Many Great Reasons to Read Black Fiction in February 2021

In celebration of Black History Month, a list of upcoming and recent fiction works that are a testament to the continuing beauty, breadth, delight and allure of Black literature.

We’re always excited to promote books by Black authors, but Black History Month is an irresistible opportunity for even more. This special edition of our monthly fiction preview highlights 10 new books by Black authors. Keep scrolling for a bonus list of novels and story collections by Black authors released over the past few months. 

The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson 
During the Obama era in Chicago, Ruth, a successful engineer, and her corporate exec husband embark on a conversation about having children, prompting Ruth to reveal her big secret: when she was seventeen, she gave up a child for adoption. Now she’s back in the Indiana town of her youth, delving into the past and the present while she reunites with family and searches for the son she gave up. “As Ruth learns more about what’s happened to her town and reckons with what she left behind, powerful insights emerge on the plurality of Black American experience and the divisions between rural and urban life, and the wealthy and the working class. Johnson’s clear-eyed saga hits hard.” (Publishers Weekly) 
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

Blood Grove by Walter Mosley 
Acclaimed author Mosley (whose honors include a PEN America Lifetime Achievement Award and a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award) returns to his long running Easy Rawlins detective series. It’s 1969, and Easy’s latest case gets him tangled up with the mob, sex clubs and racist cops. “As always, Easy's finely calibrated understanding of and commentary on the social and racial climate around him gives the novel its defining texture and power.” If you’ve never read this beloved and iconic series, start with Devil in a Blue Dress (1990). 
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

100 Boyfriends by Brontez Purnell  
Purnell is an Oakland-based filmmaker, musician, dancer, writer and winner of a 2018 Whiting Writers’ Award for Fiction, and his newest book is collection of perhaps-autofictional vignettes exploring sex, dating and loneliness following his novel Since I Laid My Burden Down (2017). “Purnell brilliantly immerses the reader in Black, queer desire with humor, self-awareness, and just the right amount of vulgarity. (Publishers Weekly) 
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz 
A first book from the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction, the Cecelia Joyce Johnson Emerging Writer Award by the Key West Literary Seminar, and a Tin House Scholarship, this story collection revolves around the stories of Black women and girls in urban and suburban Florida. Each of the stories in this collection is anchored by Moniz’s gorgeous, precise prose... In nearly every paragraph, Moniz unfurls some new observation that nestles down in your brain and sits, steeping like tea leaves, until each story has formed a cohesive, powerful emotional experience. It’s a magical sensation that reveals astonishing talent.” (Bookpage) 
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

How the One Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones 
In a beachside neighborhood in Barbados called Paradise, Lala lives a hardscrabble and turbulent life not far from Mira, who lives a comfortable life as the wife of a rich man. Their starkly different lives will be unexpectedly connected by a violent crime. The storytelling is far from breathless, but it will leave you that way: The effect is of a horrific opera in which ugliness is inevitable, but no less gutting when it appears... Jones balances the novel’s graphic violence with prose that is both evocative and wistful, haunting.” (Deesha Philyaw for The New York Times) 
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith   
On a bridge one night, Tallie, a divorced therapist, spots a man who looks like he’s about to jump. She pulls over and invites him to have a cup of coffee--an unusual start to a romantic relationship. “Cross-Smith (So We Can Glow) explores fragility, grief, and the effects of mental illness in this wonderfully strange novel about new love between broken people... As dark and tense as it is flirty and humorous, this moving novel offers consistent surprises.” (Publishers Weekly) 
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins  
Legendary author Jenkins’ latest historical romance is set in Reconstruction era Wyoming, featuring an indominable woman rancher named Spring. Garrett is a formerly enslaved man turned Washington reporter who has come to interview Spring’s brother but ends up finding Spring much more interesting. “This book has all the hallmarks of Jenkins’ fiction--meticulous historical research, a frank look at social conditions for Black people of the time, masterful pacing, and complex, likable characters. Jenkins' story reminds us that true love doesn’t require sacrificing our independence. You shouldn’t miss it.” (Kirkus Reviews) 
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

Of One Blood: Or, the Hidden Self by Pauline Hopkins, with an introduction by Nisi Shawl 
A reissue of a novel that was originally serialized in Colored American Magazine in 1902, featuring Reuel Briggs, a medical student who meets and falls for a singer named Dianthe, and brings her back from death after what should have been a fatal accident. Later Reuel pursues fortune and adventure in Ethiopia. “Mysticism, horror, and racial identity merge fluidly in this thrilling tale of love, obsession, and power... The suspense is tangible and the final reveal will leave readers reeling. This easily transcends the Victorian lost world genre to be relevant, thought-provoking, and entertaining today.” (Publishers Weekly) 
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers 
To celebrate her recently completed doctorate in astronomy, Grace Porter goes on a wild ladies’ weekend in Las Vegas and wakes up with fuzzy memories that she drunkenly met, hooked up with and married Yuki Yamamoto. Usually no-nonsense, high-achieving and totally responsible Grace decides to leave her Portland home to spend the summer in New York, getting to know Yuki while she faces career disappointments, challenging family relationships and depression“Rogers's debut is a beautiful story of learning to love in so many ways: untraditionally, through deep hurt, through mental illness, and through struggles with which readers can relate.” (Library Journal) 
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

Symbiosis by Nicky Drayden 
Fans of Afrofuturism will want to check out Drayden’s Escaping Exodus (2019) and it’s new sequel Symbiosis, in which post-Earth humans have rebuilt a civilization inside the body of an enormous tentacled whale-like space creature. The latest episode features Doka, a rare male reader in this matriarchal society, facing many political enemies in this series that examines race, class, queerness and environmentalism. “A sweeping, smart, stunning story that dazzles brighter than a star system... a whimsical, complex, rich setting whose world is the literal anatomy of a beast.” (Booklist on Escaping Exodus) 
Check out or recommend this eBook for purchase on Overdrive.

 

 

More Recent Releases

Click on the covers to read descriptions and place holds in the Oakland Public Library catalog.