Identity & Culture Fiction Audiobooks

Fiction that explores issues of race, gender, culture, and identity gives us all an insider’s view on a range of human experiences, intimate relationships, and diverse cultures. Identity and culture fiction audiobooks help us understand and, perhaps most importantly, see ourselves reflected in stories. Listen to a range of fascinating fiction that poignantly highlights identity and belonging.

Fiction that explores issues of race, gender, culture, and identity gives us all an insider’s view on a range of human experiences, intimate relationships, and diverse cultures. Identity and culture fiction audiobooks help us understand and, perhaps most importantly, see ourselves reflected in stories. Listen to a range of fascinating fiction that poignantly highlights identity and belonging.

Bestselling in Identity & Culture Fiction

New & Noteworthy: Identity & Culture Fiction

  • Yonder: A Novel
    Yonder: A Novel
    Yonder: A Novel

    Audiobook

    Yonder: A Novel

    byJabari Asim

    The Water Dancer meets The Prophets in this spare, gripping, and beautifully rendered novel exploring love and friendship among a group of enslaved Black strivers in the mid-19th century. They call themselves the Stolen. Their owners call them captives. They are taught their captors’ tongues and their beliefs but they have a language and rituals all their own. In a world that would be allegorical if it weren’t saturated in harsh truths, Cato and William meet at Placid Hall, a plantation in an unspecified part of the American South. Subject to the whims of their tyrannical and eccentric captor, Cannonball Greene, they never know what harm may befall them: inhumane physical toil in the plantation’s quarry by day, a beating by night, or the sale of a loved one at any moment. It’s that cruel practice—the wanton destruction of love, the belief that Black people aren’t even capable of loving—that hurts the most. It hurts the reserved and stubborn William, who finds himself falling for Margaret, a small but mighty woman with self-possession beyond her years. And it hurts Cato, whose first love, Iris, was sold off with no forewarning. He now finds solace in his hearty band of friends, including William, who is like a brother; Margaret; Little Zander; and Milton, a gifted artist. There is also Pandora, with thick braids and long limbs, whose beauty calls to him. Their relationships begin to fray when a visiting minister with a mysterious past starts to fill their heads with ideas about independence. He tells them that with freedom comes the right to choose the small things—when to dine, when to begin and end work—as well as the big things, such as whom and how to love. Do they follow the preacher and pursue the unknown? Confined in a landscape marked by deceit and uncertainty, who can they trust? In an elegant work of monumental imagination that will reorient how we think of the legacy of America’s shameful past, Jabari Asim presents a beautiful, powerful, and elegiac novel that examines intimacy and longing in the quarters while asking a vital question: What would happen if an enslaved person risked everything for love?

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Velorio: A Novel
    Velorio: A Novel
    Velorio: A Novel

    Audiobook

    Velorio: A Novel

    byXavier Navarro Aquino

    A Publishers Weekly Writer-to-Watch Set in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Xavier Navarro Aquino’s unforgettable debut novel follows a remarkable group of survivors searching for hope on an island torn apart by both natural disaster and human violence. Camila is haunted by the death of her sister, Marisol, who was caught by a mudslide during the huracán. Unable to part with Marisol, Camila carries her through town, past the churchyard, and, eventually, to the supposed utopia of Memoria.  Urayoán, the idealistic, yet troubled cult leader of Memoria, has a vision for this new society, one that in his eyes is peaceful and democratic. The paradise he preaches lures in the young, including Bayfish, a boy on the cusp of manhood, and Morivivi, a woman whose outward toughness belies an inner tenderness for her friends. But as the different members of Memoria navigate Urayoán’s fiery rise, they will need to confront his violent authoritarian impulses in order to find a way to reclaim their home. Velorio—meaning “wake”—is a story of strength, resilience, and hope; a tale of peril and possibility buoyed by the deeply held belief in a people’s ability to unite against those corrupted by power. 

    Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
  • The School for Good Mothers: A Novel
    The School for Good Mothers: A Novel
    The School for Good Mothers: A Novel

    Audiobook

    The School for Good Mothers: A Novel

    byJessamine Chan

    An Instant New York Times Bestseller A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick In this taut and explosive debut novel, one lapse in judgement lands a young mother in a government reform program where custody of her child hangs in the balance. Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter, does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she is just enough. Until Frida has a very bad day. The state has its eyes on mothers like Frida. The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgment, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion. Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good. A searing page-turner that is also a transgressive novel of ideas about the perils of “perfect” upper-middle class parenting; the violence enacted upon women by both the state and, at times, one another; the systems that separate families; and the boundlessness of love, The School for Good Mothers introduces, in Frida, an everywoman for the ages. Using dark wit to explore the pains and joys of the deepest ties that bind us, Chan has written a modern literary classic.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Olga Dies Dreaming: A Novel
    Olga Dies Dreaming: A Novel
    Olga Dies Dreaming: A Novel

    Audiobook

    Olga Dies Dreaming: A Novel

    byXochitl Gonzalez

    A blazing new talent debuts with the story of a status-driven wedding planner grappling with her absent mother, her glittering career amongst New York’s elite and her Puerto Rican roots in the wake of Hurricane Maria. It’s 2017, and Olga and her brother, Pedro “Prieto” Acevedo are bold faced names in their hometown of New York. Prieto is a popular Congressman representing their gentrifying, Latinx neighborhood in Brooklyn while Olga is the tony wedding planner for Manhattan’s powerbrokers. Despite their alluring public lives, behind closed doors things are far less rosy. Sure, Olga can orchestrate the love stories of the 1%, but she can’t seem to find her own...until she meets Matteo, who forces her to confront the effects of long held family secrets… Twenty-seven years ago, their mother Blanca, a Young Lord-turned-radical, abandoned her children to advance a militant political cause, leaving them to be raised by their grandmother. Now, with the winds of hurricane season, Blanca has come barreling back into their lives. Set against the backdrop of New York City in the months surrounding the most devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico’s history, Xochitl Gonzalez's Olga Dies Dreaming is a story that examines political corruption, familial strife and the very notion of the American Dream—all while asking what it really means to weather a storm. A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Beasts of a Little Land: A Novel
    Beasts of a Little Land: A Novel
    Beasts of a Little Land: A Novel

    Audiobook

    Beasts of a Little Land: A Novel

    byJuhea Kim

    "A spectacular debut filled with great characters and heart.” —Lisa See, author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan A Recommended Read from: USA Today * The Washington Post * Entertainment Weekly * The Today Show * Real Simple * Good Morning America * Harper's Bazaar * Buzzfeed * Fortune * Vulture * Goodreads * Lit Hub * Book Riot * PopSugar * E! Online * Ms. Magazine * Chicago Review of Books * Bustle * The Oregonian * The Millions An epic story of love, war, and redemption set against the backdrop of the Korean independence movement, following the intertwined fates of a young girl sold to a courtesan school and the penniless son of a hunter In 1917, deep in the snowy mountains of occupied Korea, an impoverished local hunter on the brink of starvation saves a young Japanese officer from an attacking tiger. In an instant, their fates are connected—and from this encounter unfolds a saga that spans half a century. In the aftermath, a young girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver’s courtesan school, an act of desperation that will cement her place in the lowest social status. When she befriends an orphan boy named JungHo, who scrapes together a living begging on the streets of Seoul, they form a deep friendship. As they come of age, JungHo is swept up in the revolutionary fight for independence, and Jade becomes a sought-after performer with a new romantic prospect of noble birth. Soon Jade must decide whether she will risk everything for the one who would do the same for her. From the perfumed chambers of a courtesan school in Pyongyang to the glamorous cafes of a modernizing Seoul and the boreal forests of Manchuria, where battles rage, Juhea Kim’s unforgettable characters forge their own destinies as they wager their nation’s. Immersive and elegant, Beasts of a Little Land unveils a world where friends become enemies, enemies become saviors, heroes are persecuted, and beasts take many shapes.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Tell Me How to Be: A Novel
    Tell Me How to Be: A Novel
    Tell Me How to Be: A Novel

    Audiobook

    Tell Me How to Be: A Novel

    byNeel Patel

    “Tell Me How to Be is daring, hilarious, poignant, and impossible to put down. Neel Patel is a fabulous storyteller!” —Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies From rising star Neel Patel (“refreshing…defiant…consistently surprising” —New York Times), a darkly funny and heartbreaking debut novel about an Indian-American family confronting the secrets between them. Renu Amin always seemed perfect: doting husband, beautiful house, healthy sons. But as the one-year anniversary of her husband’s death approaches, Renu is binge-watching soap operas and simmering with old resentments. She can’t stop wondering if, thirty-five years ago, she chose the wrong life. In Los Angeles, her son, Akash, has everything he ever wanted, but as he tries to kickstart his songwriting career and commit to his boyfriend, he is haunted by the painful memories he fled a decade ago. When his mother tells him she is selling the family home, Akash returns to Illinois, hoping to finally say goodbye and move on. Together, Renu and Akash pack up the house, retreating further into the secrets that stand between them. Renu sends an innocent Facebook message to the man she almost married, sparking an emotional affair that calls into question everything she thought she knew about herself. Akash slips back into bad habits as he confronts his darkest secrets—including what really happened between him and the first boy who broke his heart. When their pasts catch up to them, Renu and Akash must decide between the lives they left behind and the ones they’ve since created, between making each other happy and setting themselves free. By turns irreverent and tender, filled with the beats of ’90s R&B, Tell Me How to Be is about our earliest betrayals and the cost of reconciliation. But most of all, it is the love story of a mother and son each trying to figure out how to be in the world. A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • The Cat Who Saved Books: A Novel
    The Cat Who Saved Books: A Novel
    The Cat Who Saved Books: A Novel

    Audiobook

    The Cat Who Saved Books: A Novel

    bySosuke Natsukawa

    AN INDIE NEXT PICK! From the #1 bestselling author in Japan comes a celebration of books, cats, and the people who love them, infused with the heartwarming spirit of The Guest Cat and The Travelling Cat Chronicles. Bookish high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookstore he inherited from his beloved bookworm grandfather. Then, a talking cat appears with an unusual request. The feline asks for—or rather, demands—the teenager’s help in saving books with him. The world is full of lonely books left unread and unloved, and the cat and Rintaro must liberate them from their neglectful owners.  Their mission sends this odd couple on an amazing journey, where they enter different mazes to set books free. Through their travels, the cat and Rintaro meet a man who leaves his books to perish on a bookshelf, an unwitting book torturer who cuts the pages of books into snippets to help people speed read, and a publishing drone who only wants to create bestsellers. Their adventures culminate in one final, unforgettable challenge—the last maze that awaits leads Rintaro down a realm only the bravest dare enter . . .  An enthralling tale of books, first love, fantasy, and an unusual friendship with a talking cat, The Cat Who Saved Books is a story for those for whom books are so much more than words on paper.  Translated from the Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai. "Cats, books, young love, and adventure: catnip for a variety of readers!" –Kirkus

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • The Perishing
    The Perishing
    The Perishing

    Audiobook

    The Perishing

    byNatashia Deon

    A Black immortal in 1930s Los Angeles seeks to recover the memory of her past in this visionary novel from NAACP Image Award nominee Natashia Deón Lou, a young Black woman, wakes up in an alley in 1930s Los Angeles with no memory of how she got there or where she’s from. Taken in by a caring foster family, Lou dedicates herself to her education while trying to put her mysterious origins behind her. She’ll go on to become the first Black female journalist at the Los Angeles Times, but Lou’s extraordinary life is about to take an even more remarkable turn. When she befriends a firefighter at a downtown boxing gym, Lou is shocked to realize that though she has no memory of meeting him, she’s been drawing his face for years. Increasingly certain that their paths previously crossed—and beset by unexplainable flashes from different eras haunting her dreams—Lou begins to believe she may be an immortal sent here for a very important reason, one that only others like her can explain. Setting out to investigate the mystery of her existence, Lou must make sense of the jumble of lifetimes calling to her, just as new forces threaten the existence of those around her. Immersed in the rich historical tapestry of Los Angeles–Prohibition, the creation of Route 66, and the collapse of the St. Francis Dam—The Perishing is a stunning examination of love and justice through the eyes of one miraculous woman whose fate seems linked to the city she comes to call home.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Look for Me and I'll Be Gone: Stories
    Look for Me and I'll Be Gone: Stories
    Look for Me and I'll Be Gone: Stories

    Audiobook

    Look for Me and I'll Be Gone: Stories

    byJohn Edgar Wideman

    From John Edgar Wideman, “a master [who] boldly subverts what a short story can be” (Publishers Weekly) comes a stunning story collection that spans a range of topics from Michael Jordan to Emmett Till, from childhood memories to the final day in a prison cell. Forty years after John Edgar Wideman’s first collection of stories was published, he continues to produce new stories of the highest caliber and relevancy. Here, in his sixth story collection, he revisits themes that have infused his work for the duration of his career: family, loss, the penal system, Pittsburgh, physical and emotional life, art, and memory. Stories include “Separation,” which begins with a boy standing alone beside his grandfather’s coffin, progressing to a scene with the narrator’s grandmother paying the funeral director weekly installments for the price of the casket. “Arizona,” which appeared in The New Yorker, is written in the form of a letter to singer Freddie Jackson, whose song “You Are My Lady,” enters the story through a car radio—a car that conveys the narrator’s son and his lawyers to a prison cell in Arizona. “Atlanta Murders” contemplates James Baldwin’s Evidence of Things Not Seen, written about the Atlanta child murders from 1979 to 1981, beginning with a riff on a “why-did-the chicken-cross-the-road” joke that takes a dark turn. Never satisfied to simply tell a story—with writing that is “layered and interwoven…understanding that perspective is various, varied” (The New Statesman)—Wideman continues to push form, with stories within stories, sentences that rise like a jazz solo with every connecting clause, voices that reflect who he is and where he’s from, and an exploration of time that entangles past and present. Whether historical or contemporary, intimate or expansive, the stories here represent the most recent work of a treasured American writer whose innovation, imagination, and intellect “prove his continued vitality…with vigor and soul” (Entertainment Weekly).

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • All Her Little Secrets: A Novel
    All Her Little Secrets: A Novel
    All Her Little Secrets: A Novel

    Audiobook

    All Her Little Secrets: A Novel

    byWanda M. Morris

    “All Her Little Secrets is a brilliantly nuanced but powerhouse exploration of race, the legal system, and the crushing pressure of keeping secrets. Morris brings a vibrant and welcome new voice to the thriller space.” —Karin Slaughter, New York Times and international bestselling author   In this fast-paced thriller, Wanda M. Morris crafts a twisty mystery about a black lawyer who gets caught in a dangerous conspiracy after the sudden death of her boss . . . A debut perfect for fans of Attica Locke, Alyssa Cole, Harlan Coben, and Celeste Ng, with shades of How to Get Away with Murder and John Grisham’s The Firm. Everyone has something to hide... Ellice Littlejohn seemingly has it all: an Ivy League law degree, a well-paying job as a corporate attorney in midtown Atlanta, great friends, and a “for fun” relationship with a rich, charming executive, who just happens to be her white boss. But everything changes one cold January morning when Ellice arrives in the executive suite and finds him dead with a gunshot to his head. And then she walks away like nothing has happened. Why? Ellice has been keeping a cache of dark secrets, including a small-town past and a kid brother who’s spent time on the other side of the law. She can’t be thrust into the spotlight—again. But instead of grieving this tragedy, people are gossiping, the police are getting suspicious, and Ellice, the company’s lone black attorney, is promoted to replace her boss. While the opportunity is a dream-come-true, Ellice just can’t shake the feeling that something is off. When she uncovers shady dealings inside the company, Ellice is trapped in an impossible ethical and moral dilemma. Suddenly, Ellice’s past and present lives collide as she launches into a pulse-pounding race to protect the brother she tried to save years ago and stop a conspiracy far more sinister than she could have ever imagined…

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • God of Mercy: A Novel
    God of Mercy: A Novel
    God of Mercy: A Novel

    Audiobook

    God of Mercy: A Novel

    byOkezie Nwoka

    Homegoing meets Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Okezie Nwoka's debut novel is a powerful reimagining of a history erased. God of Mercy is set in Ichulu, an Igbo village where the people's worship of their gods is absolute. Their adherence to tradition has allowed them to evade the influences of colonialism and globalization. But the village is reckoning with changes, including a war between gods signaled by Ijeoma, a girl who can fly. As tensions grow between Ichulu and its neighboring colonized villages, Ijeoma is forced into exile. Reckoning with her powers and exposed to the world beyond Ichulu, she is imprisoned by a Christian church under the accusation of being a witch. Suffering through isolation, she comes to understand the truth of merciful love. Reimagining the nature of tradition and cultural heritage and establishing a folklore of the uncolonized, God of Mercy is a novel about wrestling with gods, confronting demons, and understanding one's true purpose.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • She Wears the Mask
    She Wears the Mask
    She Wears the Mask

    Audiobook

    She Wears the Mask

    byShelly Stratton

    Gripping and moving, She Wears the Mask is a novel about two women from two very different worlds, both burdened with secrets from their pasts, who form an unexpected bond… 1950s Chicago: Angelique Bixby could be one of many fresh-faced sales girls working along the Magnificent Mile, but she’s unique. She’s a white woman married to a black man in 1950s Chicago, making her stand out among the tenements on the South Side where she lives. Despite the challenges the couple faces, they find comfort and strength in their love for one another. Angelique is content, as long as she has her Daniel by her side and their baby in her arms, until she loses them both—one to death and the other to dire circumstances. 1990s Washington, D.C.: Angelique Crofton is a woman of privilege. A rich, aging beauty and mother of a rising political star, she has learned to forget her tragic past. But now that she is facing her own mortality, she is finally ready to find the daughter she left behind, remember the young woman she once was, and unearth the bittersweet memories she had long ago buried. Jasmine Stanley is an ambitious lawyer—the only black woman at her firm. She is too busy climbing the corporate ladder to deal with her troublesome family or their unresolved issues. Tasked with Angelique’s case, Jasmine doesn’t know what to make of her new client—an old debutante with too much time and money on her hands. Jasmine eagerly accepts the challenge though, hoping if she finds Angelique’s long-lost daughter, it will impress the firm’s partners. But she doesn’t count on the search challenging her mentally and emotionally. Nor does she expect to form a friendship with Angelique, who is much more like her than she realizes—because Jasmine is harboring secrets, too.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • My Monticello: Fiction
    My Monticello: Fiction
    My Monticello: Fiction

    Audiobook

    My Monticello: Fiction

    byJocelyn Nicole Johnson

    In a daring and fierce debut work of fiction—the likes of which comes along once in a generation—Virginia’s landscapes, emblems, and Thomas Jefferson’s historic plantation set the stage for a cast of unforgettable characters fighting for their right to exist in America. A young woman descended from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings driven from her neighborhood by a white militia. A university professor studying racism by conducting a secret social experiment on his own son. A single mother desperate to buy her first home even as the world hurtles toward catastrophe. Each fighting to survive in America. Tough-minded, vulnerable, and brave, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s precisely imagined debut explores burdened inheritances and extraordinary pursuits of belonging. Set in the near future, the eponymous novella, “My Monticello,” tells of a diverse group of Charlottesville neighbors fleeing violent white supremacists. Led by Da’Naisha, a young Black descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, they seek refuge in Jefferson’s historic plantation home in a desperate attempt to outlive the long-foretold racial and environmental unravelling within the nation. In “Control Negro,” hailed by Roxane Gay as “one hell of story,” a university professor devotes himself to the study of racism and the development of ACMs (average American Caucasian males) by clinically observing his own son from birth in order to “painstakingly mark the route of this Black child too, one whom I could prove was so strikingly decent and true that America could not find fault in him unless we as a nation had projected it there.” Johnson’s characters all seek out home as a place and an internal state, whether in the form of a Nigerian widower who immigrates to a meager existence in the city of Alexandria, finding himself adrift; a young mixed-race woman who adopts a new tongue and name to escape the landscapes of rural Virginia and her family; or a single mother who seeks salvation through “Buying a House Ahead of the Apocalypse.” United by these characters’ relentless struggles against reality and fate, My Monticello is a formidable collection that bears witness to this country’s legacies and announces the arrival of a wildly original new voice in American fiction. A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Sankofa: A Novel
    Sankofa: A Novel
    Sankofa: A Novel

    Audiobook

    Sankofa: A Novel

    byChibundu Onuzo

    The exhilarating story of a mixed-race woman who goes in search of the African father she never knew. After years of being a daughter, a wife, and a mother, Anna finally has the time to wonder who she really is. But the only person who can tell her—her mother, the only parent who raised her—is dead. Searching through her mother's belongings one day, Anna uncovers a few clues about her father, whom she never knew. Student diaries chronicle his involvement in radical politics in 1970s London, involvement that eventually led him to return to Africa, where he became the president—some would say dictator—of a small nation in West Africa. And he is still alive. When Anna decides to track her father down, a journey begins that is disarmingly moving, funny, and fascinating. It raises universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for a family's hidden roots. Masterful in its examination of freedom, prejudice, and personal and public inheritance, Sankofa is a story for anyone who has ever gone looking for a clear identity or home and found something more complex in its place.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • We Are Not Like Them: A Novel
    We Are Not Like Them: A Novel
    We Are Not Like Them: A Novel

    Audiobook

    We Are Not Like Them: A Novel

    byChristine Pride

    A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK Named a Best Book Pick of 2021 by Harper’s Bazaar and Real Simple Named a Most Anticipated Book of Fall by People, Essence, New York Post, PopSugar, New York Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Town & Country, Bustle, Fortune, and Book Riot Told from alternating perspectives, an evocative and riveting novel about the lifelong bond between two women, one Black and one white, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event—a powerful and poignant exploration of race in America today and its devastating impact on ordinary lives. Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia. But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband’s freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend. Like Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage and Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things, We Are Not Like Them explores complex questions of race and how they pervade and shape our most intimate spaces in a deeply divided world. But at its heart, it’s a story of enduring friendship—a love that defies the odds even as it faces its most difficult challenges.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Black Girls Must Die Exhausted: A Novel
    Black Girls Must Die Exhausted: A Novel
    Black Girls Must Die Exhausted: A Novel

    Audiobook

    Black Girls Must Die Exhausted: A Novel

    byJayne Allen

    “It’s a good thing that this is only the first book of a trilogy, because after getting to know Tabitha, you won’t want to leave her at the end. . . . Written intimately as if you’re peering into the mind of a close friend, this book is a true testament to the stresses on women today and how great girlfriends (and grandmothers) are often the key to our sanity.”  — Good Morning America The first novel in a captivating three-book series about modern womanhood, in which a young Black woman must rely on courage, laughter, and love—and the support of her two longtime friends—to overcome an unexpected setback that threatens the most precious thing she’s ever wanted. Tabitha Walker is a black woman with a plan to “have it all.” At 33 years old, the checklist for the life of her dreams is well underway. Education? Check. Good job? Check. Down payment for a nice house? Check. Dating marriage material? Check, check, and check. With a coveted position as a local news reporter, a "paper-perfect" boyfriend, and even a standing Saturday morning appointment with a reliable hairstylist, everything seems to be falling into place. Then Tabby receives an unexpected diagnosis that brings her picture-perfect life crashing down, jeopardizing the keystone she took for granted: having children. With her dreams at risk of falling through the cracks of her checklist, suddenly she is faced with an impossible choice between her career, her dream home, and a family of her own.  With the help of her best friends, the irreverent and headstrong Laila and Alexis, the mom jeans-wearing former "Sexy Lexi," and the generational wisdom of her grandmother and the nonagenarian firebrand Ms. Gretchen, Tabby explores the reaches of modern medicine and tests the limits of her relationships, hoping to salvage the future she always dreamed of. But the fight is all consuming, demanding a steep price that forces an honest reckoning for nearly everyone in her life. As Tabby soon learns, her grandmother's age-old adage just might still be true: Black girls must die exhausted.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • I Was Never the First Lady: A Novel
    I Was Never the First Lady: A Novel
    I Was Never the First Lady: A Novel

    Audiobook

    I Was Never the First Lady: A Novel

    byWendy Guerra

    A lush, sensuous, and original tale of family, love, and history, set against the backdrop of the Cuban Revolution and its aftermath. Nadia Guerra’s mother, Albis Torres, left when Nadia was just ten years old. Growing up, the proponents of revolution promised a better future. Now that she’s an adult, Nadia finds that life in Havana hasn’t quite matched its promise; instead it has stifled her rebellious and artistic desires. Each night she DJs a radio show government censors block from broadcasting. Frustrated, Nadia finds hope and a way out when she wins a scholarship to study in Russia.  Leaving Cuba offers her the chance to find her long lost mother and her real father. But as she embarks on a journey east, Nadia soon begins to question everything she thought she knew and understood about her past. As Nadia discovers more about her family, her fate becomes entwined with that of Celia Sanchez, an icon of the Cuban Revolution—a resistance fighter, ingenious spy, and the rumored lover of Fidel Castro. A tale of revolutionary ideals and promise, Celia’s story interweaves with Nadia’s search for meaning, and eventually reveals secrets Nadia could never have dreamed. Translated from the Spanish by Achy Obejas

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
    0 ratings
  • The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina: A Novel
    The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina: A Novel
    The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina: A Novel

    Audiobook

    The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina: A Novel

    byZoraida Córdova

    NATIONAL BESTSELLER Perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman, Isabel Allende, and Sarah Addison Allen, a family searches for the truth hidden in their past in this “expertly woven tale of family power, threaded with as much mystery as magic” (V.E. Schwab, #1 New York Times bestselling author). The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—not for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed into a ceiba tree, leaving them with more questions than answers. Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings and powers. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, her descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back. Alternating between Orquídea’s past and her descendants’ present, The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a “spellbinding tale, both timeless and fresh, that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Prepare to fall in love” (Kim Liggett, New York Times bestselling author).

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • The Sisters of Alameda Street: A Novel
    The Sisters of Alameda Street: A Novel
    The Sisters of Alameda Street: A Novel

    Audiobook

    The Sisters of Alameda Street: A Novel

    byLorena Hughes

    When Malena Sevilla's tidy, carefully planned world collapses following her father’s mysterious suicide, she finds a letter--signed with an “A”--that reveals that her mother, who she thought dead, is very much alive in San Isidro, a quaint town tucked in the Andes Mountains. Intent on meeting her, Malena arrives at Alameda Street and meets four sisters who couldn’t be more different from one another, but who share one thing in common: all of their names begin with an A. To avoid a scandal, Malena assumes another woman’s identity and enters their home to discover the truth. Could her mother be Amanda, the iconoclastic widow who opens the first tango nightclub in a conservative town? Ana, the ideal housewife with a less-than-ideal past? Abigail, the sickly sister in love with a forbidden man? Or Alejandra, the artistic introvert scarred by her cousin’s murder? But living a lie will bring Malena additional problems, such as falling for the wrong man and loving a family she may lose when they learn of her deceit. Worse, her arrival threatens to expose long-buried secrets and a truth that may wreck her life forever. Set in 1960s Ecuador, The Sisters of Alameda Street is a sweeping story of how one woman’s search for the truth of her identity forces a family to confront their own past.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • L.A. Weather: A Novel
    L.A. Weather: A Novel
    L.A. Weather: A Novel

    Audiobook

    L.A. Weather: A Novel

    byMaría Amparo Escandón

    A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick FORECAST: Storm clouds are on the horizon in L.A. Weather, a fun, fast-paced novel of a Mexican-American family from the author of the #1 Los Angeles Times bestseller Esperanza’s Box of Saints L.A. is parched, dry as a bone, and all Oscar, the weather-obsessed patriarch of the Alvarado family, desperately wants is a little rain. He’s harboring a costly secret that distracts him from everything else. His wife, Keila, desperate for a life with a little more intimacy and a little less Weather Channel, feels she has no choice but to end their marriage. Their three daughters—Claudia, a television chef with a hard-hearted attitude; Olivia, a successful architect who suffers from gentrification guilt; and Patricia, a social media wizard who has an uncanny knack for connecting with audiences but not with her lovers—are blindsided and left questioning everything they know. Each will have to take a critical look at her own relationships and make some tough decisions along the way. With quick-wit and humor, Maria Amparo Escandón follows the Alvarado family as they wrestle with impending evacuations, secrets, deception, and betrayal, and their toughest decision yet: whether to stick together or burn it all down. A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books "A rollicking and hilarious family drama...One of the most endearing L.A. novels in recent memory." —Publishers Weekly starred review

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • My Heart Is a Chainsaw
    My Heart Is a Chainsaw
    My Heart Is a Chainsaw

    Audiobook

    My Heart Is a Chainsaw

    byStephen Graham Jones

    Named a Best Book of 2021 by NPR ​In her quickly gentrifying rural lake town Jade sees recent events only her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films could have prepared her for in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones. “Some girls just don’t know how to die…” Shirley Jackson meets Friday the 13th in My Heart Is a Chainsaw, written by the author of The Only Good Indians Stephen Graham Jones, called “a literary master” by National Book Award winner Tananarive Due and “one of our most talented living writers” by Tommy Orange. Alma Katsu calls My Heart Is a Chainsaw “a homage to slasher films that also manages to defy and transcend genre.” On the surface is a story of murder in small-town America. But beneath is its beating heart: a biting critique of American colonialism, Indigenous displacement, and gentrification, and a heartbreaking portrait of a broken young girl who uses horror movies to cope with the horror of her own life. Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies…especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold. Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges…a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body. My Heart Is a Chainsaw is her story, her homage to horror and revenge and triumph.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Where Jasmine Blooms: A Novel
    Where Jasmine Blooms: A Novel
    Where Jasmine Blooms: A Novel

    Audiobook

    Where Jasmine Blooms: A Novel

    byHolly S. Warah

    To the Mansours, an Arab American family living in Seattle, love knows no borders. But despite our best efforts, sometimes love—and family—are foreign to us . . . American-born Margaret Mansour wants nothing more than to rekindle the struggling twenty-year marriage to her Palestinian husband, Ahmed—but not if it means uprooting their home and children in America and moving halfway across the world. Young and ambitious Alison Mansour has a degree in Near East Studies, but her American education and Syrian background are of no use when her new marriage begins to crumble under the weight of cultural and religious differences. The communication between Alison and her husband is already shaky; how will they cope with the arrival of their first child? Zainab Mansour, the matriarch of her family, never expected to live in America, but after the death of her husband she finds herself lost in a faithless country and lonely within the walls of her eldest son’s home. She wants what’s best for her children but struggles to find her place in a new landscape. Emerging from the interwoven perspectives of these three women comes a story of love and longing, culture and compromise, home and homeland. Exploring the complex political backdrop of the Middle East from a personal perspective, Where Jasmine Blooms travels from the suburbs of Seattle to the villas of Jordan and the refugee camps of the West Bank, on an emotional journey exploring what it means to be a family.

    Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
  • Edge Case: A Novel
    Edge Case: A Novel
    Edge Case: A Novel

    Audiobook

    Edge Case: A Novel

    byYZ Chin

    A Recommended Read from: Entertainment Weekly * Buzzfeed * Good Morning America * USA Today * Harper's Bazaar * Fortune * A.V. Club * The Millions * Lit Hub * International Examiner * Publishers Weekly When her husband suddenly disappears, a young woman must uncover where he went—and who she might be without him—in this striking debut of immigration, identity, and marriage. After another taxing day as the sole female employee at her New York City tech startup, Edwina comes home to find that her husband, Marlin, has packed up a suitcase and left. The only question now is why. Did he give up on their increasingly hopeless quest to secure their green cards and decide to return to Malaysia? Was it the death of his father that sent him into a tailspin? Or has his strange, sudden change in personality finally made Marlin and Edwina strangers to each other? As Edwina searches the city for traces of her husband, she simultaneously sifts through memories of their relationship, hoping to discover the moment when something went wrong. All the while, a coworker is making increasingly uncomfortable advances toward her. And she can’t hide the truth about Marlin’s disappearance from her overbearing, eccentric mother for much longer. Soon Edwina will have to decide how much she is willing to sacrifice in order to stay in her marriage and in America. Poignant and darkly funny, Edge Case is a searing meditation on intimacy, estrangement, and the fractured nature of identity. In this moving debut, YZ Chin explores the imperfect yet enduring relationships we hold to country and family. “Chin’s specificity and wonderfully drawn minor characters add depth and richness…. Not only a subtly provocative depiction of the tech industry, and this country, as tilting ever more off-kilter; but also a realistic portrayal of a woman in crisis.”  —Lauren Oyler, The New York Times Book Review

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Ramadan Ramsey: A Novel
    Ramadan Ramsey: A Novel
    Ramadan Ramsey: A Novel

    Audiobook

    Ramadan Ramsey: A Novel

    byLouis Edwards

    The Guggenheim Fellowship and Whiting Award-winning author Louis Edwards makes his long-awaited comeback with this epic tale of a New Orleans boy whose very creation is so filled with tension that it bedevils his destiny before he is even born. Spanning from the Deep South to the Middle East, Ramadan Ramsey bridges multiple countries and cultures, entwining two families who struggle to love and survive in the face of war, natural disasters, and their equally tumultuous, private mistakes and yearnings. Ramadan Ramsey begins in 1999 with the moving (and funny) teenage love story of Alicia Ramsey, a native New Orleans African American young woman, and Mustafa Totah, a Syrian immigrant who works in her neighborhood at his uncle’s convenience store. Through a series of familial betrayals, Mustafa returns to Syria unaware that Alicia is carrying his child.  When the baby is born, Alicia names their son Ramadan and raises him with the help of her mother, Mama Joon. But tragedy strikes when the epochal hurricane of 2005 barrels into New Orleans, shattering both the Ramsey and Totah families. Years later, when Ramadan turns twelve, he sets off to find Mustafa. It is an odyssey filled with breathtaking and brilliant adventures that takes Ramadan from the familiar world of NOLA to Istanbul, and finally Aleppo, Syria, where he hopes to unite with the father he has never known. Intimate yet epic, heartbreaking yet triumphant, Ramadan Ramsey explores the urgency of 21st century childhood and the richness and complexity of the modern family as a shared global experience. It is also a reminder of Louis Edwards’ immense talent and fearless storytelling and is a welcome return of this literary light.  

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Afterparties: Stories
    Afterparties: Stories
    Afterparties: Stories

    Audiobook

    Afterparties: Stories

    byAnthony Veasna So

    INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A Roxane Gay's Audacious Book Club Pick! Named a Best Book of the Year by: New York Times * NPR * Washington Post * LA Times * Kirkus Reviews * New York Public Library * Chicago Public Library * Harper’s Bazaar * TIME * Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air * Boston Globe A vibrant story collection about Cambodian-American life—immersive and comic, yet unsparing—that offers profound insight into the intimacy of queer and immigrant communities Seamlessly transitioning between the absurd and the tenderhearted, balancing acerbic humor with sharp emotional depth, Afterparties offers an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian-Americans. As the children of refugees carve out radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship, and family. A high school badminton coach and failing grocery store owner tries to relive his glory days by beating a rising star teenage player. Two drunken brothers attend a wedding afterparty and hatch a plan to expose their shady uncle’s snubbing of the bride and groom. A queer love affair sparks between an older tech entrepreneur trying to launch a “safe space” app and a disillusioned young teacher obsessed with Moby-Dick. And in the sweeping final story, a nine-year-old child learns that his mother survived a racist school shooter. The stories in Afterparties, “powered by So’s skill with the telling detail, are like beams of wry, affectionate light, falling from different directions on a complicated, struggling, beloved American community” (George Saunders).

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Sisters in Arms: A Novel of the Daring Black Women Who Served During World War II
    Sisters in Arms: A Novel of the Daring Black Women Who Served During World War II
    Sisters in Arms: A Novel of the Daring Black Women Who Served During World War II

    Audiobook

    Sisters in Arms: A Novel of the Daring Black Women Who Served During World War II

    byKaia Alderson

    Kaia Alderson’s debut historical fiction novel reveals the untold, true story of the Six Triple Eight, the only all-Black battalion of the Women’s Army Corps, who made the dangerous voyage to Europe to ensure American servicemen received word from their loved ones during World War II. Grace Steele and Eliza Jones may be from completely different backgrounds, but when it comes to the army, specifically the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), they are both starting from the same level. Not only will they be among the first class of female officers the army has even seen, they are also the first Black women allowed to serve.  As these courageous women help to form the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, they are dealing with more than just army bureaucracy—everyone is determined to see this experiment fail. For two northern women, learning to navigate their way through the segregated army may be tougher than boot camp. Grace and Eliza know that there is no room for error; they must be more perfect than everyone else. When they finally make it overseas, to England and then France, Grace and Eliza will at last be able to do their parts for the country they love, whatever the risk to themselves. Based on the true story of the 6888th Postal Battalion (the Six Triple Eight), Sisters in Arms explores the untold story of what life was like for the only all-Black, female U.S. battalion to be deployed overseas during World War II.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost
    Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost
    Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost

    Audiobook

    Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost

    byDavid Hoon Kim

    When Fumiko emerges after one month of being locked in her dorm room, she’s already dead, leaving behind a half-smoked Marlboro Light and a cupboard of petrified food. For her boyfriend, Henrik Blatand, an aspiring translator, these remnants are clues, propelling him forward in a search for meaning. Meanwhile, Fumiko, or perhaps her doppelgänger, reappears—in line at the Louvre, on street corners and subway platforms, and on the dissection table of a group of medical students. Henrik’s inquiry expands beyond Fumiko’s seclusion and death, across the absurd, entropic streets of Paris and the figures who wander them, from a jaded group of Korean expats, to an eccentric French widow, to the indelible woman whom Henrik finds sitting in his seat on a train. It drives him into the shadowy corners of his past, where his adoptive Danish parents raised him in a house without mirrors. And it mounts to a charged intimacy shared with his best friend’s precocious daughter, who may be haunted herself. David Hoon Kim’s debut is a transgressive, darkly comic novel about becoming lost and found in translation. With each successive, echoic chapter, Paris Is a Party, Paris Is a Ghost plunges us more deeply beneath the surface of things, to the displacement, exile, grief, and desire that hide in plain sight.

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
    0 ratings
  • Shallow Waters: A Novel
    Shallow Waters: A Novel
    Shallow Waters: A Novel

    Audiobook

    Shallow Waters: A Novel

    byAnita Kopacz

    “Spellbinding...A captivating debut.” —Harper’s Bazaar ​ ​​In this stirring and lyrical debut novel—perfect for fans of The Water Dancer and the Legacy of Orïsha series—the Yoruba deity of the sea, Yemaya, is brought to vivid life as she discovers the power of Black resilience, love, and feminine strength in antebellum America. Shallow Waters imagines Yemaya, an Orïsha—a deity in the religion of Africa’s Yoruba people—cast into mid-1800s America. We meet Yemaya as a young woman, still in the care of her mother and not yet fully aware of the spectacular power she possesses to protect herself and those she holds dear. The journey laid out in Shallow Waters sees Yemaya confront the greatest evils of this era; transcend time and place in search of Obatala, a man who sacrifices his own freedom for the chance at hers; and grow into the powerful woman she was destined to become. We travel alongside Yemaya from her native Africa and on to the “New World,” with vivid pictures of life for those left on the outskirts of power in the nascent Americas. Yemaya realizes the fighter within, travels the Underground Railroad in search of the mysterious stranger Obatala, and crosses paths with icons of our history on the road to freedom. Shallow Waters is a nourishing work of ritual storytelling from promising debut author Anita Kopacz.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Razorblade Tears: A Novel
    Razorblade Tears: A Novel
    Razorblade Tears: A Novel

    Audiobook

    Razorblade Tears: A Novel

    byS. A. Cosby

    “Superb...Cuts right to the heart of the most important questions of our times.” —Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author A Black father. A white father. Two murdered sons. A quest for vengeance. Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid. The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah’s white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss. Derek’s father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed his father was a criminal. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy. Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys. Provocative and fast-paced, S. A. Cosby's Razorblade Tears is a story of bloody retribution, heartfelt change - and maybe even redemption. A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books "Few novels marry tough and tender, head-banging and coming-of-age, as seamlessly as this one does, but that's no surprise from a supremely talented writer who keeps getting better." —Booklist, starred review "Cosby’s writing is both fearless and sympathetic, exhibiting his formidable intellect alongside vivid imagery, sharp wit and intricate plot lines. Razorblade Tears transcends genre boundaries and is a must-read for anyone looking for a mystery that provokes and thrills in equal measure."—BookPage, starred review “Following Blacktop Wasteland was one hell of a challenge, but S. A. Cosby doesn't merely deliver, he ups his game with Razorblade Tears, a story that addresses the big questions while never losing sight of the characters at its core. Taut, tense, and thoughtful, Razorblade Tears confirms Cosby as one of the most important new voices in contemporary fiction, period.”—Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
    The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
    The Secret Keeper of Jaipur

    Audiobook

    The Secret Keeper of Jaipur

    byAlka Joshi

     A NEW NOVEL BY THE AUTHOR OF THE HENNA ARTIST,  A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK Good Morning America’s “27 Books for June"   PopSugar’s Best Summer Reads of 2021  In New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi’s intriguing new novel, henna artist Lakshmi arranges for her protégé, Malik, to intern at the Jaipur Palace in this tale rich in character, atmosphere, and lavish storytelling. It’s the spring of 1969, and Lakshmi, now married to Dr. Jay Kumar, directs the Healing Garden in Shimla. Malik has finished his private school education. At twenty, he has just met a young woman named Nimmi when he leaves to apprentice at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace. Their latest project: a state-of-the-art cinema. Malik soon finds that not much has changed as he navigates the Pink City of his childhood. Power and money still move seamlessly among the wealthy class, and favors flow from Jaipur’s Royal Palace, but only if certain secrets remain buried. When the cinema’s balcony tragically collapses on opening night, blame is placed where it is convenient. But Malik suspects something far darker and sets out to uncover the truth. As a former street child, he always knew to keep his own counsel; it’s a lesson that will serve him as he untangles a web of lies. "Captivated me from the first chapter to the last page." —Reese Witherspoon on The Henna Artist

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5

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Some of the greatest books written by Black women, according to ZORA on Medium.

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