100 books like Bang

By Daniel Peña,

Here are 100 books that Bang fans have personally recommended if you like Bang. 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 Beloved

Donna Hemans Author Of The House of Plain Truth

From my list on haunting: how the past lingers with us.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a culture that both fears and embraces spirits or outrightly rejects the idea that spirits live on beyond death. I grew up on stories of rolling calves and duppies that caused havoc among the living. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by what haunts us—whether it be our familial spirits that float among the living and continue to play a role in our lives, our memories, or our past actions. I’ve written three books that play with this idea of past actions lingering long into the characters’ lives and returning in unexpected ways.  

Donna's book list on haunting: how the past lingers with us

Donna Hemans Why did Donna love this book?

This book is a longtime favorite of mine. Toni Morrison was a master at blending the personal story and the political, and in this book, she blends the true story of a mother who kills her child to prevent slave catchers from returning the baby to life as a slave.

Morrison’s fictional Sethe is haunted by the ghost of the baby she killed and the memories of her difficult life as a slave. This is one of the novels I return to time after time, both for the beauty of the writing and the portrayal of a mother’s love, guilt, and the lingering impact of slavery.

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Toni Morrison was a giant of her times and ours... Beloved is a heart-breaking testimony to the ongoing ravages of slavery, and should be read by all' Margaret Atwood, New York Times

Discover this beautiful gift edition of Toni Morrison's prize-winning contemporary classic Beloved

It is the mid-1800s and as slavery looks to be coming to an end, Sethe is haunted by the violent trauma it wrought on her former enslaved life at Sweet Home, Kentucky. Her dead baby daughter, whose tombstone bears the single word, Beloved, returns as a spectre to punish her mother, but also to elicit her…


Book cover of The Round House

Julie F. Kay Author Of Controlling Women: What We Must Do Now to Save Reproductive Freedom

From my list on how reproductive rights are human rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author and human rights lawyer passionate about making reproductive rights accessible in law and in real life. My written work translates my legal cases into stories to engage readers in the fight to expand rights for all. My legal work leading the Abortion Coalition for Telemedicine seeks to make medication abortion legally available in all 50 states, regardless of a person’s ability to pay for it. I have 2 daughters and am always looking to learn from their experience in an ever-changing world and from a diverse range of other women making decisions about whether, when, and whom to have and raise children. 

Julie's book list on how reproductive rights are human rights

Julie F. Kay Why did Julie love this book?

This gripping novel tells a story that reveals the deep and complex effects of gender-based violence on generations of a family.

I found it fascinating and unusual to consider an adolescent boy's reaction to gender-based violence another male committed against his mother.  The book wraps themes of justice, discrimination, and Native American traditions around a brilliant exploration of how trauma ripples through a whole community and explores what it takes for humans to heal.

Erdich's insights into the complexity of life on a North Dakotan reservation are provocative, educational, and lyrically written, taking us to a place not many outsiders get to visit.

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Round House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the National Book Award • Washington Post Best Book of the Year • A New York Times Notable Book

From one of the most revered novelists of our time, an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface because Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal…


Book cover of Native Son

Kia Corthron Author Of The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter

From my list on the intersection of race, class, and justice in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up as an African American in the Maryland Appalachian valley, a town that was ninety-five percent white. My father worked for the paper mill and would bring home reams of paper, pens, pencils. I began playing with the stuff—making up stories and stapling them into books, the raw beginnings of a future novelist. Separately, I created dialogue, using clothespins as people: a burgeoning playwright. (We were not destitute—my sister and I had toys! But those makeshift playthings worked best for my purposes.) So, given my working-class racial minority origins, it was rather inevitable that I would be drawn to stories addressing class and race. 

Kia's book list on the intersection of race, class, and justice in America

Kia Corthron Why did Kia love this book?

Unless your first reading has been spoiled by a movie or CliffsNotes, I don’t believe you can fail to be stunned by Wright’s 1940 eons-ahead-of-its-time pièce de résistance. While much has been written addressing racial bias in the courtroom (that is, if the defendant survives the initial encounter with police), the author took the outlandish step of providing head-spinning complexity: presenting a culpable protagonist, albeit one whose crime against an affluent young white woman came about unwittingly, having everything to do with his knowledge that he, a Black man, would invariably be perceived as guilty. Wright never lets us off the hook, forcing readers of all hues to consider the entanglements of race, class, and jurisprudence, beginning the day those of us who are not white and/or privileged are born.

By Richard Wright,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reissued to mark the 80th anniversary of Native Son's publication - discover Richard Wright's brutal and gripping masterpiece this black history month.

'[Native Son] possesses an artistry, penetration of thought, and sheer emotional power that places it into the front rank of American fiction' Ralph Ellison

Reckless, angry and adrift, Bigger Thomas has grown up trapped in a life of poverty in the slums of Chicago. But a job with the affluent Dalton family provides the setting for a catastrophic collision between his world and theirs. Hunted by citizen and police alike, and baited by prejudiced officials, Bigger finds himself…


Book cover of The Enchanted

Kia Corthron Author Of The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter

From my list on the intersection of race, class, and justice in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up as an African American in the Maryland Appalachian valley, a town that was ninety-five percent white. My father worked for the paper mill and would bring home reams of paper, pens, pencils. I began playing with the stuff—making up stories and stapling them into books, the raw beginnings of a future novelist. Separately, I created dialogue, using clothespins as people: a burgeoning playwright. (We were not destitute—my sister and I had toys! But those makeshift playthings worked best for my purposes.) So, given my working-class racial minority origins, it was rather inevitable that I would be drawn to stories addressing class and race. 

Kia's book list on the intersection of race, class, and justice in America

Kia Corthron Why did Kia love this book?

A bookseller friend, whose opinions I highly respect, had highly recommended Rene Denfeld’s debut, so The Enchanted very quickly catapulted to the top of my To-Read List. And I was instantly enchanted by the luscious language, the urgent content, the writer’s ability to fuse metaphorical darkness and light. Told from the perspective of a death row inmate, the writing seamlessly flows from gritty reality to breathtaking fantasy. I wasn’t surprised to learn of Rene’s extensive time in prisons (often on death row) as a public defender’s chief investigator, or that her keen understanding of trauma in childhood came from her own firsthand experience, as the text is drenched in arresting truths, in transgression and redemption, and in the complicated and wondrous humanity of us all.

By Rene Denfeld,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'THE ENCHANTED wrapped its beautiful and terrible fingers around me from the first page and refused to let go after the last. A wondrous book... so dark, yet so exquisite.' Erin Morgentern, author of The Night Circus

A prisoner sits on death row in a maximum security prison. His only escape from his harsh existence is through the words he dreams about, the world he conjures around him using the power of language. For the reality of his world is brutal and stark. He is not named, nor do we know his crime. But he listens. He listens to the…


Book cover of The Sun Is Also a Star

Amanda Addison Author Of Boundless Sky

From my list on exploring being a stranger in a strange land.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stories of migration journeys and their knock-on impact through the generations are part of my family history. Like Jacques, the key protagonist in Austerlitz, I too wasn’t told the whole story of my family’s past. Stumbling on stories of colonialism, migration, and racism as an adult has opened up an understanding of a very different world to that of my childhood. The books I have recommended are all excellent examples of migration stories and through the use of beautiful prose pack a punch in a ‘velvet glove’.

Amanda's book list on exploring being a stranger in a strange land

Amanda Addison Why did Amanda love this book?

This is a book I have been recommending to teenagers and adults alike.

This is no ordinary romantic tale of girl meets boy; it is a very much contemporary take on the notion. Two very different protagonists, from two very different backgrounds are brought together in the immigrant ‘melting pot’ of New York City. In what could be seen as a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, the characters are much more self-aware than in Shakespeare’s original and thankfully this leads to a more enlightened outcome, for them, and the people they meet on their journey.

Using deceptively simple short chapters which chart the course of one day, it cleverly deals with so many of life's big issues (including migration) primarily through the two teenage narrators.

By Nicola Yoon,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sun Is Also a Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The internationally bestselling love story from Nicola Yoon, author of Everything, Everything - coming as a major film starring Yara Shahidi in 2019.

The internationally bestselling love story from Nicola Yoon, author of Everything, Everything. Now a major film starring Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton!

Natasha-
I'm a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny.

Or dreams that will never come true. I'm definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him.

Not when my family is twelve hours away from…


Book cover of Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League

Danny Ramadan Author Of Crooked Teeth: A Queer Syrian Refugee Memoir

From my list on memoirs written refugees and immigrants.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have gone through the refugee experience, and it has shaped me. I grew up queer in Syria, became a man in Egypt, a refugee in Lebanon, then an author in Canada. At the expense of romanticizing something so deeply painful, I do believe that the experience has made me a better man. It matured me, offered me a deep connection with others within my community, and built an unmatched appreciation of my culture of home back in Syria and my culture of diaspora here in Canada. As a fiction writer, I am obsessed with writing queer stories about immigration. 

Danny's book list on memoirs written refugees and immigrants

Danny Ramadan Why did Danny love this book?

I want to end this list on a strong note: this book by an immigrant to New York felt personal to me. Navigating life in New York is a dream for many immigrants, one that, realistically, I know I shouldn’t keep, but emotionally, I’m still connected to.

Still, this book carries more than just the background of NYC, it also has such a strong case against the idea that undocumented immigrants have nothing of value for the US. After reading this book, I kinda wanted Dan-el to be my friend. 

By Dan-el Padilla Peralta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An undocumented immigrant’s journey from a New York City homeless shelter to the top of his Princeton class
 
Dan-el Padilla Peralta has lived the American dream. As a boy, he arrived in the United States legally with his family. Together they had traveled from Santo Domingo to seek medical care for his mother. Soon the family’s visas lapsed, and Dan-el’s father eventually returned home. But Dan-el’s courageous mother decided to stay and make a better life for her bright sons in New York City.
 
Without papers, she faced tremendous obstacles. While Dan-el was only in grade school, the family joined…


Book cover of Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother

Louis Mendoza Author Of (Re)constructing Memory, Place, and Identity in Twentieth Century Houston: A Memoir on Family and Being Mexican American in Space City USA

From my list on Mexican migration to the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a second-generation immigrant, I knew very little of my family’s migration story. My grandparents never really learned English despite living in the US sixty or more years. In my twenties when the country was undergoing turmoil about immigration reform once again, I began looking at the immigrants all around me (and in literature) and identifying what we had in common—how our lives intertwined and were mutually dependent on one another. In 2007 I traveled 8,500 miles around the perimeter of the US by bicycle on a research trip to collect stories from immigrants and those whose lives they impacted. I wrote two books based on that experience.

Louis' book list on Mexican migration to the United States

Louis Mendoza Why did Louis love this book?

Enrique’s Journey follows a 17-year-old boy from Honduras who migrates to the US in search of his mother who has been gone for 11 years. Although he is in touch with her via sporadic phone calls, his yearning to be with her is so deep that he undertakes a journey that is at once desperate, full of love and hope, and exceedingly dangerous.

The author, an award-winning journalist, documents Enrique’s journey to survive his trek northward that he undertakes with absolutely no money from a small Honduran village through Mexico atop freight trains, and his efforts to survive not only the dangerous train ride but the violence of those who prey on young migrants.

Though he does find his mother in North Carolina, his reunion is not easy as his resentment at being left behind plagues their relationship.

By Sonia Nazario,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Enrique's Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

An astonishing story that puts a human face on the ongoing debate about immigration reform in the United States, now updated with a new Epilogue and Afterword, photos of Enrique and his family, an author interview, and more—the definitive edition of a classic of contemporary America
 
Based on the Los Angeles Times newspaper series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for feature writing and another for feature photography, this page-turner about the power of family is a popular text in classrooms and a touchstone for communities across the country to engage in meaningful discussions about this essential American subject.
  
Enrique’s…


Book cover of Patsy

Elias Rodriques Author Of All the Water I've Seen Is Running

From my list on fiction by Jamaican women writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Jamaican migrant, I often read Jamaican fiction to feel recognized, but I struggle with the word “best,” so consider this an exceedingly tentative ranking. I read each of these texts to learn about what it means to be a part of the Jamaican diaspora and to write a Jamaican novel, and each one elicited in me something that I often did not know about myself. Their attention to gender, to migration, to family, and more are as enlightening as they are captivating. And if that is not enough, then come for the plots, all of which are gripping, and the prose, all of which delights.

Elias' book list on fiction by Jamaican women writers

Elias Rodriques Why did Elias love this book?

If you have not yet read Patsy, just read it. I won’t regale you with tales of its critical and commercial success, as you may already have heard about it. What I will say is that this is a book that will stick with you. Its portrait of longing, of love, of motherhood, and of childhood is so attentive to the thought of its central two characters—a mother and child—that they will feel so real to you that you will think of them when you encounter their facsimiles in your own life. 

By Nicole Dennis-Benn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Heralded for writing "deeply memorable . . . women" (Jennifer Senior, New York Times), Nicole Dennis-Benn introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine for our times: the eponymous Patsy, who leaves her young daughter behind in Jamaica to follow Cicely, her oldest friend, to New York. Beating with the pulse of a long-withheld confession and peppered with lilting patois, Patsy gives voice to a woman who looks to America for the opportunity to love whomever she chooses, bravely putting herself first. But to survive as an undocumented immigrant, Patsy is forced to work as a nanny, while back in Jamaica her…


Book cover of Beautiful Country: A Memoir

Marita Golden Author Of Migrations of the Heart

From my list on why memoir can be both literature and art.

Why am I passionate about this?

Marita Golden is an award-winning author of over twenty works of fiction and nonfiction. Her books include the novel The Wide Circumference of Love and the memoirs Migrations of the Heart, Saving Our Sons, and Don’t Play in the Sun One Woman’s Journey Through the Color Complex. She is the recipient of many awards including the Writers for Writers Award from Barnes & Noble and Poets and Writers, an award from the Authors Guild, and the Fiction Award for her novel After, from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, been featured as a question on Jeopardy!, and is a two-time NAACP Image Award nominee. 

Marita's book list on why memoir can be both literature and art

Marita Golden Why did Marita love this book?

This memoir informed me of the psychological price of immigration and displacement on young children in ways that were searing and deep because of Wang’s mastery of the child’s perspective.

She lived in New York’s Chinatown with her parents two professionals who immigrated from China and experienced poverty, isolation, fear of deportation, working in a sweatshop. She was saved by her love of books and reading, and her mother’s determination to realize the life she left China to have. Wang creates innocence and trauma with a deft, poetic skill that makes this a classic. 

By Qian Julie Wang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK, OBAMA 2021 BOOK PICK and INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'Hunger was a constant, reliable friend in Mei Guo. She came second only to loneliness.'

In China she was the daughter of professors. In Brooklyn her family is 'illegal.'

Qian is just seven when she moves to America, the 'Beautiful Country', where she and her parents find that the roads of New York City are not paved with gold, but crushing fear and scarcity. Unable to speak English at first, Qian and her parents must work wherever they can to survive, all while…


Book cover of The Son of Good Fortune

Asale Angel-Ajani Author Of A Country You Can Leave

From my list on badass mothers.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first time I learned that I was raised by a “bad” mother was when I was in the first grade. The teachers complained that my mother hadn’t shown up for parent-teacher conferences and never could get me to school on time. But I knew what they did not, that my mother worked a lot and was raising kids all her own and yet still had time to take us to the library to read books that were well beyond the ones at school. Because of my highly iterant life raised by a bookish and neglectful mother, I have always been interested in the relationship between children and their less-than-perfect mothers.

Asale's book list on badass mothers

Asale Angel-Ajani Why did Asale love this book?

The Son of Good Fortune (Excel) has an outrageous single mother who defies societal expectations. Maxima, a former B-movie action star in the Philippines, runs an online scam siphoning money from men.

She dominates the book with her humor and zest for life, even as she is forced to live in the margins as an undocumented immigrant, raising a child all on her own.

This is a funny and smart and poignant book. I loved the mother in this book and felt for her son, Excel, deeply.

By Lysley Tenorio,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Son of Good Fortune as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Recommended Book From:
USA Today * The Chicago Tribune * Book Riot * Refinery 29 * InStyle * The Minneapolis Star-Tribune * Publishers Weekly * Baltimore Outloud * Omnivoracious * Lambda Literary * Goodreads * Lit Hub * The Millions

FINALIST FOR THE JOYCE CAROL OATES PRIZE
WINNER OF THE NEW AMERICAN VOICES AWARD

From award-winning author Lysley Tenorio, comes a big hearted debut novel following an undocumented Filipino son as he navigates his relationship with his mother, an uncertain future, and the place he calls home

Excel spends his days trying to seem like an unremarkable American teenager.…


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