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By Tracy Chiles McGhee

Summer is a time for relaxation, rejuvenation, and discovery, making it the perfect season to indulge in the simple pleasure of reading. For Black women, who statistically are among the most avid readers, this season offers a chance to dive into a variety of genres in diverse, inspiring settings. So choose one of our recommended summer reads, settle into an ideal spot depending on the literary vibe, and let the wonders of storytelling whisk you away.

Romance on the Beach

The sound of waves crashing, the warmth of the sun on your skin, and the gentle sea breeze create the perfect setting, allowing the escapism steeped in passion that romance novels offer.

When I Think of You by Myah Ariel

“In this sweeping second chance romance from debut author Myah Ariel, the unexpected spark of two former flames may force them to choose between their dreams and each other.”


Fiction Relaxing on a Porch, Deck, or Stoop

Porches, backyard decks, and stoops offer a tangible connection between the past, present, and future, making them perfect venues for exploring the different layers a multi-generational family saga can bring.

Grown Women by Sarai Johnson 

“In this stunning debut novel, four generations of complex Black women contend with motherhood and daughterhood, generational trauma and the deeply ingrained tensions and wounds that divide them as they redefine happiness and healing for themselves.”


Page-Turning Thriller In a Cozy Café

A cozy café, with its steady hum of activity and aroma of fresh coffee, creates a perfect juxtaposition for the suspense and tension of a thriller. The public yet intimate setting keeps you grounded while the story takes you on a wild ride.

Watch Where They Hide by Tamron Hall

“From Emmy Award winner Tamron Hall comes an edge-of-your-seat thriller featuring journalist Jordan Manning as she delves into the case of a mother in danger and uncovers a dangerous web of secrets.”


Soothing Selfcare in a Peaceful Garden

Gardens and arboretums, with their lush greenery and tranquil ambiance, provide a peaceful environment conducive to introspection and personal growth. The connection to nature can evoke calm and mindfulness while tending to our wellness.

Women Who Work Too Much by Tamu Thomas

“Women can have it all, but do we really want it? This book shows women how to escape the trap of toxic productivity, build boundaries, avoid burnout, and live with joy.”


Poetry at a Scenic Park

Scenic parks offer an open and vibrant environment, perfect for absorbing the profound words and imagery found in poetry. The buzz of nature and passersby can provide inspiration and a broader perspective.

When the Trees Finally Testify by Bonita Lee Penn

“Bonita Lee Penn’s poems are prayers of protection for Black people in America.”


Memoir by a Serene Lake

A serene lake offers solitude and reflection, mirroring the introspective nature of memoirs. The calm water and gentle sounds create a perfect setting for immersing yourself into personal stories and experiences.

Coming Home by Brittney Griner

“From the nine-time women’s basketball icon and two-time Olympic gold medalist—a raw, revelatory account of her unfathomable detainment in Russia and her journey home.”


Mystery Novel in a Comfy Nook

A comfy nook provides an intimate and comfortable setting, perfect for the quiet suspense of a mystery novel. The enclosed space helps you focus on the intricate details and plot twists without distractions.

They Dream in Gold by Mai Sennaar

“Spanning two decades and moving through the hotbeds of the African diaspora, They Dream in Gold is an epic yet intimate exploration of the migrant hunger for belonging.”


Visionary Manifesto in the Friendly Skies

Reading while flying to your destination gives a unique sense of detachment from everyday reality, making it ideal for the revolutionary thinking and radical dreaming necessary for envisioning a new world.

Imagination: A Manifesto by Ruha Benjamin

“Imagination: A Manifesto offers visionary examples and tactics to push beyond the constraints of what we think, and are told, is possible.”


Collection of Short Stories Curled up in Bed

Your bed is the ultimate comfort zone, perfect for a delightful short story collection. The relaxed environment allows you to fully immerse into a well-paced story with a satisfying ending before drifting to sleep. 

Some Soul to Keep by J. California Cooper

“Exuberant and heart-warming, J. California Cooper is the embodiment of the simple folk tradition in black writing associated most often with Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes.”