You may have seen many anti-racist reading lists being shared in the past few weeks. We’ve compiled a list of Black-owned bookstores from across the country, most of which offer online orders, so that you can support Black-owned businesses while educating yourself. This list is by no means exhaustive—please comment and tell us which bookstores we should add!
Notes From A Black Woman’s Diary: Selected Works of Kathleen Collins edited by Nina Lorez Collins
“The writer and filmmaker Kathleen Collins died in 1988, at the age of 46 — young, brilliant and, for the most part, unknown. Her work — including Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?, a collection of short stories published for the first time in 2016 — has been rediscovered and embraced in recent years. Now a new book has arrived, Notes From a Black Woman’s Diary, a grab bag of letters, diary entries, short stories, plays and screenplays. ‘Her voice and vision are idiosyncratic and pitiless, combining mischief and crisp authority, formal experimentation and deep feeling,’ our critic Parul Sehgal writes.”
Muslim-American poet Fatimah Asghar navigates intergenerational violence, vulnerability and love in her collection If They Come for Us (Penguin Random House).
Don’t Let Them See Me Like This by Jasmine Gibson
In her debut poetry collection, Don’t Let Them See Me Like This, Jasmine Gibson unearths the brutality of capitalism, biopolitics and White supremacy and explores desire and the idea of political insurgency (Nightboat).
Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie. Shamsie, a Pakistani writer who also lives in London, opens this powerful novel in Nagasaki, shortly before its destruction. The young woman protagonist, who is one of the few survivors, leaves Japan and continues her life, forever transformed, in India, Turkey, Pakistan, and beyond. This is not Shamsie’s most recent novel, but it is one of great power and lyrical beauty.
Likewise, perhaps, Kevin Young has been publishing in a variety of genres, and his most recent book of poems, Brown, has received enthusiastic reviews. I’ve been reading his Book of Hours, however, an astonishing poetic engagement with grief, loss, and death. Superb and accessible poems.
Finally, the first novel by a young Kenyon author of extraordinary talent, Meghan Kenny. The Driest Season is spare, wise, lyrical, and potent. It’s a quick read and one I highly recommend.
Muse-Feed is embarking on an 8-day cross country journey into the land of bookstores. Each day we will offer staff picks from some of the nation’s finest, most curated and eclectic booksellers. Our only frustration in planning this odyssey is that there are so many more wonderful bookstores we cannot reach in 8 short days. We may have to make it an annual event!
Betsy Burton and Anne Holman, booklovers always, have owned The King’s Englishin Salt Lake City since since 1977. Over the years, they’ve made it their mission to match books to readers and remember their reading preferences each time they visit the store. The bookstore offers book groups, events, staff picks, movies, music & gifts. In addition, they offer a newsletter called The Inkslinger filled with reviews of the staff’s favorite books and authors. There’s something for everyone—fiction, nonfiction and children’s books—plus a calendar of upcoming events, special features and author interviews. Of their excellent staff picks, we purchased a signed First Edition copy of THE MINISTRY OF UTMOST HAPPINESS by Arundhati Roy. Additional staff picks include books by Margot Singer, Laura McBride, Derek B. Miller, Nina George, Francis Spufford, Jamie Harrison and Alexandra Fuller. We thank The King’s English for making our first bookstore stop a delightful one.