• Literary Citizen

108 Books You Should Read Before You Read Another White Dude



Every year, a grip of publications post a new books-you-should-be-reading list. We at Literary Citizen believe that most of these lists think way too small. That is why we're starting our journal by spreading this particular list compiled by Denver writers Tameca L Coleman, Steven Dunn,  Leah Rogin-Roper, and Carolyn Zaikowski with some additional contributions fro m the Facebook Hive. *


We propose readers read a whole heck of a lot more than what's in the typical "canon." And if anyone feels that this list is racist or sexist, we'll counter with the following: Read the 108 books in this list, or even half of them, and then come back at us (and if you have more suggestions, leave them in the comments). Please also read Leah Rogin-Roper's essay about spending a year not reading white dudes as a rule.

Without further ado, the list:


  1. Abdul, Ali. Trouble Sleeping

  2. Adichie ,Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah

  3. Adjei-Brenyah, Nana Kwame. Friday Black

  4. Aidoo, Ama Ata. Our Sister Killjoy

  5. Ali, Agha Shahid. The Veiled Suite: The Collected Poems

  6. Alvarez, Julia. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

  7. Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza (also, This Bridge Called My Back edited by Anzaldúa and Cherríe L. Moraga)

  8. Apache, Crisosto. Genesis

  9. Austin, Ron A. Avery Colt is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar

  10. Baldwin, James. Go Tell it On the Mountain  &  The Fire Next Time

  11. Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

  12. Beilin, Caren. The University of Pennsylvania  & Spain

  13. Brand, Dionne. A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging

  14. Bridgeforth, Sharon. The Bull-Jean Stories

  15. Brooks, R. Alan. The Burning Metronome

  16. Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me (Bonus, read the new Black Panther series written by Coates. Bonus-bonus: Captain America)

  17. Case, Mairead. See You in the Morning

  18. Castillo, Ana. The Mixquiahuala Letters

  19. Chao, Geneve. Émigré

  20. Chassot, Joanne. Ghosts of the African Diaspora: Re-Visioning History, Memory, and Identity

  21. Cisneros, Sandra. House on Mango Street

  22. Clemmons, Zinzi. What We Lose

  23. Cole, Teju. Every Day is for the Thief

  24. Darznik, Jasmin. Song of a Captive Bird

  25. Davis, Angela. Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement.

  26. Danticat, Edwidge. Krik? Krak!

  27. Dawson, Erica. When Rap Spoke Straight to God

  28. DeConnick, Kelly Sue. Pretty Deadly  & Bitch Planet

  29. Dennis-Benn, Nicole Y. Here Comes the Sun

  30. Derricotte, Toi. The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey

  31. Edugyan, Esi. Washington Black

  32. Emezi, Awkwaeke. Freshwater

  33. Erdrich, Louise. Round House  & Love Medicine

  34. Farrokhzad, Forough. Sin: Selected Poems

  35. Farrokhzad, Athena. White Blight

  36. Gaudry, Molly. We Take Me Apart & Desire: A Haunting

  37. Florian, Sandy. On Wonderland & Waste

  38. Gay, Roxane. Ayiti  & Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture

  39. Hanh, Thich Nhat. The Miracle of Mindfulness

  40. Kang, Han. The Vegetarian

  41. Kelly, Donika. Bestiary: Poems

  42. Kilanko, Yejide. Daughters Who Walk This Path

  43. Hagedorn, Jessica. Dogeaters

  44. Hammad, Suheir. Born Palestinian, Born Black

  45. Hernández, Jaime. Love Bunglers

  46. Jones, Tayari. An American Marriage

  47. Kapil, Bhanu. Incubation: A Space for Monsters

  48. Khong, Sister Chan. Learning True Love: Practicing Buddhism in a Time of War

  49. Kim, Myung Mi. Commons

  50. Kincaid, Jamaica. A Small Place

  51. King, Ruth. Mindful of Race Understanding and Transforming Habits of Harm.

  52. King Jr., Martin Luther. Letter from the Birmingham Jail

  53. King, Nia. Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of our Lives

  54. Kunzru, Hari. White Tears

  55. Marquez, García Márquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude

  56. Laymon, Kiese. Heavy: An American Memoir

  57. Lamb, Meghan. Silk Flowers

  58. Lanay, Sade. Härte

  59. Lispector, Clarice. The Passion According to G.H.

  60. Lewis, Erica. Daryl Hall is My Boyfriend  &  Mary Wants to Be a Superwoman

  61. Longpre, Ella. How to Keep You Alive

  62. Long Solider, Layli. Whereas

  63. López, Julián. A Beautiful Young Woman

  64. Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

  65. McCrae, Shane. Blood  &  Mule

  66. Martinez, J. Michael. Heredities: Poems

  67. Morrison, Toni. The Origin of Others (also everything)

  68. Mukasonga, Scholastique. Our Lady of the Nile

  69. Murakami, Haruki. Sputnik Sweetheart

  70. Myint, Thirii Myo Kyaw. The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, a Haven

  71. Nguyen, Diana Khoi. Ghost Of

  72. Noah, Trevor. Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

  73. Olivares, Christina. No Map of the Earth Includes Stars

  74. Oliver, Akilah. A Toast in the House of Friends (and anything else you can find).

  75. Orange, Tommy. There, There

  76. Ostlund, Lori. After the Parade

  77. Owens, Lama Rod and Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams. Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation

  78. Ozeki, Ruth. My Year of Meats

  79. Park, Samuel. This Burns My Heart

  80. Paull, Laline. The Bees

  81. Potter, Sally. Yes: Screenplay and Notes

  82. Queen, Khadijah. I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On

  83. Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric

  84. Rexilius, Andrea. To Be Human Is To Be A Conversation

  85. Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things

  86. Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis (The Story of Childhood, The Story of Return  &  Volumes 3 & 4)

  87. Saterstrom, Selah. Slab.

  88. Scott, Gail. The Obituary

  89. Shanahan, Charif. Into Each Room We Enter Without Knowing

  90. Shinkle, Katie Jean. Ruination

  91. ShĹŤnagon, Sei. The Pillow Book

  92. Spalding, Amy. The Summer of Jordi Perez (And The Best Burger in Los Angeles

  93. Tamirat, Nafkote. The Parking Lot Attendant

  94. Thien, Madeleine. Do Not Say We Have Nothing

  95. Thummel, Jessica. The Cure for Lonely

  96. Toomer, Jean. Cane

  97. Zadok, Rachel & Nick Mulgrew. Water: New Short Story Fiction from Africa: An Anthology from Short Story Africa  &  (Bonus: check out the whole Short Story Day Africa collection.)

  98. Wallschlaeger, Nikki. Houses  &  Crawlspace

  99. Ward, Jesmyn. Sing, Unburied, Sing

  100. Webster, Chaun. GeNtry!fication: Or the Scene of the CrimeWedge,

  101. Wedge, M.B.F. Knickpoint

  102. Winterson, Jeanette. The Passion

  103. Wicker, Marcus. Silencer

  104. Wurth, Erika T. Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend  &  You Who Enter Here

  105. Yanique, Tipahnie. How to Escape from a Leper Colony

  106. Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective

  107. Yapa, Sunil. Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist

  108. Yoshimoto, Banana. Kitchen


*Initiated by Leah Rogin-Roper, and reposted with permission.

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