COVID19 life Reading

Day 80: One step at a time

June 3, 2020

Yesterday I just . . . flailed. I did get some work done (had to; the academic year starts in 3 weeks and I am starting to feel frantic about our state of readiness). But when I was not working or in meetings I was on social media, reading CNN headlines, and just feeling sad.

However, sitting around in an unfocused frenzy isn’t really helping anyone. So I will take my day yesterday for what it was worth and try to move past it. More focus. Less wallowing. IT’S A NEW QUINTILE TODAY. Time to act like it.

summer may not officially begin until June 20 but it’s hot and school is over, so I’m calling it.

One of the social media themes yesterday was idea of amplifying Black voices* in our social and real-life communities. It is a tiny act, but in this vein I thought I would share 3 of my favorite books written by Black authors.

1- The Mothers by Brit Bennett. I remember reading this while pumping and it was perfect. She also has a book coming out this year that is on my summer reading list already: The Vanishing Half.

2- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi. An epic love story centered around a woman who moves to the US from Nigeria. Incredibly immersive and fascinating. I have not read her other novels but I want to!

3- Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu. Loved this book (particularly the part where she and her husband made comprehensive lists about which household tasks they handled – and each missed many of the others’!). She was also a podcast guest (ep #95).

(Very on-brand, I was also going to share Glamorous Planning with you but found out that founder Alexa is taking a hiatus from making planners. I hope she returns because her planners are gorgeous.)

* I have never capitalized Black before but am learning it is preferred by many.


  • Reply Amy J. June 3, 2020 at 7:35 am

    I have the “Vanishing Half” coming in the mail for me very soon and I’m looking forward to it. I loved “Red at the Bone” by Jacqueline Woodson. I wrote down “beautiful and immersive and heartbreaking.” She’s so good at packing a ton into each word and sentence, and the characters were all intensely real.

    I have Americanah on my shelf, but I’m having serious pandemic brain and can’t focus much on complicated narratives right now. How straight forward is it?

  • Reply gwinne June 3, 2020 at 8:13 am

    In the spirit of book sharing by Black writers: every American should read Claudia Rankine’s CITIZEN and watch the related Situations. Here’s one:

    I could go on but she’s the top of my list.

  • Reply Katie Forrest June 3, 2020 at 9:44 am

    I’ve read all of Adichie’s books and they are AMAZING!

    I really enjoy Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give, On The Come Up) and Tayari Jones (An American Marriage, Silver Sparrow) also.


    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 3, 2020 at 9:46 am

      I forgot about An American Marriage! I really enjoyed that as well. I want to read The Hate U Give.

  • Reply Victoria B. June 3, 2020 at 10:38 am

    Since we’re recommending good books by Black authors, here’s my pick: Cane River by Lalita Tademy.

    It’s a multi-generational family saga that depicts life for Black women in the American South from the 1830’s to the 1930’s.

  • Reply RKK June 3, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you for showing up every day, and being vulnerable, and TRYING. Your authentic voice and honesty and willingness to be real about what you are facing in your life and world around us is really appreciated. I am so tried of blogs that make no mention or have a quick 2 line header before getting down to whatever they want to talk about. You are not ignoring; you are struggling, while still trying to live your life, like the rest of are. I appreciate that.

  • Reply Emily June 3, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    I loved the Mothers and all of Adichie’s work too. For other contemporary novels by Black authors, I also recommend anything by Jesmyn Ward (challenging but important reads) and Tayari Jones, The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, the Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. Coates’ nonfiction book Between the world and me is also a must read!

  • Reply Lee June 3, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    Another good book is The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

  • Reply Nicoleandmaggie June 3, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    For folks who need good escapism romance, I recommend Rafe a Buff Male Nanny by Rebekah Weatherspoon (the heroine is also an MD if I recall correctly). Also the Ravenswood series by Talia Hibbert. They’re so life-affirming.

  • Reply Diana June 3, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    The link to the capitalisation of Black and White was interesting and a practice I will now adopt. Thank you!

  • Reply rose June 4, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you re books. I also suggest Citizen and Coates. But really as well equality in skin color of dolls/action figures in your house….. children of non-N.European heritage are NOT the only ones who need to equality in their toys. Just as it is not only those children who need to hear about bigotry and prejudice and how that impacts non-passing for white children and adults. BEFORE AGE 5! Because …. by that age those who are treated unequally have had such lessons ….. so white children need to know well before 5 also.
    IF that makes you feel uncomfortable … well, it ought to. And that is also something you need to talk to your children about ………

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