Since the film Precious is already generating potential Academy Awards buzz -- and it's not even released until fall -- might be a good time to read the novel upon which it's based, Push by Sapphire.
Told from the point of view of an illiterate, brutalized Harlem teenager, this novel charts the psychic damage of the most ghettoized of inner-city inhabitants. Obese, dark-skinned, HIV-positive, bullied by her sexually abusive mother, Clareece, Precious Jones is, at the novel's outset, pregnant for the second time with her father's child.
The novel has been a "must-read" within African American book club and reader circles for over a decade. It's been on my to-be-read pile for the longet time, and definitely is going on my "must-read" list for summer.