Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Black History Month, and my reading recommendation

February is Black History Month.

To celebrate, I recommend picking up a copy of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It's the story of a black woman who dies of cervical cancer in the 1950's and then revolutionizes the human cell research industry.

It's also the story of a grad student who gets swept up in the drama of the surviving members of the Lacks family as she researches the book.

The science is approachable, the human stories are compelling, and the victories and tragedies experienced by the people involved might make you cry a little. It's an important bit of American history that hardly anyone knows about (except everyone who helped make this book a well-deserved best-seller) and it's the best book I've read in a long, long time.

Possibly ever. I don't know.

It's an easy, effortless way to feel like you're celebrating Black History Month, and it's an easy book to get. I saw it in two displays this morning at B&N, and it's been out for over a year already, so there probably isn't a waiting list for it at your local library.

Hey, give me your recommendations, too. Right now I'm reading "The Woman Who Fell From the Sky" which is about a journalist who spent 3 weeks in Yemen. It's a fast read, though. What should I read next?

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying to become familiar with stories of wonderful black women for obvious reasons seeing as I have a black daughter who I fully expect will grow up to wonderful (despite me) and do amazing things. I'll definitely be looking up the one you mentioned. The two that I have, but have NOT finished yet are:

    Unbowed, a memoir, by Wangari Maathai who was the first African Woman and first Environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize


    Open Wide the Freedom Gates, a memoir, by Dorothy Height.

    I've also got two other fiction novels written by black authors, but didn't think that's what you were looking for.