c.2021, various publishers
$17.99 – $26.00
By Terri Schlichenmeyer
The Truth Contributor
Surely, you’ve got opinions; everyone does these days. You have ideas about this and that, you’ve given things a lot of consideration, and you know how you feel. It’s nice to have your mind made up. Now you can move on and maybe, with these great books, you can see what others think, too…
If it seems that pop culture dominates our lives these days, well, you’re right. Author Nichole Perkins agrees, and in her book Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be (Grand Central Publishing, $17.99), she writes about how the internet, wealth, TV, racism, misogyny, health issues, and beauty standards for Black women have affected her in the new millennium. That might sound like a serious rant, but it’s not… not entirely; Perkins shares her thoughts on a few somber topics but even on those pages, she’s sharp, relatable, and witty, giving readers plenty to discuss and plenty of reasons to nod their heads in agreement.
No doubt, you’ve got lots to say about racial issues in 2021, so how about another point of view? Read Don’t Let It Get You Down: Essays on Race, Gender, and the Body by Savala Nolan (Simon & Schuster, $26.00).
As the child of a Black and Mexican father and a white mother, Nolan knows what it’s like to live a life that’s not: not Black and not White, not wealthy and not exactly poor. She knows what it’s like to grapple with body image issues, financial insecurity, and with racial myths. She’s well aware of what society – both Black and white – expects from Black women in their feelings and their appearances. She writes of motherhood and how racism affects it from the moment a child is born. And she writes about her own history, and her white ancestors who enslaved the Black ancestors in her family. Savor these essays. Discuss.
And finally, you can learn a lot about what someone’s thinking from the stories they tell. Remember that as you’re reading Give My Love to the Savages: Stories by Chris Stuck (Amistad, $24.99).
Life as a Black man in America is really something: you might be called by a racial slur one minute, and find yourself on the creepy end of too much attention from a white woman in another. You try to live your life, not bothering anybody, but somebody’s inevitably bothered. You stay in your own lane until someone (or something) hits you head-on. You wonder why white people do the things they do – but one day, you might find yourself doing them, too.
Family, masculinity, love, and getting by in American society, those are just some of the plots in these tales. They’ll give you something to think about, and to chuckle about.
If these essays don’t quite fit what your head and heart want, be sure to reach out to your favorite librarian or bookseller. They have plenty of other books available, and they’ll help you find the essays and stories you need to know.
So, whaddaya think?