave. A daughter and sons survived her attempt, unfortunately, she lost her baby daughter. Beloved is the name engraved on her baby daughter’s tombstone whose spirit is believed to haunt her and her house.
The book reveals about the difficulties faced by every former slave including Sethe who has also to deal with her memories and bondage in the past.
3. Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
This page-turner family saga novel is written by the famous Colson Whitehead; one of the talented African American authors fiction who has won Pulitzer Prize back-to-back. The setting of its story is on 125th street in New York City in its 1960s.
It talks about a respectable furniture salesman who in his strive to support his family had to plunge into something dark. This situation forced him to maintain a double life.
Freddy was his cousin who occasionally brought him some peculiar necklaces and rings. His job was to sell them at an unnoticeable jewelry store downtown whose owner never asked a thing or two about the piece of jewels he sold.
Then, Freddy got involved in a robbery at the Hotel Theresa and asked Ray to be his helper. Unfortunately, the heist went apart from what was planned, causing Ray to deal with corrupt cops, local gangsters, pornographers and other criminals in Harlem.
Can he save his cousin’s life as well as saving his? Will he be able to earn his share? Can Ray keep his reputation as a trusted home furniture salesman? Find the answer in this very amazing book.
4. The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Ralph Ellison has his classic book of which the story setting is between 1920s and 1930s published in 1952. He is one of the top African-American writers 21st century. In fact, he is the first one to receive a distinguished honor, that is to say the National Book Award in the fiction category. The book has been on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks.
The protagonist of his book is an unknown person simply called by the name of Invisible Man who was raised in a black community in Harlem, New York. He succeeds to be the chief spokesperson of the Brotherhood for Harlem branch. Sadly, he withdraws himself due to the confusion and violence he faced.
5. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates is among the 10 best Black authors non fiction of the decade. He received a National Book Award and is a Pulitzer finalist. This book is not only named as one of the Decade’s Most Influential Books, but also the 10 Best Books of the Year.
This book talks about him as a father who shares with his son as well as his readers about his past, today and what they might deal with in the future. How he finds the truth about his place in this world through many apocalyptic experiences throughout his life.
What is it like to be a black man and how to cope with that? How can people supposes to understand about the bitter past history of slavery and get away with the burdens?
6. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
The author of this book i.e., Jasmine Guillory is a Stanford law School graduate who also writes for Cosmopolitan, Shondaland and the Toast. Alexa Monroe is the protagonist who approves to accompany a totally stranger man she met on an elevator named Drew Nichols to a wedding. The man was about to go to his ex’s wedding and is looking for the right partner to go with.
This book is charming and easy to read. It will make you enjoy the whole story while comfortably sitting in your favorite nook. The book was featured as 33 Books to get Excited About in 2018 by the Cosmopolitan.
7. Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Kindred was first published in 1979 and achieved a Good Morning America 2021 Top Summer Read Pick honor. It talks about a young black writer named Dana who lives in Los Angeles in the 1970s. She out of nowhere is transported to a plantation in a Civil-war era in Maryland.
She had to save Rufus Weylin who is the plantation owner’s white son from drowning into the river. Dana travels through time to the slave quarter multiple times. The longer she stays the more dangers to face that threaten her life.
When her white husband becomes suspicious with her story, he too gets transported through time with her. Problems arise as interracial marriage is illegal in America until 1967.
8. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Awkwaeke Emezi should be on your List of African American authors whose books to read given that he has done an incredible works. For instance, Freshwater is listed as a New York Times notable book and becomes the finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for a Debut Novel.
It talks about a young Nigerian Ada who has the ability to split spirits within her. On a shocking event on her campus in America as she moves there for college has done something unimaginable.
The traumatic event took shape her multiple selves into something powerful. Unfortunately, these new selves are also potentially dangerous that makes her unable to control herself fully.
Every writer has their own way of expressing their writings. African American writers also have their own unique and interesting way in detailing their stories that makes their works rich and amazing. The abovementioned 8 best selling African American books can be your start to delve into more of their incredible works. Happy reading and hunting!