African American Fiction

Native Son by Richard Wright

Native Son by Richard Wright

Richard Wright’s Native Son is an exceptional example of dynamic, participatory literature. Rather than allowing the reader to effortlessly absorb the words on the page, Wright undermines the passivity and comfort we often expect when reading. Both the content of the novel and Wright’s literary style provoke and disturb, immersing the reader in a dense psychological terrain that is simultaneously intimate and larger-than-life.

Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Native Son follows the life of Bigger Thomas, a young African-American man living in squalor with his mother and siblings. Bigger’s mother holds him accountable for the welfare of the family, but his ability to work towards a stable life seems perpetually hindered. He can’t overcome his poverty because he can’t get a job that pays well, and he can’t get a decent job because of his lack of education and limited social mobility. He is also imprisoned by the sense that, as an African-American man, his mere existence has been criminalized: “There was just the old feeling, the feeling that he had had all his life: he was black and had done wrong.”

Lockdown

Walter Dean Myers

Myers takes readers inside the walls of a juvenile corrections facility in this gritty novel. Fourteen-year-old Reese is in the second year of his sentence for stealing prescription pads and selling them to a neighborhood dealer. He fears that his life is headed in a direction that will inevitably lead him “upstate,” to the kind of prison you don’t leave. His determination to claw his way out of the downward spiral is tested when he stands up to defend a weaker boy, and the resulting recriminations only seem to reinforce the impossibility of escaping a hopeless future.

9780061214806
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Sweet St. Louis

By Omar Tyree

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A sultry-sweet novel with a contemporary edge...When a young auto mechanic with a creative approach to the mating game tries out his latest pick-up line on Sharron Francis, he turns her life upside down.

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One Day I Saw a Black King

By J.D. Mason

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"He stared at himself in the mirror, wondering how he'd managed to lose track of time. Complacency had managed to set in again. . . A decent job, warm home, food on the table, and a body to curl up next to at night; he'd made the mistake of getting comfortable. Comfort fooled him into thinking it was all good when it wasn't. Damn nightmares had a way of reminding him of that."
Ever since he was fifteen, John King has been on the run from the ghosts of his past, always drifting, never settling down in one place or with one woman, though more than one has certainly made the offer of forever-after. But every time his memories of life back in Texas start to haunt him too deeply into the night, John realizes that it's time to move on. That is, until he rolls into Denver, Colorado, grooving to Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It on," and meets Connie Rodgers, a woman who grew up on the mean streets and has the pain and the battle scars to prove it. And yet, she inspires him to think "If indeed there were a home for the perfect kiss, it would be on her lips." John is reluctant to admit that here is a woman who just may understand his very soul, even if she does have some baggage of her own. But both must face their pasts if they ever hope to be free to live and love.

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He Say, She Say

By Yolanda Joe

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"Sandy is a twenty-something executive on the fast track at work and looking for love in her personal life. T.J. is the object of her affection, a jazz pianist who prefers to keep his romances casual--but who may be facing the real deal in Sandy. Bebe is Sandy's confidante, a bank supervisor who is struggling through her self-imposed 'sex sabbatical.' Speed is T.J.'s father and best friend, a man who isn't too old to learn a few things from his son. Together these four weave a funny, touching, and vivid tale of coping with the ups and downs of everyday life in Chicago that readers won't soon forget."
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Got a Man

By Daamiah S. Poole

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A wild romp through relationships, love, and marriage follows Malik Moore as he finds himself torn between two women--his pregnant fiance Kimberly Vanessa Brown and his gorgeous new receptionist Shonda--a disastrous love triangle that teaches him a valuable lesson in love.
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Gentle Yearning

By Rochelle Alers

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Daniel Clinton's affair with his best friend's beautiful widow, Rebecca, yields more than love. Nearly torn apart by guilt and deceit, both surrender to their overwhelming desires and love for each other, forever.
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Beeperless Remote: A Guy, Some Girls and His Answering Machine

By Van Whitfield

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Meet Shawn Wayne. He's single, employed, hard-bodied, a former All-American, and looking for his ideal woman. Shawn may have an obsession with ESPN's "Sports Center," money, and going to the gym, but he's a good guy. According to his best friend, Kelly, however, he may have to "expand his universe" a little to find the right woman. Shawn's search for the woman of his dreams leads to dating misadventures ranging from nightmare blind dates and underage flings to encounters with married swingers.

Held hostage by today's technology, where dating has become a complex web of answering machines and cell phones, he finds the rules have changed, and that he now has to contend with six different types of women:1s--"I just got out of a really bad relationship."2s--"I'm not interested in a relationship. I just have friends."3s--"What is it you said you do for a living?"4s--"Men are dogs."5s--"My biological clock is ticking. I need a man."6s--"I'm single, I'm available, and, yes, I'm interested."Will Shawn find his "6"?

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Naughty or Nice

By Eric Jerome Dickey

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"In Naughty or Nice, Eric Jerome Dickey explores the lives of three sisters, each with their own man problems. But this holiday season, Frankie, Livvy, and Tommie McBroom are not only getting together, but finally gettin' it together-and discovering what family, sisterhood, and love are all about."
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True Lies

By Margaret Johnson-Hodge

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The last time Dajah Moore took a chance a wild bike ride left her with a scarred knee. Years later, life has left her with a scarred heart. A hardworking accountant, she doesn't risk chances. When she meets Rick, can she put her fears aside? For Rick, no-one comes before his four-year-old daughter Kanisha. She's the only reason he puts up with her volatile mother Gina. Meeting Dajah changes his life, until Gina's outrageous behaviour threatens to destroy everything.
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