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The Book 100

In Chapter after Chapter, Heather Sellers recommends reading 100 books in the genre you are writing in, as a “strength-training program” to support your writing. I took her advice and started keeping count of the books I have read that in some way inform my novel. Most are fiction; some are nonfiction, reference texts.

In January, 2021, I reached my goal of 100 books! 
(Confession: I'm still working through some of the nonfiction texts!)

  1. A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry

  2. Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng

  3. Browngirl, Brownstones, Paule Marshall

  4. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

  5. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

  6. Kindred, Octavia Butler

  7. A Place for Us, Fatima Farheen Mirza

  8. Dear Martin, Nic Stone

  9. All American Boys, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

  10. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Erika Sánchez

  11. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred Taylor

  12. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

  13. Brothers and Keepers, John Edgar Wideman

  14. Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds

  15. Assata, Assata Shakur

  16. An American Marriage, Tayari Jones

  17. Mama Day, Gloria Naylor

  18. You Bring the Distant Near, Mitali Perkins

  19. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith

  20. What Doesn't Kill you Makes you Blacker, Damon Young

  21. Go Tell it on the Mountain, James Baldwin

  22. Internment, Samira Ahmed

  23. The Color Purple, Alice Walker

  24. Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward

  25. Behold the Dreamers, Imbolo Mbue

  26. Dream Country, Shannon Gibney

  27. This Promise of Change, Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy

  28. Betty Before X, Ilyasah Shabazz and Renée Watson

  29. Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson

  30. The Water Dancer, Ta Nehisi Coates

  31. March (trilogy), John Lewis

  32. A Particular Kind of Black Man, Tope Folarin

  33. The Moor's Account, Laila Lalami 

  34. New Kid, Jerry Craft

  35. One Crazy Summer, Rita Williams-Garcia

  36. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

  37. White Rose, Kip Wilson

  38. Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  39. Ahimsa, Supriya Kelkar

  40. Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson

  41. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of your Fist, Sunil Yapa

  42. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy

  43. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

  44. The Sixteenth of June, Maya Lang

  45. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

  46. Countdown, Deborah Wiles

  47. Kent State, Deborah Wiles

  48. Revolution, Deborah Wiles

  49. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein

  50. The War that Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

  51. Punching the Air, Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

  52. Childtimes, Eloise Greenfield

  53. Glory field, Walter Dean Meyers

  54. Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi

  55. American Street, Ibi Zoboi

  56. Another Brooklyn, Jacqueline Woodson

  57. God Help the Child, Toni Morrison

  58. For Black Girls Like Me, Mariama J. Lockington

  59. Far from the Tree, Robin Benway

  60. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

  61. With the Fire on High, Elizabeth Acevedo

  62. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Ntozake Shange

  63. The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo

  64. Heads of the Colored People, Nafissa Thompson-Spires

  65. We Are Not From Here, Jenni Sanchez

  66. Some Places More Than Others, Renée Watson

  67. Butterfly Yellow, Thanha Lai

  68. Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid

  69. The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett

  70. The Great Believers

  71. This is My America

  72. The Black Kids

  73. The Awakening of Malcolm X

  74. Autobiography of My Mother

  75. When You Were Everything

  76. Don't Ask Me Where I'm From

  77. Concrete Rose

  78. The Hundred-Year House

  79. The Namesake

  80. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

  81. From the Desk of Zoe Washington

  82. Slay

Research/ nonfiction

  1. The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965-1972, Ibram H. Rogers

  2. The Black Revolution on Campus, Martha Biondi

  3. Harlem vs. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the Late 1960s, Stefan M. Bradley

  4. A Time to Stir: Columbia '68, Paul Cronin (editor)

  5. The Black Power Revolt, Floyd B. Barbour

  6. The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin

  7. Is Anybody Listening to Black America? Eric C. Lincoln

  8. Wretched of the Earth, Franz Fanon

  9. The Making of Black Revolutionaries, James Forman 

  10. Black Bourgeoisie, Franklin Frazier

  11. Integrating Delmar: The Story of a Friendship, by Margaret B. Cunningham and Arlen R. Westbrook

  12. The Last Negroes at Harvard: The Class of 1963 and the 18 Young Men Who Changed Harvard Forever, Kent Garrett and Jeanne Allsworth

  13. A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination, Clay Risen

  14. Stamped from the Beginning, Ibram X. Kendi

  15. Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson

  16. The Mis-Education of the Negro, Carter G. Woodson

  17. The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley

  18. My Brother, Jamaica Kincaid

The Book 100: Projects
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