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I was born May 21—last day of Taurus, first day of Gemini and just over a week away from the unofficial start of summer—so naturally, I blossom in warm weather. I’m out and about in sundresses and stilettos, I’m socializing at farmers’ markets, I’m accepting Evites and going to meet-ups. But come October, when the wind starts getting a little bite on it and November, when it is officially too cold to do something as simple as getting the mail without tugging on a coat and hat, I transition into hibernation mode.

I love the change of seasons on the east coast, but that chilly air is the perfect impetus to stay in the house, make sweatpants and fuzzy socks my uniform and get some serious reading done. Here, in no particular order—except for the first one, which is my absolute, all-time favorite—are 50 books that challenge us to think, feel, reflect, understand, stretch ourselves, believe, get mad, find peace, seek resolution.

It is by no means a comprehensive list. I don’t even think we could create one because somewhere, someone is writing a great book right at this very moment that will ultimately deserve a space on many of our must-read rolls. But I hope it at least serves as a jump-off point for some thoughtful, purposeful literary consumption until the springtime thaw (which is March 20, in case you’re counting days).

1.    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

2.    The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

3.    Sister Citizen by Melissa Harris-Perry

4.    The Miseducation of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson

5.    Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson by George Jackson

6.    Cane by Jean Toomer

7.    The Prisoner’s Wife by asha bandele

8.    Krik? Krak? by Edwidge Danticat

9.    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

10.    The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman

11.    Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman

12.    Black Bourgeoise by E. Franklin Frazier

13.    Jubilee by Margaret Walker

14.    Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed

15.    The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

16.    Kindred by Octavia Butler

17.    One Day My Soul Just Opened Up by Iyanla Vanzant

18.    In Search of Satisfaction by J. California Cooper

19.    Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

20.    A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

21.    A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines

22.    Black Betty by Walter Mosley

23.    Maud Martha by Gwendolyn Brooks

24.    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

25.    for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is not enuf by Ntozake Shange

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article courtesy of Essence.com

50 Must Read Books For Every Black Woman  was originally published on praisecleveland.com