The Book List

My personal reading goal for 2013 is to read 24 books over the course of the year. Because I’m an over-achiever, and a bit indecisive, I’ve picked 48 books to choose from.

When picking the books, I went for books that weren’t on typical books to see on a reading list. So, no Autobiography of Malcolm X or There Eyes Were Watching God. I wanted to keep it fresh and interesting. In picking biographies/memoirs/autobiographies I went for subjects that I had either never heard of, but should know or, were famous but obscure.  I threw in a few books that I have read before but I thought would be good to read again with other people.

The list is separated by genre and alphabetical by title of the book.  Have you read any of these books? Do you have any suggestions for future book selections?

Remember to refer to the previous post entitled “The Picking of Books” so that you are familiar with how the blog will run.


  1. Assata: An Autobiography – Assata Shakur
  2. Silent Gesture: The Autobiography of Tommie Smith – Tommie Smith
  3. To Be Young, Gifted, and Black: An Informal Autobiography – Lorraine Hansberry
  4. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name – Audre Lord


  1. Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: a Radical Democratic Vision – Barbara Ransby
  2. An Original Man: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad – Claude Andrew Clegg II
  3. Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire – Carol Jenkins, Elizabeth Gardner Hines
  4. In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr. – Will Haygood
  5. In Search of Nella Larsen: A Biography of the Color Line – George Hutchinson
  6. The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates – Wes Moore, Tavis Smiley


  1. A Lesson Before Dying – Ernest J. Gaines
  2. A Mercy – Toni Morrison
  3. Brothers and Sisters – Bebe Moore Campbell
  4. Cane – Jean Toomer
  5. Child of God – Lolita Files
  6. Darkest Child: A Novel – Delores Philips
  7. Erasure – Percival Everett
  8. Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
  9. Jazz – Toni Morrison
  10. Linden Hills – Gloria Naylor
  11. Mama – Terry McMillan
  12. Native Son – Richard Wright
  13. On Beauty – Zadie Smith
  14. Silver Sparrow – Tayari Jones
  15. Someone Knows My Name: A Novel – Lawrence Hill
  16. Tambourines to Glory – Langston Hughes
  17. The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man – James Wheldon Johnson
  18. The Blacker the Berry – Wallace Thurman
  19. The Salt Eaters – Toni Cade Bambara
  20. The White Boy Shuffle – Paul Beatty
  21. Third Girl From the Left – Martha Southgate
  22. Tumbling – Diane McKinney-Whetstone
  23. What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day – Pearl Cleage


  1. Black Like Me – John Howard Griffin
  2. Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man – Harold Battiste


  1. A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa – Howard W. French
  2. Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism – Bell Hooks
  3. Black Power: The Politics of Liberation – Stokely Carmichael, Charles V. Hamilton
  4. Brotherman – Herb Boyd, Robert L. Allen
  5. Fraternity: In 1968 a visionary priest recruited 20 black men to the College of the Holy Cross and changed their lives and the course of history – Diane Brady
  6. Homelands and Waterways: The American Journey of the Bond Family, 1845-1926 0 Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot
  7. Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to Present – Harriet A. Washington
  8. Primetime Blues: African Americans on Network Television – Donald Bogle
  9. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches – Audre Lorde
  10. Slaves in the Family – Edward Ball
  11. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
  12. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Michelle Alexander


  1. Kindred – Octavia E. Butler


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3 responses to “The Book List

  1. No. 7 will get read this year and No. 17 was better than I thought it was going to be.

  2. Are you on GoodReads? I’ve read a good portion of the titles you selected, which is a surprise. I’d love to create a list of my own like this, but I’m too fickle and quick to change my mind about what I want to read next. lol

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