black history month readathon · readathon · review

Black History Month Readathon Summary

It feels surreal that we’re approaching March already, which means it’s time for a summary on my readathon for Black History Month. I read all of the chosen books except for The Merciless Ones, which I’m about a third of the way through right now. I tried to pick books with varying genres for the month, and truthfully I think I’m just not in the mood to read YA fantasy, unfortunately, which is why it’s taken me quite a while to get through this, even though I loved The Gilded Ones and was highly anticipating this sequel. I plan to power through it, because I’m at a point where the plot is picking up, and I have only heard great things about this book.

I already wrote reviews for When The Reckoning Comes and The Black Queen, so I’ll do mini reviews for the rest of the books below.

I think this is one of the harder readathon themes I have chosen or will ever choose, because even in books where Black women are empowered, there is such a daunting heaviness to them. There were plenty of times where I had to put down what I was reading (especially Yellow Wife) because the subject matter was so depressing. The books I chose discussed so many heavy topics, too: how public education fails Black children; abuse; slavery; the struggle of cultural identity; substance abuse and the government’s responsibility for the crack epidemic that ravaged Black communities; gentrification; and so much more.

These books all have wildly different plots, but the overarching theme of all of them is the amount of blatant racism Black people encounter every single day, in every single instance of their lives. Even in The Merciless Ones, in a fantasy land with mythical creatures, Deka recounts a time when she wished for lighter skin and eyes, to be more socially acceptable and “normal.”

These stories take place in present day, the 1800s, in fantasy worlds, and yet they all manage to drive home the point that just because slavery was abolished 150 years ago doesn’t mean Black people haven’t been facing the effects of systemic racism their entire lives.

Black History Month is such an excruciatingly important time, and it feels unfair that it’s the shortest month of the entire year. In February, support Black-owned businesses, educate yourself on history, read books by Black authors, listen to Black podcasts, watch Black tv and movies, join causes and uplift Black voices. But also, don’t forget to do this every month. Being an ally means that the significance and history of Black people spans so much more than just one month.

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black history month readathon · readathon

Black History Month Readathon

I had a lot of fun with the readathons I did last year; they really pushed me step outside of my comfort zone and read books that I otherwise might not have picked up – and I wound up favoriting so many of them! So this year I decided to kick it up a notch and do five readathons. The first that I’m doing is a Black History Month readathon.

Black History Month was officially recognized in 1976 and aims to honor the contributions that African Americans have made and to recognize their sacrifices. There are no real “rules” to my readathon other than to read books by Black authors and/or about Black characters.

These are the books I’ve chosen for the readathon:
When the Reckoning Comes – LaTanya McQueen (horror)
The Weight of Blood – Tiffany D. Jackson (horror)
The Merciless Ones – Namina Forna (fantasy)
Black Girl Unlimited – Echo Brown (fantasy)
Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo (contemporary)
Monday’s Not Coming – Tiffany D. Jackson (mystery)
The Black Queen – Jumata Emill (mystery)
Yellow Wife – Sadeqa Johnson (historical fiction)

Eight books is a lot, but a lot of these are YA which makes me have faith that I’ll be able to get through them pretty quickly! I’ll review books throughout February and do a final summary post at the end of the month.