Winter break is just around the corner, and if you hold on tight enough the semester will be done! We made it y’all. Now it’s time to rest, eat some good food, and be around family and friends. Some of us might be tired of anything related to academia. And the thought of picking up a book on break might make us sick. I wanted to drop some gems for my people who might use reading as a relaxer! We don’t always get to read books that pick our brains the way we want them to in a school setting. And that can sometimes strain our relationship with leisure reading. It’s important to read books that not only benefit us in the classroom, but push us towards self improvement and enjoyment. Below are some books that I have read this past year. These are titles I’ve picked up based on recommendations that I wanted to pass along to the next person. I hope you find a book that sticks out to you!

1. All About Love by bell hooks

Courtesy: Libreria

All About Love by the late author bell hooks, talks about society’s relationship with love and the lack of it. She dives into personal accounts that have shaped her own understanding, recalls stories that people in her life have told her, and does a wonderful job commenting on the social structures that heavily impact the way we are able to grasp the action of love ourselves.

2. Ghosts in the Schoolyard by Eve L. Ewing

Courtesy: Eve L. Ewing

Ghosts in the Schoolyard by Eve L. Ewing dives into the infamous school closures in the city of Chicago by the mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2014. Ewing takes a closer look specifically at the schools closed on the south side of the city. She takes us through an origin timeline of the historic Chicago neighborhood, Bronzeville, and accounts years of strikes and labor work done by CTU members against school inequality.

3. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Courtesy: She’s Full of Lit

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is a realistic fiction that follows the interconnected generational story of two half sisters from different villages. It follows their family lineage for up to almost 300 years. The story touches on how one side of the family experiences being put through the Gold Coast’s slave trade to slavery in America. They detail the great migration, coal mines, Jim Crow, all the way till present day. While the other side of the family dealt with grappling war and colonialism in Ghana.

4. We Do This Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba

Courtesy: Moments Cooperative and Community Space

We Do This Til We Free by Mariame Kaba guides us in a conversation of how to engage in restorative and transformative justice to better our interpersonal relationships, and our community spaces. She talks about how harmful the punitive system is, and ways to build a safer world.

5. The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2 Black Girl Magic edited by Mahogany L. Browne, Idrissa Simmonds, Jamila Woods

Courtesy: While Reading and Walking

Black Girl Magic is a poetry collection published by the BreakBeat Poets, it features over a hundred of poems from Black and Brown femme identifying folks, and gnc/nonbinary writers.

6. Every Tongue Got to Confess by Zore Neale Hurston

Courtesy: Amazon

Every Tongue Got to Confess by the late Zora Neale Hurston captures different folktales and linguistic styles she heard across the gulf states during her trip in the 1920s.