At the beginning of January, I shared with my readers five books that some of my female bookworm friends felt every woman should read in 2022. I was more than pleased to receive feedback from several men indicating their desire to know what books they could read also. It was only fair that the men not be left out. With that said, fret not, my lovelies, as I took the time to sit down with a few of my male friends to talk about some of the top books they think every man should read. Keep your eyes glued below for some fantastic reads — both fiction and non-fiction — that you might want to get your hands on, or even gift to a father, brother, uncle, or cousin.
Stephan Powell — Atomic Habits by James Clear (non-fiction)
Success requires a good plan, and a good plan requires the right steps, which is what makes this an exceptional read for anyone who wants to improve their quality of life by forming healthy habits. The book explores four keys to developing habits of this nature, such as making your habits intentional, attractive, simple, and, most importantly, satisfying. James Clear gives a wealth of examples to mirror everyday life in a more purposeful format. I have learned from this book how to identify an issue, create a plan, and have the discipline to execute favourably.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (non-fiction)
This is one of those must-reads for me. As a father, and a son who recently lost his father, the author found a way to evoke every emotion in such a short read. The book navigates profound issues in childhood, parenthood, race, past and present. Essentially, a father pens a letter to his son to teach him everything he learnt along the way and answer as many ‘whys’ while he is alive. This is an easy read and a book I plan to revisit in the future. The warning is that this one can be a little heavy on the heart, especially if you are a parent navigating through life.
Kevin Clarke — Brother Man by Roger Mais (fiction)
My book selection is Brother Man by Roger Mais, which is one of the all-time favourite books I have ever read. It explores life in the ‘ghetto’ of Kingston, which feels so much like it could be unfolding in modern-day Jamaica, even though the manuscript was first published in 1954. I believe that it needs to be read because of the unforgettable characters placed in a story that shows the power of the human spirit overcoming adversity. The book is like a reflector and presents a relatable Kingston through the constant struggle between good and evil, which we all face, as well as the generational struggles that have existed in our society throughout time.
Simon Brown — Invisible Man Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man’s Education by Mychal Denzel Smith (autobiography)
Every black man needs to get their hands on this book simply because it not only speaks about education, but it also focuses on the struggle that men face and some of the challenges that come with being a man through social constructs of maleness, ideas of gender, and so many other defining topics in such a short and engaging read. It is a book that I have revisited from time to time, and have reshaped some of the things I thought I understood of my purpose and existence as a man. Most importantly, it is how boldly he touches a point which men, especially in the Caribbean, often shy away from — depression and mental health — but vulnerably shows how he was able to overcome it.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (fiction)
In a novel that centres around a young black girl who dreams of being white, blond and blue-eyed, The Bluest Eye, really ironically, was a significant eye-opener for me in the contextual understanding and interpretation of race and ‘blackness’ through the female eye, or window. Morrison presents to us the point of view of a black woman and how the perception and value of self can be heavily influenced by the media and the images of perfection being synonymous with beautiful, white, blue-eyed babies. It gives a perspective that allows men to be open to seeing how other people view black bodies, and how people respond to black bodies. It took me into a thought process of how these things all tie foundationally to the concept of race and colour.