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2019 Bookish Resolution to Read More Owned Voices

by  | January 21

With so many books being published every year it’s hard to decide which ones to pick up next. I read over 50 books last year and this year my goal is to read 60. In addition to reading this many books, I have a secondary mission. In 2019, my reading resolution is to read more books written by people of color. I read a handful of these stories last year, and I greatly enjoyed spending time with diverse characters from authors who could write the stories based on their own experiences and voices: the complexities of racial inequalities, the fear of not fitting in among their peers, and the cultural differences they navigate.

Below are some books I’ve read and others that I’m eager to read this year. If your resolution is also to read more owned voices, I hope you join me in exploring these stories.

Trust No Aunty

Trust No Aunty

by Maria Qamar

Shout-out to my South-Asian sisters! Trust No Aunty from Maria Qamar (also known as @hatecopy) will have you laughing out loud. Each chapter describes a different “Aunty” and the crazy ways they try to meddle in your life. As I read this book, I could think of many aunties in my own life who could fit the role of the aunties described in this book.

Maria’s art is featured throughout the book—you might recognize her work if you watched The Mindy Project. Mindy Kaling is a huge fan of hatecopy’s work and had some of Maria’s pieces hanging in her apartment in the show.

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Yes, I'm Hot in This

Yes, I'm Hot in This

by Huda Fahmy

This comics collection is illustrated and written by the hilarious Insta-famous Huda Fahmy (@yesimhotinthis). She brings to life, in a poignant and funny way, interactions that many people around the world face everyday. You don’t have to be Muslim or hijabi to appreciate her humor. Huda gives a great sarcastic voice to the Islamaphobic encounters she faces.

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On the Come Up

On the Come Up

by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up  is the highly anticipated sophomore novel from Angie Thomas. Her previous book, The Hate U Give, topped many “Best of” lists and was adapted into a movie last year. Her characters are strong and inspiring, and highlight the racial inequalities in the protagonist Starr’s community.

I can’t wait to get my hands on this new book, which features another badass young woman. Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to become one of the greatest rappers of all time. Her father, who died before his big break, was an underground hip-hop legend and Bri aspires to follow in his footsteps. She channels her emotions into her first song, which goes viral and she soon finds herself at the center of a media maelstrom. But the attention she is getting isn’t what she intended.

Releasing February 2019

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Queenie

Queenie

by Candice Carty-Williams

I recently got an advanced copy of this book, and it had me hooked right from the start. The gorgeous cover is what drew me in (because let’s be honest, we all judge a book by its cover), but Queenie’s description of her challenges straddling two cultures is what had me flipping through the pages nonstop.

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London. Working as a journalist at a national newspaper she often finds herself compared to her white peers. After a breakup with her white boyfriend she rebounds with some jerks that aren’t worth her time. That’s when she starts to question her choices and where she fits in.

Releasing March 2019

 

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Internment

Internment

by Samira Ahmed

The plot of this book is literally the stuff of my nightmares, but ones that are disturbingly realistic and send chills down my spine as a Muslim American....

In the near future in the United States, the setting of the book, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin faces a terrifying reality. Her family is forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. While her friends and boyfriend are on the outside, they can’t do anything to help. Layla and her newly made friends in the camp band together to fight for their freedom and attempt to lead a revolt against the camp’s director and guards.

While this is a fictional story, I can only hope that it doesn’t become reality. I believe that many in our country have learned from the mistake of the Japanese internment camps of the WW II era, but only time will tell if we will repeat our wrong judgment.

Releasing March 2019

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The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Three British-born Punjabi sisters—Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirnia—were never close growing up, and now as adults they have grown even further apart. When their mom falls gravely ill they come together to fulfill her dying wish. The sisters embark on a pilgrimage to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, a trip that will surely bring the siblings closer than ever.

Balli Kaur Jaswal’s previous title, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, was a Reese Witherspoon book club pick. The author’s storytelling conveys the complexities of living between cultures, and so, I can’t wait to read about the Shergill sisters when this book releases in April!

Releasing April 2019

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Naturally Tan

Naturally Tan

by Tan France

If you haven’t watched Queer Eye on Netflix, what are you waiting for? I’m not usually a fan of reality TV—I prefer scripted shows—but I couldn’t help but binge the entire series.

Karamo Brown and Tan France are my favorites of the Queer Eye team. Both of them have books releasing this spring and I can’t wait to get my hands on them. In Naturally Tan, Tan reveals what it was like to grow up gay in a traditional South-Asian family.

I’m a big fan of the increased representation the brown community is getting in Hollywood (or at least on Netflix). Tan’s friendship with Hasan Minhaj of the Patriot Act is also just so adorable; see for yourself in this video. Get ready for the Brown Illuminati!

Releasing May 2019

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Karamo

Karamo

by Karamo Brown

Karamo Brown is known as the “culture” guy in the reboot of the Queer Eye series. In each episode he helps the makeover candidates explore what’s really underneath their insecurities and how they can work to overcome those issues. He basically is the therapist on the show. (He actually is a trained social worker and psychotherapist.)

In his eye-opening memoir, Karamo examines his own life and reveals what experiences shaped who he is today. He’s always known as being the open-hearted guy on the show, but the revelations in the book highlight the many personal issues he had to overcome to be able to help others.

Releasing March 2019

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Saimah works on the Corporate Digital Marketing team at Simon & Schuster. She is a die-hard Harry Potter fan and loves dystopian fiction! She also enjoys reading celeb memoirs, modern romances and murder mysteries. When she's not reading, she is binge-watching her favorite shows, finding the best roof deck bars in the city and watching sporting events (while defending her Cleveland sports teams!).