>At the beginning of summer (which technically doesn’t begin until next week) many publications do a story about great summer books that are coming out.

These are the books that will fill beach bags and lazy summer afternoons. Even for the many people – the majority – who won’t have lazy anything this summer, those lists help push books and give readers a way to sort through the mass of books online and in stores.

I like to read summer reading lists and recommendations to get titles in my head for my own reading. Obviously I love books, but I hate being in the library or in a store and not have some highly desired title in my head. I can always find something to read, but I love the anticipation and celebration of grabbing a title that I’ve been looking for.

Recently Professor Blair Kelley (@profblmkelly on Twitter) asked for summer reading recommendations of smart fiction by and about Black women. And that’s exactly the kind of list I’d like to see somewhere.

So, here are some titles that are on my reading list:

Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor
International award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor enters the world of magic realist literature with a powerful story of genocide in the far future and of the woman who reshapes her world.

In a post-apocalyptic Africa, the world has changed in many ways, yet in one region genocide between tribes still bloodies the land. After years of enslaving the Okeke people, the Nuru tribe has decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke tribe for good. An Okeke woman who has survived the annihilation of her village and a terrible rape by an enemy general wanders into the desert hoping to die. Instead, she gives birth to an angry baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand. Gripped by the certainty that her daughter is different—special—she names her child Onyesonwu, which means “Who Fears Death?” in an ancient tongue.

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, by Heidi Durrow
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky reveals an unfathomable past and explores issues of identity at a time when many people are asking “Must race confine us and define us?”

In the tradition of Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, here is a portrait of a young girl—and society’s ideas of race, class, and beauty.

It is a winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.

Whoops! I’m out of time. More summer reads later. If you have one … put it in comments.

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