birds-of-maya

Lots of people, including myself, have included “read more books” on their list of New Year’s Resolutions. So I thought I’d compile some book recommendations to provide you guys with inspiration! In no particular order, here’s a list of 101 books I’ve read and loved.

FICTION

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (my all-time favorite!)
  2. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
  3. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  4. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  6. Room by Emma Donoghue
  7. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  8. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  9. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  10. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  11. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
  12. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  13. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  14. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
  15. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
  16. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  17. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  18. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
  19. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  20. Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith (an underrated but oh-so-beautiful book)
  21. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  22. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  23. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  24. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (duh)
  25. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  26. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  27. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  28. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  29. The Odyssey by Homer (I recommend the Robert Fagles translation)
  30. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  31. It by Stephen King
  32. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  33. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  34. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (even better if you can read it in the original French!)
  35. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  36. Savvy by Ingrid Law
  37. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  38. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  39. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  40. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
  41. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  42. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  43. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  44. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  45. The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane
  46. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  47. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  48. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  49. Hunger by Knut Hamsun
  50. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
  51. The World According to Garp by John Irving
  52. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  53. The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  54. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (love, love, love!)
  55. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  56. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  57. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  58. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  59. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  60. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  61. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  62. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  63. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  64. 1984 by George Orwell
  65. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  66. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  67. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
  68. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  69. It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (a book whose message is especially relevant in light of the recent election)
  70. Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

NONFICTION/POETRY

  1. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  2. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  3. Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be by Frank Bruni (a must-read for anyone stressed out about college admissions and the Ivy League hype)
  4. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  5. The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida
  6. salt. by Nayyirah Waheed
  7. Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O'Reilly
  8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  9. The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace
  10. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  11. Night by Elie Wiesel
  12. Ariel by Sylvia Plath
  13. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
  14. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  15. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (this is the memoir that baby memoirs want to be when they grow up)
  16. Cosmos by Carl Sagan
  17. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  18. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  19. The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir
  20. Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon
  21. How to Become a Straight‑A Student by Cal Newport
  22. The Color of Water by James McBride
  23. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  24. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
  25. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  26. The Road to Character by David Brooks
  27. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (all of Gladwell’s books are great tbh)
  28. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
  29. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  30. No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay
  31. Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn

P.S. If you’re trying to read more in 2017, check out my posts about goal-setting and habits!


Thanks for reading! If you have questions, feedback, or post requests, feel free to drop me an ask.

+Click here for the rest of my original reference posts!

Sophia :)

18 Sept 16 — messy messy non-desk desk. 2 weeks and I’ll be back in Cambridge after a stupid number of months off for summer. !!! Currently reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and couldn’t recommend it more; I’m underlining and annotating like a possessed Lit student.

In Honor of #InternationalWomensDay

Some Recommendations for Books Written by Female Authors:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
This Bridge Called My Back edited by Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga
Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Passing by Nella Larsen
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Henry and June by Anaïs Nin
Emma by Jane Austen
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Silas Marner by George Eliot
The History of Mary Prince by Mary Prince
My Ántonia by Willa Cather
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Oroonoko by Aphra Behn
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Awakening by Kate Chopin 
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Feel free to add your own :)

Sorry, I just found this …. so next year … 

but take a look …  and then ask yourself, 

if I turned my life into a memoir, 

Could it be on this list of life changing books?

NATIONAL BANNED BOOKS WEEK 

SEPTEMBER 27 - OCTOBER 3, 2015

Challenged and Banned Books by and about African Americans

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

1983 – 2009—Over thirty-five challenges in twenty states since the book’s publication.

2009—Challenged in the Newman-Crows Landing School District on a required reading list presented by the Orestimba High English Department.  A trustee questioned the qualifications of Orestimba staff to teach a novel depicting African American culture.  (CA)

A Hero Ain’t Nothin But a Sandwich by Alice Childress

1976 – 1994—Challenged five times in five states.  (NY, GA, TX, MD, SC)

1976—Removed from Island Trees School Union Free District High School library along with nine other titles because they were considered “immoral, anti-American, anti-Christian, or just plain filthy.”  (NY)

Rainbow Jordan by Alice Childress

1986—Challenged at the Gwinnett County public schools because of “foul language and sexual references.”  (GA)

1986—Banned from Spokane middle schools because the book’s storyline about a prostitute’s daughter was “too mature.”  (WA)

My House by Nikki Giovanni

1992—Challenged by the Duval County public school libraries because it contains the word “nigger” and was accused of containing excessive vulgarity, racism, and sex.  (FL)

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

1979—Responding to criticism from an anti-pornography organization, the Ogden School District restricted circulation of Hansberry’s play.  (UT)

Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron

1998—Challenged in Brooklyn because it was considered racially insensitive.  (NY)

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

1997—Challenged for sexual explicitness, but retained on the Stonewall Jackson High School’s academically advanced reading list in Brentsville.  A parent objected to the novel’s language and sexual explicitness.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

1995 – 2007—Challenged seven times in six states since its publication.  (FL, TX, ME, IL, ID, & KY)

2007—Challenged in the Coeur d’Alene School District.  Some parents say the book along with five others should require parental permission for students to read them.  (ID)

2013—Parent wants the book removed because she believes it depicts scenes of bestiality, gang rape and an infant’s gruesome murder, content she believes could be too intense for teenage readers.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

1994 – 2007—Challenged eleven times in nine states since publication.  (AK, PA, FL, MA, MD, NH, CA, CO, MI)

2005—Banned from the Littleton curriculum and library shelves after complaints about its explicit sex, including the rape of an eleven-year-old girl by her father.  (CO)

2013— The board of education president in Ohio is criticizing the inclusion of the book on the Common Core Standard’s recommended reading list for 11th-graders, labeling the controversial work “pornographic,” and wishes to ban it from the classroom.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

1993 – 2009—Challenged in five states due to its sexually explicitly language.  (OH, GA, FL, MD, MI)

1998—Removed from the St. Mary’s County Schools’ approved text list by the school superintendent overruling a faculty committee recommendation.  Complaints referred to the novel as “filth,” “trash,” and “repulsive.”  (MD)

Sula by Toni Morrison

2000—Challenged on the Poolesville High School reading list because of the book’s sexual content and language.  On October 5, 2000, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Paul McGuckian dismissed the bid to band the work from the curriculum.  The school, however, decided to remove the book from the summer reading list.  (MD)


Push by Sapphire

2005—Challenged, but retained at Fayetteville High School despite a parent’s complaint that it was sexually explicit.  The complainant also submitted a list of more than fifty books, citing the books as too sexually explicit and promoting homosexuality.  (AL)

enroutetospace  asked:

Hi Ijeoma! I genuinely love love love your writings. I feel as if they just... speak to me. Could you please share some of your favourite books?

These are some I could think of quickly. Enjoy the list:

1. Create Dangerously: The immigrant Artist at Work by Edwidge Danticat

2. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

3. Brother, I am Dying by Edwidge Danticat

4. The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

5. The Gift. Poems by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

6. I Know why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

7. Shake loose my Skin by Sonia Sanchez

8. I Have Been a Woman by Sonia Sanchez

9. For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide by Ntozake Shange

10. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

11. Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship by Anjan Sundaram.

12. James Baldwin: The Last Interview: And Other Conversations

13. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

14. There was a Country by Chinua Achebe.

15. The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka.

16. The Concubine by Elechi Amadi.

17. Fela: This Bitch of a life by Moore Carlos.

18. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. 

19. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Child Solider by Ishmael Beah.

20. Letter to my Daughter by Maya Angelou. 

P.S. Thank you for your kind kind words. Thank you.

Book Recs: Books by black women (about black women)
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982), Historical fiction/ LGBT. It is a devastating, beautiful, heart-wrenching story of 14-year-old girl named Celie surviving abuse, racism, and poverty in rural 1930s Georgia. Alice Walker portrays the resilience, intelligence and strength of black women in this story while also condemning and challenging sexism and traditional gender roles. There’s also been an incredible film adaptation, Broadway adaptation, and Broadway revival.
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1969), Autobiography. Maya tells her powerful story. As a young girl, Maya was sent by her mother to live in small Southern town, and she and her brother Bailey experience severe abandonment and racism.This book wrecked my soul at moments, but it’s also filled with a tremendous amount of power and light and hope. 
  • Color Blind: A Memoir by Precious Williams (2010), Autobiography.  Precious was handed off in a basket by her birth mother to Nan, a white 60-year-old “color-blind” foster mother. Precious is taunted and ostracized in her all-white school, and Nan could never really understand or articulate her daughter’s struggles. This memoir was brave, personal and beautifully dealt with identity and race.
  • The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2009), Post-Colonial/ Short Story Collection. This work has a great legacy. First it started with a 117-year-old book called the Heart of Darkness by a white male British author that dehumanized African people. Later, Nigerian author Chinua Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart which retold the narrative from a Nigerian author’s perspective. And now we have Adichie’s story, which presents a needed female Nigerian perspective. All 12 of her short stories are beautifully written and critically examine Africa and the effects of colonization.
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith (2000), Contemporary Fiction/ Post-Colonial/ LGBT elements. The novel is divided into sections, each one focusing on different characters. You have Archie Jones and his friend Samad Iqbal, and the latter half of the novel focuses on their families: Clara, Irie, Millat, and Magid. Zadie Smith challenges racism and prejudice all the way from British imperialism to casual every-day racism and homophobia while being incredibly cheeky and hilarious.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937), Historical Fiction. Hurston insisted that her novel not be “miserable” or “downtrodden.” And I think she really succeeds in her celebration of black womanhood and poor rural black communities. We get to see Janie Crawford’s growth from a silenced teenage girl into a woman with agency and power who gets to decide her own fate.
  • A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid (1988), Creative Non-Fiction/ Autobiography.  This is a series of essays, written in four sections, that expresses Kincaid’s powerful rage towards slavery, colonialism and the broken identify of her home of Antigua. From start to finish, this collection of essays was a giant f-you to colonization.
  • Beloved (and honestly anything) by Toni Morrison (1987), Historical Fiction. This book changed my life. Toni Morrison is a deeper, grander, more nuanced and just generally better Faulkner. If you like ghost stories, mysteries, stories full of rage and hope that deeply examine human consciousness, books that tear apart your perceptions of humanity, books that force you to read them over and over again to pick through all the layers of meaning, you will love this book.

Members of Watery Love, Beaver Mafia, Birds of Maya, Ham Sandwiches, Spacin’, and Mists of Time.  Loud destructo rock.  Appearing at the happiest place in Philly, the Philadelphia Record Exchange (1524 Frankford Ave) next Saturday 3-8.  The show is free, the records cost money.  BYOB.  Fuckin’ Record Reviews should come down!  This post is a milestone of sorts, the first time I’ve ever “bolded” anything.

8

Born on this day…

April 4, 1928

Marguerite Annie Johnson (Maya Angelou): Author, Poet, Activist

Books (Autobiographies of Maya Angelou):

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings 

captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

Gather Together in My Name 

continues Maya Angelou’s personal story, begun so unforgettably in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings…Maya Angelou, still in her teens, has given birth to a son. But the next few years are difficult ones as she tries to find a place in the world for herself and her child. 

Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas 

in this third self-contained volume of her autobiography…Maya Angelou moves into the adult world. Maya struggles to support herself and her son through a series of odd jobs and weathers a failed marriage to a white man before landing a gig singing in one of the most popular nightclubs on the San Francisco coast.

The Heart of a Woman 

in The Heart of a Woman, Maya Angelou leaves California with her son, Guy, to move to New York. There she enters the society and world of black artists and writers, reads her work at the Harlem Writers Guild, and begins to take part in the struggle of black Americans for their rightful place in the world

All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes

in 1962 the poet, musician, and performer Maya Angelou claimed another piece of her identity by moving to Ghana, joining a community of “Revolutionist Returnees” inspired by the promise of pan-Africanism…lyrical and acutely perceptive exploration of what it means to be an African American on the mother continent, where color no longer matters but where American-ness keeps asserting itself in ways both puzzling and heartbreaking.

 A Song Flung Up to Heaven 

opens as Maya Angelou returns from Africa to the United States to work with Malcolm X. But first she has to journey to California to be reunited with her mother and brother. No sooner does she arrive there than she learns that Malcolm X has been assassinated.

Mom & Me & Mom 

at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.

Quote:

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Additional Quick Read:

Angelou’s Memoirs Place Her in Literary History