These are my current favorite reads. From southern magical fiction and allegorical spiritual wisdom to Black feminist theory and prose, all ofthese novels have a special place in my heart. They are listed below in the order they appear in the slideshow.
1. Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen
This book truly captivated me. Themes of sisterly love, enchanted gardens, small southern towns with peculiar families and romance struck me immediately. I was so thrilled to find out there's a second book with this charming Waverly family.
Trigger warning: domestic abuse and mention of rape.
4. Goddesses in Everywoman - Dr. Bolen
For those of you who enjoy Greek mythology, this book provides amazing examples of how the goddesses guide women of all personalities. The author talks about goddess archetypes and how we are influenced by some of the most important Greek goddesses, from daring Artemis to jealous Hera. With this knowledge of who we best identify with, we have a better understanding of what our own weaknesses, motivations, and strengths are.
7. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
The Color Purple is widely celebrated for its honest depictions of the Black woman's experiences in America. The book is a beautiful story of the bond between sisters and women, which are constantly threatened by Black men seeking to dominate them. Alice Walker made history with this classic novel, it will truly move you.
Trigger warning: sexual assault, racism.
2. Available Wisdom - Gates McKibbin
I found this book at a second-hand bookstore in DuPont, or rather it found me. From past lives to transcending the physical plane through meditation, this book has short passages about everything you need to know about finding inner peace. Each chapter is no more than 2 pages; I like to read a few sections before bed. Would highly recommend!
5. Feminism is for Everybody - bell hooks
Feminism is for Everybody is the perfect introduction to feminist ideals. My mom bought this book for me in high school, when I had decided that I want to major in Women's Studies in college. This book, and hooks' crystal clear writing, solidified my decision.
8. Sister Outsider - Audre Lorde
"Poetry is Not a Luxury" really captivated me when I read it. Lorde is a Black feminist lesbian poet, an essential author for your bookshelf if you consider yourself a Black feminist! But that's not why I like her, just because she's a classic. When I read "Poetry is Not a Luxury," I realized that I always had turned to poetry to express myself. Simple sentences without rhythm never seemed to convey my feelings the way that poetry did. Lorde means to speak for herself, but she really speaks for the Black woman's experience as a whole. Black women must continue to create language and creative avenues for ourselves in order to tell our stories that face the threats of erasure.
3. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist is a classic novel, one that I read when I was 14 but didn't grasp until I turned 20. The writing is simple, but every sentence has profound wisdom. It's easy to read and I think it's important to revisit this book, like all favorites, during different periods in your lifetime. What stands out to you this time around? The Alchemist inspires me to follow my own Personal Legend - fearlessly and devotionally.
6. Salt - Nayyirah Waheed
Immigrant. Black. Woman. Lover. Spiritual. I spotted Salt, about to be re-shelved, one night while I was working at the library. It was unusual because that was the night I took a shift that I wouldn't usually work, so it felt even more special that I saw it. Salt is a compilation of poems, lowercase and punctuation-less, always concise, always insightful. Milk and Honey is strikingly similar to Salt, although Salt was published years earlier. Each poem is absolutely beautiful and I found myself wanting to doggy ear almost every single one I read. Definitely suggesting this one.