How’s your summer going, Pretty Birds? It’s a weird summer and many of us may be spending more time indoors and at home than we usually do this time of year. No matter your circumstances, reading is one of the best ways to take a break from screens, transport you to a different world, and expand your mind. We hope you enjoy our Summer 2020 reading list as prepared by Team ATPB. Leave a comment sharing what you’re reading now or what’s next in your queue!
Summer 2020 Reading List
You might need a pen to jot down all the inspiring books on this Summer 2020 reading list! It’s a wonderful mix of topics from fashion to race as well as genres from science fiction to magical realism. Check out which Toni Morrison novels we’re reading and so much more!
Amanda Winnie Kabuiku
This year, I decided to read more for pleasure, instead of always work-related. I could never find the time, but then Covid-19 came, and I had plenty of it. So, I started to tidy my bookshelf and pick up the books that I never finished. This is my summer reading list.
“i do not want to have you / to fill the empty parts of me / i want to be full on my own / i want to be so complete”
I always have a small book in my purse. I am the kind of person who always looks at my phone. So, every time, I commute or have ten minutes to wait before an appointment, I read a few sentences instead, and I try not to be a slave to the machine. This book speaks to my soul deeply, and it is easy to comprehend. Rupi Kaur’s words could be my words, their thoughts, mine, and this is the genius of the book. It’s simple, fresh, and speaks to my inner self about confidence, real love, resilience, and happiness—naturally, the satisfaction of just being me.
“No, Kinshasa is not a motley city. The land is not red, as elsewhere in Africa, but black.”
My big brother offered me this book, and I was a little afraid of its size. The people who know me know that DRC is a big part of me. History is not my typical reading genre, but at the same time, I can see myself in the situations of my ancestors. Last summer, I was in Kinshasa, and it was indeed a great experience. I struggled as a French-Congolese girl with accepting my double identity and with understanding what I could do for my homeland. So during the pandemic and quarantine, I started to re-read it again. It is essential to know my own roots and to be in tune with the current events Africa has endured, in the form of the diaspora, and also the struggles of the Black community all over the world. I have found some answers about the richness of the African soil, slavery, colonization, third world stigmas, wars, and so many historical obstacles leading all the way up to this day. Everything happens for a reason.
Alaia is “the one that Michel Cressole, the first journalist defined as ‘the most discreet of the great couturiers, because he is the last, perhaps’ to revive the fashion body.”
I bought this book before quarantine started. I was in Paris, and we had scheduled an interview with Carla Sozzani at the Azzedine Alaïa foundation. I was a little nervous about meeting Carla, but when I walked in, I saw the portrait of Alaïa just above her. His smile was as warm and humble as his personality. I listened to her talk about her friend as if he were next to us. I was humbled by this moment, sitting in the light of one of the best Couturiers in the world. I wanted to know him better, as the French fashion journalist Laurence Benaïm has depicted an incredible description of this rigorous, demanding little man, full of poetry and love for the perfect garment. Benaïm is familiar with this type of project; she wrote the biographies of Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Issey Miyaké, and Madame Grès. A must-read for fashion lovers.
I loved One Hundred Years of Solitude in university and wanted to read more of his work. It’s definitely super dense and descriptive so we’ll see if I finish it.
I originally watched the show on Amazon Prime and really loved the dialogue. A friend got this for my birthday and it’s on my must-reads for the year.
I make it a point to read Black writers, especially Black women writers, so of course Toni Morrison is on my list. I’ve just finished The Bluest Eye and some of The Source of Self-Regard, she’s a phenomenal writer and storyteller so I’m excited to read my next pick from her Song of Solomon.
This book has been on my list for a while and I’m excited to dive into this piece of fashion history. I love the way Robin Givhan contextualizes fashion in her work for The Washington Post so I know it will be a great read.
This is the most poetic novel I’ve ever read. The way Toni Morrison describes a scene or a person keeps me committed to every page. This book to me was relatable in so many ways. This book was emotional and made me feel like I needed to read it in private! The books I enjoy the most are ones that connect me back to myself. I love books that show me a different perspective on various subjects. The Bluest Eye really is a life-changing read and a staple in Black literature.
This is an amazing pick-up and put down book. I have been reading this book for some time now, skipping all over to read different chapters. This book encourages you to be a successful parent through simple living and thinking. I love this guide because it offers a new and non-traditional way of parenting. I bought this book when Phoenix was born, but it is so relevant now that he is 3. It allows more freedom and time into your lifestyle by eliminating stress. Every day there is a new lesson to learn as a parent and this book has kept me on track.
My friend from Mongolia recommended The Green-Eyed Lama by Oyungerel Tsedevdamba. It’s a historical fiction novel on Mongolia based on true stories. I love history and I’m excited to learn more about Mongolian culture.
Winner of the Booker Prize in 2019, this multi-voiced novel by British writer Bernardine Evaristo follows a cast of 12 UK characters (I will adjust my reading mind’s accent) in a celebration of modern Britain and womanhood. Booker Prize Judges promise “There is never a single moment of dullness in this book and the pace does not allow you to turn away from its momentum.”
The unique marbling of the book cover did strike me first, but it my intrigue was quickly reinforced by the peculiar title and description. This is a book of essays following the author’s journey from diagnosis to daily realities with her mental illness.
I saw my eldest brother play Doctor Moreau in a middle school play and the only thing that registered with me was the part that there was an island. I have a feeling there’s a lot more to it than that, so I’m finally giving it a proper read.
I’ve always loved to travel from home and I imagine reading this account of Iyer’s experiences in Kyoto will satisfy at least a fraction of my wanderlust.
This is a historical novel set following the reconquest of Spain by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, who take the Kingdom of Granada from Muslim Spain. It is the first book in a series (The Islam Quintet) focusing on one family as they experience the great clash of Islamic and Christian cultures, written by British Pakistani author Tariq Ali.
Which books are on your Summer 2020 reading list, Pretty Birds?