Too Much and Not the Mood

Durga Chew-Bose

It’s difficult to describe this collection of essays; I’m not convinced I should even refer to them as essays, exactly, as they often feel more like lyric than prose.

Parable of the Talents

Octavia E. Butler

This sequal to Parable of the Sower follows Lauren Olamina and her Earthseed community as it grows—and then is viciously assaulted.

Parable of the Sower

Octavia E. Butler

Lauren Olamina lives in a walled neighborhood in Southern California; it’s dangerous to venture beyond the walls, where there’s little work, less food, and no law.

The Sea and Summer

George Turner

Turner’s The Sea and Summer takes place in far future Australia, where the greenhouse effect has led to eternal summers and encroaching sea level.

Backing Hitler

Robert Gellately

Robert Gellately’s close history of the Nazi period focuses on one particular question: how much did ordinary Germans know about what was going on?

Citizen

Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine’s book-length lyric poem is adorned with an image of a torn black hood—a reference that could be any of the many black men and women who have been abused by the white state.

The Underground Railroad

Colson Whitehead

The most talked-about feature of Whitehead’s novel of the underground railroad is the railroad itself: reimagined as an actual railroad, with tunnels and tracks and steam engines and crazed conductors, it makes for stunning, cinematic imagery.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood

It’s a refrain of late to say that this—Margaret Atwood’s most famous book, now thirty-one years old—is suddenly relevant again.

Sister Outsider

Audre Lorde

More than three decades after this collection was first published, it remains as critical, as relevant, as unremitting as ever.

Black Against Empire

Joshua Bloom & Waldo E. Martin, Jr.

A comprehensive, authoritative, and nuanced look at how the Black Panther Party was born, the nature of its methods and politics, and the many forces that caused it to unravel.

Davis has spent more than five decades fighting for Black liberation, women’s liberation, and prison abolition, and in this brief book she renews those calls in lucid and moral terms.

The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin

“If we…do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world.”

White Rage

Carol Anderson

Anderson traces the repeated push and pull of black advancement and the white response that sought to defeat it, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow, mass incarceration, and the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act.