Reading is by far one of the easiest ways to press pause and escape. Some books are page-turners, keeping you on the edge of your seat with each and every thrill. Other books are filled to the brim with intrigue. Other books are filled with so much heat between their pages, it's a wonder how erotica can almost feel as tantalizing as the real thing. Above all, we can read books for knowledge. It was author Stephen King who said, "Books are a uniquely portable magic." We learn, we love, we fantasize, we feel, and we heal from these portals of hundreds of pages offering food for thought. How could books not be magic?
These days, more and more of us are finding solace through reading and community by way of online book clubs. In the midst of a pandemic shaking our lives as we know it, many Black women found a sense of peace and normalcy in the virtual world of book clubs, a reality that's still going strong. Here are at xoNecole, we are always looking for ways to help like-minded women find community with other Black women in safe spaces. In honor of that, we've compiled a list of book clubs founded by Black women catering to Black women.
So if you're a lit lover, prepare to bookmark this article!
Noname Book Club
It's not just a "Diddy Bop" for rapper Noname, sis is the founder of a popular book club aptly titled, Noname Book Club. What began as a quick photo update on social media of a book she was reading has become an online community that amasses 140K Instagram followers and counting. With the tagline "reading material for the homies," the focus of the club is on mostly literature penned by writers and authors of color. Noname shared with The New York Times, "We read books, but under the umbrella that I am continuously trying to expand different initiatives through book club."
Required Reading: The Autobiography of Malcolm X As told to Alex Haley and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Well-Read Black Girl Book Club
Created in 2015 as a safe space, the Well-Read Black Girl Book Club is yet another book club in the digital space amplifying the narratives of Black women and non-binary authors. Once just a book club, the movement has since evolved to a literary festival in addition to being a place to inspire healthy discourse amongst Black women. Of the thriving community, founder Glory Edim has shared, "I'm honored to be of service and shine a light on the work of so many amazing authors. I'm grateful for our beautiful, bright community. Together, as a collective mind with a shared purpose, we can reimagine the literary canon."
Required Reading: Seven Days in June by Tia Williams and The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers
For Colored Girls Book Club
The Indianapolis-based book club For Colored Girls Book Club found their community online. The founder Gizelle Fletcher had a desire to read and discuss books written by women of color as well as non-binary writers. Through her work with the club, Gizelle has been able to fulfill her purpose of amplifying Black and brown voices and does so on a monthly basis every fourth Tuesday.
Required Reading: Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur and The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw
Smart Brown Girl
YouTuber Joulzey created the Smart Brown Girl Book Club as an extension from her Smart Brown Girl brand. Her motto? Making reading accessible to all since knowledge is power. The SBG Book Club offers live discussions and syllabi based on the track you're interested in (General Track vs Exploration Track). With a mission to help Black girls in forgotten spaces gain access to a world bigger than us all, the sky's the limit with the knowledge Joulzey seeks to facilitate in her community of readers.
Required Reading: The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris and THICK by Tressie McMillan Cottom
Mocha Girls Read
Mocha Girls Read is an LA-based book club that meets monthly to discuss selected reads amongst a community of like-minded readers. Unlike a lot of the other book clubs mentioned in this article, Mocha Girls Read has a more expansive selection for their reading list. They read fiction, non-fiction, chick lit, self-help books, historical romance, best-sellers, and more and don't limit their selections to gender or race.
Required Reading: Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong and The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
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