5 Adult Fiction Books By Black Authors

5 Adult Fiction Books By Black Authors header

We’re now a few days into February which means it’s about time I start doing something to celebrate Black History Month here on the blog. Every Sunday throughout February, I’ll be talking about books written by Black authors fitting a different (very broad) theme. This week’s theme is obviously adult fiction. Most of the books I’ll include in these lists will likely be on my TBR, but some may be books that I’ve read in the past.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi book cover

I’m reading this right now and absolutely loving it. Although I sometimes get a little confused trying to figure out the family relationships (thank god for that family tree in the beginning)… but that’s my only complaint, haha! I absolutely love how it covers so many different time periods in just one book. If this isn’t on your TBR, you definitely need to add it!

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler book cover

Octavia E. Butler is probably one of the first authors who comes to mind when you think of famous Black authors, right? I surprisingly haven’t read anything by her yet, but I’m hoping to change that this month with Parable of the Sower. However, since I just recently talked about that book in my February TBR post, I decided to instead include Kindred. I think I own this book too (the fact that I’m not sure is a sign that I own too many books, haha!). This is probably her most famous work and I hear absolutely fantastic things about it. Plus it’s the first sci-fi book written by a Black woman so… I really need to read it.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved by Toni Morrison book cover

If you don’t think of Octavia E. Butler when you think of famous Black authors, then you probably think of Toni Morrison. I read The Bluest Eye back when I was a senior in high school, but don’t remember much about it which is why I decided not to feature it here. Instead, I wanted to mention Beloved which is a very well-known and well-loved book and one that I definitely need to read.

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi book cover

I admittedly don’t know a whole lot about this book, but it’s a collection of magical realism/fantasy short stories and it sounds fantastic. Although I don’t know much about it, I do know that tons of people are absolutely in love with this book and I really want to check it out. I think my library has it so maybe I’ll grab it next time I’m taking books out.

We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge

We Love You Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Freenidge

I’ve only very recently heard about this book, but it made my list for a few reasons. One, it involves trying to teach a chimpanzee sign language and as I’m sure several of you know, I absolutely love chimpanzees (although I in no way condone keeping them as pets and generally don’t condone using them as research subjects either…). But chimpanzees aside, this sounds like a really fascinating book anyway. It talks about race (and I’m now realizing I think all of these books do) and that’s something I always love to read about and educate myself about. There’s nothing about this book that doesn’t appeal to me, honestly.

Are any of these books on your TBR? What other books would you add to this list?


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25 thoughts on “5 Adult Fiction Books By Black Authors

  1. I would definitely add The Color Purple! It’s more on the sad and heavy side it’s really good. I’ve only read Home by Toni Morrison, which I thought was alright, but I’ve been meaning to read Beloved because that’s the one most people seem to prefer. Kindred sounds incredibly interesting, I don’t think I’ve heard of it actually!

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  2. All of these but the last one are on my TBR, and I’m correcting that oversight immediately. I’d personally add The Mothers by Brit Bennet & Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue to the list, and totally recommend them if you haven’t read them yet. Great list overall! ❤

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    • The Mothers is definitely another one that I have on my list! I’m still mad at myself for not getting it when Book of the Month had it as an option a few months ago. I hadn’t heard of it at that point, so decided to go with something else and I regret it so much, haha. I haven’t heard of Behold the Dreamers – I’ll have to check it out! 🙂

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  3. Last year I read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. It’s an undeniable classic. And I can’t forget “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neal Hurston. I agree with Diana that “Behold the Dreamers” is a must-read as well.

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  4. Great list! I read Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents last year, and really want to get to Kindred this year. I’m currently reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, which is excellent. It’s tough and gritty, and I really like what he is doing with making it an alternate history, adding in different forms of racial prejudice that have been perpetrated against PoC in other eras (Tuskegee Syphilis Project, forced sterilization, etc).

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    • I hope you’ll get a chance to read it! I absolutely love how it manages to cover so many different topics without the chapters seeming too shallow. I was a little worried it wouldn’t go deep enough into each perspective, but I really didn’t need to be worried about it!

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  5. I read a Toni Morrison book in college. I don’t remember the title, but I distinctly remember the content. I think it was maybe The Bluest Eye? Not sure. I should try to find it and re-read…I recall at the time thinking that I was missing a lot of the nuances of it, but it was still a very moving book.

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    • Yeah I read The Bluest Eye in high school. It was for a book report although I was able to choose the book, but I feel like the fact that I had to write an essay about it after made me appreciate it less, haha. I know I still have it though and it’d probably be a good idea for me to reread it too.

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  6. I’m not familiar with any of these authors and really appreciate you pointing them out because these books sound terrific. As a teacher (retired now), I always used February to make sure my students learned about the history of slavery in the US and Canada but wouldn’t it be great for the world to get to the place where we read an author because they write amazingly well about fascinating topics and yet we remain totally unaware of their skin colour? Until then, there will always be racism. We need more than just tolerance — we need to be colourblind.

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  7. Pingback: 12 Months a year, I personally celebrate, being a Black Woman, and 1 Month of the year, the entire World chooses to help me, or Not…. February is Black History Month, and Valentine’s Day also falls in this Month. Love being Black, is how I see

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