The MahoganyBooks Adult Bestsellers list is more than just a look at the Top Five books purchased over the past month from our store and website. It’s a list that takes into account the interests and concerns of African American readers/shoppers regardless of publisher, recency of publication, or book promotions geared at manufacturing sales.
Quite simply, our bestsellers list is a representation of the kinds of literary content that matters to them. #BlackBooksMatter
So without further ado, we present our…
January 2021 | MahoganyBooks Adult Bestsellers
#1 – Just As I Am by Cicely Tyson
“This book is Ms. Tyson’s abundant treasure to each of us: her life, in her words, just as she is. She shares truths usually whispered between close friends in the dim light of a back bedroom, those candid declarations not often spoken aloud. And she tells her story the way only a black woman can: in all of its dazzling authenticity, heels off and voice undulating, shifting between anguish and exuberance. The art of acting is the art of exposing, an emotional unveiling before others. Ms. Tyson is as revelatory on these pages as she has been on the stage.
— Viola Davis, Academy, Tony, and Emmy award-winning actress and producer
“In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history.” -President Barack Obama, 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony
Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word. I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and mother, a sister, and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by His hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say.” –– Cicely Tyson
#2 – The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman (Pre-Order)
A special edition of the poem The Hill We Climb, read at the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, on January 20, 2021
On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet, at age twenty-two, to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Her inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb, is now available to cherish in this special edition.
Amanda Gorman is the inaugural National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States. She is a committed activist who works on the local, national, and international levels to support girls’ education and empowerment. Amanda’s activism and poetry have been featured on TheToday Show, PBS Kids, and CBS This Morning, and in The New York Times, Vogue, Essence, andO, The Oprah Magazine. She is also the author of the forthcoming picture book Change Sings, illustrated by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long. After graduating from Harvard University, she now lives in Los Angeles. Please visit theamandagorman.com.
Perfect for ages 14 and up! Available April 27, 2021
#3 – Caste: The Origin of Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson
The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.
“As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power–which groups have it and which do not.”
In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people–including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others–she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day.
Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.
#4 – The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.
“The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise”
#5 – Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo
From the author of the New York Times bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race, a subversive history of white male American identity.
What happens to a country that tells generation after generation of white men that they deserve power? What happens when success is defined by status over women and people of color, instead of by actual accomplishments?
Through the last 150 years of American history — from the post-reconstruction South and the mythic stories of cowboys in the West, to the present-day controversy over NFL protests and the backlash against the rise of women in politics — Ijeoma Oluo exposes the devastating consequences of white male supremacy on women, people of color, and white men themselves. Mediocre investigates the real costs of this phenomenon in order to imagine a new white male identity, one free from racism and sexism.
As provocative as it is essential, this book will upend everything you thought you knew about American identity and offers a bold new vision of American greatness.