BEST BOOKS OF 2019!!! – Black Science Fiction & Fantasy + Afrofuturism + Africanfuturism!
Okay, so let me tell you the short story collections came through in 2019 so stay tuned to find out my favorite reads of last year also New channel. Look I hope you like it Hey fam nice to see you here and welcome to those who are new to the channel This is my list of books that I absolutely loved in 2019 There are 20 of them So I’m gonna be starting from middle grade and working my way to the PS Dilla jersey stones which are the short story collections that stole my heart and my soul a little bit and Here we go so the first book that I want to talk about is the Forgotten girl by India Hill Brown as we know India Hill is a well in India India. I hope were on a first-name basis We’ve never met but you know so this is her debut middle grade novel and This is about a little girl who is with her best friend in the woods when she realizes that there’s a strange presence around her and she Investigates with herself and also with her friend she ends up being kind of haunted. I mean, it’s not a spoiler. There’s a ghost It’s a ghost story. It’s a a wintry ghost story she ends up being haunted by this ghost and through trying to figure out who this ghost is or was and why the ghost is there she finds out more about her community and more about I’ll just say that more about her community and also more about herself. So I really enjoyed this book I thought it was a great start for India Hill Brown there was there was a lot of There’s a lot of history, there’s a lot of like contemporary issues that face young black girls, there’s a little bit of bullying That we get to see her work through and I just found it heartwarming and sweet. I did shed a tear or two and I really loved the friendship between her and her best friend that we got to see in this story and It has a churchy vibe. There’s definitely a Christian Christian thing happening and I totally didn’t mind it It was just it was for it’s very sweet and lovely so congratulations India for a great debut And I look forward to reading for their books of yours The second middle grade book that I want to talk about is by Zetas Elliot and it is dragons in a bag Dragons in the bag tells a story of Jackson who is a nine-year-old boy living in Brooklyn. His mom is trying to thwart the landlord Attempts to evict them from their apartment and while she does that I think she has to go to court She lets Jackson stay with MA. Who is his grandma and who’s kind of weird And so while he’s staying with MA, he realizes why ma is so weird and it’s not a spoiler He discovers dragons and learned things about his ma Ma is magical in a way and so he’s got to take care of these dragons. He has to keep them in the bag and Things happen. It was very cute It was very very sweet as I told you before I’ve read a number of zetas Eliot’s books And I really love the way she puts magic into urban settings and a very seamless Kind of way and I really liked how she did this world and and Jackson was such a sweet and believable and naive boy who just wants to be loved wants to Wants to figure out what the what the kind of what kind of hero he can be And also just loves his mom. So it was very very sweet and very cute and really funny So I would definitely recommend that and the final book that I want to talk about is hurricane child by case and calendar This is set in the US Virgin Islands and here we follow Carolyn who is I believe she’s she’s a girl I think she’s 12. I want to say 12 year olds 12 years old. Yes. So she’s 12 years old. She Her mom has gone missing. She doesn’t know where her mom is. She doesn’t know why her mom went missing so she lives with her father and Also this shadowy figure that shows up in her in her home and seems to be following her around She is trying to figure out what happened to her Mom what this shadowy figure is and also what are these feelings she has for this classmate of hers? So it’s really really sweet. I did this full standalone review of it. I loved it. It was heartwarming and It just gave me all the feels. So check out the standalone review If you’d like to learn more about this and frankly I did a standalone review of dragons in the bag and you can check that out as well. So those are my three favorite Middle grade reads of 2019 now, I’m gonna move on to young adult And the first book that I want to talk about is magnifique Maura. I am magical This is the first book in a series that is part novel part graphic work part comic part homage to the gaming community and It is just it’s a wonderful story of a group of black queer Predominantly female superheroes who live in this urban environment called a city and who aren’t going to college and Who live in a world where there are monsters at the beginning of the story? We are already told that there’s one super girl But as a story continues we obviously get to learn more about them So this this story kind of gave me Sailor Moon kind of vibes. I love I Love the fact that these characters are very very very queer many of them very black. There’s an ace character in here as well So there’s a lot of representation about gender identity and sexual Orientation and class and we get to know a little bit about the origin story backstories of these of these students and also Brandon Lawrence who wrote this book really took us to some of the struggles that young college students black college students experienced in urban environments and I hadn’t seen that it kind of I at times it felt like I was getting the not I don’t want to say Gossip Girl because none of them are filthy rich, but the kind of like oh We’re on the campus and we’re living our lives and you know, strange things are happening, right? You’ve got a school, but also strange things are happening and in this community in this world that Branagh has built people know that there are monsters so it’s not weird that They see them and so that’s kind of cool to see people kind of Respond to monsters as they would to like a storm in the sky or something. So I loved it Another thing that I really loved about it is that it’s got illustrations and the illustrations were done by a number of different Artists and so just a lot of fun the second book of the series is out and I ordered it So I’m looking forward to it arriving in March okay, so a young adult the stars and the blackness between them by janata Petrus and I saw this I have a standalone review of this book I will just say that I absolutely Felt like I was seen like I was heard I felt like the food that my family ate was represented here And I loved the female female girl girl romance That was sort of a slow burn and this that ending took me away So check out my standalone review if you want to find out more about why I love this book Pets by echoecho meze. This is the author’s debut young adult novel and Aqua AKMs. He just knocks it up to the park. Every time you can see my standalone review of fresh water You can also see my standalone review a pet. So I’m not gonna say so a lot here, but I will say that Jam the main character was just brave and brilliant and really really sweet I loved the relationship between her and her best friend redemption and the families like the Relationship between jams parents and their friends in the neighborhood. So like they’re against forty something black folks Was also really cool. I like when authors develop the relationships of the parents themselves and we can sort of see the intergenerational Exchange there. So I really enjoyed it definitely on my best for 2019 and I think now we can move on to the adult Standalone novels. So the first one I want to talk about is the book of night women This is the first Marlon James books that I’ve book that I’ve ever read I read it because Troy towel had this hilarious and amazing and intriguing review of this book This tells the story of Lilith who finds herself enslaved. She’s an African woman she’s in slaves on the plantation living in Jamaica and She’s just trying to get trying to get free and she finds herself in the middle of sort She’s not an enslaved African woman to begin but she she is oppressed and she finds herself in the midst of a Slave rebellion that’s laced with traditional African ancestral magic and so she is obviously not in control of her circumstances but we get to sort of see how she manages with a lot of violence cuz Marlon is not a shy about any kind of violence she manages with that she manages with her own power that she comes into contact with and it’s just this like beautiful tropical atmospheric Really? harsh reality, so I Definitely enjoyed it, but it was a hard read at certain points But I’m so glad that I read this and I’m looking forward to other books written by Marlon I’m talking about all these authors like they’re my cousin by Marlon James I also buddy red lagoon With a friend of mine and Lagoon is written by nnedi okorafor and in this story and alien shows up in Lagos Nigeria and it Impacts three people who are who get these powers as a result of the alien coming to Lagos and engaging with these three people and so now They they know that there’s something otherworldly happening and the community doesn’t really know yet But they’re starting to realize it So this book tells the story of like what happens when the people living in the community so in the city realize that there are others amongst them and it’s so cool to see how different pockets of people react like how the science community react how the political community reacts how the the religious community reacts how the queer community reacts how the scammers react it’s just so it’s so Interesting and it’s funny For a first contact story set in Nigeria. It has a lot more humor than I expected So very cool and there are a couple saucy moments and I was totally here for that. I Reread this goodie, this is fledgling by Octavia Butler fledgling tells the story of Shuri who is a vampire She wakes up from a concussion in the in a cave. She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know what she is She just knows that she’s really hungry And she spends the whole book finding out more about herself What is she why was she beaten up? Why is her community gone, are there others like her and what how can she find them and it’s um It’s it’s got such I mean Octavia Butler’s books, really? focus on race and in particular the experiences of black women and so Sheree is a black Coral she appears to be a black girl. She looks like she’s about 11 or 12, but she’s really a baby vampire Meaning that she’s 51 years old and um, you know, she’s she’s she’s in a girl’s body Doing adult things which is uncomfortable for a lot of people so trigger warnings about all the uncomfortable things right But people are encountering her as a black girl, so they’re treating her as though she’s a black girl and That is happening in a you know, in a in a u.s. Community that has a lot of racism. So we’ve got the racism and whiteness issue coming through here layered over a Vampire trying to find her way back home and it was I mean anything by Octavia Butler is amazing. First of all But I enjoyed this I didn’t find it as problematic as a lot of people do so just be careful If these can be these themes can be triggering for you Whoa, okay god of jay gods of jade and shadow. I have a standalone review of this it was awesome Silvia Murano Garcia is brilliant that Woman can write a sentence who check out the standalone review a lot of people love this book. This is the second cill Sylveon what I know Garcia story that I’ve ever read both of them have knocked him out of the park and I just say just Just read it and watch my review if you’d like to know why I am gushing over this book So I won’t talk about that that was a spoiler let me talk about Elysium it’s I don’t know how to describe this book I’m just gonna read this little excerpt here a computer program edged into the atmosphere has a story to tell it’s the story of two people of a city lost to chaos of Survival and love but the data has been corrupted. Listen fan like this if You are into stories that confuse you but also delight you and intrigue you then this is definitely the story for you I think it’s a debut novel from Jennifer Marie Brissette and the characters change genders There are animals that show up it’s it’s it’s it’s Weird but it’s true science fiction and it’s really weird and I don’t know how to describe it and You just have to read it like Genders changing. I don’t know. I just if you look at it just says Wow wow, so amazing I’m sorry I wish I could I’m gonna see if I can get an interview with Jennifer Marie Brissette so that she can explain her book because I sure I sure Can I can’t but it was great Sorry Okay, and then the last the next adult novel I want to talk about is not a standalone It was the first in a series the conscious dreamer series. This is a heaviness of knowing written by Cheryl Angie brown This was an f-bomb, which is feminist book of the month I got a copy of this at whisk on and this is really cool This tells a story of two black women his name Drock Sal and she lives on this planet That’s not Earth. And then there is Lauren yes who lives on earth Lauren works in like tech and programming and she’s working towards it’s like big secret project the government’s kind of involved in and Meanwhile on the other planet rock Sal is like she is hired. Well, no, she’s in a cast that’s responsible for communicating with humans on earth through their dreams and planting different Suggestions into their life so that she can influence their decisions so that these humans can unknowingly be part of this huge master plan but then rock Sal realizes that that master plan is really effed up and so She has like a crisis of the heart and then we see what happens. So this is book one. I like this um This is a debut novel is actually dedicated to Octavia Butler because Cheryl and brown found out about black science fiction when she first read Octavia Butler’s books, which is basically so many people’s story There were parts of the book that are a bit overly descriptive and I think a little heavy-handed I really like it when readers can kind of trust their when writers can trust their readers to kind of get it But I’m not mad at it. It was just a couple a couple of times. I I noted like Since he didn’t need to eat in me to spell out all the things we know they’re kissing. You know, it’s fine but but it was it was really good and I’m gonna continue in the series and then Before I get to the short stories the deep river Solomon Second book they killed it mermaids Africans magic queerness Octopi whales Rituals sex Just good. It’s just good stuff. Check it out Check out my review if you’d like to find out more about why I loved it. Okay, so I’m almost done but I have to tell you that I Tend to have a hard time with short story collections because I find them sometimes I Find myself getting impatient and by the time I understand the world and by the time I get into the story it’s done and then I have to jump into another world and sometimes it’s hard to understand like How the worlds I’ll connect with each other So anyway, that’s just that but I loved I loved these six I think short stories Seven, all right, so I started off the year reading ghost summer stories by Tanana Reeve Do these are horror stories set in a little Florida town? they’re futuristic and they’re scary and they really Like some of these stories gave me a get out kind of vibe, you know sort of you know Taking up the anxieties and the fears of black folks and looking at them in different ways So there was like historical like if you ever saw there would be skeleton key Like that that kind of like that kind of vibe that kind of like Us it’s the summer they’d be ghosts black folks freaking that out You know few zombies like really really interesting. So Tanana Reeve do is an amazing horror writer and a free tourist and so you should if you’re not familiar with her work ghost stories is a great a Great introduction. There’s one story about a woman and her baby Wild Wild Friday black yes, Jordan. I loved Friday black I know a lot of people haven’t talked about this collection, but this is Nana Nana Kwame a Jay Brenna’s debut collection of short works taking up The experiences I think of black men in the u.s. And contemporary society right now looking at issues like racism and consumerism and I Just I I really and I really enjoyed it some of the stories I was like kind of about but I Listened to it on audio while I was taking notes and it just took me away and my favorite story was a flagship story called Friday black which looks at Consumerism and the phenomenon the Black Friday and that just that just got it for me like it was so it’s like psychological horror in some ways and I Loved I loved it really great stories Like if you’re ready for some harsh speculative fiction slash Psychological horror some of those stories will really give it to you Okay, black from the future. I did a standalone review of this so I’m not going to tell you too much about it But blf Press published this collection of writing by black women, and I loved it It was great. You should get it. You should check out the review. I won’t repeat myself there. Okay, five more and then we’re done New worlds old ways. This is a collection of speculative writing out of the Caribbean all of the writers all of the Writers of the short stories are all from the Caribbean. It was edited by dr. Karen Lord, who is also Bayesian and an exquisite writer herself so I loved this because it took a lot of the themes like technology and robots and magical creatures and and put and just explained them to me and illustrated them within a Caribbean context and my parents are from Trinidad, and honestly, I Have never even imagined. I hate to say like AI in Trinidad or alien invasion in Trinidad or Or those kinds of things like I didn’t really think about I don’t think about Trinidad in that way and that’s only because I associated with my parents home and I think about I think about like futurism in the context of ayman, which is a u.s. Context and that’s really Western and it’s really problematic and it’s probably indicative of all sorts of internalized things So reading stories from outside of North America really helps me, you know rewire rewire the noggin and new worlds old ways helped me do that and it’s just interesting because like I grew up with with stories of magic and I grew up with stories of magic and and and And futurism and all of these things coming out of the Caribbean and slowly by slowly Those images kind of shifted, right? But this is helping me bring them back. So okay last for Filter house is a collection of short stories written by Maisie shawl Hard to describe the different like the different stories, but I have to say there are very few writers. Probably less than five Who? Write sentences. So beautiful that they’ve actually driven me to tears. No word of a lie Like I said it here reading some of these stories because Maisie shawl is just oh my god their stories Just get under your skin in a good way and and just like oh Just take you away and then you’re like, oh my god. They just do that. Ah, so it was just a really great really great collection So, I not a lot of people Are reading in DC Shaw and you really should because they’re awesome Okay new sons this is original speculative works by People of color this was edited by Niecy Shaw. I have a standalone review of that. I loved it. You should check out the review Love beyond body space and time. Yes, this is an anthology. It’s a it’s a LGBT Indigenous anthology of short works. It was gifted to me by Grace Dillon who is an indigenous woman and who actually like does courses on speculative fiction by indigenous folks Grace gifted this book to me at the whisk on festival of 2011 2018 and it was really great Like New Worlds old ways. It really opened my eyes to how Science fiction and fantasy and magical realism can play up and show up when layered through narratives of indigenous peoples like some of the stories just made by who they were like creepy and And educational and Really cool if there was one story with a two-spirit is to spirit of character and it was just like fuck. Yes. Yes Obviously, right so it was this was really great so I would recommend that and then the final my favorite book of 2019 was two moons stories by Crystal Eye Smith I actually read this and I think January of 2019 and it absolutely haunted me for the rest of the year These stories though these stories crystal a Smith can write a short story They are black. They are a lesbian. They are feminist. They are all of the things my favorite story is I think the main story the one that I Think the one that inspired the title and also that inspired the cover collage. It’s a love story between a girl in the moon and good things happen like a love story a romance between a girl and the moon Just the idea of that like have you have you come across a story where there’s a a girl or a person falling in love with the celestial like Manifestation not even like the actual moon like the moon out there. Who does that crystal does it was good? Okay Those are my selections of my favorites books from 2019 Let me know if you’re interested in reading any of any of them if you have any thoughts about them Thank you very much for watching this video right to the end And if you would leave a comment I would be very happy and please use the word moon So I know that you watch the video all the way to the end. That’s all I have for you today Thank you very much for watching this video. I will see you in my next one. Please like subscribe Comment and remember to always read with purpose See ya