Finding a good book is like finding a good pair of shoes—when they fit perfectly, you just know and you won’t leave the store without them! Being able to read and indulge in books that showcase the biographies and lifestyles of black women in our society gives us insight into just how their journey has gone (it also gives a sense of humanism to remind us that these women are humans too).

We’ve gathered a list of ten influential and inspirational books written by black women in our society that you can use and reference as you go on your journey through life. Check them out below:

  • Becoming, Michelle Obama

Becoming is an extremely intimate and inspiring memoir written by Michelle Obama in which she showcases how she’s simply “an ordinary person who found herself on an extraordinary journey.” Michelle says in sharing her story, “she hopes to help create space for other stories and other voices, to widen the pathway for who belongs and why.” 

  • We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True, Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union uses an essay infused format to dive into her wisdom and humor. She goes into detail about some personal and true stories that helped her along her journey, as well as stories of compassions for victims of sexual violence. Union further digs into experiences she went through as a black woman in Hollywood, her parent’s divorce, puberty, self-doubt and discovery, and the power of sharing your truth. 

  • The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae

Issa Rae begins her book with the phrase, “I’m awkward—and black.” If this phrase is relatable to you, this book may be worth the read! She dives into her introvert personality, and how that has affected her as a black woman. Rae covers topics of cybersexing in the early days of the Internet to her deflecting of unsolicited comments all while simply learning to accept and love yourself for YOU! 

  • The Last Black Unicorn, Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish’s The Last Black Unicorn, showcases a breakout actress, comedian, and all around star. Haddish reflects on her childhood in South Central Los Angeles through personal essays. At a young age, she turned to comedy and did whatever it took to make people laugh. Her journey showcases her childhood and adulthood choices and how she became the mogul that she is today.  

  • Around the Way Girl: A Memoir, Taraji P. Henson

Around the Way Girl is a memoir in which actress Taraji P. Henson reflects on her educational background at Howard University, and how she received role after role as time progressed. Henson shares the challenges and disappointments she endure on her acting journey in the most authentic and purest form.

  • Judge This Cover, Brittany Renner

A liberating journey through the life and times of Brittany Renner. This book showcases and details the experiences of a young woman that is loved and hated by many. Renner dives into her truth as a woman in this world and allows you to take a walk in her shoes. 

  • Don’t Settle for Safe: Embracing the Uncomfortable to Become Unstoppable, Sarah Jakes Roberts

Popular speaker and author Sarah Jakes Roberts shows women they are not disqualified by their pain and failures and offers encouragement and strength to believe God’s best is still possible.

Pregnant at fourteen, married by nineteen, divorced by twenty-two, and all while under the intense spotlight of being Bishop T.D. Jakes’s daughter, Sarah knows what it is to feel buried by failure and aching pain.

  • The Wait: A Powerful Practice for Finding the Love of Your Life and the Life You Love, Devon Franklin and Megan Good

Hollywood power couple DeVon Franklin and Meagan Good candidly share their courtship and marriage, and the key to their success—waiting.

Faced with starting a new relationship and wanting to avoid potentially devastating pitfalls, DeVon and Meagan chose to do something almost unheard of in today’s society—abstain from sex until they were married.

DeVon and Meagan share the life-changing message that waiting—rather than rushing a relationship—can help you find the person you’re meant to be with. The Wait is filled with candid his-and-hers accounts of the most important moments of their relationship and practical advice on how waiting for everything—from dating to sex—can transform relationships, allowing you to find a deep connection based on patience, trust, and faith.

  • Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me, Janet Mock

Surpassing Certainty is a portrait of a young woman searching for her purpose and place in the world—without a road map to guide her.

The journey begins a few months before her twentieth birthday. Janet Mock is adjusting to her days as a first-generation college student at the University of Hawaii and her nights as a dancer at a strip club. Finally content in her body, she vacillates between flaunting and concealing herself as she navigates dating and disclosure, sex and intimacy, and most important, letting herself be truly seen. Under the neon lights of Club Nu, Janet meets Troy, a yeoman stationed at Pearl Harbor naval base, who becomes her first. The pleasures and perils of their union serve as a backdrop for Janet’s progression through her early twenties with all the universal growing pains—falling in and out of love, living away from home, and figuring out what she wants to do with her life.

  • The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose, Oprah Winfrey

Everyone has a purpose. And, according to Oprah Winfrey, “Your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are meant to be, and begin to honor your calling in the best way possible.”

In The Path Made Clear, Oprah shares what she sees as a guide for activating your deepest vision of yourself, offering the framework for creating not just a life of success, but one of significance. The book’s ten chapters are organized to help you recognize the important milestones along the road to self-discovery, laying out what you really need in order to achieve personal contentment, and what life’s detours are there to teach us.

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