Expanding My Horizons

I finally reached a point in my evolution that I realized the issue of racism is an area that where I was HUGELY ignorant. I’ve worked with my friend Lexxi McBride and others to develop a reading list to broaden my horizons on the issue of racism and how to increase my understanding and knowledge of other cultures in general. Reading about racism has made me realize how ignorant I am in multi-ethnic reading and am trying to read more from authors that are not white men! Disclaimer: This is NOT a reading list for young readers, these books are not necessarily certified G or PG-12.

I’ve talked to several people that were interest in this list so here it is. I’d love for you to drop your recommendations in the comments.

*Books I’ve actually read – the others are on my list!

Book List

  • A Dream Called Home, Reyna Grande*
  • A House of Broken Angels, Luis Alberto Urrea
  • A Human Being Died That Night: Confronting Apartheid’s Chief Killer, Gobodo-Madikizela
  • A Lucky Man, Jamel Brinkley
  • A Raisin in the Sun, Loraine Hansberry
  • Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, Ibarro Hermania
  • After Life: A Novel, Julia Alvarez
  • Air Traffic: A Memoir of Ambition and Manhood in America, Gregory Pardio
  • Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor
  • Americanah, Chimanda Ngozi Adichie
  • An American Marriage, Tayari Jones
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison
  • Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation, LaTasha Morrison*
  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think and Do, Jennifer Eberhardt
  • Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina, Raquel Cepeda
  • Born a Crime, Trevor Noah
  • Casi Una Mujer, Esmerelda Santiago
  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson
  • Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Ross Gay
  • Charcoal Joe, Walter Mosley
  • Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi
  • City of Beasts, Isabell Allende
  • Clap When You Land, Elizabeth ACevedo
  • Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of the Law, Preet Bharara
  • Dreams of My Father, Barack Obama
  • Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less, Tiffany Dufu
  • Five Carat Soul, James McBride
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow was Enuf, Ntozake Shange
  • Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Ingrid Rojas Contreras
  • Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, Ben Carson, MD
  • Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evarista
  • Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys Into Race, Motherhood. and History, Camille T. Dungy
  • Heavy: An American Memoir, Kiese Laymon
  • Heros in Black History, Dave and Neta Jackson (Recommended by Chase Bowers)
  • Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
  • How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Julia Alvarez
  • How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi*
  • I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. Auston Channing Brown
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Autobiography #1, Maya Angelo*. (Anything written by Maya Angelo!!) This is the first of her five autobiographies — I’m on 3 of 5, they are wonderful!!
  • Insider Outsider: My Journey as a Stranger in White Evangelicalism and My Hope for Us All, Bryan Loritts*
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson
  • Kindred, Octavia Butler
  • Letter to My Daughter, Maya Angelou*
  • Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, James Forman, Jr.
  • Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
  • Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli
  • Lovesong: Becoming a Jew, Julius Lester
  • Malcom and Me, Ismael Reed (only on Audible.com)*
  • Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare
  • Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Change, Stacey Abrams
  • My Bondage and My Freedom, Frederick Douglass
  • Off the Reservation, Paula Gunn Allen
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Oneness Embraced, Tony Evans (recommended by Chase Bowers)
  • Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell
  • Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler
  • Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams
  • Reading with Patrick, Michelle Kuo*
  • Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson
  • Right Color, Wrong Culture: The Type of Leader Your Organization Needs to Become Multiethnic, Bryan Loritts
  • Running, Natalia Sylvester
  • Same Kind of Different as Me, Ron Hall and Denver Moore* This book started my journey to realizing how white-washed my worldview is.
  • Saving the Saved: How Jesus Saves Us from Try-Harder Christianity into Performance-Free Love, Bryan Loritts
  • Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi
  • Silver Sparrow, Tajari Jones
  • Spirit Run, Noe Alvarez
  • Stamped from the Beginning, Ibram X. Kendi
  • Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid
  • Take This Stallion, Anais Duplan
  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X*
  • The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell
  • The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, Jemar Tisby
  • The Color of Law, Richard Rothstein
  • The Color Purple, Alice Walker
  • The Cross and the Lynching Tree, James Cone
  • The Distance Between Us, Reyna Grande
  • The Fifth Season, NK Jemison
  • The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, Jesmyn Ward
  • The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Wamriya Clementine*
  • The Girl With the Louding Voice, Abi Dare
  • The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  • The House of Mango Charlie, Sandra Cisneros
  • The Light of the World, Elizabeth Alexander
  • The Measure of a Man, Sidney Poiter
  • The Mis-Education of the Negro, Carter G. Woodson (recommended by Eric Mason)
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
  • The Race Whisper: Barack Obama and the Political Uses of Race, Melanye Price
  • The Sun is Also a Star, Nicola Yoon
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, Isabel Wilkerson
  • The Watson’s go to Birmingham, Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
  • Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
  • Unbowed, Wangari Maathai
  • Under Our Skin, Benjamin Watson*
  • Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, Emmanuel Acho*
  • When I was Puerto Rican, Esmerelda Santiago
  • White Awake: An Honest Look at What it Means to be White, Daniel Hill
  • White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin DiAngelo*
  • White Lies: Nine Ways to Expose and Resist the Racial Systems that Divide Us, Daniel Hill
  • Wild Seed, Octavia Butler
  • Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice, Eric Mason*
  • Workin’ Our Way Home, Ron Hall*
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD

I’ve also read some great articles listed as references in the back of several books I’ve read!


I struggle with podcasts, but these have been recommended to me

  • White Lies, NPR
  • 1619

Well, Girl Book Launch

I hear so many negative comments about social media and I get it, there is no shortage of negativity there — but I’ve come across some great opportunities as well. Several non-profits have posted Amazon Wish Lists on Facebook and you can just click, buy stuff they need and it’s shipped straight to them. It’s dangerous, but I love it. I’ve signed up to volunteer for several organizations around town to do some cool things like pick up donated bread from HEB for a local food bank. I can’t do a lot of things, but I can pick up bread! This summer I saw a link from a blogger I follow that said, “Sign up for my book launch team.” I never heard of a book launch team, but hey, it’s summer — I’m in!

So I join the book launch team for Jami Amerine’s new book, Well, Girl, An Inside-Out Journey to Wellness. I have to admit that I really didn’t look at the book title before I joined the team. I’ve enjoyed Jami’s wit and insight on her blog, LOVE the vandals, her affectionate term for her youngest kids and just finished her first book Stolen Jesus which I also loved. How could this go wrong? Then I get my info email about the team, then I read the full title of the book and think, “UGH, I don’t want to read about wellness or a journey, I done ready know I gotta fix the inside to impact the outside, but I signed up, I really got nothing better to do”, so I press forward.

What exactly is a launch team? It’s a group of people that agree to read your book before it is available to the public, help promote the author and their book on social media and be the first to post online reviews of the book. It’s been interesting to see how the whole process works and I’ve learned the most about how Facebook algorithms work and how people use them to promote their business. That’s one of the reasons I’m better about liking, commenting and sharing business posts from people I know — they need us! Plus I got to have a zoom meeting with the author and that was super cool!!!

The big thing though, is the book. I mentioned I signed up for this team without really knowing the title. I read the Well, Girl part but not the An Inside-Out Journey to Wellness Part. I was less than enthusiastic about that! But I committed to read it so I did. I was not disappointed.

Although I did not want to read another ‘this is how to make your life better by exercising and eating right’ self-help book, it turned out to be so much more. Jami encourages you to live your life for Christ, period. It’s not about the diet, the regiment, success or failure, it’s about living every aspect of your life for Christ and allowing Him to make you whole. Whatever you need to work on physically – you can do it – thanks to Beloved Living. As a dieter, you finally come to the conclusion that any diet will work once you set your mind to it and actually do it. In Well, Girl she examines our self-talk, self-doubt and inability to live as one treasured by our Creator that just left me so encouraged and built up.

All is not lost. There is no harm, no foul. He sees us, and He is pleased with us. You and I are His babies, His darling daughters, and nothing can separate us from His love. Nope, nothing, not even that. It is easy to mistake Him, for under the heavy hand of the law and the earthly understanding of “do good get good, do bad get bad,” we are often left with a broken heart. For if we are good, why is there bad? This is performance-based love that we often project onto God because it’s everywhere else in the world…and this keeps us trapped in old cycles because we’re sure we’re not doing enough right.”

Amerine p. 59

I loved the part in the book where she says, “I believe that the enemy uses shame to keep us stuck.” She bases this on the definition by Cary Scott that, “Guilt is being sorry for something you have done. Shame is being sorry for who you are” (Amerine p. 48). There is no shame in where you are, just be willing to improve and leave the guilt of bad decisions behind.

I still think I like Stolen Jesus a little better, but Well, Girl is well worth the read!

Get your copy here: https://amzn.to/3gaj5v6

Follow Jami at http://sacredgroundstickyfloors.com

or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sacredgrounds.stickyfloors/