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Well-Read Black Girl & R29Unbothered Present The Black Love Reading List

Black love runs deep. It speaks to a rooted connection to our history, and our almost innate ability to adapt its most painful parts into something transformative. Over the years, some of the most prolific authors to capture this phenomenon have been Black women — from bell hooks and her musings on love and society (All About Love) to Zora Neale Hurston, who wrote one of the most profound Black love stories of our time (Their Eyes Were Watching God). As Well-Read Black Girl reaches its five-year anniversary and prepares to kick off its annual Well-Read Black Girl Festival, R29Unbothered and Glory Edim's renowned book club bring you The Black Love Reading List. Read on for some of the most impactful Black love stories ever written.
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The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

In a perfect world, we'd all serendipitously get stuck in an elevator with the love of our lives. But since those odds are slim for many of us, The Wedding Date is here to allow us to live our hopeless romantic fantasies vicariously through its pages. There's nothing like a classic, head-over-heels, can't-stop-thinking-about-you whirlwind love story — especially one that centres Black folks.
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Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

We've all probably reached points in our lives where we wanted to shake things up, and Chloe Brown is no exception. After an almost-near-death experience, Chloe sets out to spice up her life with the ultimate bucket list of rebellion. Included on her list is Redford Morgan, a sexy handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle and bad boy appeal. It's an interesting pairing considering Chloe's wealthy background, but you know what they say about opposites: they attract (or do they?). You won't want to stop reading Hibbert's romantic comedy page-turner until you find out.
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All About Love by bell hooks

If you ask any Black woman about their favourite books on love, bell hooks' All About Love is bound to come up in the conversation. Some of the most-quoted meditations on love come from this book. But All About Love goes beyond romance. The first volume in hooks' renowned "Love Song to the Nation,” All About Love is a deep exploration of society, the ways in which it suffers, and how to heal. How can we care more? How can we find more compassion? How can we learn to love ourselves? The answers to these and many other questions ultimately guide us into harmony not just within ourselves, at home, in the workplace, and beyond.
4 of 9
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

In 1937, Zora Neale Hurston published one of the most renowned love stories ever published. Their Eyes Were Watching God is not only an homage to Black culture, but also all the things we still fight to overcome decades after the book was first published.
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Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Libertie was named one of the most anticipated books of 2021 by by O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times among others — and for good reason! While not a traditional story, it is one that speaks to what it means to better understand ourselves and our circumstances, and the self-acceptance that can come from that. Greenidge's riveting novel was inspired by one of the first Black female doctors in the United States — and it needed to be on your bookshelf, like, yesterday.
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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Imagine falling in love, only to have your partner ripped away from you by the justice system when he's sentenced to 12 years behind bars. That's what happens in An American Marriage, Tayari Jones' highly-acclaimed love story about surrendering to the forces beyond us. Celestial may be an independent woman, but anyone would be devastated under such circumstances. As the years go by, she finds a comforting place in the presence of Andre, a friend from childhood (and the best man at their wedding). But what does this mean five years later, when Roy's conviction is overturned, and he returns to Celestial ready to pick up where they left off?
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Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown

In Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, Adrienne Maree Brown questions how we might be able to bring more joy to social activism. "How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life?" To answer these questions, she presents the idea of pleasure activism, which is essentially a framework from which one may be able to divest from the idea that activism must feel like "work." Inspired by Black feminist thoughts, her essays are sprinkled with the wisdom from the likes of Audre Lorde, Joan Morgan, Cara Page, and many others.
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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

After stunning the literary world with her New York Times best-selling novel, The Mothers, Brit Bennett returned with novel about twin sisters from a Southern Black community who are literally separated by Black and white (one goes on to live with her Black daughter in that same Southern town, while the other — who passes as white — marries a white man who is oblivious to her past). An expertly written exploration of the history of "passing," The Vanishing Half has been widely acclaimed, and was even compared to Toni Morrison's 1970 debut, The Bluest Eye.
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Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Eva Mercy (a bestselling erotica writer) and Shane Hall (an award-winning novelist) fell in love in just seven days as teenagers. When they cross paths 15 years later at a literary conference, however, they act like they don't know each other. While many of us fantasize about a second chance at love with the "one who got away," Tia Williams' Seven Days in June illustrates what it may look to actually get it. But this isn't a cookie cutter happily-ever-after; Eva got her heart broken and now she has questions. What happens next is up to them in this instant New York Times bestselling hit.

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