100 books like Another Brooklyn

By Jacqueline Woodson,

Here are 100 books that Another Brooklyn fans have personally recommended if you like Another Brooklyn. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Known World

Xolani Kacela Author Of Stop Anxiety In Its Tracks

From my list on a deep understanding of human nature.

Who am I?

I have a passion for helping people realize they are only limited by their imagination. By dreaming wildly and acting on one’s dreams, a person can achieve highly unlikely outcomes. People are born to be free and pursue the things in life that make them happy and fulfilled. However, people need education, training, and mentoring. I am driven to do each of these to help others live fulfilling and purposeful lives. My expertise arises from my formal training and applied life lessons acquired from modeling highly-gifted teachers and friends.

Xolani's book list on a deep understanding of human nature

Xolani Kacela Why did Xolani love this book?

This book is so special in its depiction of human beings striving for survival.

It is the only book that shows African American as slaveholders. The charm is the clarity with which Jones writes. His gift is the ability to say complex things simply. He made me strive to be a better writer. His story helped me feel deeply in ways I had not previously known I could feel.

By Edward P. Jones,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Known World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Masterful, Pulitzer-prize winning literary epic about the painful and complex realities of slave life on a Southern plantation. An utterly original exploration of race, trust and the cruel truths of human nature, this is a landmark in modern American literature.

Henry Townsend, a black farmer, boot maker, and former slave, becomes proprietor of his own plantation - as well as his own slaves. When he dies, his widow, Caldonia, succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart: slaves take to escaping under the cover of night, and families who had once found love beneath the weight of slavery…


Book cover of Black Aliveness, or a Poetics of Being

Badia Ahad-Legardy Author Of Afro-Nostalgia: Feeling Good in Contemporary Black Culture

From my list on inspiring good feelings.

Who am I?

As a professor of African American literature and culture, I’ve spent my career writing, reading, teaching, talking and thinking about black interiority: feelings, emotions, memory, affect. My publications and lectures focus mostly on the creative and diverse ways that black people have created spaces of pleasure and possibility, even in the most dire times and under extremely difficult conditions. I’ve been told that I’m a natural optimist, so it is fitting that my most recent book and this recommendation list is all about the intentional and creative ways that people cultivate joy and a sense of possibility for themselves and others.

Badia's book list on inspiring good feelings

Badia Ahad-Legardy Why did Badia love this book?

Every now and then I come across a book that I wish I had written, and Quashie’s Black Aliveness is among them. One of the motivating premises of Afro-Nostalgia is the sense that so much of black life is narrated through a trauma, oppression, and death. Black Aliveness operates from a similar premise and is centrally concerned with the “quality of aliveness” in African American poetry and literature. Here is one of my favorite passages in the book: “As necessary as ‘Black Lives Matter’ has proven to be, so efficient and beautiful a truth-claim, its necessity disorients me…I want a black world where matter of mattering matters indisputably, where black mattering is beyond expression.”

By Kevin Quashie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Aliveness, or a Poetics of Being as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Black Aliveness, or A Poetics of Being, Kevin Quashie imagines a Black world in which one encounters Black being as it is rather than only as it exists in the shadow of anti-Black violence. As such, he makes a case for Black aliveness even in the face of the persistence of death in Black life and Black study. Centrally, Quashie theorizes aliveness through the aesthetics of poetry, reading poetic inhabitance in Black feminist literary texts by Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Toni Morrison, and Evie Shockley, among others, showing how their philosophical and creative thinking constitutes worldmaking. This…


Book cover of Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces

Badia Ahad-Legardy Author Of Afro-Nostalgia: Feeling Good in Contemporary Black Culture

From my list on inspiring good feelings.

Who am I?

As a professor of African American literature and culture, I’ve spent my career writing, reading, teaching, talking and thinking about black interiority: feelings, emotions, memory, affect. My publications and lectures focus mostly on the creative and diverse ways that black people have created spaces of pleasure and possibility, even in the most dire times and under extremely difficult conditions. I’ve been told that I’m a natural optimist, so it is fitting that my most recent book and this recommendation list is all about the intentional and creative ways that people cultivate joy and a sense of possibility for themselves and others.

Badia's book list on inspiring good feelings

Badia Ahad-Legardy Why did Badia love this book?

The word, utopia, derives from the Greek terms ou “not” + topos “place”---“no place.” Yet, the idea of a perfect “place” or society is one that has captured the imagination of artists, writers, politicians, and governments for centuries. I really love the concept of “everyday utopias” because it focuses on small, local spaces of joy and pleasure that people create for themselves outside and beyond the boundaries of social norms and expectations. Inherent in the term “utopia” is the impossibility of the idea and yet, readers witness thriving communities that show the possibilities of alternative systems of governance, self-sufficiency, civility, and citizenship, as well as well-being and pleasure.

By Davina Cooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everyday Utopias as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everyday utopias enact conventional activities in unusual ways. Instead of dreaming about a better world, participants seek to create it. As such, their activities provide vibrant and stimulating contexts for considering the terms of social life, of how we live together and are governed. Weaving conceptual theorizing together with social analysis, Davina Cooper examines utopian projects as seemingly diverse as a feminist bathhouse, state equality initiatives, community trading networks, and a democratic school where students and staff collaborate in governing. She draws from firsthand observations and interviews with participants to argue that utopian projects have the potential to revitalize progressive…


Book cover of World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

Matthew Gavin Frank Author Of Flight of the Diamond Smugglers: A Tale of Pigeons, Obsession, and Greed Along Coastal South Africa

From my list on nonfiction featuring amazing flying things.

Who am I?

Like many who carry over childish curiosity into adulthood, I'm attracted to forbidden places. I trespass. When I heard that a portion of South Africa’s coast was owned by the De Beers conglomerate and closed to the public for nearly 80 years, plunging the local communities into mysterious isolation, I became obsessed with visiting the place. Afterward, I began studying carrier pigeons—the amazing flying things that folks use to smuggle diamonds out of the mines. I wrote a book about this, Flight of the Diamond Smugglers. I'm also the author of nonfiction books about the first-ever photograph of the giant squid, working on a medical marijuana farm, and American food culture.

Matthew's book list on nonfiction featuring amazing flying things

Matthew Gavin Frank Why did Matthew love this book?

There’s this rumor that poets look longer and harder at the ornaments of the world than do anyone else.  They keep looking, and looking, and looking, after most everyone else has long ago looked away, moved on. Here, in the wonderful world of poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s first book of nonfiction, whimsy and reverence twine like the DNA helices of the flora and fauna she examines. In her essay on the firefly, I adore the part when the insects “…lose their light rhythm for a few minutes after a single car’s headlights pass. Sometimes it takes hours for them to recalibrate their blinking patterns.”

By Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Fumi Nakamura (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked World of Wonders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Hands-down one of the most beautiful books of the year." -NPR

From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction-a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.

As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted-no matter how awkward the fit…


Book cover of A Separate Peace

Kevin Carey Author Of Junior Miles and the Junkman

From my list on by writers in the first-person voice.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated with the first-person voice, the way it magically pulls us into a story through the character’s/narrator’s perspective, and how when done well, can feel so natural and personal. I’ve tried to write in this perspective over the years, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. I hope I have done it adequately with this current novel. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert when it comes to the first-person, but I am an interested participant. I am a creative writing professor, but I am also a student of writing and always will be. The more I investigate, the more I read, the more I learn. Focusing on this topic has been no exception. 

Kevin's book list on by writers in the first-person voice

Kevin Carey Why did Kevin love this book?

The reason I chose this book is simple. It was the first one to show me the first-person way.

I read this book in high school around 1973 and it stayed with me all these years. This dark side of adolescence skillfully narrated by the introverted Gene is as real today for me as it was when I was a prep school kid reading it.

Gene remembers some fifteen years earlier as he comes back to visit, and tells this story under the guise of a quintessential American story, though as he says “a very untypical one, I guess, and unfamiliar transitional blur in the memories of most people, which is the real America for me.” Every first-person story I’ve tried to write since has had a little bit of Gene in it. 

By John Knowles,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Separate Peace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

AS HEARD ON BBC RADIO 4 'A GOOD READ'

'A novel that made such a deep impression on me at sixteen that I can still conjure the atmosphere in my fifties: of yearning, infatuation mingled indistinguishably with envy, and remorse' Lionel Shriver

An American coming-of-age tale during a period when the entire country was losing its innocence to the second world war.

Set at a boys' boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual.…


Book cover of Cranford

Kate Tough Author Of Keep Walking, Rhona Beech

From my list on realistic female friendships in challenging times.

Who am I?

I’d thought I was writing a novel about someone putting a life back together after everything fell apart but, when I’d finished, readers told me I’d written a book about vivid, authentic friendships. It was a welcome surprise. From Charles Dickens to Sylvia Plath, nuanced characters have always interested me and so, when writing, I set myself the task of believable dialogue and interactions which readers can relate to like it’s their own friends sitting around a table; laughing, crying, or bickering. When a life falls apart it’s often friendships that are tested to breaking but then become stronger as a result.

Kate's book list on realistic female friendships in challenging times

Kate Tough Why did Kate love this book?

It’s never the plot that draws me to a novel; it’s always other ingredients like people and place and, in these regards, Cranford is a stellar delight. The protagonist is a frequent house guest in the small town of Cranford, giving readers intimate access to the quirky social codes of its mostly female population. From the ones who care about social mores to the ones who care less, these wonderful vignettes document their attempts to outwit a visiting magician, or foil rumored night-burglars, or adapt to the losses of loved ones. Each woman has had a journey in some way stifled by the patriarchy of the 1800s but these ladies’ timeless and absorbing intelligence, compassion, loyalty, ingenuity, forbearance, and above all, wit, shine through.

By Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cranford as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elizabeth Gaskell was a British author during the Victorian era. Gaskell's novels are notable for detailed descriptions of the different classes of society in 19th century Britain. Cranford is a novel about a fictional town modeled closely after one Gaskell was familiar with. The story features a series of episodes in the life of Mary Smith.


Book cover of Rules of Civility

Kate Tough Author Of Keep Walking, Rhona Beech

From my list on realistic female friendships in challenging times.

Who am I?

I’d thought I was writing a novel about someone putting a life back together after everything fell apart but, when I’d finished, readers told me I’d written a book about vivid, authentic friendships. It was a welcome surprise. From Charles Dickens to Sylvia Plath, nuanced characters have always interested me and so, when writing, I set myself the task of believable dialogue and interactions which readers can relate to like it’s their own friends sitting around a table; laughing, crying, or bickering. When a life falls apart it’s often friendships that are tested to breaking but then become stronger as a result.

Kate's book list on realistic female friendships in challenging times

Kate Tough Why did Kate love this book?

Although dipping into glamorous strata of New York society, the friendship dynamics reminded me of the period of adulthood where you start to make your way in the world… Often it involves new jobs or new cities and sometimes women discover the people they thought were close friends are not. Parallel journeys of female friends can put them into tension where paths diverge and taking space is the only solution. Here, avid reader Katey is moving beyond her humble beginnings by talent and character alone, while room-mate Eve is escaping her privilege and family ties; their agendas blend well for a while until they spin off in different directions. Resourceful Katey continually starts over in her smart, sharp-humoured style becoming ever more able to rely on herself.

By Amor Towles,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Rules of Civility as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Lincoln Highway and A Gentleman in Moscow, a “sharply stylish” (Boston Globe) book about a young woman in post-Depression era New York who suddenly finds herself thrust into high society—now with over one million readers worldwide

On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have…


Book cover of Conversations with Friends

Joanna Horton Author Of Between You and Me

From my list on complex female friendship.

Who am I?

I’m an Australian writer with a passion for literary fiction, especially novels centered on complex and multi-layered power dynamics. To me, relationships between women are particularly ripe for this kind of exploration – my own friendships with other women have been influential and formative, but not always easy! My interest in these darker and more complex dynamics of close friendship eventually led me to write my own novel on the topic. I’ve also published a range of essays, reviews, criticism, and creative nonfiction. 

Joanna's book list on complex female friendship

Joanna Horton Why did Joanna love this book?

I devoured Sally Rooney’s debut in a single day when it came out in 2017.

I remember being blown away by her ability to effortlessly convey the depth and complexity of close relationships – particularly the dynamic between narrator Frances, a coolly ironic 21-year-old student, and her ex-girlfriend-now-best-friend-but-maybe-still-romantic-interest, Bobbi.

I loved Conversations with Friends not only for its three-dimensional characters and beautifully precise writing, but also for how true to life it felt. It was the first time I had read a novel that really captured the way my friends and I spoke, thought, and behaved – a thrilling experience. 

By Sally Rooney,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Conversations with Friends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

***NOW ON BBC THREE AND iPLAYER***

'This book. This book. I read it in one day. I hear I'm not alone.'
- Sarah Jessica Parker (Instagram)

'Brilliant, funny and startling.' Guardian

'I really like Conversations with Friends. I like the tone [Rooney] takes when she's writing. I think it's like being inside someone's mind.' - Taylor Swift

'A sharp, darkly funny comment on modern relationships.' Sunday Telegraph

Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and observant. A student in Dublin and an aspiring writer, at night she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend.…


Book cover of Animals

Kate Tough Author Of Keep Walking, Rhona Beech

From my list on realistic female friendships in challenging times.

Who am I?

I’d thought I was writing a novel about someone putting a life back together after everything fell apart but, when I’d finished, readers told me I’d written a book about vivid, authentic friendships. It was a welcome surprise. From Charles Dickens to Sylvia Plath, nuanced characters have always interested me and so, when writing, I set myself the task of believable dialogue and interactions which readers can relate to like it’s their own friends sitting around a table; laughing, crying, or bickering. When a life falls apart it’s often friendships that are tested to breaking but then become stronger as a result.

Kate's book list on realistic female friendships in challenging times

Kate Tough Why did Kate love this book?

How are women supposed to behave, discreetly? Are their friendships always a saccharine Hallmark card? Not in this novel. Living loudly, louchely, in chaos, with hedonistic nights out and all-day hangovers, Laura and Tyler are a tight, whip-funny twosome… except one has a wedding on the horizon to a teetotal stable man, and she’s wrestling with whether marriage is a legitimate life milestone anymore. The friendship portrayal here is a messy, clever, and foul-mouthed foray into the moment when inseparable friends face the prospect of their familiar relationship disappearing through the unstoppable forces of adult life. And we’ve all had impossible choices when we haven’t known which loyalties to put first – one’s duty to oneself or to one’s best friend?

By Emma Jane Unsworth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“An utterly triumphant ode to female friendship, in all its intense, messy and powerful beauty” from the internationally bestselling author of Grown Ups (Elle).

It is the moment every twenty-something must confront: the time to grow up. Adulthood looms, with all its numbing tranquility and stifling complacency. The end of prolonged adolescence is near.

Laura and Tyler are two women whose twenties have been a blur of overstayed parties, a fondness for drugs that has shifted from cautious experimentation to catholic indulgence, and hangovers that don’t relent until Monday morning. They’ve been best friends, partners in excess, for the last…


Book cover of Yonder

Kevin Carey Author Of Junior Miles and the Junkman

From my list on by writers in the first-person voice.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated with the first-person voice, the way it magically pulls us into a story through the character’s/narrator’s perspective, and how when done well, can feel so natural and personal. I’ve tried to write in this perspective over the years, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. I hope I have done it adequately with this current novel. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert when it comes to the first-person, but I am an interested participant. I am a creative writing professor, but I am also a student of writing and always will be. The more I investigate, the more I read, the more I learn. Focusing on this topic has been no exception. 

Kevin's book list on by writers in the first-person voice

Kevin Carey Why did Kevin love this book?

When it comes to “selling the voice” in the first-person narrative, so much depends on the language and the style by which the chosen character tells the story. How convinced is the reader of this voice that promises us everything?

Let us only pay attention to Jabari Asim and his slave narrative Yonder, to know how to do it well. From the first chapter we are thrown into William’s world, the harsh truth of living on a plantation in the American South.

Once he starts narrating in his believable and lyrical voice, we feel the danger, and the hopelessness: ”I had known death could come at any time. You could keel over in the fields. You could be crushed under a wagon wheel, kicked by a horse, or have your skull split open because a slice of ham…had gone missing.” The first-person magic takes over and we have no choice…

By Jabari Asim,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Yonder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Water Dancer meets The Prophets in this spare, gripping, and beautifully rendered novel exploring love and friendship among a group of enslaved Black strivers in the mid-19th century.

They call themselves the Stolen. Their owners call them captives. They are taught their captors’ tongues and their beliefs but they have a language and rituals all their own.

In a world that would be allegorical if it weren’t saturated in harsh truths, Cato and William meet at Placid Hall, a plantation in an unspecified part of the American South. Subject to the whims of their tyrannical and eccentric captor, Cannonball…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Brooklyn, bildungsroman, and friendships?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Brooklyn, bildungsroman, and friendships.

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