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20 Books for the 2020 Master List

Thanks for participating in the Instagram poll. This is the blog post topic that won. So, I’ve carefully curated a book list of 20 recommendations that will enhance your 2020. Most of the recommendations I found are non-fiction but there are a couple of fiction choices you will probably enjoy. Everyone loves a good mix, right? Now, let's bring in the new year with this master list.


Black Fortunes by Shomari Wills

Wills provides a riveting, in-depth profile of 6 Black Americans who escaped slavery and later became millionaires of their time. Of the six hidden figures he analyzes, he includes one of his ancestors - Napoleon Bonaparte Drew, his great-great-great-grandfather. Drew was the first black man in what is now Richmond, Virginia to own property after the Civil War. [source]

Buy it on Amazon for $11

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company Who Addicted America by Beth Macy

Of all the books on this list, this is the one I’m most excited to read in the new year. Macy will take us through the inner workings of the opioid crisis across several socioeconomic standings - from the wealthy suburbs to the low-income isolated rural areas. After reading this, you’ll hate The Sackler family, too - the brains behind the opioid epidemic. Read more here. I can’t wait to get a better understanding of how the opioid crisis looks across the U.S. especially given the over-prescription craze from greedy healthcare providers.

Buy it on Amazon for $11

Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What To Do About It by Richard V. Reeves

If you come from a poor background, you’re more than likely going to come into that same socioeconomic status in adulthood. But why is that? Reeves dives into the social phenomena that allow the rich to stay rich and the poor to stay poor. He’ll lay out in plain words why you can’t just pull yourself up by the bootstraps. [source ]

Buy it on Amazon for $15

Habit Changers: 81 Game-Changing Mantras to Mindfully Realize Your Goals by M. J. Ryan

Since I’m an auntie already, at least I feel like one, I love a good self-help book. Here are a couple of my favorite mantras from this book: Be a Tiger, not a kitten; Whose business is this?; You’re where you’re supposed to be. Ryan gives relatable, in-depth examples for each mantra. This is one of those books to refer back to on occasion, especially those challenging times.

Buy it on Amazon for $13

How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality and the Fight for the Neighborhood by Peter Moskowitz

Let’s view gentrification through the lens of the victims. Moskowitz goes beyond the corner of the new coffee shop and fitness boutiques and into the homes of those being pushed away from their roots. He does so by analyzing the systemic forces in major cities like San Francisco, New Orleans, and Detroit.

Buy it on Amazon for $2.99

It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How To End The Cycle by Mark Wolynn

How of you have loved ones with mental illnesses or strange phobias? Wolynn will explain how generational memory works and how that manifests in later generations even if they didn’t live the original trauma. Wolynn adds his 20 plus years of experience of working with individuals with inherited trauma as a therapist.

Buy it on Amazon for $12

Is Marriage For White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone by Ralph Richard Banks

Black women are 3x more likely than our white counterparts to never marry and 2x more likely when we’re college-educated. Why is that? It’s always interesting to learn about mating patterns across socioeconomic identifiers like race and class. Banks is a Stanford law professor who explores why marriage has declined for black women by comparing mating behaviors between black women, black men, and other racial groups.

Buy it on Amazon for $12

Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts

I always have books on deck for reproductive rights. This one explores the attack on black motherhood through government programs, sterilization, and tropes like the welfare queen. This book is about 20 years old and still applies. Ain’t that a bitch?

Buy it on Amazon for $13

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Both of the fiction books on the list are by Ms. Butler. I have yet to read work by Butler so I’m excited about starting with this recommendation. It’s about a black woman being taken from her California home to experience the white supremacy of the antebellum South.

Buy it on Amazon for $10

Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips, and Other Parts. Edited by Ayana Byrd and Akhu Solomon

This is one of the books I’ll refer back to every now and again. It’s a collection of essays about hair, skin, and other bodily topics written by black women, for black women. The authors include a range of backgrounds. Look for writing from Jill Scott, Melyssa Ford and plenty more.

Buy it on Amazon for $5

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald

With all the smart home technology and privacy issues we’re having with FaceBook and Google, this read is pretty timely. Greenwald explores the government-citizen relationship in Hong Kong to understand the invasive government practices around information intelligence.

Buy it on Amazon for $10

Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Taylor uncovers the processes that kept black people from equal homeownership even after redlining was banned. Here, we’ll learn about the ‘predatory inclusion’ and perverse effects of these homeownership practices.

Buy it on Amazon for $27

Regretting Motherhood: A Study by Orna Donath

If you read my post why I don’t want kids, you’ll understand why this one made the master list. It’s considered taboo to not want kids and even more so to regret having them. We already know why women choose to have kids, but let’s explore what happens afterward. We’d be unreasonable to only expect positive feelings towards motherhood and regret is a very reasonable feeling to have about major life decisions.

Buy it on Amazon for $10

Rigged: How Globalization and The Rules of Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer

I added this book to expand my knowledge about macroeconomics and how lower-income countries are systemically subjugated to keep wealthy nations flourishing. Baker explains how patents, trade copyright, and macroeconomic policies oppressed low-wage workers to distribute income towards the elite of the United States.

Buy it on Amazon for $10

Suicide by Emile Durkheim: A Study of Sociology

Mental health is always a hot topic. Emile Durkheim uses psychosocial analysis to uncover the factors that drive people to commit suicide and the impact on anyone within proximity of the trauma.

Buy it on Amazon for $15

The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.

This read is similar to the one by Mark Wolynn and the author shares how the brain is changed by trauma such as molestation, alcoholism and more. Trauma changes how you trust, control your behavior, and how you perceive pleasure. Learn how your body remembers your past and how it manifests in your daily life through the stories of others.

Buy it on Amazon for $10

The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure at the Table by Minda Harts

Harts serves big-sister vibes with this book on how to navigate professional spaces as a woman of color. Harts is the CEO of The Memo and seeks to hand down advice to those of us coming up in the game. I can’t wait to read her explanations on office politics and candid call-to-actions.

Buy it on Amazon for $15

Wild Seed by Octavia Butler

This is the second fiction on this list and it’s great for folks looking for a good black sci-fi, paranormal storyline. Two immortals, one kind and one vile, meet in the past and have challenges that will change the future permanently.

Buy it on Amazon for $9

Which of these recommendations catches your eye the most? Comment below!

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