"An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature. Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging remains with readers the rest of their lives--but not everyone regularly sees themselves on the pages of a book. In this timely anthology, Glory Edim brings together original essays by some of our best black women writers to shine a light on how important it is that we all--regardless of gender, race, religion, or ability--have the opportunity to find ourselves in literature. Contributors include Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied, Sing), Lynn Nottage (Sweat), Jacqueline Woodson (Another Brooklyn), Gabourey Sidibe (This Is Just My Face), Morgan Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing), Tayari Jones (An American Marriage), Rebecca Walker (Black, White and Jewish), and Barbara Smith (Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology). Whether it's learning about the complexities of femalehood from Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison, finding a new type of love in The Color Purple, or using mythology to craft an alternative black future, the subjects of each essay remind us why we turn to books in times of both struggle and relaxation. As she has done with her book club-turned-online community Well-Read Black Girl, in this anthology Glory Edim has created a space in which black women's writing and knowledge and life experiences are lifted up, to be shared with all readers who value the power of a story to help us understand the world and ourselves"--
These essays certainly give me a lot to consider, especially as I choose materials for my classes.
The anthology can also serve as an introduction to those who are not familiar with black women writers. The essays and the lists of works give readers a place to start. I was pleased to see I had read many of the works listed, but there were many more unknown to me. I certainly have some reading ahead.
The graphics and the line portraits are pleasing and make this a book I will keep on my shelves.
Author: Glory Edim
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
"Well Read Black Girl Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves" by Glory Edim
If you love reading as I do you will find this read a very interesting one and if you are black it will even mean so much more. I loved all that this author brought out in this 'inspiring collection of
essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well Read Black Girl.' These are anthologies of essays by some black amazing women writers featuring: "Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied, Sing); Tayari Jones (An American Marriage); Lynn Nottage (Sweat); Jacqueline Woodson (Another Brooklyn); Gabourey Sidibe (This Is Just My Face); Morgan Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing); Rebecca Walker (Black, White and Jewish); and Barbara Smith (Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology)." These stories were right there where it will capture your heart being such touching inspirational reads that really made me feel like I was coming home. I wasn't able to pick out my favorite because I seemed to enjoy them all. With books being so important we also can see why the storytelling and representation are so very important too in its delivery where we are given the 'diversity of voices its organization of essays along with its strong message making it all so very memorable and powerful. This is definitely one read that I would recommend to all girls and women alike [especially of color] where one can possible find a little bit of themselves in these stories.
Influential books open with new and inspiring messages of hope, love, determination, courage, and respect for open-minded readers of every race, ethnicity, and gender.
This will be a new classic for High School and College classes, propelling semesters of discussion and comparative reading and writing!
I was first introduced to Glory Edim and Well-Read Black Girl in 2015. She doesn’t know this, but she so inspired me that I vowed to only read literature by Women of Color for the next 18 months. I read a lot. It was, and will always be, the most profound reading experience I will ever have. Glory was my guide to start the journey.
Thank you Ballantine Books and LibraryThing. I now know more of the personal stories of 20+ contemporary Black Women, how they came to find themselves in literature, how hard it was, still is, and why it is so essential to keep up the fight.
The anthology is more about these women's experiences as readers or young readers, or it takes this as the main starting point for each story. Inevitably, this made me think about my own reading experience while I was reading this book. Reading this anthology as a white woman, an immigrant, a non-American, a scientist, and a queer person is a strange experience. On the one hand, the book feels special, special for those who are not me in many ways, but particularly in their skin color. In this particular way, not being a part of the world so intricately described by these women, perhaps I experienced reading as an outsider, the way many of these women describe reading white literature, where they were not included or represented in any real way (the very big difference being that I, my white self, do not lack representation in literature, but this brings me to the next point:) On the other hand, the book offers many ways in which the contributors are/were just like me: not fitting clothes meant for "normal" girls, having crushes on boys and girls, not being able to afford things others around you or at school might easily afford, feeling a kind of rage against those who have told and retold the myth that your kind is inferior to theirs, being a girl who wants to become a scientist (and not a mother or someone's wife)... In the end, good writing is about life, and there's always something that's not like us and something that's like us in it, capturing our uniqueness and our commonalities seemingly in one sweep.
Why did I read this book? To understand, is the first answer that comes naturally. Though it is impossible for me to ever truly understand how it feels to be a black woman now, let alone in the '50s or before, or to be a black girl growing up, I can come to a sort of understanding by way of extrapolations from my own life as a woman, an immigrant, a queer. This understanding is a misshapen, poorly examined thing that doesn't make too much sense, granted, but it's still a part of me that I will keep, in support, and hopefully, for further understanding.
Recommended for those who like to read about women reading lots and lots.
Thanks to LibraryThing and the publisher for a free copy of this book for my review. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and will be thinking about it for a long while.
Least favorite piece: Bsrat Mezghebe's, mostly because her essay cites Roald Dahl as a major influence -- which doesn't quite fit with the theme of this anthology.
Favorite piece: N.K. Jemisin's, because her piece is funny and passionate and takes absolutely no prisoners.
The only downfall is that now my list of titles and authors to look into has gotten a lot longer!
All of them express sheer joy of finding themselves in a variety of black writers and characters – whether it was a children's book with a black girl pretending to be a witch, or one of the very small but growing canon of well known and lesser known black authors.
I loved each and every essay. I'm neither black nor a girl, and yet my eyes are reopened to the importance of seeing oneself and one's experience in what you read.
The lists of books in this book will add immensely to my reading in the years to come.
A well-deserved 5 star read.
Thank you to LibraryThing for the opportunity to read Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim in lieu of my honest review.