Finally, I have succumbed to your requests. Here is a book recommendation video! It’s a list of about 10 books that I made sure to keep diverse and eclectic. I don’t have a true blue favorite book list, because there are just too many great books in the world and you should never stop reading! But this is an immediate list of books that have impacted me in my life and I draw inspiration from them daily.

Book List:

I’ve read every James Baldwin book, essay, prose and play that has ever been published. And this is by far my favorite of them all. It details a gospel group of young men who are touring through the backwoods of the deep south and their growth as young men when tragedy strikes.

This book is a life changer, game changer, puts you on changer. I just love, love, LOVE this book by Joan Morgan, as she discusses third wave feminism and how you can love Jay-Z and yourself too. This is before the era of the #flawless King Bey.

A quasi-spiritual book that will discusses the energy we put out and how that greatly impacts our life, in a simple fictional tale that takes you through the mountains of Peru.

You will cry. You appreciate the simple things. You will be ever grateful for your life. This is the story of Valentino Achak, a loosely based on reality fiction novel, as he travels as part of the band of lost boys seeking refuge from what is now South Sudan, up to Ethiopia, down to Kenya and becoming a refugee in America. The man NEVER catches a break but through it all he keeps his faith. A quick, simple and brilliant read.

Another tear jerker, that deals with hubris in a very familiar format of human sin and having the opportunity to do better but not and then the seeking of refuge later in life. It’s interwoven stories set in the beautiful landscape of Afghanistan that’s often not shown in America media. Defies the propaganda of the Bush era, with the reality of a world that we can all relate to you. And yes, I’ve read A Thousand Splendid Suns, saving that for the next list.

I picked up Gloria Naylor as part of an assignment in high school for an AP English class. I think I was drawn to her, because she had Oprah turn her most famous book, Women of Brewster Place, into a TV-movie and she’s a former Jehovah’s Witness. Having grown up in a JW household – and at the time still living in one, I was intrigued. She left the religion because she said it isolated her from the black literary culture, though she credits the religion with bringing her out of her shyness and inspiring her to write (ref.). My interests were peaked and Linden Hills is one of my favs, as it exploits the talented tenth mentality of bourgie Black folk. Bailey’s Cafe explores the archs of the Black stereotypes in literature and dives more into their back stories.

It’s pata pata time! Miriam Makeba, the South African singer who broke into the American scene during a time of apartheid and exile from her home country, just has an epic back story that is deeply woven into the international civil rights of the African diaspora. This is a good read for all ages and a major part of our history.

For everyone that’s ever claimed to have read the 48 Laws of Power in entirety (I call bullshit), this is one of the books that Robert Greene draws many of his references from. A much quicker and succinct read, Machiavelli covers the principalities of being a culpable and effective ruler, whether you are ruling a nation or your own personal endeavors.