Must-Read Books in May 2017

Transport yourself in place with these new books that range in stories from a heart-tugging story of family, love, and Alzheimer’s to Haiti’s lore of magic and culture, and an author’s personal remembrance of her time spent as part of the Black intelligentsia’s social circle. There’s also a selection that’s been named one of the most anticipated books of 2017.

Check out our list of MahoganyBooks ‘Must Read Books for May.’ If you’ve already read either of these or have another you think would be please feel free to list the book title below.


Must-Read Books in May

The Wide Circumference of Love by Marita Golden
The Wide Circumference of Love
by Marita Golden

From acclaimed author Marita Golden comes a moving African-American family drama of love and devotion in the face of Alzheimer’s disease.

Books are experiential. And the best among them find a way to use a string of well-placed words to transport you mentally and emotionally to a place that resonates deeply within your core. The Wide Circumference of Love is that book.

“As Gregory’s memory wavers and fades, Diane and her children must re-examine their connection to the man he once was–and learn to love the man he has become. For Diane’ daughter Lauren, it means honoring her father by following in his footsteps as a successful architect. For her son Sean, it means finding a way to repair the strained relationship with his father before it’s too late. Supporting her children in a changing landscape, Diane remains resolute in her goal to keep her family together–until her husband finds love with another resident of the facility. Suddenly faced with an uncertain future, Diane must choose a new path–and discover her own capacity for love.”

No One is coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts
No One is Coming to Save us
by Stephanie Powell Watts

Named one of the most anticipated books of 2017 by Entertainment Weekly, Nylon, Elle, Redbook, W Magazine, and The Chicago Review of Books.

No One Is Coming to Save Us is a revelatory debut from an insightful voice; with echoes of The Great Gatsby it is an arresting and powerful novel about an extended African American family and their colliding visions of the American Dream. In evocative prose, Stephanie Powell Watts has crafted a full and stunning portrait that combines a universally resonant story with an intimate glimpse into the hearts of one family.

My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir by Jessica B. Harris
My Soul Looks Back
by Jessica B. Harris

“Peppered throughout with favorite recipes, Harris’ book is a warm recollection of life-changing friendships and personal connections. At the same time, her story offers a unique perspective on some of the greatest African-American intellectuals and artists of the modern era.” – Kirkus Reviews

In this captivating new memoir, award-winning writer Jessica B. Harris recalls a lost era–the vibrant New York City of her youth, where her social circle included Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and other members of the Black intelligentsia.

In the Technicolor glow of the early seventies, Jessica B. Harris debated, celebrated, and danced her way from the jazz clubs of the Manhattan’s West Side to the restaurants of the Village, living out her buoyant youth alongside the great minds of the day–luminaries like Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison. My Soul Looks Back is her paean to that fascinating social circle and the depth of their shared commitment to activism, intellectual engagement, and each other.

More than a memoir of friendship and first love My Soul Looks Back is a carefully crafted, intimately understood homage to a bygone era and the people that made it so remarkable

Hadriana in All My Dreams by Rene Depestre
Hadriana in All my Dreams
by Rene Depestre

Hadriana in All My Dreams, winner of the prestigious Prix Renaudot, takes place primarily during Carnival in 1938 in the Haitian village of Jacmel. A beautiful young French woman, Hadriana, is about to marry a Haitian boy from a prominent family. But on the morning of the wedding, Hadriana drinks a mysterious potion and collapses at the altar. Transformed into a zombie, her wedding becomes her funeral. She is buried by the town, revived by an evil sorcerer, and then disappears into popular legend.

Set against a backdrop of magic and eroticism, and recounted with delirious humor, the novel raises universal questions about race and sexuality. The reader comes away enchanted by the marvelous reality of Haiti’s Vodou culture and convinced of Depestre’s lusty claim that all beings–even the undead ones–have a right to happiness and true love.


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