Boston Public Library
Black Is... 2001: Fiction
Booklists for Adults

*Recommended for Teens

ABYSSINIAN CHRONICLES

This novel chronicles the coming of age of Mugezi during the nightmare reign of Idi Amin.

*THE AFRICAN AMERICAN WEST: A CENTURY OF SHORT STORIES edited by Bruce A. Glasrud and Laurie Champion.

This compilation reaches from early 20th century writers Charles W. Chesnutt and W.E.B. DuBois to the contemporary voices of Terry McMillan and Walter Mosley. 

ALL OF ME: A VOLUPTUOUS TALE by Venise Berry.

What’s a chubby journalist to do when her boyfriend prefers his skinny ex, and her weight might prevent her from getting a promotion?   Is suicide the answer?  

BLACK GIRL IN PARIS by Shay Youngblood.

In the mid-1980’s, Eden Daniels moved to Paris in search of the literary freedom experienced by her heroes, Langston Hughes and James Baldwin.

Sarah Breedlove, an uneducated laundress, worked her way to becoming the first black female millionaire, Madam C. J. Walker.

BLIND AMBITIONS by Lolita Files.

Can three women, an actress, a writer, and a producer succeed in the Hollywood atmosphere of sex, betrayal, and self-destruction?

BLUES DANCING by Diane McKinney- Whetstone.

A chance meeting with a former college flame allows Verdi to discover passion, love and ultimately, herself.

BRUISED HIBISCUS by Elizabeth Nunez.

Issues of race, class, and gender are brought to the fore when the body of a white woman washes ashore in colonial Trinidad.

BUTTERSCOTCH BLUES by Margaret Johnson-Hodge.

It’s love at first sight when Sandy sees Adrian’s “butterscotch” skin.   Can this relationship survive when he becomes ill?

CASTING THE FIRST STONE by Kimberla Lawson Roby.

Reverend Black succumbs to the temptations of women and money.   Will his marriage survive?

CHRONICLE OF THE SEVEN SORROWS by Patrick Chamoiseau.

A tale of the poor and the rich in Martinique, as told through the life of Pipi Soleil, who transports, (and probably murders) human cargo, competes in a wheelbarrow race, and reluctantly guards a threatening zombie’s buried treasure.  

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS by Sandra Kitt.

Caught in the crossfire of a drug bust, Carol finds herself attracted to the white cop who accidentally shot her.

*THE COLORED GARDEN: A NOVEL by O. H. Bennett.  

Ten-year-old Sarge discovers baby “Kate’s” grave in an old slave cemetery, and begins a quest to learn her secret.

A DANGEROUS ROAD by Kris Nelscott.

Memphis 1968… Why is private investigator Smokey Dalton the beneficiary in the will of a white heiress?

DARK MATTER: A CENTURY OF SPECULATIVE FICTION FROM THE AFRICAN DIASPORA edited by Sheree R. Thomas.

This book is a compilation of science fiction and fantasy, from vampires to robots.

DELLA’S HOUSE OF STYLE: An anthology with stories by Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, Felicia Mason, and Francis Ray.

These four love stories are set amidst cuts, curls, weaves, and pedicures.

DESPAIR: AND OTHER STORIES by Andre Alexis.

Tales from Trinidad and Canada focus on adultery, voodoo curses, and a doctor’s unusual experiments.

DO UNTO OTHERS by Kristin Hunter Lattany.

Cultures clash and her husband strays when Zena takes a young African woman into her home.

DON’T THE MOON LOOK LONESOME by Stanley Crouch.

A seven-year-long interracial romance is threatened when Maxwell begins to feel that he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life with a white woman.

*FAR FROM THE TREE by Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant.  

Can Della keep her secrets after her daughters move back to the house they inherited?

FATHER FOUND by R.M. Johnson.

Tracking down “deadbeat dads” becomes an obsession rather than a job.

THE FICTION OF LeROI JONES/AMIRI BARAKA by LeRoi Jones, Imamu Amiri Baraka and Greg Tate. 

THE FISHER KING: A NOVEL by Paule Marshall.

This book tells a story of jazz, love, family conflicts, and hope.

THE FLIP SIDE OF SIN by Rosalyn McMillan.

Released from prison, a former jazz musician finds an estranged wife and a troubled son. He manages to rebuild his life as he learns the lessons of love.

FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY by Omar R. Tyree.

This book is the long-awaited sequel to Flyy Girl.

GENERAL SUN, MY BROTHER  by Jacques Stephen Alexis.

GOOD PEOPLES by Marcus Major.

The tables are turned when Myles, who is ready for commitment, falls for Marisa, who is consumed by her career as a lawyer.

THE HOTEL ALLELUIA  by Lucinda Roy.

Two sisters, one white and one black, find each other upon their mother’s death.

LIAR’S GAME by Eric Jerome Dickey.  

Vince and Dana are in love, but can it last when Vince’s ex-wife and Dana’s former lover arrive on the scene? 

MAKE BELIEVE by Joanna Scott.

With his parents dead, Bo is caught in a fierce custody struggle between his two sets of grandparents, one black and one white.

MASTER OF THE CROSSROADS by Madison Smartt Bell.

This is the story of the life and rise to power of the great Haitian general, Toussaint Louverture.

*MIDNIGHT ROBBER by Nalo Hopkinson.

When Tan-Tan’s father rapes her, they are taken from their village on the Caribbean planet Toussaint, and thrust into the brutal prison world of New Half-Way Tree.

MOTHER TO MOTHER by Sindiwe Magona.

A mother recounts the story of how her son became a killer.   Based on the 1993 murder in South Africa of a white American woman.

MOVE OVER GIRL by Brian Peterson.

Tony, a college junior and former athlete, makes the journey from “player with a strong rap” to a committed, mature adult.

THE NEW CITY by Stephen Amidon.

When two powerful men, one white and   one black, compete for the job of city manager of a planned community, racial violence erupts.  

NOT A DAY GOES BY by E. Lynn Harris.

Yancey Harrington and John “Basil” Henderson are back, and about to get married, but there is a problem.   The groom likes guys too.

PO MAN’S CHILD by Marci Blackman.

After sustaining a serious injury during a sexual encounter and learning of her father’s death, Po recounts her family’s curses and blessings.

REDEMPTION SONG by Bertrice Berry.

Love develops when two readers reach for a bookstore’s only copy of a slave woman’s narrative.

SLAPBOXING WITH JESUS by Victor D. LaValle.

This book contains stories about young men struggling to survive on the sex- and drug-filled streets of New York City.

SOMETHIN’ EXTRA by Patty Rice.

Genie Gatlin knows “it’s better to lease a man than own one.” That is, until she meets David Lewis.

SORORITY SISTERS by Tajuana “TJ” Butler. 

Five college freshmen from diverse backgrounds find sisterhood as they struggle with college life.

SUGAR by Bernice L. McFadden.

Tensions grow, secrets are revealed, and a bond of friendship is formed, when Sugar, a prostitute, opens shop in Bigelow, Arkansas.

SUMMER MAGIC by Rochelle Alers.

While vacationing in her friend’s beachfront home, Caryn Edwards is not happy to find that she must share it with a stranger, until romance blooms 

*SUNDAY YOU LEARN HOW TO BOX by Bil Wright.

14-year-old Louis struggles with his sexual identity while his unsupportive parent believes boxing will encourage his masculinity.

THIS JUST IN by Yolanda Joe.

Chicago television station WKBA is last in the news ratings. Intrigue and deception ensue as employees scramble to save their jobs.

TUFF by Paul Beatty.

“Tuffy” Foshay, 19 years old, 300+ pounds, and part-time drug dealer, decides to run for the City Council of New York, with an African American rabbi as his advisor.

WARM HANDS by Margaret Johnson-Hodge.

This novel is a story of romance, infidelity, heartbreak, and finally, love.

THE WAY FORWARD IS WITH A BROKEN HEART by Alice Walker.

Stories exploring several women’s heartfelt and sometimes heartbreaking relationships with husbands, friends, and lovers.

This selected list was compiled by:

Marylou Coveney, Dudley Branch

Denise DeBoer, Fields Corner Branch

Jacqueline Hogan, Grove Hall Branch

Kathy Kire, Teen Services

Parker Hill Branch

Amy Manson, Connolly Branch

Margaret Phillibert, General Library, Adult Services

Richard Wintergreen, Adams Street Branch

Joseph Wisniewski, Codman Square Branch