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She’s brutally honest and well-read. That’s actress, activist and author Gabrielle Union, whose latest book, You Got Anything Stronger, is a boundary-pushing, self-discovery inducing lesson on vulnerability (read about it here). She’s got the writing chops to suck you in as a reader, and perhaps it’s because she’s learned from the best?
“I’m just such a happy reader. I am most happy and at peace in libraries and bookstores, and when I’m on location, that’s where I go,” Union says. “There’s something about those spaces and other people who love those spaces, who still see the value in libraries and value in words, I have just found them to be at the very least more like-minded. We tend to be on the same page.”
So which female authors and books will she recommend most? We’ve got 12 reads to add to your bookshelf.
“I read this book when I was young, and it was the first time I felt seen as a young Black girl. Morrison’s The Bluest Eye teaches young Black girls that they don’t need to center themselves around whiteness in order to exist and be seen in the world.”
Related: Gabrielle Union Talks Infertility Surrogacy: ‘I’m Trying to Be As Transparent As Possible’
A divorced L.A. woman approaching 40 falls for the British lead singer of her daughter’s favorite boy band in The Idea of You. “It’s an epic tale about forbidden love, who gets to be desired and who determines what’s appropriate for women.”
“This book keeps us all honest and accountable and reminds not just Black women, but all women, not to settle for anything less than we deserve. It’s honest, its witty and it hits you at your core.”
Written in 1968, this autobiography by Moody candidly details her life growing up in the Deep South at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. “This is a book my mom gave me when I was young, and it changed the way I saw myself and moved in the world as a Black girl.”
“Because we all shape-shift constantly and rarely live our truth, Untamed encourages readers to free themselves of the need to fit into oppressive boxes.”
Related: Glennon Doyle Wants Women to Find Their Own Brave
“We live in such a toxic masculine culture, so I recommend Roxanne Gay’s Not That Bad. It’s great to open one’s eyes to this and find ways to be vigilant in fighting it.”
Being vulnerable is the birthplace of joy, teaches Brené Brown. “This book helps us see that being vulnerable is actually our superpower,” Union says. “Embrace it, don’t run from it.”
Related: Colleen Hoover Books In Order
“Thick explores race, gender and capitalism from a sociological perspective that’s incredibly helpful in gaining a better understanding of these intersections.”
A 40-year-old recently dumped (and fired) fashion editor is ready for a comeback, but a lusty secret romance could destroy it all. “I love this book because Tia challenges the reader to rethink how we approach dating in our 40s.”
“I recommend this book because it explores young love and big secrets,” says Union of Bennett’s bestselling debut novel.
“This is an unflinching examination of transracial adoption from the Black adoptee’s perspective. Moving and powerful book.”
“This was one of my favorite books as I entered puberty because I finally saw myself on those pages and fear/excitement/wonder of our changing bodies.”
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© 2021 AMG/Parade. All rights reserved.