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Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  138 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.

Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging can stick with readers the rest of their lives--but it doesn't co
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by Ballantine Books
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I remember the time my teacher placed a copy of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in my hands. I identified strongly with young Maya. Through her walk a sense of power was infused in me. I felt that I could endure. Just the idea that a little brown girl's voice held that much power. I remember shortly after that Dr. Angelou came to visit my local library. She towered over the patrons yet she always managed to embrace everyone at their own level. Even at that young age I understood that I was in th ...more
Stacie C
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, e-book-arcs
I’ve always been a voracious reader. My mother used to read me bedtime stories at night and as soon as I learned how to read, more often than not you would find me with a book in my hands. There are two books that stand out that were an obvious reflection of me and my family: The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton and Pass It On: African American Poetry by Wade Hudson. Those two books had Black people on the covers, Black people on the pages and were about Black people. Those were the two boo ...more
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kathleen by: Netgalley
Netgalley Book #4

After reading Well-Read Black Girl, I plan on visiting my library and reading all of these authors. A great anthology full of gifted female writers I am sad to say I have heard about but never read.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for accepting my request to read your book. Netgalley has expanded my reading since joining and this is another book I enjoyed.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love reading books about reading. It’s always inspiring to hear about what books loomed large in a person’s life. And it’s doubly exciting when those looking back are authors giving insight to the texts that spurred them to write their own stories. I also genuinely respect the way women are able to connect with one another in a way men can’t, (won’t?). It’s really something to see. I’m envious.

Glory Edim has created a phenomenon that started with conversations around a tee shirt she was wearin
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to #netgalley and #randomhousepublishing for giving me my first ARC, Well-Read Black Girl! This book is the epitome of why representation matters. Well-Read Black Girl is an anthology of essays by black women writers. All of the women represented in the book share a common love for reading at an early age, and the lack of representation in books with girls who look like them. Well-Read Black girl is very timely and necessary. Thanks to the wonderful women who contributed to this book and ...more
Reading in Black & White
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book perfectly captures what it feels like to be a black girl that loves books and the difference they can make in your life...I can’t wait for everyone to experience this one!!!
Joshunda Sanders
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to re-read my galley again, which I took some time to do this weekend, before I wrote a review because I wanted to remember and savor all of the goodness of this anthology, which for Black women & girl readers is replete with testimony and witness, healing and recognition, a booklist to last you for a good long while and more than that, even. More maybe than I can express here, so I'll write more certainly as someone who has her own story of a life shaped by finding Black women writ ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spectacular collection of well-written works by brilliant african-american female authors that has something for everyone no matter the race, religion, or gender. Glory Edim brilliantly brings together essays from writers: Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied, Sing); Tayari Jones (An American Marriage); Lynn Nottage (Sweat); Jacqueline Woodson (Another Brooklyn); Gabourey Sidibe (This Is Just My Face); Morgan Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing); Rebecca Walker (Black, White and Jewish); and Barbara Smith ( ...more
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love reading books about reading. I especially enjoyed this one as it brought together stories from Some of our best black authors. It shines a light on the importance of hearing these voices regardeless of race, age or gender. The essays were creative and original. It was a treat to read some of my favorite authors like Tayari Jones, some I had not read in awhile such as Rebecca Walker and a few new names I’ll be sure and pick up!
Nicole O
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a much needed anthology of stories from prominent black women writers. Never before have I thought to ask myself when, how or why I fell in love with books, or when I first saw myself within the pages of a story or novel. This collection dives head first into these questions, with each essayist writing about the works and people that have influenced them the most in both their lives and their careers. I guarantee you will walk away from this book with an intimidating (in a good way) ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Initially, when I learned of this book I thought it was a gathering of fiction by some of today's most prolific African-American women writers. To my surprise, the book instead consisted of prolific women writers of color writing about the books that influenced them early in their careers and beyond. Although all of the essays were wonderful and include some of today's most touted writers including Jesmyn Ward, Tayari Jones, and Jaqueline Woodson, a few stood out to me. Veronica Chambers story o ...more
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Editor Glory Edim shares authors' brief reflections on their literary influences, primarily in terms of books or their authors. These stories are broken up by short bibliographies of black-women-authored books fitting specific categories. The author's essays include white and black authors, both male and female. I wish Edim's lists included mysteries written by black authors, but it did not. A closing bibliography includes the titles mentioned throughout the book. Since the book is written prima ...more
Kaytee Cobb
Glory Edim of Well-Read Black Girl curates this collection of essays from Black writers, poets, and playwrights. They are mostly centered on the first and formative books for each of these women, the ones that first depicted relatable characters for her to look up to. The Black authors that came first and showed that Black characters can have depth and meaning and be something for a young Black Girl to aspire to, these are v the formative stories. Be prepared for your TBR list to explode with ti ...more
If you are anything like me you understand the crazy love one can have for reading. I have read, devoured, books for as long as I can remember (literally as my mum taught me to read when I was only a few years old). I spent my elementary school years pretending I was George in The Famous Five, or Harriet the Spy. Later on I was Cathy yearning after Heathcliff and then Jacqueline in Gone To Soldiers. I always had a pool of heroines I could relate to and who I wanted to be. Growing up it never daw ...more
Dawn Wells
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great book about reading. This is different stories written by female black authors and being represented in literature.
Barbara Smith: "James Baldwin is a classic writer. When I saw I Am Not Your Negro, I was struck by the fact that Baldwin's ideas are as relevant and insightful today as the day he originally expressed them. Timelessness is a major characteristic of classic creations. Baldwin is a moral philosopher. His work does not merely describe and analyze oppression, but relentlessly asks the reader to examine their individual relationship to evil, to cruelty, to bigotry, and white supremacy, and whether th ...more
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of Well-Read Black Girl through a Goodreads Giveaway. I entered this giveaway because I have a daughter who teaches and coaches teachers on the west side of Chicago. I will be giving this copy to her, and I’m sure she will find it useful. I did read the essays in this book and they were interesting, informative and inspiring.
A common thread in the essays is the importance of reading and being read to as a child. As an avid reader and a librarian, I agree On this importance. I
Title: Well Read Black Girl Finding Our Series, Discovering Ourselves
Author: Glory Edim
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five

"Well Read Black Girl Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves" by Glory Edim

My Thoughts...

If you love reading as I do you will find this read a very interesting one and if you are black it will even mean so much more. I loved all that this author brought out in this 'inspiring collection of
essays by black women writers, curated by the fo
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Netgalley for this wonderful arc.
A beautiful homage to beautiful black female authors from beautiful readers. A true love letters of what it means to look into the mirror of the written words and see yourself reflected between the pages. I enjoyed so much how each reader took me through their personal library and express all the joys and saving grace books had meant for them growing up. Especially showing how representation or lack of in literature affects not our culture but also the
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great anthology of essays by Black women writers who share their experiences of the books that that left deep impressions on them. Some of the books they saw themselves in, a lot they didn't...and that is why many of them became writers: to share our stories so that young Black women can see themselves represented in this vast land of literature and fiction.

Recommendations for books are also listed throughout in every genre. Some of the books I have heard of and some I haven't. I now have qui
Emi Bevacqua
I'm Asian-American and I appreciate this anthology for its wealth of recommendations, its A-list roster of essay submitters, and the recognition of the awesome strength and power of global sisterhood. I loved reading about how Marita Golden's audience in Turkey so related to Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes were Watching God. Great book lists for readers of all ages, creatively crafted and excellently edited.
Melissa DeLong
So often as white people, representation doesn't even cross our minds - we're represented everywhere, what we look like is the popular look to have, we never have to wonder if we're going to be featured in something. This is especially true in books. When I was younger, I identified with so many characters. Now, looking back on those stories, I see those characters were always white. Literally always. I never had to wonder why I wasn't seeing myself reflected in the stories I love so much, and I ...more
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, I appreciate Glory Edim for introducing/compiling this book. I have always been interested in how others think, feel, understand the world that I live in...that we live in. I think it is important as a human to get a grasp that not everyone sees the world as I do. Not everyone reads the world as I do. Not everyone lives in the world that I do.

Getting a black woman writer's perspective one aspect the lack of black characters in books, along with black authors...and then the rea
Lois Young
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book reminds of "On Writing" by Stephen King. We get a look into what inspired and motivated these black female writers to become writers, and to write the topics and the subjects in which they choose to write. And, it's important and interesting to realize that race is the second reason in which, these writers became writers. Authors such as Ward, Sidibe, Walker, Jemisin, Woodson, Greenidge, Mezghebe, etc., became writers because they love to write. This anthology includes writers of ficti ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. I’d read works by many of the contributors before, and really enjoyed getting their personal takes on the topic of black women writers and representation of black characters, specifically girls and women, in literature. Other contributors I had never heard of and am thrilled to have now learned about. A few of the things I specifically loved about this book:

The way many of the essays covered various elements of intersectionality: Pretty much every essay covered some
Jonathan Carter
Disclaimer: An E-ARC of this book has been given to me by Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my criticism of the book in any way. All opinions are mine and mine alone.

What a good start for my November 2018 reading life!

This book is an amazing compilation of essays by black women who seek to find themselves in stories. Although the book is something that is directed toward women of color and younger women, this is also a book that is perfect for men. Why?
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-arc
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This is an anthology of essays by black female creators, each one a glimpse into the first time they saw themselves represented in a book. It exposed me to new authors I’d never read before and the works that inspired them. The recommendations at the end of each chapter were also super helpful and thoughtful, and I’ll be on the lookout for the books in the future.

It brings attention to something that a
LaToya King
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I remember the day in elementary school that I discovered there were a minimal number of books by African-Americans available in our library. I devised a plan for my best friends and I to strategically read all the books and report to each other what we read. The sadness of this memory is twofold: there was not a wealth of literature in my school that reflected my story, and I knew to get to my story, it had to be a task I took on not one that would be done by my teachers. Reading this anthology ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you #Netgalley for providing me with the opportunity to read easily one of the best books I've read in a long time. I'm fan girling over Well-Read Black Girl. As a Black girl (and now woman) who has been a reader all her life, I've obviously read a ton of books that I didn't recognize myself in the protagonist or, story line. That's OK. because different perspectives and pov's are always welcome. But reading Well-Read Black Girl was like coming home. It's an inspirational read. I couldn't ...more
Megan Byrd
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-books-read
This book is a series of essays by African-American women in various art fields - authors, actresses, journalists, playwrights - sharing the book that had the biggest impact on them. Often it was the first book where they saw themselves reflected back. They shared what the book (or play or poems) taught them about themselves, the world, and life.

I love books and have been impacted by many. I enjoyed hearing from other writers and hearing which books affected them. I especially enjoyed the persp
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Glory Edim is the founder of Well-Read Black Girl, a Brooklyn-based book club and digital platform that celebrates the uniqueness of Black literature and sisterhood. In fall 2017 she organized the first-ever Well-Read Black Girl Festival. She has worked as a creative strategist for over ten years at startups and cultural institutions, including The Webby Awards and the New York Foundation for the ...more
“When people ask what I would tell my younger self, the budding writer at the beginning of her career, it is always the same: I wish I could have prepared myself for what happens to a writer when she is brutally honest, when she speaks truth to power in a raw and emotional way. The literary establishment continues to privilege work that’s just a touch removed, “refined” they would call it. Writers who tone down their anguish, their rage, their nontraditional, “deviant choices are perceived as more skilled, more worthy of critical acclaim. This often has a lot to do with racism and sexism, and the stories we are “allowed” to tell as people of color. The classification is not a new phenomenon nor is the marginalization of powerful autobiographical stories that demand engagement. I wish I had known all this, not because I would have done things differently, but because I would not have been so surprised by some of the dismissive responses to my work. I would have been more prepared.” 0 likes
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