[Note from Frolic: We are SO excited to welcome our friends Mocha Girls Read to Frolic! Every month they will be sharing what books they are talking about in their book club. If you want to join/learn more visit them here.]
Spring has seemingly erupted, along with the beginnings of the 2020 presidential campaign. Issues like immigration, education, climate, and the economy are the rotating hot bed that keep us all tuned in, but book lovers know that escape is just a bookshelf away. It’s not all “head-in-the-sand” though. After all, art often imitates life, and reading provides perspectives that can be both edifying and informative.
These are some spring reads inspired by the Mocha Girls Read Book Club’s monthly themes. (Each month we nominate books and then vote on one that we will discuss at the following month’s book club gathering. Often there are many great books that get left on the shelf.) In no particular order, I recommend the following:
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
Behold the Dreamers was a 2017 Oprah Book Club pick. It follows the journey of an immigrant family from Cameroon who has moved to Harlem for a chance at a better life. The story gets interesting when the main character, Jende, gets a job as a chauffeur for one of Lehman’s Brother’s top executive amid the financial crisis of 2008.
The Book of Salt by Monique Truong
The Book of Salt is a Mocha Girls Read monthly book selection runner-up. The novel is set in 1930s Paris, and the main character Binh is a Vietnamese cook working for writer Gertrude Stein. The book gives a glimpse into the nightlife and culture in Paris in that era, as well as the story of Binh’s childhood in Saigon.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In the vein of reality TV and tales of Old Hollywood lore, Reid tells the story of a starlet and a Hollywood reporter she has selected to write her tell all.
No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell
Watts is the inaugural Sarah Jessica Parker pick for Book Club Central. The novel is the story of a man returning to his hometown to build his dream house and win back the heart of his high school sweetheart.
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Flight Behavior is another MGR book selection runner-up. The cli-fi (climate science-fiction) thriller tackles climate change through the witnessing of a miraculous occurrence by a wife and mother who lives on a failing farm in rural Tennessee. Vying factions of religious leaders, scientists, businessmen, et al., turn the town into a circus, and the main character, Dellarobia finds herself in the middle of the conflict.
Cocoa Butter & Hair Grease: A Self Love Journey Through Hair & Skin by Dr. Donna Oriowo
Lastly, I have included Cocoa Butter & Hair Grease: A Self Love Journey Through Hair & Skin by Dr. Donna Oriowo. This guided journal looks at beauty and provides positive affirmations to improve self-esteem and outlook. And the title is provocative… especially if you are a girl of mocha hue.
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Joy Simone for Mocha Girls Read
Ms. Simone is a journalist, professor, blogger and poet. She has authored two books of short stories, The Wedding Plan and Faithful & Other Stories and is currently working on her debut novel, Beauty. Joy has a passion for history and literature and enjoys teaching. She helped launch the book club Mocha Girls Read, Philly chapter, in 2018.
You can follow her on Facebook @ajoysimone.