Title: Well-Read Black Girl || Curated by: Glory Edim || Audiobook Narrator: Glory Edim || Genre: Non Fiction, Essays, Feminism, African American, Short Stories|| Publisher: Ballantine Books|| Year of publication: 2018 || No. of pages: 272|| Available at Amazon.com, Bookdepository and Bol.com

In this inspiring essay collection, twenty-one black women who hold diverse backgrounds and experiences share intimate memories around discovering literary reflections of themselves. This collection is curated by the founder of the popular (online) bookclub Well-Read Black Girl, Glory Edim.

You think your pain and your heartbreak is unprecedented in the history of the world and then you read.

James Baldwin

Why Should you pick up this book and/ or the audiobook ?

The main reason I picked up this book is because I knew that besides an interesting essay collection it would be the gateway to learn more about the female authors of color I am less familiar with. I live in the Netherlands and before the internet the only way I knew an author of color even existed was if he or she won a Pulitzer prize (Toni Morrison), if the book was adapted into a movie (Alice Walker’s The Color Purple) or your work got selected for Oprah’s book club (again all of Toni Morrison’s books).

Even though news travels a lot faster these days, thanks to apps like Scribd and the existence of booktube, this book informed me that there are still a lot of authors left to get acquainted with. And I was not dissapointed, for the Well-Read Black Girl is packed with various lists recommending books in every fathomable genre.

While the audio version of the book is simply okay, the hardcopy is definitely a collectors item. Believe me you’ll want these lists nearby just to take the time to figure out what to read next.

Apart from increasing the number of books on my already massive TBR list this book had the weird effect of …. me finding pieces of myself at different stages of my life within some of these narratives.

What are the cons?

As is the case with most essay collections, not all these stories will resonate with you. Apart from a different approach to the subject matter, there is also a great difference in narrative and writing style. You will definitely have to take into account that none of these stories have a similar vibe and that this might have a disruptive effect on your reading flow.

The best way to combat the aforementioned is to simply read one or two stories per reading sessions and take the time to savour and/or digest the beautiful revelation that is bestowed upon you.

What is so remarkable about this book

Most stories are about the first time the authors recognised somebody that looks like them, often having a life experience that mirrors their own, on the page. Others are simply about revisiting a book and finding out that overtime the meaning of the story has somewhat altered because you have matured. Some are about the importance of telling the stories of our grandma’s, aunts and sisters that are often excluded from that which is considered literary canon. For me the most powerful stories are about being inspired to become an author because you have picked up a book by an author of color and therefore dare to dream, the until that moment, impossible dream.

Verdict = ☆☆☆☆

This book has certainly changed the way I viewed reading for the longest time. Although I never really looked for someone like me on the page, reading all these essays still felt like coming home.

☆ = bad | ☆☆ = okay-ish | ☆☆☆ = fun | ☆☆☆☆ = amazing | ☆☆☆☆☆ = exceptional

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