Books briefly noted: Black Lit & Black lives

Outlook Book Review Editor Amy Pagliarella suggests some must-read, modern books about Black Lit & Black lives.

Reading Black Books: How African American Literature Can Make Our Faith More Whole and Just

Claude Atcho
Brazos Press, 208 pages | Published May 17, 2022

Pastor and professor Atcho suggests that we learn from Black voices by reading their stories through dual lenses — theological and literary. He revisits ten literary works from the likes of James Baldwin and Toni Morrison, suggesting reading approaches that help us appreciate the fullness of Black lives as made in God’s image. Read this book alongside (or before or after) these classics.

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

Clint Smith
Little, Brown and Company, 352 pages | Published June 1, 2021

Smith’s effort to reckon with the untold history of slavery in America is compelling, accessible and a downright page-turner. He tours landmarks, such as Monticello and Angola Prison, interviews historians and chats with ordinary tourists to share the story that is both buried and hidden in plain sight: slavery is at the core of America’s founding, economy and progress – in the North as well as the South – and still reverberates today.