Let us help you choose your next book! Welcome to Sweet Reads, a curation of titles hand-selected by our Sweet July community.

In honor of Black History Month, the latest edition of Sweet Reads is curated with selections that celebrate the full gamut of the Black experience—a beautiful amalgamation of joy, creativity, resistance. These titles marry the historical context of our past with the promise of a bright future.

An unabashed celebratory display of living life as a carefree Black woman abroad. Through its lush imagery and “joie de vivre” ethos, this book serves as a beautiful guide on how to flourish through embracing the French lifestyle: From mastering the art of “flânerie” (finding pleasure in just being), to throwing an effortlessly chic affair, to encouraging readers to leisurely “study, sip, and savor” their wine. 

What we love most is this book’s subtle, consistent undercurrent messaging of inherent belonging. With “Joie,” tastemaker Ajiri Aki artfully normalizes people of color living authentically, beautifully, and well. (published April 18, 2023)

“For those that are no stranger to the weight of the world and find ways to keep going.” 

Kleaver Kruz began working on this project in 2015 in response to being in a deep depression that ultimately led him to embark upon a mission of cultivating joy as an act of resistance. Featuring multiple essays and more than 100 pieces of artwork exhibiting joy in Blackness everywhere that Black people exist—from the Bronx to Bahia—The Black Joy Project, in essence, is a movement that “celebrates Blackness through a global lens.” It shows us that we can choose what Black joy means to us.

A self-dubbed “unapologetic Black disabled woman in a white world,” Dr. Cadet fiercely advocates for oppressed people from all walks of life. She has a chapter in the book entitled “Black Pain is the Game,” where she speaks on her personal healthcare experiences—negative encounters rooted in white supremacy. The bottom line: Black women’s bodies are still regarded as tools of experimentation, even after Henrietta Lacks.

She hopes her work reaches the masses: “This book is for the Black woman who is looking to be seen and soft in shared lived experience. It is for the white person who is immersing themselves in the community they want to advocate for. It is for anyone who understands that learning and unlearning is lifelong.”

February signifies the end of Dry January, and we can’t think of a more thoughtful way (for those who observed) to reenter the world of imbibing than picking up this work of art. It features more than 70 cocktails honoring the impact Black mixologists have had on cocktail culture, past and present.

This award-winning book (named one of the Best Cookbooks of 2023 by Epicurious) is actually several in one: Combining rich history, innovative recipes and compelling anecdotes, this is creative culinary activism at its finest.

Picture it: a lavish dinner party in early 1960’s New York City On the guest list are late greats like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Langston Hughes. At the helm is Mollie Moon: The host and Black history figure in her own right that more of us should be talking about. 

Moon was what modern-day people would call a “connector” for her ability to assemble powerful groups of diverse people and have them clamoring to attend her events in support of economic v justice and racial equality. As the official book description perfectly puts it, Mollie’s story in Our Secret Society is “a strategic economic blueprint today’s activists” would be wise to emulate.

Serena Williams. Allyson Felix. Tatyana Ali: These are all mothers who’ve faced  similar disparities in the pursuit of maternal healthcare. Statistics show Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than White women, but it begs the question of ”Why?”

Physician Uché Blackstock answers that question by exploring the origins of Western medicine, connecting them with the dangerous racial biases that still exist in modern medicine today, then calling on the medical industry profession to do better. This book empowers readers to recognize their own biases and to better advocate for themselves in receiving the level of healthcare they deserve.

Michael Harriot has dubbed himself a “Wypiopologist”—that is, by his definition, one who studies the history, habits, and behaviors of white people. While this tongue-in-cheek title is incredibly funny, it’s also rooted in a very logical  premise: “You cannot understand what racism is, and how it affects society, by learning about Black people…[because that’s] just learning about people who are affected. If you really learn about [and understand] racism and white supremacy, you have to study white people.” And that’s exactly what he did.

With this clever approach, Harriot does a phenomenal—and hilarious—job of recentering Blackness in American history as it should be, while unabashedly enlightening readers every step of the way.

After decades of being stigmatized, placing importance on mental health is finally being embraced and prioritized in the Black community. Acknowledgement is important, but so are resources—and this book is a great start: Through cognitive behavioral therapy strategies, exercises, and lessons, this is an interactive tool for helping Black people “to intentionally cultivate resilience, build unshakable confidence, claim [their] truth, and step into unapologetic joy…” 

BONUS: For even deeper self-work, grab a copy of the workbook’s companion, The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health: Navigate an Unequal System, Learn Tools for Emotional Wellness, and Get the Help You Deserve, published in 2020.

Picture this: on one magical Sunday afternoon at a brownstone in the middle of Brooklyn, a coterie of esteemed Black women writers quietly converge to strategize literary world domination over hot bowls of gumbo, washed down with cold glasses of champagne.

This is exactly what happened in 1977, when Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Ntozake Shange, and other brilliant literary figures formed a group called “The Sisterhood” with the mission of fiercely advocating for Black women writers to receive opportunities to have their voices heard in trade publications, magazines, and academia. This book is a testament to the impact and influence that results when Black women harness their collective power.

For decades, the unique talents of Black professionals in the interior design space went largely unacknowledged, underrepresented, and undervalued. The Black Interior Designers (BID) launched in 2010 to combat this, with the mission of ensuring these professionals get the increased access, exposure, and business support they deserve.

The book, written by BID Creative Director June Reese, is an extension of this work—a fantastic interweaving of the beautiful imagery and personal stories of some of today’s top interior designers, including Justina Blakeney, Jason Bolden, Bridgid Coulter, Corey Damen Jenkins, and Forbes Masters. This is an intimate behind-the-scenes look into their professional challenges and ongoing triumphs. 

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