My Personal Anti-Racist Reading List.

Today I wanted to share a list of anti-racist book picks but I want to stress that this is my personal reading list. I am (obviously!) not an expert here but I’m using the next 12 months and beyond to LEARN and grow. And become a student of anti-racism and the best possible ally. I shared earlier that I am committing to read at least one anti-racist book a month for the next twelve months (ideally more than that!). And I struggled with whether I should share my own list, or just use my platform to amplify other resources but I decided to share my own list as I have found in the past that I influence more people sharing my personal picks vs. just linking to resources. Those resources are linked below (PLEASE read them first) but consider this list my required reading for 2020.

(Edited to add: I’ve removed White Fragility from this list as there are already so many incredible books written by Black authors to read.)

My Personal Anti-Racist Reading List

Unlike the rest of my book lists, this is (primarily) not a list of books I’ve read. But rather, a list of books I plan to read. There is so much to learn.

Another thing that can really help is WHERE you buy your books! I am personally a massive fan of Bookshop.org (read more about them in this post) because of their mission to support independent book sellers. You can choose which book seller they will support when you order. I believe 30% of sales goes to the bookseller. Also: here is a list of black-owned online bookstores; this instagram post also has some good ones too.

Also regarding Bookshop.org. They are my chosen books partner; I like that they support indie booksellers and am a part of their affiliate program. For all the talk about books here, I actually don’t earn much from books (last month I made $236.74). I want you guys to buy these books, but I’m not trying to profit from it! So I will donate all of this month’s book affiliate revenue next month. (This is in addition to what I’ve already pledged.) Over on Bookshop I have two relevant lists to share: anti-racist books, and my favorite books by black authors.

And lastly (sorry, this is getting long!) A reader (hi Anne!) sent me a really thoughtful note that I thought was very relevant.

She wrote:

One thing that’s also important – and something I think you already do – is to read stories that are about BIPOC living everyday lives and dealing with everyday conflicts. You just read Andre Leon’s memoir and you’ve championed Elizabeth Acevedo’s work, etc – this is important! These works are no less significant than texts that explicitly tackle social justice. Elevating and highlighting stories in which BIPOC live their lives is integral.

In education, we say that the books kids read should be “windows and mirrors” – windows into the lives of people who don’t look or act like them, who identify differently, who are not neuro-typical, etc. – and mirrors that kids can read books that have characters who ARE like them. I think you’ve done a pretty good job with the “windows” part. Of course, we can always do more – highlight diverse books, champion their authors, make space in the same way that we do for white authors and white books.”

I loved this so much. I’ve also been talking to my friend Danielle about this same thing. It’s so important to read books that have non-white protagonists. And adding some lighter, more “fun” books to your list… think Jasmine Guillory or Elizabeth Acevedo’s books. So please: balance these heavier books with some lightness. I’ve added a “Black Authors” filter to my reading list page and would also recommend listening to today’s episode of Bad on Paper for that – Becca and I are sharing our favorite books by Black authors, and also had some friends of the pod chime in, too.

This list tackles mostly social justice books and that’s intentional.

But I’ll continue to highlight the stories of BIPOC here too in my monthly reading lists. And I have a few good fiction recs for you at the bottom of this post. My point is this: read the non-fiction books to educate yourself. But don’t feel badly tucking into a good romance novel with a Black protagonist. As with everything, there has to be a balance of light and serious and you can learn in different ways!

Free Resources:

These are some fantastic resources that I have been working my way through each of these and would highly recommend checking them out. 

My Starting Point:

So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeomo Oluo

READ – JUNE 2020. As mentioned, this book has been my starting point for June. I find that reading one book will make me curious and I’ll go down all sorts of different rabbit holes. So I am not sure what my July book is but we will see! It’s a New York Times best-seller and meant to be a user-friendly guide to talking about race and privilege and breaking down systematic racism.

I chose to read this one first as I had already ordered it a week or two ago (what is time?) during the Alison Roman, Emily Giffin drama (pls google if not familiar!). I found myself disgusted by what was happening but simultaneously nervous to talk about it and realized I needed to spend some time educating myself I wanted a book that would help me better understand talking about race and what being a true ally looks like. And this book has been perfect for that so far.

I’ve read the first two chapters and have already learned a lot: particularly when something IS about race (hint: if a Black person says something is about race, it IS about race…), what systematic racism and white fragility are, and white privilege in general. I love the examples she shares about talking to her (white) mother about racism, and I love that she acknowledges that we are going to mess up (but then gives us steps + tips to not mess up TOO much). I’m only two chapters in but wholeheartedly recommend reading it. Please read it with me this month – I’ll share my full thoughts when I finish! (Also, for those using NYPL I’ve been told by a reader in the comments that this one is always available for free as an audiobook!)

Other good starting points:

  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge: Emma Watson called this book “The most important book for me this year.” This is another book about the discussions of race and racism and how these conversations are so often led by those blind to it.
  • How to be an antiracist, by Ibram X Kendi: (READ AUGUST 2020) There has been SO much talk about anti-racism (another great resource is this post from Cup of Jo, which I continually point people to. I’m told is essential for anyone who wants to go beyond being aware of racism to the next step – creating a society that is truly just and equitable.
  • Me and White Supremacy, by Layla F Saad: I love that it’s based around a 28 day journey of dismantling the privilege within ourselves so that we can stop (often unconsciously) inflecting damage on people of color (and help other white people to do better).

Memoirs I Want To Read:

When They Call You a Terrorist, by Patrisse Khan-Cullors

READ – JULY 2020. This is at the top of my list of memoirs to read. Patrisse (the author) is the founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement. This is her memoir. From growing up in a poor LA neighborhood and  experiencing prejudice first hand to co-founding Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi (which led to them being condemned as terrorists and a threat to America!!!). The book explores how the criminal justice system serves a white privilege agenda. And how Patrisse has transformed her personal pain into political power. I love a memoir and think this is probably going to be next on my list after So You Want to Talk About Race.

Heavy, by Kiese Laymon.

Laymon combines his own personal stories of growing up in Mississippi (and experiencing sexual violence), being suspended from college, and becoming a college professor. It’s been compared to Roxane Gay’s Hunger and while a vulnerable memoir, I’m told it’s also quite funny at times. From The Atlantic: “You won’t be able to put [this memoir] down…It is packed with reminders of how black dreams get skewed and deferred. Yet are also pregnant with the possibility that a kind of redemption may lie in intimate grappling with black realities.”

Waking up White, by Debby Irving

Debby Irving is a white woman and educator who always sensed racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. This book openly tells her (cringe-worthy, I’m told) story as she learns to be a better ally. From Jodi Picoult (one of my favorite authors), “I read Waking Up White in one sitting. To say I loved it is an understatement. It’s such a raw, honest portrait …. Irving’s experience on display – warts and all – will help white people, who haven’t noticed the role systemic privilege has played in their lives, start to see the world in a new way.” I truly believe that one of the best ways to learn is through our mistakes (and others mistakes, too!) which makes this a must-read for me.

Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

READ – JULY 2020 You probably already know I’m a massive Trevor Noah fan. This is a collection of stories from his childhood growing up in South Africa at the end of apartheid. The title of the book comes from the fact that when he was born (to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother), their union was an actual crime, leading him to being kept mostly indoors for his early years. Several readers recommended this as (while not a comedic book at all), he tells his stories in such a warm endearing, sometimes even funny way. One reader told me it was one of her top five books ever… I love Trevor and really want to read this!

For Extra Credit…

Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

This one is also a movie! I’ve been told that this book will change the way you think about the criminal justice system. Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (a legal practice dedicated to helping the most desperate and in need). The book is an account of his coming of age, the people he’s defended and a look at what justice should look like.

Stamped, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi

(Also a NYT best-seller), this one is meant for teens but we should all read it! It’s a reimagination of Dr Kendi’s original National Book Award winner Stamped from The Beginning. And acts as a history of racist ideas in America: where they come from and how to discredit them. I’m told this one is very fast-paced. So it could be good to read after one of the more dense books on this list.

This came highly recommended by one of my favorite yoga instructors and deals with our unconscious contributions toward white supremacy and the institutions that uphold it. It’s about holding yourself accountable and self-reflection.

The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin

I got so many recommendations to read James Baldwin – all of his books – but this one came most recommended. James Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and activist – he passed away in 1987. This book (an instant best-seller) first appeared in 1963 and today stands as a classic in our literature.

The Lynching, by Laurence Leamer

This is the story of a race-based killing in 1981 and the trials that brought down the Ku Klux Klan. When two Klansmen beat and kill 19 year old Michael Donald (gruesomely, leaving his body hanging from a tree), one of the men is sentenced to death which was the first time in 50+ years that the state of Alabama had ever sentenced a white man to death for killing a black man. This book is the story of the trials, how the KKK was exposed, and the lingering effect on race relations today.

Even More Recs!

These all came highly recommended to me by you guys / in the DM’s!

Fiction Books to Read 

As discussed above I also wanted to include some fiction recs here. I admittedly prefer reading fiction. I think this is a case where reading the non-fiction books needs to be the top priority, but also wanted to include a few fiction picks that came highly recommended to me. You can still learn a lot from fiction! For more fiction books by Black authors, you can filter my book list page (I’ve added a “Black authors” filter), or listen to today’s episode of Bad on Paper.

The Girl With the Louding Voice, by Abi Daré

READ September 2020: I have not read this one yet but heard really wonderful things about this book. (It was named a most anticipated book of 2020 by several important publications.) It’s the story of a 14 year old Nigerian girl who wants an education. As her mother told her, it’s the only way to obtain a “louding voice,” (meaning the ability to make her own decisions and speak for herself). When she is sold off to be the third wife of a local man, she runs away to the city to try and make a better life but her only option is servitude. This is her story – I don’t know what happens as I haven’t read it but I’ve been told it’s brave, powerful, and optimistic!

The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead

READ JUNE 2020: I cannot wait to read this. This historical fiction book won the Pulitzer Prize this year. Two boys (Elwood and Turner) are sentenced to a terrible sounding reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. Elwood is naive and idealistic while Turner is a skeptic who believes the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. It’s based on the true story of a reform school that was open for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children. I cannot wait to read this.

Two fiction books I already read and loved:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I read this book years ago and still think about it all the time. It’s the story of Starr, a teenage girl whose world implodes when her innocent (black) best friend is murdered by a white police man. Starr has to straddle the world she grew up in (a black community) and the (mostly white) prep school she attends and her friends there, as she is the witness on the case but has to remain anonymous. I think this one is ultra timely right now. It’s also a movie, which I haven’t yet seen!

Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid

We talk about this book on the podcast today and if you are looking for a book that is light and fun but tackles serious issues, this is one to read. Emira (a Black babysitter) is held up at the supermarket because the security guard there believes she’s kidnapped the little girl she’s babysitting. It gets complicated when a bystander records the whole exchange. And then it goes from there. The book alternates between the perspectives of Emira and Alix (Emira’s boss – also, an influencer). Alix is pretty cringe, while also mostly well-intentioned. There’s a bit of a twist where their stories overlap outside of their working relationship (this one shocked me!!). I loved it, and while packaged in a fun, light format, it’s still a serious look at racism both at a larger scale and with smaller micro-aggressions.

What did I miss? Tell me in the comments – or – tell me what you plan to read next.

Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. Teresa says 6.3.20

    Grace, this is fantastic! I really appreciate your work on this and will use this as a resource going forward. I’ve read several of these and ordered a few more.

  2. Christina says 6.3.20

    Highly recommend adding to this list “Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty” — it was originally published in 1997 and the most recent edition has an updated introduction. It takes a look at how Black women have been excluded from the agenda of the “mainstream” (read: white) women’s movement. The book also goes through particular examples of continued government efforts to control Black women’s reproductive lives (and how this is a tool of maintaining a white supremacist system) and how the reproductive justice movement has shaped the conversation about what it truly means to have the freedom to choose if, when, and how to raise a family.

  3. Gentry Adams says 6.3.20

    Thank you thank you for this list! I am really excited (is that an ok word?! ) do dive in and educate myself better. There is a lot to learn, and these are great starting points.

    • I think it’s definitely okay to be excited about diving in and educating yourself! xo

  4. Anastasia says 6.3.20

    I love this list and your comments and your plan for the next 12 months and beyond! Really appreciate and support you on this! Also wanted to share for people using NYPL that “So you want to talk about race” is always available for free as an audiobook 🙂 I downloaded it so I can listen along with you this month!

  5. Sarah says 6.3.20

    I’m excited to read The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. It was recommended to me by Kara Brown (and also was on Barack Obama’s reading list last year). I had been waiting to read it, but now seems like the time. Love this list you put together and can’t wait to see you soon!

  6. christina says 6.3.20

    i just want to applaud all that you are doing. as a long time reader and black woman, it means so much. this time has been so scary, but i feel buoyed by knowing that the voices i read everyday are committing themselves to being an ally. that suggestion from your reader anne is so strikingly poignant but also so true. i especially hope that people with young children will take that to heart. also, i found jasmine guillory thanks to you, have now devoured all of her books and am anxiously waiting for the next. anyway, just wanted to say what you’re doing is appreciated by me ❤️

    • Hey Christina,
      Thank you so much for the kind words And I am so happy to hear that you love Jasmine’s books as much as I did. I can’t wait for the next one either!!!!

  7. Thanks for the recommendations! I really trust your book reviews! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  8. Molly says 6.3.20

    Angie Thomas’ next book On the Come Up is also great! It’s not technically a sequel to The Hate You Give, but it set in the same neighborhood a year or two later. It focuses on another high school aged girl who is really passionate about hip hop. Both of them are YA, so they’re pretty easy reads but still handle real topics.

  9. Rebecca Zoler says 6.3.20

    Thank you so much for this post! I am trying to add so many more new titles to my reading list for this year. I just finished White Fragility, which as a white woman, I also think is a great book to start with to become better educated and more self aware. And now I’m starting something a bit more light, finally getting to The Proposal (I loved The Wedding Date), very excited for this romance! And one of my June BOTM picks was The Vanishing Half, I’m really intrigued by this story. Also ordered the first 2 books from the Children of Blood and Bone series and cannot wait to devour 🙂

    Would love your help: I am such a big thriller fan, are there any good recommendations you have by Black authors?

    • I was thinking about that as I added the “Black authors” tab to my reading list last night and I don’t know any! I’m going to start a thread in the Bad on Paper facebook group to see if anyone has suggestions!

    • Betsy says 6.3.20

      He might be more of a crime/mystery writer but I love Walter Mosley!

    • Just got two recs from the FB group that sound interesting (I ordered immediately!)
      My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite
      Sleeping with Strangers by Eric Jerome Dickey

    • I ordered The Vanishing Half as well! Really excited to dig into this.

      • Rebecca Zoler says 6.4.20

        Amazing! Thank you for hunting down these recs 🙂

        Through nycbookgirl’s post, I just found author Tiffany D. Jackson who’s works include ‘Grown’ and ‘Monday’s Not Coming’, both sound like gripping thrillers!

        • Thank you!!! That is so funny, as I just ordered both of those books yesterday at the recommendation of a reader in the Bad on Paper facebook group.

  10. Maire says 6.3.20

    I am personally committing to reading more #OwnVoices books. Also, I found some good recs, both fiction and nonfiction, to put on my TBR and to request from my local public library from this list: https://www.essence.com/entertainment/summer-books-black-authors/#539546

  11. MarciaMarciaMarcia says 6.3.20

    Thank you for this post and for all these book recommendations. We have so much work to do to better understand ourselves and how we contribute to the current problems of racial injustice.

    When I was in college, many many moons ago, I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Hailey. To say it was life changing doesn’t even begin to cover it. I’ve never looked at the world the same way since, and I think about his journey and what it taught me on a regular basis. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Even better, this fall a new audio version will be released, narrated by Laurence Fishburne. The book may be 55 years old, but his life and what it can still teach us is as relevant as ever.

  12. Meg says 6.3.20

    When they call you a terrorist is one of the most profound books I have ever read — glad to see it on your list. Roxane Gay’s Hunger was impossible to put down and an incredible read. I cannot wait to read Jasmine Guillory’s newest book this summer (comes out later this month). Her Wedding Date series is everything – great, well written characters doing interesting things and steamy for summer reading. 🙂 Read Octavia Butler’s Kindred earlier this year and it blew my mind. Cannot believe it was written in 1979!

    • I am so excited to read it; thank you for your endorsement. And just love everything Jasmine Guillory writes – eagerly anticipating the new one!!!!

  13. Betsy says 6.3.20

    Grace, THANK YOU for this list. We cannot have too many resources.

    I am about to reread Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and look forward to reading
    A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet Washington after that (a friend recommended it to me.) I loved Trevor Noah’s book – highly recommend the audio version. Heavy was absolutely incredible but a really tough read for me. I wanted to put my arms around him during the entire book. I am about to go order Stamped based on your rec. I also want to reread Native Son by Richard Wright.

    Also, thank you for introducing me to Jasmine Guillory – I have really enjoyed all of her books! Looking forward to her new one coming out soon.

    • Thank you so much for the suggestions. I actually ordered Invisible Man yesterday!

    • Megan says 6.7.20

      I second this — you really must listen to Trevor Noah narrate Born a Crime. I can’t imagine experiencing the book any other way. Thanks for the list!

  14. Claire says 6.3.20

    Brit Bennett’s new novel The Vanishing Half just came out. Her first book The Mothers was outstanding. Other contemporary Black women novelists to check out are Yaa Gyasi and Imbolo Mbue. I think reading fiction is an essentially empathetic action, where we put ourselves in someone else’s place, and so while nonfiction is essential for educating ourself, purposely reading fiction by and about Black people is an important step in dismantling racism.

    • I ordered that this week and am really excited for it! Thank you for the suggestions.

  15. Jen says 6.3.20

    This is a great list! To add to the fiction section:
    Newer releases — Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
    Last couple years — Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyne Ward, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
    Last, but certainly not least, anything by Octavia Butler. She is a master of the science fiction and fantasy genre. Recommend starting with The Parable of the Sower and Kindred
    +1 to the person who suggested My Sister, the Serial Killer!

  16. mary says 6.3.20

    This week has been heavy and as much as I should read a textbook-style book on racism (and will at some point) for now I want to read black-authored memoirs and fiction instead. I want to feel kinship and a window to understanding that these types of books provide. It helps because we are all people with some shared and some unshared experiences seeing each other’s humanity. Thank you for the list and the uplifting podcast today. I’ve already read more POC authors because of your influence and more are on the TBR pile.

    • I think that’s totally fair! As I said before, it has to be a mix of heavy and light. I’ve been researching thrillers by Black authors for that reason (there aren’t very many!!!) as sometimes I just want to curl up with something light ans easy.

  17. Rebecca Itzkowitz says 6.3.20

    Some other great fiction books by Black Authors:
    Wedding Date series by Jasmine Guillory
    Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
    Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn
    My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

  18. Alexandra says 6.3.20

    Bookmarking this post! I appreciate how thoughtful and varied the recommendations are. This week in particular has been so eye-opening and really puts into perspective that having these titles in the “TBR” pile isn’t enough. We have to dig in and do the work. I pulled out my copy of White Fragility this week. It had been staring at me for two years and I can’t put it off anymore. Excited to keep learning with some of these picks afterward.

    -Alex

  19. Maggie says 6.3.20

    It is my turn for book options for my book club in July, so I proposed a few books by black female authors (we mainly read fiction) and we agreed upon The Wedding Date! I’ve also added many of the fiction recommendations that you & Becca discussed on the pod today to my Libby app and look forward to reading them in the upcoming weeks and months as they become available!

  20. Nicole Gossage Unland says 6.3.20

    To your fiction list please add The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I read it for the first time when I was younger and it’s a beautifully tragic story of a young African American girl. I can’t recommend it enough.

  21. Kristen says 6.3.20

    A great book I read recently is The Yellow House. It is nonfiction but reads like fiction. It’s all about a black family and their history in New Orleans.

  22. Raquel Fancher says 6.3.20

    Racism does not only happen with White vs Black. It also happens with White and any other race that is not White. It also happens within families. It happened in my family. When my grandfather (a Spaniard living in the Philippines) married my grandmother (a local Filipina beauty) his mother opposed the marriage. She wanted him to marry a Spanish lady with blonde hair and blue eyes; not a native with lovely brown skin and thick black hair down to her feet. My grandfather was disinherited. When he died his wealthy mother did not recognize the family he left behind; she did not provide for them eventhough they were left penniless and struggling. It was WWII after all. The only assistance a Spanish family member provided was to hire my mother and my aunt to be servants. One day their grandmother came to visit the blonde blue eyed cousins. They were out playing in the garden. My mother and aunt approached the blood relative group but were shooed away by their grandmother. With a wave of her hand she peremptoriy announced that this gathering was only for her and her grandchildren. Imagine the ostracism, the blatant racism and the damage that was inflicted upon my mother and aunt. They never got over that. My mother especially always felt she was not good enough. These learnings become generational learnings; they get passed on. I struggle often with feelings that I’m not good enough. I do know better and I do know the source. Racism is evil. Sometimes undoing racism starts at home.

  23. Andrea says 6.3.20

    Thank you for posting, Grace. I ordered “So You Want to Talk about Race”, “Heavy” and “When They Call You a Terrorist” to start. Really appreciate you taking the time to amalgamate these resources for us.

  24. Bri says 6.3.20

    LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing! So many of these are on my list, but I haven’t gotten to them yet.

    A few of my favorites:
    – We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    – How We Fight for Our Lives by Saheed Jones (so poetic and beautiful!!!)
    – Counting Descent by Clint Smith III (it’s a poetry book by one of the co-hosts of Pod Save the People, which is an invaluable resource for me)
    – The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    • Thank you so much for the recs!!!

    • Bri says 6.4.20

      I also just read I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver, who’s a white author, but it features a non-binary lead who falls in love with a black boy. It’s YA and a pretty quick read, but is absolutely some of the representation I think is so often missing.

  25. Emily says 6.4.20

    So helpful, thank you for posting this!

  26. Wendy says 6.4.20

    Read (or watch the tedtalk) danger of a single story by Chimanada Ngozi Adichie/
    Also an excellent story for children’s books is blackbabybooks.com

  27. Rosie says 6.4.20

    For fiction, clare of the sea light is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. It takes place in Haiti and while it’s fiction/novel the writing is almost a blend of poetry and prose. Truly a stunning novel.

  28. Emma says 6.5.20

    Hi Grace! I know you are not here for head pats or anything, but just wanted to express how pleased I am with how you are addressing the past few weeks. I have un-followed a lot of white influencers who have been saying the right things, but just don’t seem to really really GET it. I do feel like you are really taking this as a moment of reckoning and putting your money (and influence) where your mouth is.

    I want to include in this ongoing discussion this article on anti-racist readings. I thought it was a interesting perspective on how anti-racist reading lists can often just be a catchall for books by Black authors, creating a separate genre. “The syllabus, as these lists are sometimes called, seldom instructs or guides. It is no pedagogue. It is unclear whether each book supplies a portion of the holistic racial puzzle or are intended as revelatory islands in and of themselves. Aside from the contemporary teaching texts, genre appears indiscriminately: essays slide against memoir and folklore, poetry squeezed on either side by sociological tomes. This, maybe ironically but maybe not, reinforces an already pernicious literary divide that books written by or about minorities are for educational purposes, racism and homophobia and stuff, wholly segregated from matters of form and grammar, lyric and scene.”

    https://www.vulture.com/2020/06/anti-racist-reading-lists-what-are-they-for.html

    I do think your inclusion of books just about Black people in fiction is a great way to combat this. Would love to hear other thoughts!

    Also, you should 100000% add Samantha Irby’s books to your reading list. Literally no one makes me laugh harder.

    • Thank you so much. I read that article too (of course after publishing this list); it has a lot of great points.

  29. Rebecca says 6.5.20

    Read here every day (and follow religiously via podcast and insta!) and don’t think I’ve ever commented. Wanted to let you know that, along with many in corporate America, my team had a spontaneous and vulnerable discussion of the current unequal environment, which was really refreshing. A (superior, older) woman on my team that I look up to very much mentioned that she wanted to find books to read and educate herself better, so after our Zoom call hung up, I sent this list to her 🙂 Just wanted to thank you for putting this together and let you know it’s making the rounds around a stodgy old financial company now!

  30. Ali says 6.5.20

    Would love to recommend 2 fiction books that I read in 2018 written by black women: Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue and Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Behold the Dreamers is a beautiful book about a Cameroonian immigrant who works as a chauffeur for an important NYC executive and how the two families lives intertwine. Swing Time is about 2 black girls who dream of becoming dancers and it spans their lives after their friendship has evolved.

  31. Brooke Kruger says 6.12.20

    You should add Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi to this list. Excellent and heartbreaking as it traces the terrible impact of slavery on one family spanning generations. Finished today and it is must read. reviewed on my insta @brookebookclub

  32. Marie says 6.16.20

    Grace, I’d recommend adding “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Race” by Beverly Daniel Tatum to your list. Reading many of these with you!