Women of color reading project

After I graduated college in spring 2008, and I got to thinking about all the things I didn’t learn in school and all the things that weren’t considered capital-H History or capital-L Literature, I decided to only read books by women of color until I reached some point at which I could turn my reading list into a project. Last winter I made a tiny cut&paste zine called Readin & Fightin with just an explanation of that reading project & my reading list up to that point; this August I made a second issue where I updated my list and talked more in depth about a few books on a few different recurring themes. I am working on a third issue right now; my zine is always free, and sometime when I can sit down with a scanner I will put both issues online. ——————>Update: currently working slowly on Readin & Fightin #4.

I am keeping my reading list here as well. I stopped keeping to the women of color-only rule after I finished the second issue this summer, but there is still little else I am so excited about reading, because I am so so excited all the time about reading women of color. Some of these books are edited by other people, or are anthologies that include many women of color but not exclusively; in those cases I often picked & chose which essays or stories I read. I recommend all these books, as there are only maybe 2 or 3 that I wasn’t too enthusiastic about but which still have their merits.

Also, this list is absurdly long. I stayed in bed most of the first 6 months of 2010, was very depressed & anxious, and just read a ton of books. I don’t read nearly as much now that I leave my bed, but I get other things done. Balance is key.

La Perdida—Abel, Jessica

Aya—Abouet, Marguerite; Oubrerie Clement

Half of a Yellow Sun—Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

The Thing Around Your Neck—Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

Off The Reservation—Allen, Paula Gunn

Before We Were Free—Alvarez, Julia

A Cafecito Story—Alvarez, Julia

How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents—Alvarez, Julia

In the Time of the Butterflies—Alvarez, Julia

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings—Angelou, Maya

The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader—Anzaldúa, Gloria

So Long a Letter—Bâ, Mariama

Deep Sightings and Rescue Missions—Bambara, Toni Cade

Gorilla, My Love—Bambara, Toni Cade

The Salt Eaters—Bambara, Toni Cade

The Sea Birds are Still Alive—Bambara, Toni Cade

The Unknown Errors of our Lives—Banerjee, Chitra Divakaruni

Ohitika Woman—Brave Bird, Mary

Maud Martha—Brooks, Gwendolyn

Kindred—Butler, Octavia E.

The Guardians—Castillo, Ana

The Mixquiahuala Letters—Castillo, Ana

Disposable Domestics: Immigrant women workers in the global economy—Chang, Grace

Caramelo—Cisneros, Sandra

The House on Mango Street—Cisneros, Sandra

Woman Hollering Creek—Cisneros, Sandra

The Brass Bed and other stories—Cleage, Pearl

Lakota Woman—Crow Dog, Mary

Shaking the Tree: A Collection of New Fiction and Memoir by Black Women—Danquah, Meri Nana-Ama

Breath, Eyes, Memory—Danticat, Edwidge

Create Dangerously: The immigrant artist at work—Danticat, Edwidge

The Dew Breaker—Danticat, Edwidge

Farming of Bones, The—Danticat, Edwidge

Krik? Krak!—Danticat, Edwidge

Are Prisons Obsolete?—Davis, Angela

Women, Culture, and Politics—Davis, Angela

The Inheritance of Loss—Desai, Kiran

Children of the New World—Djebar, Assia

Word.: On Being a [Woman] Writer (On Writing Herself)—ed. Burrell, Jocelyn

Riding Desire: An Anthology of Erotic Writing—ed. Corinne, Tee

International Women’s Stories—ed. Figes, Kate

Want to Start a Revolution?: Radical women in the black freedom struggle—ed. Gore, Dayo F., Jeanne Theoharis, & Komozi Woodard

Charlie Chan is Dead: An anthology of contemporary Asian American fiction—ed. Hagedorn, Jessica

Color of Violence—ed. Incite! Women of Color Against Violence

Other Fires: Short fiction by Latin American women—ed. Manguel, Alberto

Eating Fire, Tasting Blood: Breaking the great silence of the American Indian Holocaust—ed. Moore, MariJo

Revolutionary Tales: African American women’s short stories, from the first story to the present—ed. Mullen, Bill

Sometimes When it Rains: Writings by South African women—ed. Oosthuizen, Ann

Mixed: An anthology of short fiction on the multiracial experience—ed. Prasad, Chandra

What Lies Beneath: Katrina, race, and the state of the nation—ed. South End Press collective

Nobody Passes: Rejecting the rules of gender and conformity—ed. Sycamore, Mattilda Bernstein

To Be Real: Telling the truth and changing the face of feminism—ed. Walker, Rebecca

Black-Eyed Susans: Classic stories by and about Black women—ed. Washington, Mary Helen

Feminism For Real—ed. Yee, Jessica

My Sister, Guard Your Veil; My Brother, Guard Your Eyes: Uncensored Iranian voices—ed. Zanganeh, Lila Azam

Flat Footed Truths: Telling Black women’s lives—eds. Bell-Scott, Patricia & Juanita Johnson-Bailey

Green Cane & Juicy Flotsam: Short stories by Caribbean women—eds. Esteves, Carmen C. & Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert

Colonize This! Young women of color on today’s feminism—eds. Hernandez, Daisy & Bushra Rehman

Stories from Blue Latitudes: Caribbean women writers at home and abroad—eds. Nunez, Elizabeth & Jennifer Sparrow

Woman at Point Zero—el Saadawi, Nawal

Ancestor Stones—Forna, Aminatta

Dreaming in Cuban—Garcia, Cristina

Afeni Shakur : Evolution of a Revolutionary—Guy, Jasmine

Raisin in the Sun, A—Hansberry, Lorraine

To Be Young, Gifted and Black—Hansberry, Lorraine

When Rain Clouds Gather—Head, Bessie

Women Writing Resistance: Essays on Latin America and the Caribbean—Hernandez, Jennifer Browdy de

Bone Black—hooks, bell

Ain’t I a Woman?: Black women and feminism—hooks, bell

Killing Rage: Ending Racism—hooks, bell

Outlaw Culture: Resisting representations—hooks, bell

Rock My Soul: Black People & Self-Esteem—hooks, bell

Teaching Community—hooks, bell

homegrown: Engaged Cultural Criticism—hooks, bell and Amalia Mesa-Baines

Go Gator & Muddy the Water—Hurston, Zora Neale

Their Eyes Were Watching God—Hurston, Zora Neale

A Map of Home—Jarrar, Randa

Corregidora—Jones, Gayl

White Rat—Jones, Gayl

Affirmative Acts: Political essays—Jordan, June

His Own Where—Jordan, June

The Floating World—Kadohata, Cynthia

Annie John—Kincaid, Jamaica

At the Bottom of the River—Kincaid, Jamaica

Lucy—Kincaid, Jamaica

A Small Place—Kincaid, Jamaica

The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a girlhood among ghosts—Kingston, Maxine Hong

Interpreter of Maladies—Lahiri, Jhumpa

Resistance Behind Bars: The struggles of incarcerated women—Law, Victoria

Living for Change: An autobiography—Lee, Grace Boggs

Sister Outsider—Lorde, Audre

Zami: A new spelling of my name—Lorde, Audre

Rosa’s District Six—Maart, Rozena

The Rock and the River—Magoon, Kekla

Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I a woman?—McKissack, Patricia & Fredrick

In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd—Menéndez, Ana

Song of Solomon—Morrison, Toni

Sula—Morrison, Toni

Tar Baby—Morrison, Toni

We Came All the Way from Cuba so You Could Dress Like This?—Obejas, Achy

When the Emperor was Divine—Otsuka, Julie

Sandino’s Daughters—Randall, Margaret

The God of Small Things—Roy, Arundhati

Power Politics—Roy, Arundhati


Embroideries—Satrapi, Marjane

Persepolis 1 & 2—Satrapi, Marjane

Caucasia—Senna, Danzy

Where Did You Sleep Last Night?—Senna, Danzy

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf—Shange, Nzotake

Ceremony—Silko, Leslie Marmon

The Autograph Man—Smith, Zadie

White Teeth—Smith, Zadie

Get Down—Solomon, Asali

What Night Brings—Trujillo, Carla

Signs & Signals: African Images in African-American Quilts—Wahlman, Maude

The Chicken Chronicles—Walker, Alice

The Color Purple—Walker, Alice

In Love & Trouble—Walker, Alice

In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens—Walker, Alice

Meridian—Walker, Alice

The Temple of My Familiar—Walker, Alice

You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down—Walker, Alice

*** OTHERS (dudes of color):

Things Fall Apart — Chinua Achebe

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian — Sherman Alexie

Ten Little Indians — Sherman Alexie

The Fire Next Time — James Baldwin

Tales of the Out & the Gone — Amiri Baraka

Die Nigger Die! —H. Rap Brown

The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue — Manuel Muñoz

God’s Bits of Wood — Sembene Ousmane


Nobody Knows My Name — James Baldwin

Living for Change: An autobiography — Grace Lee Boggs

Disposable Domestics: Immigrant women workers in the global economy — Grace Chang

Want to Start a Revolution?: Radical women in the black freedom struggle — ed. Dayo F. Gore, Jeanne Theoharis, and Komozi Woodard

500 Years of Indigenous Resistance — Gord Hill

Ain’t I a Woman?: Black women and feminism — bell hooks

Color of Violence: the Incite! Anthology — ed. Incite! Women of Color against Violence

Resistance Behind Bars: The struggles of incarcerated women — Victoria Law

Killing the Black Body; Race, reproduction, and the meaning of liberty — Dorothy Roberts

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