In January, I explained that one of my reading goals for the year is that at least 50% of my reading for the year will be by authors who are diverse in some way.
Of the 21 books I’ve read so far, 11 are by diverse authors, and they are all fantastic. So I’m listing them in the order I read them.
- Destiny’s Captive – Beverly Jenkins
- Forbidden – Beverly Jenkins
- Breathless – Beverly Jenkins
- Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
- Resistance Reborn – Rebecca Roanhorse
- My Darling Duke – Stacy Reid
- Once Upon a Marquess – Courtney Milan
- A Right Honorable Gentleman – Courtney Milan
- Her Every Wish – Courtney Milan
- What Happened at Midnight – Courtney Milan
- With the Fire on High – Elizabeth Acevedo
I know, I know: some of the romance titles are pretty bad. And maybe the covers are making your cringe. But all the books are amazing. Courtney Milan and Beverly Jenkins are two of my favorite writers, and it’s been a delight to read so many of their books in a run like this. Every one of their main characters are incredibly driven women, and their books and stories feel real, not contrived, in a way that’s really hard for a writer to consistently pull off. The conflict in Courtney Milan’s books usually revolve around a secret the main character is keeping for a good reason, as opposed to the frustrating misunderstandings that so often spark the tension in romances.
Beverly Jenkins’ main characters tend to be based on interesting black people in the Old West or New Orleans who she’s found amongst her extensive research. For example, in Breathless, the heroine’s family owns an early version of a dude ranch-themed resort that’s visited by European royalty as well as the wealthy from San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago. This resort is based on a real hotel owned by a real family in Arizona.
I just finished With Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo on audiobook (expertly read by the author), and it is incredible in every way. How Acevedo describes food—tastes and smells—made me hungry and also feel strangely competent about cooking, which I am not. Also, Acevedo so perfectly and vividly builds the Philly neighborhood in which the book is set that I wanted to sit down with a hard copy and comb through the sentences so I could figure out exactly how she did it. I adore the main character Emoni, who wants to be a chef, and her love for her Baby Girl and Abuela. Even now that the book is over, I’m rooting so hard for them all.