Why I Stopped Reading In The ‘Colored’ Section

Gonna need ya'll to order this if you haven't already!!!

When Terry McMillan kicked in the door for  African American authors to finally get some shine, I was all aboard the love train. I read the Eric Jerome Dickeys and Omar Tyrees and Carl Webers. I was particularly in love with an author named Marcus Major, whose writing I found exceptional. I read the Reshonda Tate Billingsleys (her little sister is a good friend) and Victoria Christopher Murray and all those folks. As my tastes were broadened, I dsicovered reading black authors who specialized in the genres I liked to read like horror and suspense, such as Brandon Massey and Tanananrive Due. I read erotica by authors like Zane and the Brown Sugar series by Carol Taylor.

I joined the RAW Sistaz group and subscribed to AALBC.com. I was supporting my black authors! Yassssss!

But then as more authors got put on and publishers realized  that *gasp* black people read too, the market got flooded with the same type of storylines. The surge in “street lit” didn’t help either. To me, black authors were all putting out the same type of pap. So I stopped reading them.

I’d always read some of the more commericial authors like James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell and John Grisham because I like the thriller genre in general. So I looked for more authors in that genre, such as David Baldacci and Daniel Silva. What I really found is that I liked spy novels. And almost all those authors are white and male. And generally very conservative. I can’t relate to them at all. And very few of the characters in the books are black. But the stories are good, so I read. And read some more.

The last book I read by a black author was Heard It All Before by Michelle Grant, who also writes at Black n’ Bougie. I have a couple more in my to be read pile on the side of the bed, but I picked a John Grisham book to take to work with me today. I guess I’ve gotten out of the habit of deliberately searching out black authors. And I don’t really like that because I DO like to read books about people who look like me.

But the stories need to be well written and capitivating. Or else I’m won’t be reading in the colored section just cause I’m colored too.

So my dear commenters, guide me back “home”. Recommend some contemporary stuff for me to read. I’ve read a lot of classic stuff like Zora Neale, Hurston, Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, and Maya Angelou, so I am well versed in that. Put me on to some new authors, please??


23 thoughts on “Why I Stopped Reading In The ‘Colored’ Section

  1. Ok, I’m outing myself as a nerd but I thought of some more. If you like mysteries, Pamela Thomas-Graham (the wife of the Our Kind of People dude) has a good series, mystery novels based in and around Ivy League universities. Stephen L. Carter also writes good mysteries. I’ve read a few of his books.

  2. Anything by Diane McKinney Whetstone…great storyteller

    Erica Simone Turnipseed- A love noire and hunger. great love stories.

    Cosign on Tayari Jones!

    I also enjoy Benilde Little’s books- especially Who Does She Think She Is

    And Veronica Chambers, Miss Black America. she had a non-fiction book too.

  3. After I finish Getting To Happy by McMillan, I’m going to ring Some Sing, Some Cry by sisters and playwrights Ntozake Shange (for colored girls who have considered suicide) and Ifa Bayeza (the play The Ballad of Emmett Till). http://www.amazon.com/Some-Sing-Cry-Novel/dp/031219899X

    Want to read it with me? Cbean, you down, too?

  4. Berniece McFadden is good. I enjoyed her latest book “Glorious”.

    J California Cooper is an old standby.

    Daniel Black’s other books “They Tell Me Of A Home” and “The Sacred Place” are solid reads too. He doesn’t write you typical story.

    Love Tananarive Due’s Casanegra series. I prefer her horror but the books are always a good read.

    “Harlem Redux” by Persia Walker was a great read. Her second novel I didn’t enjoy too much.

  5. You got some great suggestions – I really love Walter Mosely. A few years ago I devoured mystery series by Eleanor Taylor Bland and Terris McMahan Grimes. On the lighter mystery side I read all of Nora DeLoach, Barbara Neely and Valerie Wilson Wesley.

    I haven’t run across anything “new” in a while.

  6. L.A. Banks – Vampire Huntress Legend ( 12 book series)
    Passport diaries / Tamara T. Gregory
    Sandra Kitt – Signet Books

  7. Most others have suggested the stuff I would have so I’ll just second Octavia Butler (I have a tinge of sci-fi geek in me) and Walter Mosley. I also enjoy Marlon James, Diane McKinney Whetstone, Edwidge Danticat and Junot Diaz.

  8. I just finished a book by Daniel Black called Perfect Peace. It was definitely an interesting read – a mother wanted a boy so bad, that with her seventh son she pretended he was a girl and didn’t tell anyone that “she” was an actual he until he was 8. Crazy.

    Pearl Cleage is one of my favorite colored authors! I love how many of her characters reappear in subsequent novels.

    Accidental Diva by Tia Williams was a cute/good novel.

    The Year it Snowed in April by Eva Bottier

  9. Did you ever pick up “Wench?”

  10. Ever read anything by April Sinclair? I haven’t seen anything new from her in years, but the books I’ve read have all been great.

  11. Anything by Tayari Jones, Martha Southgate, Octavia Butler. I don’t read trashy lit and I don’t care who’s writing it. I’m leaning more these days towards historical fiction type books. Plus the classics..

  12. I was going to suggest Walter Mosley too. He is my all time favorite author- just phenomenal! Plus he has written several books outside of the mystery genre.

  13. I really enjoyed the Jubilant series by Stacy Hawkins Adams. Beverly Jenkins and Bettye Griffin are pretty good too.

  14. In addition to Walter Mosley, try Valerie Wilson Wesley’s Tamara Hayle mysteries. A black female private detective.

    Pearl Cleage is my favorite author. I recommend starting with her first book – What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day.

    Since you like Tananarive Due, check out the books she wrote with her husband and Blair Underwood (not sure how much writing Blair did). They have a mystery series also – Tennyson Hardwick is the PI. I think the first one is Casanegra. I have the third one, haven’t read it yet.

    Finally check fellow tweeter Tayari Jones. I’m almost finished with her first book, Leaving Atlanta. It’s about the Atlanta child murders from the eyes of 3 5th graders.

  15. If you like mysteries, you should read Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series (that will keep you reading for a long time cause he wrote seventy leven of them) and his new detective series, too.

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