A Reading List of African American AuthorsThank you ALL for your amazing recommendations of books by African American authors.  I have a lot of reading to do, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Several people have asked to see the list that I’ve put together from your suggestions, so I’m posting it here. I will update it as I receive and find other books to add, so bookmark this page and keep coming back to it for further reading recs. And please, comment below to add to this list.  I’m eager to get and share as many titles and authors as I can.

Your Suggestions

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Cane by Jean Toomer

Kindred or anything else by Octavia Butler

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

The Bridge Called Me Back edited by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua

Beautiful Also Are the Souls of my Black Sisters by Jeanne L. Noble

Sister Outsider and anything else by Audre Lorde

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange

Breath, Eyes, Memory or anything else by Edwidge Danticat

Sula or anything else by Toni Morrison

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

28 Days by Charles R. Smith and Shane W. Evans

Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver

Philadelphia Fire by John Edgar Wideman

Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford and Jamey Christoph

Into the Fire: African Americans since 1970 by Robin D. G. Kelley and all the other titles in the Young Oxford History of African Americans

The Norfolk 17 by Andrew Heidelberg

The Autobiography of Malcolm X with Alex Haley

How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others In America and anything else by Kiese Layman

The Known World and anything else by Edward P. Jones

The Coming Free by David Rubel

Meredian or anything else by Alice Walker

The Man Who Cried I Am or anything else by John A. Williams

Gifted Hands by Ben Carson

Partners of the Heart by Vivien Thomas

Giovanni’s Room and anything else by James Baldwin

salt or anything else by Nayyirah Waheed

All About Love or anything else by bell hooks

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Gem of the Ocean and the other plays in The Pittsburgh Cycle by August Wilson

The Ways of White Folks: Stories or anything else by Langston Hughes

Erasure by Percival Everett

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans

The Living Blood and anything else by Tananarive Due

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander

Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith

Elsewhere, California by Dana Johnson

Remedy for a Broken Angel by Toni Ann Johnson

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by Z. Z. Packer

River, Cross My Heart and anything else by Breena Clarke

The Days of Good Looks and anything else by Cheryl Clark

A Lesson Before Dying and anything else by Earnest Gaines

Hurdy Gurdy by Tim Seibles

Salvage the Bones or anything else by Jesmyn Ward

Loving Day or anything else by Mat Johnson

Big Machine by Victor LaValle

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

Americanah by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie

Song Yet Sung by James McBride

Futureland by Walter Mosley

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

When I Was The Greatest by Jason Reynolds

Love Is The Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Slavery By Another Name by Douglas Blackmon

Proud Shoes by Pauli Murray

Having Our Say by Sarah L. and A. Elizabeth Delaney

Head Off and Split by Nikky Finney

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The Norton Anthology of African American Literature edited by Henry Louis Gates

Complete Writings of Phyllis Wheatley

Directed by Desire by June Jordan

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by Himself

The Visitation of Spirits by Randall Keenan

A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid

The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed

Passing by Nella Larson

Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor

My Face Is Black Is True: Callie House and the Case for Ex-Slave Reparations by Mary Frances Berry

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Fire Shut Up in my Bones by Charles Blow

Book of Hours by Kevin Young

Mercurochrome by Wanda Coleman

I’m getting more recommendations all the time, so I’ll be updating each day.  I really do hope you’ll read some of these and let me know what you think.  And if you’re interested in what I learn from each of these books (or just want to keep me accountable to read them all), feel free to follow me on Goodreads, or send me a request there, and I’ll accept it asap.

Thank you all again for the great recommendations. My prayer is that my heart will be changed, my words made more honest, and my actions more vigorous as I learn and, I expect, weep.


Note – the links above are affiliate links for Amazon.  PLEASE buy your books where you wish, especially if you can get them locally or from an independent bookstore. I include these links simply because I believe in supporting writers in as many ways as I can, and these links make it easier for y’all to get copies of these titles if you want them.