The 5 Best Urban Books to Gift This Christmas

Tis the season! Yet again.

Maybe you’re a big fan of Christmas and giving and picking out great presents for people. So, you’re excited. But, for the rest of us. This is a time of last minute online impulse buying for friends and family. As well as the time of seeing all the cute stuff you want to get yourself… on sale.

2017 has been a big year for breakout stars and media sensations. And, despite all of the evolution in technology, books also had a banner year in 2017. In case your friends and family missed them, here are a few of the great urban books that came out this year that will make awesome Christmas gifts.

Basketball (And Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated

by Shea Serrano

This book quietly went to #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List because it is one of the funniest books ever written about a great sport that doesn’t get laughed about enough. Truth is, basketball is such a big part of popular culture that there should be way more books about how much we all love it. But, there aren’t. Shea Serrano filled that space with a book that will make you laugh, make you think, and want to share it with others. Think about it. How many times have you asked yourself: Which NBA Player’s Group are you Joining if The Purge Begins Tonight? Hint: It’s not Steph Curry.

Basketball (And Other Things) also asks cool what if questions like: Which NBA Players Get Remembered for the Wrong Reasons? and If You Could Dunk on Any one Person, Who Would It Be?

A self-proclaimed basketball junkie, Serrano is a writer for The Ringer as well as the author of another great list book–The Rap Yearbook. With Basketball (And Other Things) he has found a way to take a sport that much of America loves and put it in a format that challenges and entertains the reader.

This book is definitely a win for any b-ball fan.

We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories that are Funny, Complicated, and True

by Gabrielle Union

She is one of the biggest names in black films. Her beauty and youthful appearance has made her a superstar and icon. But, Gabrielle Union always seemed to be holding something back. With these autobiographical stories, Union shares her inner truth with readers in a way that seems inspired and authentic. From sharing stories about her childhood and her parents’ marriage (and her father’s infidelity) to stories about growing up a dark-skinned girl in a white neighborhood. She is vulnerable in a way that she has never really been before in interviews. Union opens up about being raped at 19 and how it impacted (and still impacts) her life. She also talks about her marriage, miscarriages, and her life in Hollywood.

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 01: Gabrielle Union signs copies of her new book, “We’re Going To Need More Wine” during the BookExpo 2017 at Javits Center on June 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

This book was absolutely made for book clubs. We’re Going to Need More Wine got it’s title from experiences when Union would be sitting and chatting with girlfriends and having a great time. That is exactly what the book feels like. It is like sitting and talking to one of your best friends as she tells you things that you didn’t know, but only suspected about her. We’re Going to Need More Wine will make you fall in love with Gabrielle Union again as an actress and as a person. It will also make you think about the stories in your own past that are funny, complicated and true.

Recommended: For a woman in your life aged 29-45.

The Last Black Unicorn

by Tiffany Haddish

She is definitely tied with Cardi B for the Woman of the Year Award. Tiffany Haddish is the breakout star of the year after her hilarious performance in Girls Trip and as the first black comedienne to host Saturday Night Live. However, she is no one-hit wonder. Haddish has been acting and doing standup comedy for years. The funny woman from South Central Los Angeles is parlaying her “around the way” persona into superstardom. With her autobiography, The Last Black Unicorn, Haddish tells some of the deeply personal, yet hilarious stories that has made her comedy so sincere. She warns in the book that you will either laugh or cry (probably both), but you will also be inspired.

The book is written in very easy and simple language that makes it feel like Haddish is sitting right next to you telling her story. In the book, Haddish opens up about her illiteracy (she couldn’t read until 9th grade) and growing up in foster care. She shares stories that are so hard to believe that you can only look at her life now and be amazed. The Last Black Unicorn is deeply touching, funny, and inspiring.

Recommended: For young women aged 15-40

The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir

By Jenifer Lewis

She has been in more than 300 appearances on film and television. Jenifer Lewis is one of the most recognizable faces and voices in black Hollywood. With candor and heart, she reveals her heart as a woman who is determined to always live her life to the fullest. With her audaciously honest voice, Lewis describes her youth and transition to acting in New York then Hollywood. She also talks about her trials of living with undiagnosed bipolar disorder for most of her life. With honesty and beauty, Lewis shares her story and photos of a life lived to the limit. 

Lewis has been engaged four times and never made it to the altar. In her book, she talks about love, marriage, and sex in a way that is frank and charming. She shares her vulnerability and ways that she learned from her mistakes in a way that only a legend can. The Mother of Black Hollywood is right. In this book, Lewis talks about her life as well as experiences on the set of some of our favorite films. The book is fun and inspiring.

Recommended: For older women aged 40-65

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons

By Kevin Hart

It would seem like we know everything about Kevin Hart. From his stand-up specials we’ve learned about his crazy father and his beloved late mother. We have learned about his ex-wife and his children. But in his book, I Can’t Make This Up, Hart takes us on an even deeper trip into his life exposing the reader to life lessons and challenges that ultimately made him the superstar that he is today.

An instant #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List, I Can’t Make This Up is a great read. Hart shares the stories of his life in the form of life lessons which are funny because laughter is how he chose to deal with them. Like most life stories, there are those that make your eyes sweat, but Hart puts the reader at ease with his confidence and warmth. I Can’t Make This Up is a heart-warming book by a comedian who tells these stories like a best friend.

Recommended: Men or Women 18-50

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