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The vibe of summer 2020 has shifted when compared to past years. Given the current state of the world and social distancing mandates being enforced more than ever across the country, folks have been seeking other ways to productively occupy their time while at home. For me, recreational reading has become a newfound daily routine in the warmer months and the Kindle has come in clutch, making this practice so much easier.
Before we get into the five books that have taken over my summer pastime — hint: Black authors are having a moment right now — let’s explore a bit on the method I’ve chosen to get my read on over these past few months.
While physical books will always be timeless, e-readers and mobile devices are a more sustainably sound and space consolidating way to indulge in as many titles as you’d like.
Devices like iPads, phones and, most commonly (and affordably) Amazon Kindle devices, have changed the way we read, leisurely, by allowing us to access millions of titles that are stored on one thin and compact device.
What’s even better is that with the purchase of any Kindle device (like the one above) shoppers have the option to get three months of free Kindle Unlimited.
Those who would rather explore the service without purchasing a new device can do so by subscribing to Kindle Unlimited, independently. With this method, new subscribers will get 30 days of free access. The service will automatically renew after the trial ends for $9.99 per month. The subscription can be canceled at any time with no risk of being charged.
The five books listed below have been on constant rotation in my virtual library since June, 2020. Including a mix of older and newer releases (some of which I’ve decided to revisit for a second time), these titles are all authored by Black writers including Michael Arceneaux, Janet Mock, Shonda Rhimes and George M. Johnson.
Each title can be purchased at the listed price or downloaded at a discounted price for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Take a look at my recommendations for the perfect summer reading stack, below:
1. I Don’t Want To Die Poor By Michael Arceneaux, $12.99 (Orig. $17)
Written by New York Times best-selling queer author Michael Arceneaux, “I Don’t Want to Die Poor” shows the millennial, Texas-born talent flex his signature conversational and hilariously intellectual tone while sharing his struggles with debt and how it impacts every facet of his life. From dating to healthcare, he covers all bases in a way that is both charming and relatable.
2. All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto By George M. Johnson, $9.99 (Orig. $17.99)
The first book release from Black queer journalist and activist George M. Johnson comes in the form of a series of personal essays that explore his childhood, adolescence and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. In the moving title, he bravely and candidly reminisces on traumatic moments where his teeth were knocked out by bullies at the age of five to more touching and introspective memories of flea marketing with his grandmother. This one is certainly a must-read for all, but especially for Black queer boys and men.
3. Year Of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In The Sun and Be Your Own Person By Shonda Rhimes, $12.99 (Orig. $16.99)
To all of those who are afraid of taking chances in life or have historically lived by the book without straying, this one’s for you. What if you said “yes” to everything that scared you? Well, award-winning director, producer and creator Shonda Rhimes embraced that challenge for one year and she chronicled what she learned from that experience in this hilarious and poignant New York Times best-selling memoir that’s sure to open your eyes.
4. Redefining Realness: My Path To Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More By Janet Mock, $12.99 (Orig. $16.99)
Since its 2014 release, this title by the incomparably brilliant Janet Mock remains a timeless classic in my collection — so much so that I’ve decided to revisit it some six years later.
Released a few months prior to my college graduation, this book has instilled a sense of pride and unbridled real-world advice that I’ve never encountered in any other work. Flexing her muscles as a feminist icon and a proud trans woman, Mock, while sharing her unique story of growing up multiracial, poor and trans in America, teaches readers lessons of perseverance, self-acceptance and the subjective definition of what it means to be “real.”
5. I Can’t Date Jesus By Michael Arceneaux, $12.99 (Orig. $17)
Another title that I’ve decided to revisit — my first time being exposed to and falling in love with Michael Arceneaux’s writing — is “I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé.”
As chuckle-inducing as the book’s title is, its contents are even more hilarious and transparently reflective of the common experiences of young, Black queer men who grew up in conservative or religious families. This book takes you on a first-hand journey that’s unlike any other, seeing Arceneaux share stories of him coming out to his mother, being approached for the priesthood, struggling with pursuing his dreams and more. Trust me, you’ll be running back to this one after the first read as well.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like to read about these 8 best-selling celebrity-authored books included with Kindle Unlimited.
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