The formula for a great audio book club pick: compelling characters + talented narrators + a plot you need to discuss with your friends.
Our February book club picks, all penned by Black authors, have each of those elements in abundance. From contemporary short stories to poignant historical fiction to mysteries that will keep you enthralled until the last word, there is an audiobook to amp up every to-listen-list.
A young widow adheres to the expectations of wearing mourning clothes for nearly a year. An older sister returns home from a confusing time in America. A younger sister hides her sexual exploits from her family. The stories collected in Call and Response are strongly anchored in place, charting the emotional journeys of women seeking love and opportunity beyond the barriers of custom and circumstance.
The master of the Providence plantation in Barbados gathers his slaves and announces the king has ended slavery. The cries of joy fall silent when he announces that they are no longer his slaves; they are now his apprentices. So Rachel runs. In River Sing Me Home, she begins a desperate search to find her children. The journey takes her from Barbados by river deep into the forest of British Guiana and across the sea to Trinidad. She is driven on by the certainty that a mother cannot be truly free without knowing what has become of her children, even if the answer is more than she can bear.
When siblings Jacob and Belinda were growing up in Ghana, their goal was simple: to move to America. For them, the United States was both an opportunity and a struggle, a goal and an obstacle. Jacob envies Belinda, who went to college and law school in the United States and married Wilder, a wealthy Black businessman. How each character comes to understand this and how each learns from both their dashed hopes and their fulfilled dreams lie at the heart of what makes What Napoleon Could Not Do.
Gone Like Yesterday follows Zahra, a college prep coach, and Sammie, a teenage girl soon off to college. Gypsy moths have been singing the songs of Zahraâ€™s ancestors to her for years, so when Zahra realizes that Sammie might be a moth person too, they are drawn to each other. Then Zahraâ€™s brother, Derrick, goes missing. Along with Sammie, Zahra embarks on a road trip from New York to Atlanta in search of Derrick, but also to uncover just what the moths and their ancestors want with them, and what to do about their individual and collective futures.
Inspired by true events, Timeâ€™s Undoing is both a passionate tale of one young journalistâ€™s quest for the truth behind the racially motivated murder of her great-grandfather that has haunted her family for generations and, as newfound friends and supporters in Birmingham rally around Meghanâ€™s search, the uplifting story of a community coming together to fight for change.
Kiara and her brother, Marcus, are scraping by in East Oakland. Both have dropped out of high school, their family fractured by death and prison. But while Marcus clings to his dream of rap stardom, Kiara hunts for work to pay their rent. One night, what begins as a drunken misunderstanding with a stranger turns into the job Kiara never imagined wanting but now desperately needs: Nightcrawling.
Sylvie de Rosiers, the daughter of a rich planter and an enslaved woman, enjoys the comforts of a lady in 1791 Saint-Domingue society. After a violent rebellion begins the Haitian Revolution, Sylvie and her brother flee unwittingly into another uprisingâ€”in Paris. Sylvie quickly becomes enamored with the aims of the Revolution, as well as with the revolutionaries themselves. When the Reign of Terror descends, Sylvie must decide whether to become an accomplice while a new empire rises on the bones of innocentsâ€¦or risk losing her head.
Circus Palmer, a Boston-based trumpet player and old-school ladiesâ€™ man, lives for his music and refuses to be tied down. Before a gig in Miami, he learns that the woman who is secretly closest to his heart, the free-spirited drummer Maggie, is pregnant by him. Instead of facing the necessary conversation, Circus flees, setting off a chain of interlocking revelations from the various women in his life, in this provocative story about how we find belonging when love is unrequited.
Looking for book club picks for the rest of the year? Visit our collection of Book Club Favorites That Amplify Black Stories.