This month I’m rounding up a short-list of selections from MLK’s Adult Services department book clubs and regular programs for Black History Month. If you’re interested in joining a program or reading along with any of our book clubs, please email us at Adultservices.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Black Studies Book Club Pick:
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon: Fanon’s far-reaching influence persists in his writings that center liberation struggles against the exploitation and dehumanizing violence of colonial empire. The Wretched of the Earth looks at the case of Algeria striving for its eventual independence from France. Fanon believed that colonized peoples maintain the right to defend themselves using the language of the oppressor, which is violence. His other notable works include Black Skin, White Masks and A Dying Colonialism. Fanon’s work influenced such important figures as Malcolm X, Stephen Biko, and Che Guevara.
Calendars and Clocks Book Club Pick:
Erasure by Percival Everett: Percival Everett’s blazing satire, Erasure, was recently adapted into the 2023 film, American Fiction. Everett’s protagonist, Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, is a professor and writer, who finds himself out of luck in a publishing world that doesn’t deem his writing as marketable 'Black' literature. In response, he pens a farce of a novel that satirizes the success of another (fictional) writer’s debut. His book, never meant for publication, is released under a pseudonym and becomes a hit. Cue the ensuing madness Monk must face along with his personal heartaches.
Literary Book Club Pick:
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin: Read this classic set in 1970s Harlem, as young sweethearts Alonzo, a budding sculptor better known as Fonny and Clementine (known as Tish) fight for their future with the support of both their families. Tish learns she is pregnant while Fonny is incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. There is love, resilience and an exploration of vulnerability in their lives fraught with the callous inequities faced by their community.
Love in Color Book Club Pick:
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams: Love in Color celebrates diverse romance writers and love in all its unique pairings, cultures, and iterations. Seven Days in June tells the story of two writers whose long-ago short-lived but consuming romance comes back to haunt them when one of them pops back into the other’s world in New York. Love and Color also highly recommends any novels written by authors Talia Hibbert and Jasmine Guillory.
MLK Tuesday Night Films Pick:
Black Panther: Panther’s Rage by Sheree Renée Thomas: This novel by acclaimed Science Fiction and Fantasy author, Sheree Renée Thomas, picks up a storyline from the original Black Panther comic and expands upon the world of Wakanda and its heroes.
Open Mic Night Pick:
On the Bus with Rosa Parks by Rita Dove: Dove was the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995, the first African American to serve in this role. This collection of poems charts Rosa Parks significance as a catalyst in history from something as mundane as riding the bus. The work also examines Rita Dove’s personal connection to the space and time that Parks and other important figures occupy in both the present as well as the heyday of the civil rights movement.