theGrio’s Top 50 books to read this summer: ‘American Art and Ideas’

Check out the top books to read this summer that spotlight culture and politics

Here you’ll find vital discussions of culture and politics and how they intersect to shape Black lives.

A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib (Nonfiction)

A Little Devil in America is an exhilarating work of cultural criticism by a multifaceted and original talent. In prose poetry and essay, Hanif Abdurraqib addresses an impressive range of topics related to culture: performance both private and public, identity versus individual experience, love and loss, and most subtly, masculinity.

Some of these subjects could have become cliché in lesser hands—the life-giving necessity of Black joy, problematic presentations of Black pain, the limitations of representation— but even those he makes new, offering new language, and more importantly, new insight. One of the many reasons Abdurraqib stands out is that he’s a poet who understands and knows how to deploy the power of prose.

Strong declarative statements share space with metaphor. There’s a danger sometimes, when poets turn to essay; their prose can be dense and difficult to navigate. That’s no issue here. Abdurraqib understands the distinctive demands of different mediums, and he cares about clarity as much as beauty.

This text embodies both. Powered by prodigious writing talent and insight, his sixth book and third essay collection is propulsive and entertaining. Musical influences reverberate throughout, far beyond its central role of music as subject matter. The mood it sets is infectious.

Misogynoir Transformed by Dr. Moya Bailey (Gender and cultural studies)

In this wide-ranging new work of cultural criticism, the groundbreaking digital scholar who originally coined the term misogynoir dives into both the history and contemporary manifestations of racist misogyny toward Black women in media.

In analysis of media culture from television and film to Tumblr to YouTube web series, Bailey reveals how different forms of media contribute to, transform and /or challenge misogynoir in Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women’s Digital Resistance.

Also recommended: The Disordered Cosmos (in Nonfiction)

Return to TheGrio Top 50 Books of Summer Main Page 

More theGrio Top 50 Book picks: Family Ties | American Art and Ideas | LGBTQ+ Pride | Black Love and Black Glamour | Spreading Our Wings | Crime and Consciousness | Historical Reckoning | Nonfiction | Thrills and Chills: Mystery/Suspense/ThrillerLove and Romance | Historical Fiction | Fiction from the Diaspora | Contemporary Fiction

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