#BYPBookclub: BYP's Best Ten Books of 2019

Mar 30, 2020

What a year it has been for BYP Bookclub - we've celebrated some brilliant books this year. We've had a guide to perfect public speaking from Shola Kaye in How To Be a Diva, advice on navigating the workplace from Roianne Nedd with The Trusted Black Girl, the fantastic debut from Candice Carty-Williams Queenie, Michael Fuller's moving memoir Kill The Black One First, Glory Edim's Well-Read Black Girl, #MerkyBooks' brilliant Taking Up Space, Dean Atta's Black Flamingo, Funmi Fetto's Palette and Johny Pitt's Afropean. During Black History Month, we shone a spotlight on a range of great books from Headline Publishing's Black Girl Magic and Virago's Brilliant Black Voices to Brittney Morris' Slay and Andy Ayim's Breaking Into New Careers in Tech

 

This month, we're showcasing our favourites from this year. These are our ten favourite non-fiction, fiction and cookery reads from 2019 that we didn't manage to make our books of the month, but which we think our the best from the last twelve months. These should be at the top of your reading list!

 

NON-FICTION

 

Black, Listed | Jeffrey Boakye

Woke. Fam. BAME. Urban. Afro-Caribbean. Ethnic Minority. BLACK.

Heard any of these phrases before? If so, Black, Listed is a book you should be picking up. An exploration of 21st-century black identity through insults, insights and everything in-between, this book takes a look at the various ways both black communities and individuals have been represented, oppressed, marginalised, imitated, celebrated and othered over the course of history. Described as 'part autobiographical musing, part pop culture vivisection', this is an innovative, enlightening but most of all, hilarious look at language, identity and power.

 

How To Be an Antiracist | Ibram X. Kendi

If you enjoyed Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race and Akala's Natives, give this a read. In How To Be an Antiracist, Kendi, the founding director of the Antiracism Research and Policy Center, explains why neutrality isn't enough when it comes to racism, and why not being racist is not enough. We have to be antiracist. From breaking down the myths and taboos that cloud our judgement, to unwrapping what race is and what happens when race intersects with ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality, this book is packed with all the necessary information to understand racism - what it is, where it lies, how to identify it and how to go about changing it.

 

Slay In Your Lane: The Journal | Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené

Lauded by the likes of Diane Abbott, Otegha Uwagba and Sadiq Khan, this is the long-awaited, inspirational companion guide to life for all black British women seeking to find success in every area of their lives. Written by the multi award-winning duo - Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené, Slay In Your Lane: The Journal is your toolkit to building a better and more visible future for yourself. With tips, questionnaires, practical exercises and worksheets, this is the ultimate start kit to help you navigate your career, education, finances, self-care and health. This book teaches you not only how to survive in today's society, but how to thrive in it too.

 

FICTION

Girl, Woman, Other | Bernadine Evaristo

The 2019 winner of the Man Booker prize, Girl, Woman, Other is a classic of our modern times. Described as the 'standout book of the year', acclaimed writer Bernadine Evaristo tells the story of twelve characters of varying backgrounds, identities, cultures and careers, exploring their personal lives through their struggles and journeys. From bankers and teachers to farmers and playwrights, they are strewn across the United Kingdom and interconnected in different ways, from family and friends to Twitter rivals and fellow theatregoers. 

 

The Travelers | Regina Porter 

Award-winning playwright, Regina Porter, published her debut novel this year and it's a wonderful masterpiece that dissects 21st-century America and investigates race, class and gender on a societal scale. The Travelers follows two American families - one black, one white - and their lives following the end of the Second World War, spanning six decades of great change - from the early days of the civil rights struggle to the Vietnam War to Obama being elected as president. It's an epic story about time and the relationships, histories and traumas that ripple through generations.

 

That Reminds Me | Derek Owusu

 Some of our BYP event attendees might remember Derek Owusu from our Us movie premiere earlier this year, in which he read from Safe, an anthology of black men's voices which Owusu both edited and contributed to. Later this year, the acclaimed writer, poet and podcaster published his first solo work under Stormzy's publishing imprint, #MerkyBooks. In That Reminds Me, Owusu tells us the coming-of-age story of the protagonist K, from his troubled childhood and teenage years to becoming a man. Growing up in care, K encounters isolation, neglect, grief, loss and trauma in equal measure, with the accumulation of these underlying emotions bubbling to the surface as the adult K battles with self-harm, addiction and mental illness. A moving and profound read, That Reminds Me will stay with you well after the last page.  

 

Home Girl | Alex Wheatle

From the winner of the Guardian Children's Book Award comes this new coming-of-age story. Described as 'a major voice in British children's literature' and a 'literary activist', Alex Wheatle's Home Girl is a must-read on our 2019 list. Following the story of Naomi, a teenage girl who has encountered much trauma and disappointment at her tender age of 14, Home Girl shines a light on the highs and lows of growing up within the care system, from navigating social worker appointments and foster carers to constant displacement and upheaval. Raw, emotional and painfully frank.

 

Original Flava | Craig and Shaun McAnuff

We love a Caribbean cookbook and this one from Original Flava is a kitchen-must. If you don't know about the OF brothers, where have you been? The South-London duo are all about bringing delicious Caribbean recipes from home to your kitchen via their hit YouTube channel. In Original Flava, you'll learn how to make the best ackee and saltfish, curry goat and roti to guiness punch and Ital juice, and best of all, it's all easy, accessible and tasty!

 

Rachel Ama's Vegan Eats | Rachel Ama 

Get to know Rachel Ama - the new face of veganism. With praise from Nigella Lawson and Ruby Tandoh, the Observer rising star of food's debut cookbook is the first of many, we hope. If you haven't seen Ama's Instagram, it's full of foodie delights and they're all animal product free. For the hesitant cook, this is a great read - the recipes are quick, easy-to-prep, supermarket-friendly and even better, Ama has a song to go with every recipe so you have your own kitchen soundtrack. From fun bakes such as carrot cake waffles and cinnamon french toast, to Caribbean classics like fritters and plantain burgers, there's something for everyone in Vegan Eats

 

#Munchies | Munch Club TV

Munch Club TV was set up by Nyasha Sakutukwa who wanted to combine his passion for food with his equally insatiable apettite for pop culture and ever since, the community has grown tenfold. Munch Club TV offers a safe space for guests to chat about whatever's on their mind, from feminism to race, whilst enjoying great food, with the aim of eradicating food poverty in the UK through integrating fundraising and food donations into all of its projects. In #Munchies, Nyasha weaves in his personal stories with recipes, from Nate's Money Making Maple Syrup and Sriracha Cauli Bites to his Nnenna Breakfast in Bed McMuffin. Get to know now!

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BYP BOOKCLUB - Books written by black authors, which help our community through personal or professional development. Are you a book publicist and have a book which you think would appeal to us? We will promote it to our 45k+ members and followersContact us here.

 

Writer: Mireille Harper


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