for ppl who have been asking, sorry it’s taken me so long to get it out! but first—brief overview:
i started this year deciding that i would (a) read more books and (b) not read any books written by white men. so the books listed below r either (a) written by an author of color or (b) written by a white female author with prominent characters of color.
i spent a solid chunk of 2013 feeling pretty damn stressed and frustrated with the representation of race in literature. i hated that i was constantly being asked to validate my existence in sci-fi and fantasy genres. i hated that the only POC experience worth telling was when we were suffering and/or killing ourselves for the white ppl around us. i wanted to read and actually escape in to well rounded characters that were darker than beige and gave no fucks about whiteness—THUS this list was born.
my goal is to read the entire list by the end of the year so i will reblog with updates as the year goes on. feel free to make suggestions! crossed out items have already been read.
The Inheritance Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin
In the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, gods dwell among mortals and one powerful, corrupt family rules the earth. Three extraordinary people may be the key to humanity’s salvation.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (2010)
The Broken Kingdoms (2010)
The Kingdom of Gods (2011)
- The Awakened Kingdom (2014) *a standalone novella set in the same world
The Spiritwalker Trilogy by Kate Elliott
When the cold mages come for her, who can she trust? Cat Barahal was the only survivor of the flood that took her parents. Now, betrayed by her family and forced to marry a powerful cold mage, Cat will be drawn into a labyrinth of politics. There she will learn the full ruthlessness of their rule. For it is the dawn of a new age, with industry and revolution transforming the land. There’s just one problem: the cold mages don’t want things to change.
Cold Magic (2010)
Cold Fire (2011)
Cold Steel (2013)
- The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal (2013) *a standalone novella set in the same world
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most powerful and astonishing novel yet.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
With dazzling energy and insight, Junot Díaz immerses us in the uproarious lives of our hero Oscar, his runaway sister Lola, and their ferocious beauty-queen mother Belicia, and in the epic journey from Santo Domingo to Washington Heights to New Jersey’s Bergenline and back again. Rendered with uncommon warmth and humor, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao presents an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and the endless human capacity to persevere - and to risk it all - in the name of love.
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) CURRENTLY READING
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.
The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami
In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.
- The Wind Up Bird Chronicles (1997)
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In 1960s Nigeria, a country blighted by civil war, three lives intersect. Ugwu, a boy from a poor village, works as a houseboy for a university professor. Olanna, a young woman, has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos to live with her charismatic new lover, the professor. And Richard, a shy English writer, is in thrall to Olanna’s enigmatic twin sister. As the horrific Biafran War engulfs them, they are thrown together and pulled apart in ways they had never imagined.
- Half of a Yellow Sun (2006)
Dreamblood by N.K. Jemisin
In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers - the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe…and kill those judged corrupt.
- The Killing Moon (2012)
- The Shadowed Sun (2012)
- The Narcomancer (2007) *a standalone short story set in the same world
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness–and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of his life, whose heartbreak ultimately becomes his own. In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.
- This Is How You Lose Her (2012)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007)
Acacia Trilogy by David Anthony Durham
Leodan Akaran, ruler of the Known World, has inherited generations of apparent peace and prosperity, won ages ago by his ancestors. A widower of high intelligence, he presides over an empire called Acacia, after the idyllic island from which he rules. He dotes on his four children and hides from them the dark realities of traffic in drugs and human lives on which their prosperity depends. He hopes that he might end this traffic, but powerful forces stand in his way. And then a deadly assassin sent from a race called the Mein, exiled long ago to an ice-locked stronghold in the frozen North, strikes at Leodan in the heart of Acacia while the Mein unleash surprise attacks across the empire. On his deathbed, Leodan puts into play a plan to allow his children to escape, each to his or her separate destiny. And so his children begin a quest to avenge their father’s death and restore the Acacian empire — this time on the basis of universal freedom
- The War with the Mein (2007)
- The Other Lands (2009)
- The Sacred Band (2011)
Huntress by Malinda Lo
To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls’ destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.
The Crescent Moon Kingdoms by Saladin Ahmed
The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings.
- Throne of the Crescent Moon (2012)
- The Thousand and One (2014)