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Five Hidden Pearls of African-American Literature

in Nonfiction by

As an African-American writer, I have long been a student of black writers from many different genres who have influenced, inspired, challenged, enlightened, and entertained me. We’ve all heard of the obvious ones: the speeches of Frederick Douglass, the poetry of Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, just to name a few. But there’s a treasure trove of lesser-known works of African-American writing that have had a big impact on me and deserve to be read. Here’s my list of books that you might not know about. (I’ve chosen books in different categories in order to avoid having my special favorites competing in my head with every other…

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My dear, you SHOULD give a damn

in Fiction by

Lists are everywhere. Books are everywhere. So it makes sense that lists about books are omnipresent. There are lists of the best books ever written, the worst books ever written, the books you should read before you die, the books you should read to make sure you never die (immortal vampires, anyone?), and everything in between. I hate to be the one to break it to you that it is impossible for you to read all the books currently in publication, let alone the thousands coming down the pike. Even with that new-fangled app that purports to let you read a novel in 90 minutes (that’s a gripe for another time), you simply won’t get to turn every page of…

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