108 Books You Should Read Before You Read Another White Dude

Every year, a grip of publications post a new books-you-should-be-reading list. We at Literary Citizen believe that most of these lists think way too small. That is why we’re starting our blog by spreading this particular list compiled by Denver writers Tameca L ColemanSteven Dunn,  Leah Rogin-Roper, and Carolyn Zaikowski with some additional contributions from the Facebook Hive. *

We propose readers read a whole heck of a lot more than what’s in the typical “canon.” And if anyone feels that this list is racist or sexist, we’ll counter with the following: Read the 108 books in this list, or even half of them, and then come back at us (and if you have more suggestions, leave them in the comments). Please also read Leah Rogin-Roper’s essay about spending a year not reading white dudes as a rule.

Without further ado, the list:

  1. Abdul, Ali. Trouble Sleeping
  2. Adichie ,Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah
  3. Adjei-Brenyah, Nana Kwame. Friday Black
  4. Aidoo, Ama Ata. Our Sister Killjoy
  5. Ali, Agha Shahid. The Veiled Suite: The Collected Poems
  6. Alvarez, Julia. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
  7. Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza (also, This Bridge Called My Back edited by Anzaldúa and Cherríe L. Moraga)
  8. Apache, Crisosto. Genesis
  9. Austin, Ron A. Avery Colt is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar
  10. Baldwin, James. Go Tell it On the Mountain  &  The Fire Next Time
  11. Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Familuy Tragicomic
  12. Beilin, Caren. The University of Pennsylvania  &  Spain.
  13. Brand, Dionne. A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging
  14. Bridgeforth, Sharon. The Bull-Jean Stories
  15. Brooks, R. Alan. The Burning Metronome
  16. Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me (Bonus, read the new Black Panther series written by Coates. Bonus-bonus: Captain America)
  17. Case, Mairead. See You in the Morning
  18. Castillo, Ana. The Mixquiahuala Letters
  19. Chao, Geneve. Émigré
  20. Chassot, Joanne. Ghosts of the African Diaspora: Re-Visioning History, Memory, and Identity
  21. Cisneros, Sandra. House on Mango Street
  22. Clemmons, Zinzi. What We Lose
  23. Cole, Teju. Every Day is for the Thief
  24. Darznik, Jasmin. Song of a Captive Bird
  25. Davis, Angela. Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement.
  26. Danticat, Edwidge. Krik? Krak!
  27. Dawson, Erica. When Rap Spoke Straight to God
  28. DeConnick, Kelly Sue. Pretty Deadly  &  Bitch Planet
  29. Dennis-Benn, Nicole Y. Here Comes the Sun
  30. Derricotte, Toi. The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey
  31. Edugyan, Esi. Washington Black
  32. Emezi, Awkwaeke. Freshwater
  33. Erdrich, Louise. Round House  &  Love Medicine
  34. Farrokhzad, Forough. Sin: Selected Poems
  35. Farrokhzad, Athena. White Blight
  36. Gaudry, Molly. We Take Me Apart
  37. Florian, Sandy. On Wonderland & Waste
  38. Gay, Roxane. Ayiti  &  Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture
  39. Hanh, Thich Nhat. The Miracle of Mindfulness
  40. Kang, Han. The Vegetarian
  41. Kelly, Donika. Bestiary: Poems
  42. Kilanko, Yejide. Daughters Who Walk This Path
  43. Hagedorn, Jessica. Dogeaters
  44. Hammad, Suheir. Born Palestinian, Born Black
  45. Hernández, Jaime. Love Bunglers
  46. Jones, Tayari. An American Marriage
  47. Kapil, Bhanu. Incubation: A Space for Monsters
  48. Khong, Sister Chan. Learning True Love: Practicing Buddhism in a Time of War
  49. Kim, Myung Mi. Commons
  50. Kincaid, Jamaica. A Small Place
  51. King, Ruth. Mindful of Race Understanding and Transforming Habits of Harm.
  52. King Jr., Martin Luther. Letter from the Birmingham Jail
  53. King, Nia. Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of our Lives
  54. Kunzru, Hari. White Tears
  55. Marquez, García Márquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude
  56. Laymon, Kiese. Heavy: An American Memoir
  57. Lamb, Meghan. Silk Flowers
  58. Lanay, Sade. Härte
  59. Lispector, Clarice. The Passion According to G.H.
  60. Lewis, Erica. Daryl Hall is My Boyfriend  &  Mary Wants to Be a Superwoman
  61. Longpre, Ella. How to Keep You Alive
  62. Long Solider, Layli. Whereas
  63. López, Julián. A Beautiful Young Woman
  64. Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
  65. McCrae, Shane. Blood  &  Mule
  66. Martinez, J. Michael. Heredities: Poems
  67. Morrison, Toni. The Origin of Others (also everything)
  68. Mukasonga, Scholastique. Our Lady of the Nile
  69. Murakami, Haruki. Sputnik Sweetheart
  70. Myint, Thirii Myo Kyaw. The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, a Haven
  71. Nguyen, Diana Khoi. Ghost Of
  72. Noah, Trevor. Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
  73. Olivares, Christina. No Map of the Earth Includes Stars
  74. Oliver, Akilah. A Toast in the House of Friends (and anything else you can find).
  75. Orange, Tommy. There, There
  76. Ostlund, Lori. After the Parade
  77. Owens, Lama Rod and Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams. Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation
  78. Ozeki, Ruth. My Year of Meats
  79. Park, Samuel. This Burns My Heart
  80. Paull, Laline. The Bees
  81. Potter, Sally. Yes: Screenplay and Notes
  82. Queen, Khadijah. I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On
  83. Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric
  84. Rexilius, Andrea. To Be Human Is To Be A Conversation
  85. Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things
  86. Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis (The Story of Childhood, The Story of Return  Volumes 3 & 4)
  87. Saterstrom, Selah. Slab.
  88. Scott, Gail. The Obituary
  89. Shanahan, Charif. Into Each Room We Enter Without Knowing
  90. Shinkle, Katie Jean. Ruination
  91. Shōnagon, Sei. The Pillow Book
  92. Spalding, Amy. The Summer of Jordi Perez (And The Best Burger in Los Angeles
  93. Tamirat, Nafkote. The Parking Lot Attendant
  94. Thien, Madeleine. Do Not Say We Have Nothing
  95. Thummel, Jessica. The Cure for Lonely
  96. Toomer, Jean. Cane
  97. Zadok, Rachel & Nick Mulgrew. Water: New Short Story Fiction from Africa: An Anthology from Short Story Africa  &  (Bonus: check out the whole Short Story Day Africa collection.)
  98. Wallschlaeger, Nikki. Houses  &  Crawlspace
  99. Ward, Jesmyn. Sing, Unburied, Sing
  100. Webster, Chaun. GeNtry!fication: Or the Scene of the Crime
  101. Wedge, M.B.F. Knickpoint
  102. Winterson, Jeanette. The Passion
  103. Wicker, Marcus. Silencer
  104. Wurth, Erika T. Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend   You Who Enter Here
  105. Yanique, Tipahnie. How to Escape from a Leper Colony
  106. Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective
  107. Yapa, Sunil. Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist
  108. Yoshimoto, Banana. Kitchen

*Initiated by Leah Rogin-Roper, and reposted with permission.

Author: Literary Citizen

Literary Citizen: Writers Shaping Culture is a project devoted to finding writers, editors, artists and associated projects, mediums and venues that work towards positive change on many fronts.

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