Some reads On The Shelves: Cocaine, a collection of poetry and writings on love, loss and self-worth (Brandi Cooper), The Death of Vivek Oji, a wrenching Nigerian tale of grief and identity (Akwaeke Emezi) and Luster, an artist’s journey to survive professional and personal entanglements (Raven Leilani).

Cocaine by Brandi Cooper

Cocaine is a collection of poetry and writings created by the author, Brandi Cooper over a four-year time span. It depicts a first-hand journey of love, heartbreak, letting go, and obtaining self-worth. The raw emotions each writing exudes makes it an inspiring and relatable read for women, and gives male readers a deeper look into the addiction of love from a woman’s perspective.

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The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

One afternoon, a mother opens her front door to find the length of her son’s body stretched out on the veranda, swaddled in akwete material, his head on her welcome mat. The Death of Vivek Oji transports us to the day of Vivek’s birth, the day his grandmother Ahunna died. It is the story of an over protective mother and a distant father, and the heart-wrenching tale of one family’s struggle to understand their child, just as Vivek learns to recognize himself.

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Luster by Raven Leilani

Edie is just trying to survive. She’s messing up in her dead-end admin job in her all white office, is sleeping with all the wrong men, and has failed at the only thing that meant anything to her, painting. No one seems to care that she doesn’t really know what she’s doing with her life beyond looking for her next hook-up. And then she meets Eric, a white, middle-aged archivist with a suburban family, including a wife who has sort-of-agreed to an open marriage and an adopted black daughter who doesn’t have a single person in her life who can show her how to do her hair. As if navigating the constantly shifting landscape of sexual and racial politics as a young, black woman wasn’t already hard enough, with nowhere else left to go, Edie finds herself falling headfirst into Eric’s home and family.

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