Wrap Up: Women of Color

It may be the end of the month, but our book recommendations are never ending.

We wanted to mention dozens of other books in our podcast, but we can’t afford to host a show that’s twelve hours long. Really, there are just SO many books to talk about. But here’s a taste of the excellent book recs we still have up our sleeves. 

Shelter by Jung Yun

Kyung Cho must face his past when an act of violence brings him and his parents under that same roof. This book is not a pleasant book to read. It’s harsh, beautiful, and real. The protagonist struggles to come to terms with his past, clawing at a present slipping away from him, destroying any hope of a future. - K

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

After reading this book, I understood why Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are such good friends. In this debut novel, Smith effortlessly weaves themes faith, immigration, belonging, science, and religion together into one riveting narrative. - A

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

I love a good family saga. Two sisters are separated in the mid 1700s. One sister stays in her native Fanteland while the other is shipped to America as a slave. We follow their descendants through the decades moving towards the heartbreaking conclusion. What a phenomenal debut. - K

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

In this retelling of Snow White, Oyeyemi gives us a complex, well-written story about female relationships: husband/wife, mother/daughter, stepmother/daughter, etc. She also makes us ask questions about what race and gender are. This book had me riveted to the end. - A

In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar

I had never read any literature set in the Philippines before, so this book was long overdue. Mia Alvar won the PEN award for debut fiction with this short story collection, and In the Country definitely deserves every accolade and adoration. I can’t get the echoes of these stories out of my head. They’re too beautiful. - K

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

What do you get when you mix coastal Georgia, the Tempest, and a matriarch with magical powers? You get Naylor’s book Mama Day. I first read this in graduate school and the thrill I got while reading it still lingers. - A


Speaking of amazing women, next month we’ll be talking about Hermione Granger and the Two Useless Boys … That’s right. It’s time to try to fill the Harry Potter void.

Have some books by women of color that you want to share with us? Find us on Twitter and Instagram @thereadingwomen.