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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 on this page to submit your favorite books.

Friday Black

Friday Black
Author: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

The book dives into the most urgent issues of racism and forces an intense examination of worse case scenarios. At times its a dark read.


Leyte Winfield


Author: Octavia Butler

A combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction, Kindred is a cornerstone novel that offers something for everyone. It is one of those rare books which will stand the test of time.

Autumn Williams


Author: Michelle Obama

I'm excited to finally read this transformative book!

Ashli Washington


Heavy: An American Memoir
Author: Kiese Laymon

Heavy is a compelling record of American violence and family violence, and the wide, rutted embrace of family love.

Mashaun D. Simon

The Artist's Way

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
Author: Julia Cameron

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity is a self-help book by American author Julia Cameron. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills.

Mashaun D. Simon

Summer Reading

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
Author: Kelly Harms

I don't even remember purchasing this book, but I discovered it in my Audiobook library and thought it would be a good summer book. The Kirkus Review states, "Worn-out moms might enjoy this escapist story of a runaway mother's fantasy 'momspringa.'" Yes, I enjoyed the escape, and I am now rethinking how I will spend my flex Mondays, until 4 p.m. when carpool begins. #mondaymomspringa

Ingrid Scurry Lassiter

Spelman College Summer Reading

Coldest Winter Ever
Author: Sister Soulja

Almost everyone in my family has read this book. It's almost like a birth rite in my family. I really hope it's enlightening and opens up my mind.

Akira Allen

Spelman College Summer Reading

The Democrats: A Critical History
Author: Lance Selfa

A critical history of the Democratic Party and why America's most progressive party is actually not as much of a progressive force as they think.


Summer Reading at Spelman

They Tell Me Of A Home
Author: Daniel Black

They "Tell Me Of A Home" is a novel based in Swamp Creek, Arkansas that is filled with exciting yet unexpected outcomes. There were several times I laughed out loud or connected deeply with certain characters. I enjoyed reading this novel because Daniel Black captured the beauty of the Black community/culture as well as the importance of search for self. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!

Desiree Raymond

Spelman College Summer Reading

An American Marriage
Author: Tayari Jones

This is a novel that explores the marriage of a young Black couple. It produces a spectrum of emotions due to the realness of the situations that the characters deal with throughout the novel. I recommend this book 100% AND the author is a Spelman alumna.

Frances Neal

Summer Reading at Spelman College

The Memoirs of Cleopatra: A Novel
Author: Margaret George

Cleopatra comes alive in this historically accurate, delightfully embellished story of Ancient Egypt and Rome. A long read, but interesting start to finish.

Allison Howard

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
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
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


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

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 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 Reaped A 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


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

The Blessings Series

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

Life After Lean On Me

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

The Firebrand and the First Lady

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

A Girl Called Nettie

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


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

Half That Has Never Been Told

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

good to great

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

Social Media ROI

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

Maus II Survivors

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


Share Your Summer Reading

Please tell us in a brief sentence or two why you are reading, or why you are planning to read the book you've selected.