I’ve recently started reading Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge and, although I’m very early into the book, I’ve found it absolutely fascinating so far. The book is so thought-provoking and offers some amazing insights into racism and discrimination.
It’s a book that has been on my TBR pile for more than a year and was recommended to me by three different people, yet I never managed to pick it up before now. Interestingly, I’m not really sure why it has taken me so long because a lot of my favourite novels have racism as a central theme.
With this in mind, I thought I’d share some of my recommendations for those looking to pick up a fiction offering centred around race.
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
An oldie but a goodie and a very obvious choice! To Kill a Mocking Bird is my favourite book of all time, which is quite a statement considering I’ve read thousands of books in my life (its also why I have two copies that I cannot bare to part with!) Scout Finch’s innocent narration while dealing with race, rape, prejudice and justice, coupled with the authenticity of the Alabama setting, ensures that this novel earns its position as one of the most celebrated stories of all time. It’s truly epic and if you haven’t read it, you’re seriously missing out!
The Help – Kathryn Stockett
Another wonderful novel that gives me all the feels! There’s some books that you read and, while you may enjoy them, you move onto another and never think about it again. The Help has the exact opposite effect. I read it years ago, devoured it in a day and can still remember exactly where it was and exactly how I felt when I finished it. As an avid reader, people constantly ask me what my favourite books are which, as any bookworm will tell you, is pretty much an impossible question. Whenever I attempt to answer though, The Help is given a shout out every single time!
Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult
Small Great Things was a recommendation from a friend in 2018 and, I have to say, I was sceptical at first. I’d read a couple of Jodi Picoult books in the past and I enjoyed them, but I’d never really raved about any of her books until Small Great Things. The story centres around a black nurse who is discriminated against by a white supremacist family in the maternity ward. The book was full of twists and turns, as well as some fantastic humour, and kept me gripped until the very end.
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give made quite a splash when it first came out and, once you’ve read it, it’s very easy to see why. Angie Thomas fantasticly portrays racial struggles in modern day America and strikes the perfect balance between shocking and heartwarming. At times, the book was really hard hitting, but it’s so thought-provoking that it’s utterly glorious. The Hate U Give is marketed as a YA novel, but I’d say it’s a must read for all ages.
The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kid
This was one of the first books about race that I remember reading and absolutely loving. I read it as a teenager and just writing this blog post has made me want to pop it on my TBR pile and read it again as an adult. The book is a coming of age story involving Lily, a young white girl who witnesses segregation and racial violence first hand and is horrified. The book is full of heart-warming characters and wise words of wisdom for us all.
If you’ve got any recommendations of what I should I read next, let me know. I’d love to hear them!