As we take some well deserved time out for self-reflection and self-care during the partial-reopening of the country, many of us are looking for reading material with a purpose. Seeking a book that fuels the mind and spirit has been a lifetime quest for me.

I have been an avid reader since childhood and a member of a national book club for twenty years that celebrates the legacy of African American literature.

In other words, I’m a fanatic when it comes to reading and I’ve read hundreds of great books! Therefore, it took great effort and in some ways great pain to develop a list of must-read novels.

Here are my top five that can easily be found on Amazon:

1. Yes, Sisters: Surrounding Yourself with Women Who Affirm, Encourage, and Challenge You by Angelia White


The book tells us how to build a village of supportive women who will lift us up to accomplish our wildest dreams. We can then become a Yes Sister for someone else. I am recommending this book to women of color because it is imperative that we have people who look like us, who have experienced similar challenges and obstacles both personally and professionally to be our cheerleaders, our listening ear, and our board of directors. Others will not readily understand our plight, our fears, and our grievances. In all that we do, we must have a circle of Yes Sisters! Check out this book on Amazon.

2. It’s Not All Downhill From Here: A Novel by Terry McMillan

A remarkable woman and her loyal group of friends try to figure out what she’s going to do with the rest of her life. I am recommending this novel because I am a fan of Terry McMillian. I have been a student of her writing since her first novel, Mama (1987). Her heroines always give me life. They speak truth from the African American Woman’s experience, they are brave, they are powerful and they give me pause for self-reflection. Check out this book on Amazon.

3. Becoming by Michelle Obama

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by our Forever First Lady. The book chronicles her upbringing on the Southside of Chicago, her Ivy-league education, marriage to Barack Obama, and becoming the first African-American First Lady in our nation’s history. How can I not recommend this book? The book is the classic African-American story of a young black girl who grew up with few material things, who parents loved and supported her, who worked hard and earned two Ivy League degrees, married the love of her life, became a mother and First Lady of the United States of America. The book is full of raw emotion, empowering stories, heartbreak, triumph, devastation, joy, tears, and hope. Do yourself a favor and skip the Netflix special and read the book! Check it out on Amazon.

4. Red At The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

The novel unveils the history of an unexpected teenage pregnancy and how it pulls together two families from different social classes. It explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and parenthood. I recommend the novel due to the ability of the author to weave an intricate story into a poetic symphony. Check it out on Amazon.

5. Love Makes A Woman  by Carmen K. Glenn

love makes a woman book carmen k glenn

The classic love story of high school sweethearts who reunite after two decades apart. They learn sometimes love is for a season and other times love is forever. I recommend this novel because I believe in the power of love and I understand that love does not always present itself in the traditional sense. Love can take many forms and it is never perfect. It’s complicated, sometimes messy, but it’s definitely worth it. Check it out on Amazon.

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