12 Days Of Christmas: A Dozen Books To Gift For Christmas

No pun intended, but books can get a bad rap as gifts. Hopefully, this year things will be a bit different. Throughout the year, a number of incredible books were released including Mariah Carey's The Meaning of Mariah Carey and Let Love Rule by Lenny Kravitz. Books don't have to be boring. In fact, most times they're not. In an effort to help you gift the right book to your friend and family member, we've put together a wide-ranging list of books from Black authors that tackle television, sports, race, history, politics and much more.

God-Level Knowledge Darts

Where To Buy: Loyalty Books

“We want to share all we’ve learned, after years in the Bronx streets, with you: the people. So with a lifetime spent building up a plethora of information from trials and tribulations and a handful of misdemeanors, we decided to write this book—a sequel to the Bible, or maybe to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, depending on how big a nerd you are. Let this book be your North Star."

-Desus Nice & The Kid Mero

Taylor Crumpton Considers Big Tuck's Purple Hulk

Where To Buy: Gumroad

"This book essay is a heartfelt attempt to properly contextualize Dallas legacy in hip-hop through the lens of Big Tuck'sPurple Hulk. It is essential reading for all fans of Southern hip-hop and the genre as a whole."

-Taylor Crumpton

I Came As A Shadow

Where To Buy: Harriet's

"John Thompson was never just a basketball coach and I Came As A Shadow is categorically not just a basketball autobiography. After three decades at the center of race and sports in America, the first Black head coach to win an NCAA championship makes the private, public at last. Chockful of stories and moving beyond mere stats (and what stats! three Final Fours, four times national coach of the year, seven Big East championships, 97 percent graduation rate), Thompson's book drives us through his childhood under Jim Crow segregation to our current moment of racial reckoning. We experience riding shotgun with Celtics icon Red Auerbach, and coaching NBA Hall of Famers like Patrick Ewing and Allen Iverson. How did he inspire the phrase "Hoya Paranoia"? You'll see. And thawing his historically glacial stare, Thompson brings us into his negotiation with a DC drug kingpin in his players' orbit in the 1980s, as well as behind the scenes of his years on the Nike board."

-James Washington & John Thompson

Secondhand Smoke

Where To Buy: Your Bayadir

"Secondhand Smoke is Bayadir Mohamed-Osman’s debut book, a compilation of poetry and prose. She examines her struggles and triumphs as a Black Muslim Sudanese woman immigrating to America and emerging into adulthood. She unravels topics such mental illness, Islamaphobia, sexism, racism, and generational trauma."

-Bayadir Mohamed Osman


Where To Buy: Uncle Bobbie's Coffee and Books

"Bennett's new collection, Owed, is a book with celebration at its center. Its primary concern is how we might mend the relationship between ourselves and the people, spaces, and objects we have been taught to think of as insignificant, as fundamentally unworthy of study, reflection, attention, or care. Spanning the spectrum of genre and form--from elegy and ode to origin myth--these poems elaborate an aesthetics of repair. What's more, they ask that we turn to the songs and sites of the historically denigrated so that we might uncover a new way of being in the world together, one wherein we can truthfully reckon with the brutality of the past and thus imagine the possibilities of our shared, unpredictable present, anew."

-Joshua Bennett

The Secret Lives Of Church Ladies

Where To Buy: The Lit Bar

"The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church's double standards and their own needs and passions."

-Deesha Philyaw

Andreas Hale Considers Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly

Where To Buy: Gumroad

"The very thing I wrote about will be the reason some of you won’t read my words on To Pimp A Butterfly until it is timely again. It’s an allegory for how America responds to Reactive Blackness vs. Proactive Blackness."

-Andreas Hale

The Fierce 44

Where To Buy: Black Pearl Book Store

"A dynamic and hip collective biography that presents forty-four of America’s greatest movers and shakers, from Frederick Douglass to Aretha Franklin to Barack Obama, written by ESPN’s TheUndefeated.com and illustrated with dazzling portraits by Rob Ball. Meet forty-four of America’s most impressive heroes in this collective biography of African American figures authored by the team at ESPN’s TheUndefeated.com. From visionaries to entrepreneurs, athletes to activists, the Fierce 44 are beacons of brilliance, perseverance, and excellence. Each short biography is accompanied by a compelling portrait by Robert Ball, whose bright, graphic art pops off the page. Bringing household names like Serena Williams and Harriet Tubman together with lesser-known but highly deserving figures such as Robert Abbott and Dr. Charles Drew, this collection is a celebration of all that African Americans have achieved, despite everything they have had to overcome."

-The Undefeated

A Promised Land

Where To Buy: Marcus Books

"In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency--a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil."

-Barack Obama

Hood Feminism

Where To Buy: Fulton Street Books & Coffee

"Today's feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord, and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?"

-Mikki Kendall

We Still Here

Where To Buy: Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books

"In this urgent and incisive collection of new interviews bookended by two new essays, Marc Lamont Hill critically examines the 'pre-existing conditions' that have led us to this moment of crisis and upheaval, guiding us through both the perils and possibilities, and helping us imagine an abolitionist future."

-Marc Lamont Hill

The Marathon Don't Stop

Where To Buy: Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books

"Combining on-the-ground reporting and candid interviews with Hussle's friends, family, and peers, The Marathon Don't Stop traces the life and work of an extraordinary artist, placing him in historical context and unpacking his complex legacy. For the first time ever, members of his inner circle will speak about the man they knew and his determination to maintain integrity amidst the treacherous extremes of street life and the rap game. The Marathon Don't Stop is a journalistic account of Nipsey Hussle's life and times, making sense of the forces that shaped a singular figure in hip hop culture."

-Rob Kenner

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