Academics: Summer Reading

Honors Program Students

Summer Reading at Spelman

For members of the Spelman College community, summer marks the perfect time to catch up on reading for work and pleasure. Take a look at what we're reading and use the form to submit your favorite books.

 

I Almost Forgot About You

I Almost Forgot about You

Author: Terry McMillan

A very joyful read. We all should take stock of our lives and think about changing the trajectory of our future. The 2nd half of one's life does not have to be the same as the 1st half.

Keva Wright Berry

The_Good_Lord_Bird

The Good Lord Bird

Author: James McBride

An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride’s meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival. It provides insight into the experiences African-Americans have lived and overcome.

Leyte Winfield

the sisters are alright

The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America 

Author: Tamara Winfrey Harris

The Sisters Are Alright exposes anti–black-woman propaganda and shows how real black women are pushing back against distorted cartoon versions of themselves. It represents self-empowerment in the black community.

Leyte Winfield

my song

My Song: A Memoir of Art, Race, and Defiance

Author: Harry Belafonte

This extraordinary icon tells us the story of that life, giving us its full breadth, letting us share in the struggles, the tragedies, and, most of all, the inspiring triumphs. 

Leyte Winfield

The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns

Author: Isabel Wilkerson

Isabel Wilkerson spent years listening to the stories of three wonderful people about their travels from the deep South during the Great Migration. These were stories of fear, courage, and ultimately the unknown. This book was a journey worth embarking upon!

Kennedy Key

woman-at-point-zero

Woman At Point Zero

Author: Nawal El Saadawi

A life inspiring autobiographical recollection spoken from the mouth of a woman entrapped in Egyptian patriarchy during the 1980's. I love this book because it describes the strife and the resistance of women under religious, social, and governmental oppression and the fact that the story is undoubtedly true and raw makes me want to read it over and over again. Definitely a work that gave me a new lens on feminism.

Bria Hardin-Boyer

homegoing

Homegoing

Author: Yaa Gyasi

A beautiful tale of family dating back through the 18th century in Ghana to the present day. I love Contemporary African authors and this a wonderful first novel.

Alexandra Joye Warren

girl boss

Girl Boss

Author: Sophia Amoruso

This book really inspired me to channel my inner #GirlBoss and be the best me. It is important to know that any dream is possible, and this book serves as an example of why it is important to follow your passions and do what you love!

Dazayah E. Walker

light of the moon

Light of the Moon

Author: Luanne Rice

I just started reading this book. I am so glad I saw it on my Facebook page. I get so busy with my boys so this will inspire me to take the time to read.

Renee Brooks

white rage

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

Author: Carol Anderson

Carol Anderson's new book tracks the "relentless and unrelenting rollback of [equal rights] gains."  Anderson has created the "Where's Waldo" of white racial reaction and black political and economic frustration.

Opal Moore, Honors Program

little bee

Little Bee

Author: Chris Cleave

An amazing historical fiction novel which illustrates the war on oil in Nigeria, as well as other natural resources among developing countries, and the toll they take on the minors who fled their countries. Grave, sorrowful, and breathtaking, Little Bee is something that should be kept a secret and told to the world at the same time.

Francesca Small

eat pray love

Eat Pray Love

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

I love this book and I can read it over and over again. This book is a wise and humorous memoir that captures the rejuvenation of body, mind and spirit through traveling, meditation and self exploration abroad.   

Catherine Hamlin, Office of Admission

blackberry

Blackberry Days of Summer

Author: Ruth P. Watson

This is an amazing novel. It is a powerful story of triumph, tragedy, love and family. It is also about "girl power" in 1919.

Jennifer Walton

sister citizen

Sister Citizen

Author: Melissa Harris-Perry

"For colored girls who've considered politics..." Sister Citizen explores Black women's lived experiences and the effect of those experiences on politics as well as archetypes.

Autumn Harris

Men We ReapedA Memoir

Men We Reaped: A Memoir

Author: Jesmyn Ward

This book captured my attention after seeing it on a list of recommended summer reads by Black authors. I've never read a book with such beautiful use of prose. In the memoir, Ward takes you back and forth through time seamlessly, on a journey to uncover meaning behind the deaths of five men in her life.

Siarra Williams

The Star Side of Bird Hill

The Star Side of Bird Hill

 Author: Naomi Jackson

A wonderful, gripping coming-of-age story about two girls from Brooklyn who spend a summer with their grandmother in Barbados.

Erica Lorraine Williams, Sociology and Anthropology Department

trust

Trust

Author: Iyanla Vanzant

I was interested in reading this book after seeing a powerful interview between Vanzant and Oprah Winfrey about the topic of trust. The book focuses on establishing trust in God, in yourself, in others, and trusting in the process of life. As a Christian, that really resonated with me. Reading this book has been a great reminder that it's OK to be vulnerable and trust in the good of others.  

Nicole Lee, Institutional Advancement

AliceWalkerTrilogy

The Color Purple Collection

Author: Alice Walker

My daughter, sophomore Zoe Holloway and I are reading The Color Purple Collection which is a part of President Mary Schmidt Campbell's fall book club.

Tonya M. Holloway, Psychology Department

TheBlessingsSeries

The Blessing Series

Author: Beverly Jenkins

These are a sequel of books that you must read. They all are extremely funny from the first paragraph and throughout the books. The best part about the books is the inspiration they bring forth as well as enlightenment about the love and greed of mankind.

Margaret Moody, Public Safety

LifeAfterLeanOnMe

Life After Lean On Me: 
The Dr. Pinky Miller Story

Author: Dr. Pinky Miller 

Dr. Miller discusses her experience as a high school student at the infamous Eastside High School and how Principal Joe Clark changed her life for the better through education and his leadership. She's also my mother and an inspiration to those who feel that they're a mistake.

Janay Bazemore, Housing and Residence Life

TheGrind

The Grind

Author: Simon Obas

I read it because it was a book written by a colleague to encourage our students to work hard and to keep up the good work. After reading the book, I was able to pass it on as suggested reading material for the students I help guide through the admission/college application process. 

Iva Stewart- Barre, Admissions

TheFirebrandandtheFirstLady

The Firebrand and the First Lady

Author: Patricia Bell-Scott 

It tells the little-known story of the relationship between a Black woman poet and scholar named Pauli Murry, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. It details how the pair collaborated in social justice work. 

Cynthia Cooke, Honors Program

AGirlCalledNettie

A Girl Called Nettie: 
A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love

Author: Netica Symonette

I learned about this book while traveling to the Bahamas with Gloria Wade Gayles, Ph.D. and the Young Scholars in the SIS Oral History Project. The story of Netica Symonette, a historian, artist, activist, entrepreneur and change agent, inspires me to love, laugh and create.

Angela Wood, Communications

TheirEyesWereWatchingGod

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Author: Zora Neale Hurston

I came across the novel on my book shelf and enjoyed reading as a young women in high school. I'm curious as to what I will read with different eyes now that I am a bit more "seasoned."

Jilo Tisdale, Bonner Office

HalfThatHasNeverBeenTold

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and The Making of American Capitalism

Author: Edward E. Baptist

I enjoy history in general, and specifically historical books regarding African-Americans. In short, this book discusses how slavery significantly contributed to capitalism and made America what it is today.

Keith A. Webb, Enrollment Management

goodtogreat

Good to Great

Author: Jim Collins

Marvin Ellison, CEO, J.C. Penney, recommended students read this book during his visit to Spelman in April. I thought it might be helpful to read as the College begins its strategic planning discussions.

Ingrid Lassiter, Communications
SocialMediaROI

Social Media ROI

Author: Oliver Blanchard

It's fun to share Spelman's story and review feedback from online followers. This book will help in identifying measurable goals to support the College's priorities.

Ingrid Lassiter, Communications

Summer Reading

Maus ll

Author: Art Spiegelman

This is a graphic novel wherein the author interviews his father, a Holocaust survivor. I am learning  more about the atrocities that were committed and how these horrors have affected later generations. This is the second of two books dealing with this issue; I read the first, Maus, in the spring.

Joan McCarty, Drama and Dance Department

Pushout- The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

Author: Monique W. Morris

Explores the parallels and intersections between race and culture as they influence Black girls' treatment from school officials. Firsthand accounts and interviews from girls who have been exploited and thrown away by this system will leave your heart wrenching for the justice they deserve.

Candra Cherry

god help the child

God Help The Child

Author: Toni Morrison

Morrison's newest novel stands true to her writing flavor. I especially enjoyed her attempt at creating characters in the 21st century, which is somewhat new for Morrison. This novel reminds me that my actions affect people and that karma follows wrongdoing.

Deanna Hayden

the fall

The Fall

Author: Nia Forrester

This was my book club's June read and it was amazing. The subject matter was relevant, timely and well delivered.

Sheres Johnson, Research Resources

Share Your Good Reads

Please tell us in a brief sentence or 2 why you read, or are planning to read, this book.