Even though the summer will be filled with BBQ’s, beach parties and roof tops, settling into a good book definitely brings balance to a hectic summer season.

Sometimes, there really is a reason to turn down:  Snuggling up to a page turner instead of a girls’ night out. From New York Times bestsellers, to YouTube sensations turned authors to newbies, finding an intirguing book that captures your attention isn’t hard to find. And a good read isn’t just confined to the fiction sector. Non-fiction books speak to the soul, opening the heart’s eyes with relevant content and truthful, timely insight.

We gathered some of the best books by African American authors you should read this summer, complete with Amazon book descriptions.

An Untamed State – Roxane Gay
Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men…

Ordinary Light – Tracy K. Smith
This memoir by a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet details how a girl from Northern California wound up winning the nation’s highest literary prize and teaching at Princeton University by way of Harvard.

Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world.

The Runaway Bride: Are You Living for Jesus or Are You Running From Him? – Heather Lindsey
Have you ever sat in a church service week after week but went home and continued to live a life outside of Christ? Have you ever led a bible study and looked like you “were perfect” but you were suffering silently in sin? Have you ever just ran from God all together? If so, then this book is for you. If you have ever felt that way, you’re not alone. Heather Lindsey tried to run from God for years as she sat in the pews at church on Sunday Morning. She realized that it was not enough to just sit in a building and call herself a Christian, however, that is exactly what her life showed. She was running from Christ and into the arms of this world. Jesus Christ is returning for His bride and you are His bride. He wants your loneliness, discontentment, pride, depression, suicidal thoughts, dysfunctional relationships, hurt, pain, love of money, people bondage, and every other area of your life.

God Help the Child – Toni Morrison
God Help the Child—the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult. 

At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love.

Queen Sugar – Natalie Baszile
When Charley unexpectedly inherits eight hundred acres of sugarcane land, she and her eleven-year-old daughter say goodbye to smoggy Los Angeles and head to Louisiana. She soon learns, however, that cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business.

Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons and Love Affairs – Pearl Cleage
Things I Should Have Told My Daughter charts not only the political fights but also the pull she began to feel on her own passions—a pull that led her away from Lomax as she grappled with ideas of feminism and self-fulfillment. This fascinating memoir follows her journey from a columnist for a local weekly to a playwright and Hollywood scriptwriter whose circle came to include luminaries Richard Pryor, Avery Brooks, Phylicia Rashad, Shirley Franklin, and Jesse Jackson.

Miss Thang: Destiny Fulfilled: A Testimonial Guide to Divine Purpose and Greatness– Angela Wilson
This down to earth, entertaining, yet genuine essential guide to life is the first of its caliber!
Written in a “sistagirl” format, Miss Thang! Destiny Fulfilled dynamically relates to its readers through personal experiences and lifestyle advice with Christian biblical principles. From Angelas heart to yours, her sincere and practical advice for young women inspires and motivates greatness! She encourages all “Miss Thangs” to be their best, expect the best, while doing their best!

The Power Playbook: Rules for Independence, Money and Success – Lala Anthony
The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Love Playbook, La La Anthony is again opening up her playbook to share her no-nonsense advice. La La is a self-made entrepreneur with a successful fashion line, a cosmetics company, a reality show, and a budding acting career to her credit. From humble beginnings, she created a career that she loves through sheer determination and hard work, and now she shares her hard-won wisdom on how her readers can do the same.