10 Melanin-Filled Books To Indulge In During The British Summer

Published: Monday 11th July 2016 9:30PM

Updated: Saturday 6th August 2016 8:04AM

Lose yourself in our summer book list

With the prospect of summer fast approaching (minus actual hot weather), it’s time to refresh the reading list. We’ve picked out some top summer reads to lose yourself in over the next few months, whether home or abroad. So why not indulge in one or two of the old classics mentioned below or pick up one of our recommended new releases?

1. I Love My Hair – Andrea Pippins


This is a wonderful celebration of black hair in all its mediums – coily, curly and kinky. Pippins told us that this beautifully crafted colouring book has had adults and young ones alike immersed for hours. Perfect for the wet summer weekends indoors.


2. My Name is Leon- Kit de Waal


Set in early 80′s Britain, this heartbreaking story centres around Leon, a 9 year boy who is placed into care and then separated from his younger brother just because of the colour of his skin. This debut novel is one of inner strength, identity, triumph and hope; as just when we may least expect it – we will always manage to find our way home.


3. Elephant – Siana Bangura


Tackling issues of love, loss, migration, gentrification, black British girlhood, black womanhood, black Britishness, notions of identity, family, fatherlessness, domestic abuse, betrayal, patriarchy,racism, police brutality, black Feminism and more, no subject is off limits and no topic too taboo to address. In Bangura’s debut,the elephant in the room is finally confronted.


4. The Smell of Burning – Collins Grant (August release)

a smell of burning by colin grant

This is the first, fully researched book on epilepsy for a popular audience for seventy years. Grant tells the remarkable story of this strange and misunderstood disorder, tracing the condition through history, pioneering doctors, the stories of famous people with epilepsy such as Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Dostoevsky, Van Gogh, Emily Dickinson etc. and throughout the whole book, we also follow the tragic personal tale of Colin’s brother, Christopher, an epileptic who suffered from seizures throughout his life, until he passed away at the age of 39.


5. The Nearness of You – Sareeta Domingo


When it comes to love are there boundaries and unspoken rules? No matter your view point, this novel will take you on a roller coaster of emotions as you explore the impact of true love and the power of friendship.


6. Here and There – Ojo Agi


Here and There explores the multifaceted identity of a developing world daughter in a first world country. With a foreword by cultural innovator Amy Sall, this 40-paged art book beautifully illustrates the first generation experience.


7. The Sun By Night- Benjamin Kwakye


The Sun by Night is set in Accra, Ghana and centres around a court case investigating the death of a prostitute and the involvement of a local wealthy businessman. It’s an intense story of how societal conflicts shape your interactions and how no matter how tightly you may keep secrets, they somehow always unravel. 


8. An Untamed State – Roxane Gay

untamed state

Imagine living the idyllic, fairy-tale life with your loving family, only for you to be, literally, ripped away from it. Set in Haiti this story shows us that even in the most harrowing moments of adversity, we can break free from the constraints that we may never have known existed and find strength to overcome those who seek to oppress us.


9. What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours – Helen Oyeyemi


This eclectic collection of short stories all centres around the theme of ‘keys’ weaving between the surreal and reality. Oyeyemi’s tales span multiple times and landscapes, as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation?


10. Here Comes The Sun – Nicole Dennis-Benn

Here comes the sun

When sex tourism is often mentioned in the press, images of foreign middle-aged travelers are often depicted and pushed to the forefront. Set in a bustling Jamaican community, this debut novel allows the reader to glimpse behind the pristine beaches and headlines to reveal stories of survival, strength and love and women who aren’t afraid to own their choices.

Editor's Letter: Black Ballad 2.0

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