Hey y'all! This is Tyra from Auburn Oil Company Booksellers, your friendly neighborhood barista-bookseller-chalkboard artist-cafe DJ! If there's anything I love more than making great coffee, it's reading great books. This is a list of a few of the ones that have taught me, grown me, challenged me, and stuck with me. Best believe every single one is #homegirlapproved.
Red, White & Royal Blue
Casey McQuiston$16.99 $15.80
I like my romances like I like my partners--sexy, funny and smart--and boy does this book deliver on all three. Alex and Henry are iconic separately and together; their love story feels authentic and pleasing to the heart. Witty and political, warm and fascinating, I love this book with my whole heart. It's on the same top-tier romance level as Dani Brown for me (and that's really saying something).
The Between: Novel, a
Tananarive Due$14.99 $13.94
Oh wow did this book make me nervous in the best way! It's almost spectral in its spookiness, with events that happen (or do they?) that make you question the line between reality and unreality. I couldn't put this book down and can't recommend it enough!
Anger Is a Gift
Mark Oshiro$10.99 $10.22
This book gets FIVE STARS! It's on e of the best young adult books I've read. Tender, empathetic, and heartbreaking at points--Moss exemplifies the power and courage we all need to speak out and stand up after loss. This book will bring out your inner activist. Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give.
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
Audre Lorde$16.99 $15.80
The necessity of this book is summed beautifully in a quote from one of my favorite essays from Audre Lorde: "I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect." Please, do yourself a favor and pick it up.
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
Bessel Van Der Kolk$19.00 $17.67
This is more than a pop psychology book; it's a must-read for trauma survivors and those connected to them. Dr. van der Kolk explores how the abuses we experience impact both our physiology and psychology, along with tolls to help heal our minds from trauma through our bodies. His insights are backed by both empirical data and personal experience in trauma psychopathology. A truly masterful, healing work.
George Orwell$17.00 $15.81
The original Black Mirror, 1984 provocatively explores the relationship between language and lived experience. If reading about government stealth, societal untruths, and the mutability of human cognition interests you, then this is your book.
James Baldwin$16.00 $14.88
This is one of my favorite books of all time. A beautiful, and at times frustratingly heartaching exploration of the costs of love: how does it impact connection, masculinity, expatriation, and identity? An important read for those in any kind of transition, plus it's James Baldwin.
Candice Carty-Williams$16.00 $14.88
This was a book that found me at the right time. It was like holding up a mirror, seeing a Black woman work through mounting mental health challenges while trying to keep her life together. Though it starts off slow, by the middle of the book you're rooting HARD for Queenie to push through while lol-ing at her friends the whole way through. Great for fans of TV shows like The Bold Type.
Jericho Brown$17.00 $15.81
A book of poetry that felt warm and familiar. Brown's life is in these pages; his words dance across the page and compel us to pay attention. 10 out of 10 recommend.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning
Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds$18.99 $17.66
Learn the story of Black bodies, consciousness, and identity in one concise introduction spanning from the start of slavery to Obama's presidency. A non-history history book about race in America that should be required reading for kids and adults alike.
Nic Stone$16.99 $15.80
What a wild ride! This middle-grade book about Scoob and his spring break road trip with his granny is a wonderful primer on what interracial relationships and Black travel was like in the 1960s (and how much hasn't really changed). Has a bit of a Watson's Go To Birmingham vibe, and a lot of cool pictures!
Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo
Ntozake Shange$19.99 $18.59
A little witchy-ness, a good amount of soul and a whole lot of love make up the story of these three sisters growing up (and out of) Charleston, SC. I felt so seen reading this book--10,000% recommend to every Southern Black girl!
Tochi Onyebuchi$19.99 $18.59
This UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK dystopic sci-fi about police brutality, the industrial prison complex, and its damning impact on the lives of siblings Ella and Kev is a MUST READ. Five. Whole. Stars.
From the Desk of Zoe Washington
Janae Marks$17.99 $16.73
On her 12th birthday, fledgling baker Zoe receives a letter from the dad she's never met, starting her on a journey of redemptive love and second chances for her entire family. The friend- and family relationships in this book are so tender and wonderful; I loved this book from start to finish. Also, listen to the Little Tomato Playlist--it's full of serious bops.
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower
Brittney Cooper$18.00 $16.74
Ladies and femmes, you have a right to be mad. Exacting and unafraid , Cooper interrogates the relationship between Black womxn and anger, namely, her own. Part memoir, part cultural critique, this piece will make Roxane Gay fans fall in love.
Akwaeke Emezi$16.00 $14.88
Haunting, powerful, and lyrically written, Emezi's freshman novel Freshwater is a masterpiece about losing oneself in a life between two worlds. A novel of separate selves and the ways a divided soul seeks self preservation. A masterpiece.
Long Way Down
Jason Reynolds$12.99 $12.08
Told entirely in verse in the time it takes Will to ride the elevator, this POWERFUL story about gun violence, familial trauma, and the cost of revenge guarantees to stay with you long after the last page. Jason Reynolds describes this book as a mix between Boyz n the Hood and A Christmas Carol. Required reading.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown
Talia Hibbert$16.99 $15.80
What happens when an ambitious PhD student and a security guard begin a fake relationship after a video of the goes viral? This hilarious, tender, and super sexy rom-com will have you laughing, blushing and falling in love with Dani and Zaf! #DrRugbae4eva
Get ready, Pony Boy! When Pony, a trans student starting his senior year at a new school in smalltown Texas falls for a head cheerleader, his plans for a quiet year get...complicated. A story that ends on a sweet note (but trigger warning for homophobia and violence). Very much worth the read to see Pony find his voice, take up space and own his truth.
Tayari Jones$16.99 $15.80
"My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist." With an opener like that, drama is to be expected. But more than that, this story is a reflection on responsibility to family, manifold forms of sisterhood, and the impact on living as a secret. A contemplative and quietly powerful must read.