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 2022 | MahoganyBooks Adult Bestsellers
#1 – The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones
A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.
In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States.
The New York Times Magazine‘s award-winning “1619 Project” issue reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself.
This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction–and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.
#2 – All About Love by bell hooks
“The word “love” is most often defined as a noun, yet…we would all love better if we used it as a verb,” writes bell hooks as she comes out fighting and on fire in All About Love. Here, at her most provocative and intensely personal, the renowned scholar, cultural critic, and feminist skewers our view of love as romance. In its place she offers a proactive new ethic for a people and a society bereft with lovelessness.
As bell hooks uses her incisive mind and razor-sharp pen to explore the question “What is love?” her answers strike at both the mind and heart. In thirteen concise chapters, hooks examines her own search for emotional connection and society’s failure to provide a model for learning to love. Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with sex and desire, she provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for the individuals and for a nation. The Utne Reader declared bell hooks one of the “100 Visionaries Who Can Change Your Life.” All About Love is a powerful affirmation of just how profoundly she can.
#3 – You Don’t Know us Negroes by Zora Neale Hurston
Introduction by New York Times bestselling author Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Spanning more than 35 years of work, the first comprehensive collection of essays, criticism, and articles by the legendary author of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston, showcasing the evolution of her distinctive style as an archivist and author.
“One of the greatest writers of our time.” –Toni Morrison
You Don’t Know Us Negroes is the quintessential gathering of provocative essays from one of the world’s most celebrated writers, Zora Neale Hurston. Spanning more than three decades and penned during the backdrop of the birth of the Harlem Renaissance, Montgomery bus boycott, desegregation of the military, and school integration, Hurston’s writing articulates the beauty and authenticity of Black life as only she could. Collectively, these essays showcase the roles enslavement and Jim Crow have played in intensifying Black people’s inner lives and culture rather than destroying it. She argues that in the process of surviving, Black people re-interpreted every aspect of American culture–modif[ying] the language, mode of food preparation, practice of medicine, and most certainly religion.” White supremacy prevents the world from seeing or completely recognizing Black people in their full humanity and Hurston made it her job to lift the veil and reveal the heart and soul of the race. These pages reflect Hurston as the controversial figure she was–someone who stated that feminism is a mirage and that the integration of schools did not necessarily improve the education of Black students. Also covered is the sensational trial of Ruby McCollum, a wealthy Black woman convicted in 1952 for killing her lover, a white doctor.
Demonstrating the breadth of this revered and influential writer’s work, You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays is an invaluable chronicle of a writer’s development and a window into her world and mind.
#4 – Self-Care for Black Women by Oludara Adeeyo
Prioritize your wellbeing with these 150 self-care exercises designed specifically to help Black women revitalize their outlook on life, improve their mental health, eliminate stress, and self-advocate.
Between micro- and macro-aggressions at school, at work, and everywhere in between, it’s tough to prioritize physical and mental wellness as a Black woman, especially with a constant news cycle highlighting Black trauma. Now, with The Self-Care for Black Women you’ll find more than 150 exercises that will help you radically choose to put yourself first. Whether you need a quick pick-me-up in the middle of the day, you’re working through feelings of burnout, or you need to process a micro-aggression, this book has everything you need to feel more at peace.
You’ll find prompts like:
-Map out your feelings about a micro-aggression
-Make a list of your safe spaces
-Detail out an entire day dedicated to your self-care
It’s time to put yourself first and prioritize your self-care once and for all–and this book is here to help you do just that.
#5 – Call Us What We Carry: Poems by Amanda Gorman
The breakout poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman
Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, the luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, this beautifully designed volume features poems in many inventive styles and structures and shines a light on a moment of reckoning. Call Us What We Carry reveals that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, our voice for the future.
Including “The Hill We Climb,” the stirring poem read at the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, this debut collection of the same name reveals an energizing and unforgettable new voice in America poetry.
Amanda Gorman is the inaugural 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 the Today Show, PBS Kids, and CBS This Morning, and in The New York Times, Vogue, Essence, and O, 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.
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