This may go without saying but, books are amazing. If you find the right one, it can transport you to somewhere you have never been, get you through a bad day, help you find your voice, or maybe have you believe that your great love is just around the corner. But we understand that trying to find a good book isn’t an easy task as there are so many novels, memoirs, and biographies to choose from.
Plus, you may not even be sure which you would appreciate more.
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Why not leave it up to us? The editors at BET.com have decided to try and make things easier for you by compiling a list of five books each month that we think you may enjoy. Because let’s face it, sometimes you need a good read to help get you through the month, distract you by the pool, or read during your lunch break while you’re finally able to catch a breeze without your mask.
Here are the five books for June; drop a note in the comments with the title of the book you just can’t put down this month.
1. Pops: Learning to Be a Son and a Father by Craig Melvin
Being a dad isn't easy, and MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin's memoir, Pops: Learning to Be a Son and a Father, gives us insight into its complexity and his transformation from being a son to a father. Though Craig's father, Lawrence Melvin, struggled with alcoholism and worked the graveyard shift, the duo could bond through sports and a 1973 Pontiac LeMans. But through all of the ups and downs, Craig's mom —as many women often are—became the glue that held it all together. Plus, along his journey were mentors such as teachers and uncles who helped him figure out the person he wanted to become by their examples.
The story chronicles Melvin’s early life in Columbia, South Carolina, his reconciliation with his father, and his experiences as a dad. It’s an excellent pick for Father's Day.
2. Revival Season by Monica West
Many of us have moments when our faith and all that we have known and understand gets shaken and maybe even tested. The debut novel Revival Season by Duke and New York University graduate Monica West artfully tackles all of those things against a Southern backdrop. The story captures the lives of 15-year-old Miriam Horton and her family as they travel in an old minivan through small towns for revival season. A time when Miriam’s father, a famous southern preacher, holds healing services for folks who are desperate to be cured of disease and illnesses. But this summer season, things take a turn as her father’s powers are tested in new ways, and Miriam’s life changes as she witnesses a startling act of violence by him. She is so profoundly affected that her religious faith and trust in her father are both tested. Added to this discovery is another that Miriam herself may also possess the same power to heal, which her father and church had made clear wasn’t possible for women.
This coming of age story addresses faith, trust, feminism and spiritual awakening in a Southern, Black, Evangelical community.
3. All That She Carried by Tiya Miles
While knowing from where you descended can strengthen who you are and your character, it can also be quite the load. In All That She Carried by Tiya Miles, a professor of history and winner of the Frederick Douglass Book Prize as the author of The Dawn of Detroit, confronts the atrocity of American slavery and the resilience of the three generations of women she chronicles.
Ripping Black and Indigenous families apart was commonplace in America by selling people who were legally enslaved. This is where we meet a woman named Rose, who in 1852 has to make a quick decision about her nine-year-old daughter, Ashley who is facing the auction block. Ashley is like countless Black women and girls who were sold and abused. Many years later, Ashley’s granddaughter, Ruth, embroiders her family’s history on a bag that was packed for her grandmother before she was torn from her mother, Rose. The words from her great grandmother were: “It be filled with my Love always.” Miles beautifully crafts their stories and that of other women like them through archival records, objects, and art that captures traces of lives and love through generations.
4. Punch Me Up to The Gods by Brian Broome
There are some books that are so beautifully written that you want to devour every word without distraction. And sometimes, that same book is written with such brutal honesty that you feel every moment fraught with tension, humor, and joy. Such is the case with Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome, whose formative years growing up as a dark-skinned boy in Warren, Ohio was fraught with colorism and homophobia.
Broome weaves his journey by recounting funny and uncomfortable moments as he struggles to find his way. It’ll be hard to put this book down.
5. Long Division by Kiese Laymon
The critically acclaimed author of Heavy, Kiese Laymon, has revised his 2013 debut novel Long Division. The book is unique because it offers two stories that can be read front to back and back to front.
One story is set in the city of Coldson in 2013, where a young girl Baize Shepherd has recently disappeared. The other takes the reader to a place called Coldson, but this time it is 1985. We meet Shalaya Crump, who, with his friend and love interest, discovers a way to time travel and encounters a rapper named Baize Shepherd. The threesome travel to 1965 to help another time traveler protect his family from the Ku Klux Klan.