The weather is warm and the weekends are lazy, so it’s the perfect time to curl up with a great book or download it to your Kindle, if you’re that type of girl. Here are a few Fierce suggestions that offer a little something for everyone.
1. Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The latest novel by the author of Half of a Yellow Sun (the movie version is scheduled for release this summer) is a brilliant take on race and identity seen through the eyes of an African woman creating a life for herself in Nigeria, Europe and ultimately America. But it is also a love story about high school sweethearts who struggle to hold on to a relationship as they build careers across three continents. (Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o has reportedly acquired the film rights for Americanah.)
Featured in the New Yorker as one of the 20 best authors under 40, winner of the prestigious MacArthur “genius grant” in 2010 and winner of the Orange Prize (for Half a Yellow Sun), Adichie is an extraordinary storyteller. Her lyricism and unique view of race, identity and loneliness are sure to alter your worldview.
2. Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland. This true story chronicles Copeland’s rise to become the only African-American soloist ever to dance with the American Ballet Company. A prodigy who was dancing on pointe just three months after discovering ballet, Copeland was one of five children in a family so stressed that, at one point, she and her four brothers and sister vied to sleep on a motel room floor — their only home.
At age 13, Copeland discovers dance at a neighborhood community center and miraculously makes her way to New York and stardom. This inspiring coming-of-age memoir also offers an inside glimpse of the cutthroat world of ballet. Copeland’s story is a must-read for anyone who dares to dream.
3. The Cutting Season by Attica Locke. A master of the mystery genre who learned her craft as a highly successful screenwriter, The Cutting Season was awarded the 2013 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. This fast-paced thriller is the story of Caren Gray, the manager of Belle Vie, a beautifully preserved antebellum mansion on the Mississippi River that has become a popular resort and wedding venue.
Gray, who grew up there as daughter of the plantation cook, is now the manager of the property. She is at the center of the shocking story that unfolds. Locke’s murder mystery is an engaging historical novel and page-turner that will leave you breathless, while teaching you a thing or two about the legacy of the South.
4. Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons by Sylviane A. Diouf. Most histories of maroons — escaped slaves who defied the system of slavery — focus on communities in the Caribbean and Latin America. But Diouf, an award-winning historian, reveals the obscure history of maroons in the southern United States.
Some found ways to survive in swamps, build homes underground or create secret communities that allowed them some measure of independence. Diouf discusses their constant struggle to stay alive, their resourcefulness and their determination to be free.
5. Even the Stars Look Lonesome, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou. Whether the genre is memoir or poetry, the late author’s prose is always captivating, lyrical and life changing. If you have read all of her books, give yourself a treat and read at least one again. If you’re discovering her books for the first time, read any of one of them in celebration of the magnificent life she lived and the remarkable literary legacy she left behind. Every word is food for the soul.
About Fierce Fridays — Tips for Weekend Well-Being
We each cherish those precious days off at the end of the week, but increasingly those of us who are charter members of the sisterhood of the stressed and overworked are losing our Saturday and Sunday leisure time to weekend work and domestic duties.
To make sure that you do something every weekend that’s just for you, we’ll be sharing a little advice to make those 48 hours a great time to recharge your batteries, bring a little good news into your life or discover a quick and easy way to improve your health.