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Books: Fiction

  • American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
    American Dirt is a gripping and empathetic story of an immigrant mother and son and their struggle to flee cartel violence and settle in America
  • The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead
    Fictionalized story of a Florida school where dozens of black boys were tortured and buried in a secret graveyard.
  • Deacon King Kong, James McBride
    “Deacon King Kong is deeply felt, beautifully written and profoundly humane; McBride’s ability to inhabit his characters’ foibled, all-too-human interiority helps transform a fine book into a great one.” —The New York Times Book Review
  • If Beale Street Could Talk, James Baldwin. 1974. “A moving, painful story, so vividly human and so obviously based on reality that it strikes us as timeless.” –The New York Times Book Review Made into a Movie in 2018.
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward, 2018 Winner of the National Book Award. “The author leads readers into rural Mississippi, to the pain and grief and struggle of a family who can’t escape history … Ward’s uniquely lyrical prose ties the family’s modern-day struggles to the literal ghosts of Southern history.” —Minnesota Public Radio
  • The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett, 2020 “… a multi-generational family saga that tackles prickly issues of racial identity and bigotry and conveys the corrosive effects of secrets and dissembling. NPR
  • This is How it Always is by Laurie Frankel, 2018 Amazon’s Best Books of 2017: Top 20
    “This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.”
  • Beloved Toni Morrison, Pulitzer Prize winning novel, 1987. Set after the American Civil War (1861–1865), it is inspired by the life of Margaret Garner, an African American who escaped slavery in Kentucky in late January 1856 by crossing the Ohio River to Ohio, a free state. Captured, she killed her child rather than have her taken back into slavery.
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marrquez 1967
    “….the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race. It takes up not long after Genesis left off and carries through to the air age, reporting on everything that happened in between with more lucidity, wit, wisdom, and poetry than is expected from 100 years of novelists, let alone one man.”–New York Times
  • There, There, Tommy Orange, 2018, explores the themes of Native peoples living in urban spaces (Urban Indians), and issues of ambivalence and complexity related to Natives’ struggles with identity and authenticity. Winner of the 2019 Hemingway Foundation PEN Award.
  • Almanac of the Dead, A Novel by Leslie Marmon Silko, Penguin Books, 1992,
    “A brilliant, haunting, and tragic novel of ruin and resistance in the Americas. In a long dialectic, tinted with genius and compelled by a just anger, Silko dramatizes the often desperate struggle of native peoples in the Americas to keep, at all costs, the core of their culture: their way of seeing, their way of believing, their way of being. —Larry McMurtry, author of Lonesome Dove
  • The Water-Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, One World Publisher, 2019
    A spellbinding look at the impact of slavery that uses meticulously researched history and hard-won magic to further illuminate this country’s original sin. . . . Exploring the loaded issues of race and slavery has become yet more fuel for today’s culture wars, but an underlying message of liberation through the embrace of history forms the true subject of The Water Dancer. . . . Coates envisions the transcendent potential in acknowledging and retelling stories of trauma from the past as a means out of darkness. With recent family separations at the U.S. border, this message feels all the more timely.”—Los Angeles Times
  • Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin, 1953 Vintage Reprint 2013
    In one of the greatest American classics, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery of the terms of his identity. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.
  • Homeland Elegies: A Novel by Ayad Akhtar Little Brown and Co., 2020
    Pakistani migrants, professional educated people 50 years ago moved to the U.S, enticed by the ‘American Dream.’ The intimate details of their professional and personal lives, their thoughts and opinions and those of their family and friends are laid bare, pre and post 9/11, narrated by their adult American born son, a non practicing Muslim.
  • The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich Harper, March 2020
    “Erdrich’s blend of spirituality, gallows humor, and political resistance is at play…it may be set in the 1950’s, but the history it unearths and its themes of taking a stand against injustice are every bit as timely today.” Christian Science Monitor
  • The Tortilla Curtain by T.C.Boyle, Penguin Press, September 1996
    Boyle’s tragicomic, award-winning novel about assimilation, immigration, and the price of the American dream.
    “A masterpiece of contemporary social satire.” The Wall Street Journal
  • The Man who Lived Underground by Richard Wright
    Library of America, April 20, 2021 NYTimes bestseller; an explosive, previously unpublished novel about race and police violence