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Summer '20 Reading List

Books stacked on a bench
Written By
Parachute Team
Photographs By
Jessica Schramm for Parachute
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This summer we’re celebrating the Black voices who’ve penned some of our favorite and most moving pieces of literature. From personal essays to touching novels to a powerful memoir, these reads are sure to delight while broadening perspectives. Let’s use the long days of summer to discover the joy, challenge, love, heartbreak and triumph captured by these contemporary Black authors.

Book: I Almost Forgot About You on Blanket

‘I Almost Forgot About You,’ by Terry McMillan

Terry McMillian, bestselling author of, How Stella Got her Groove Back, brings the same heart and laughs to, I Almost Forgot About You. The story shares how Dr. Georgia Young makes big moves in her life in order to find greater fulfillment and meaning. We follow Dr. Young on her journey for a second chance at love as well as self-discovery after quitting her job and moving out of her house. McMillian creates characters that are genuine, honest and hilarious as she accurately portrays the highs and lows of relationships. Experience the joy and be reminded that anything can happen when you open yourself up to love.

Book: Ordinary Light next to Fouta Towel

‘Ordinary Light: A Memoir,’ by Tracy K. Smith

This powerful memoir explores the meaning of home, race, faith and family bonds. Author Tracy K. Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, shares her coming-of-age experience, in the wake of her mother’s cancer diagnosis, to understand what it means to be Black in America. Smith explores how her own upbringing in suburban California, the independence she gained at Harvard and her parents’ childhood in Alabama during the Civil Rights Era has shaped her perceptions. Humorous and thoughtful, Ordinary Light, encapsulates the importance of home.

Book: Sula on Linen sheet on grass

‘Sula,” by Toni Morrison

Renowned writer Toni Morrison shares the story of Nel and Sula, two childhood friends in the small town of Medallion, Ohio. The girls are smart, devoted, poor and brave as they stand up to bullies all while hiding a secret. As they grow older, they find themselves on different paths – Nel settled in Ohio, while Sula explores America. Can their friendship prevail or does it end in betrayal? Sula is a beautiful and powerful novel that you will want to read over and over.

Book: Thick on blanket

‘Thick: And Other Essays,' by Tressie McMillan Cottom

A finalist for the 2019 National Book Award, Thick: And Other Essays is a must-read this summer. Author Tressie McMillan Cottom, a sociologist, professor and writer speaks to every woman through this collection of timely and poignant essays. McMillan explores her experience as a Southern Black woman in academics along with body image, gender, politics and money. With wit and style, Thick is sure to be a favorite on your bookshelves.

Book: An American Marriage reading in a hammock

‘An American Marriage: A Novel,' by Tayari Jones

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are living the American dream as a young executive and a budding artist. However, their lives are turned upside down when Roy is arrested for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Apart, Celestial finds herself in the arms of Andre, the best man at their wedding. When Roy’s conviction is overturned after five years, he returns home to a life he couldn’t imagine. Tayari Jones is a master in storytelling as An American Marriage explores heartache and hope.