100 books like Go Tell It on the Mountain

By James Baldwin,

Here are 100 books that Go Tell It on the Mountain fans have personally recommended if you like Go Tell It on the Mountain. 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 Circe

Judith Lindbergh Author Of Akmaral

From my list on historical fiction with eponymous titles.

Why am I passionate about this?

When we authors name our characters, we gift them with meaning—a single word that somehow encompasses everything they will experience on the page. The name of my heroine, Akmaral, hails from Kazakhstan and means “white deer.” It resounds with the sound of hooves on the ancient Central Asian steppes and the deep connection to the natural world of the nomadic people who once lived there. Names bear unconscious expectations—hopes for strength and wisdom, dreams of triumph, beauty, and love. I hope that someday, hearing “Akmaral” will bring to mind vast, windswept steppes and a strong woman on horseback, head held high, contemplating her journey from warrior to leader.

Judith's book list on historical fiction with eponymous titles

Judith Lindbergh Why did Judith love this book?

It doesn’t hurt to be a goddess—even a minor goddess—that is, unless you are condemned to live alone on an enchanted island for eternity. I love the magic and herbology woven into Circe's character. (I love anything that has to do with harnessing nature’s powerful, innate wisdom.)

Circe’s suffering at the hands of gods and men is as intense as if she were a human woman. Yet she is immortal. Is there no end to it? Thankfully, even a goddess can grow. 

By Madeline Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The international Number One bestseller from the author of The Song of Achilles, shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child - not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens…

Book cover of Ordinary Men

Suzanna Eibuszyc Author Of Memory is Our Home

From my list on the trials and tribulations of the generation that came before us.

Why am I passionate about this?

Professor Elie Wiesel was instrumental in my translating and researching my mother’s journals. My awakening to the dark period in the chapter of the Jewish history happened between 1971-1974 at CCNY, when our paths crossed while I was taking his classes at the department of Jewish studies. It was in his classes that the things that bewildered me as a child growing up in communist Poland in the shadows of the Holocaust aftermath started to make sense. I asked my mother to commit to paper the painful memories, she buried deep inside her. She and the next generations have an obligation to bear witness, to be this history's keepers.

Suzanna's book list on the trials and tribulations of the generation that came before us

Suzanna Eibuszyc Why did Suzanna love this book?

The famous Hannah Arendt coined “the banality of evil." Not monsters, but ordinary people were able to follow Hitler’s murderess ideology. Ordinary Men clearly shows how men and women from all walks of life were capable of becoming cold-blooded killers. Ordinary Men were the Nazi mobile gas units and death squads responsible for the murder of 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Poland & Ukraine.   

By Christopher R. Browning,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Ordinary Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The shocking account of how a unit of average middle-aged Germans became the cold-blooded murderers of tens of thousands of Jews.

Book cover of The Notebook, the Proof, the Third Lie: Three Novels

Em Strang Author Of Quinn

From my list on short reads that dare to offer something deep.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a poet and creative mentor, and it’s the intensity of poetic language – its expansiveness and limitations – that shows up in my fiction and in the novels I love. Quinn is an exploration of male violence, incarceration, and radical forgiveness. I’ve spent a decade working with long-term prisoners in Scotland, trying to understand and come to terms with notions of justice and responsibility: does guilt begin and end with the perpetrator of a violent act or are we all in some way culpable? How can literary form dig into this question aslant? Can the unsettled mind be a space for innovative thinking?

Em's book list on short reads that dare to offer something deep

Em Strang Why did Em love this book?

Kristóf (1935-2011) was a Hungarian writer who fled to Switzerland during the war and wrote in French.

The Notebook (the first in the trilogy) is currently number one on my list of all-time favourites. It has all the elements of storytelling that I love: deep, psychological insight into the human heart; adroit use of archetypes, which give the book a timeless, folkloric feel; concision (no waffling) and a poetic, pared-back language that creates a sense of startling immediacy.

Kristóf writes about World War II through the eyes of two young brothers in a Nazi-occupied country (unnamed), and she shocks us awake not through sensationalised violence but through matter-of-fact narration.

It reads like a cross-between dramatic monologue and biblical parable – she stretches the novel form and opens up new possibilities for writing. 

Book cover of If This Is a Man and The Truce

S.J. Butler Author Of Last Orders

From my list on stories of human adventures written in a captivating style.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having written in the genre of psychological/crime thriller fiction for some years, I am always drawn to original voices, particularly those who are prepared to go that extra mile to produce something fresh or a concept that hasn’t been touched on before. With this kind of writing, it is quite easy to get pigeonholed, and the author has to be as meticulously authentic as they possibly can. Thinking and then using the absurd in writing is probably the best endorsement for any book; the stranger, the better. In this modern, media-fueled world, you always have to go to different places and ignite new ideas and narratives. 

S.J.'s book list on stories of human adventures written in a captivating style

S.J. Butler Why did S.J. love this book?

This book has been described as one of the century’s truly necessary books.

If you are interested in holocaust literature, then this is a starting point. It's biographical writing at its best. No stone is left unturned in the writer’s account of his time spent in a concentration camp. A story of survival, this book is humanly honest in the portrayal of the unthinkable.

Reading this book for the first time was an experience not to be repeated. It is an essential read for everyone. 

By Primo Levi, Stuart Woolf (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked If This Is a Man and The Truce as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With the moral stamina and intellectual pose of a twentieth-century Titan, this slightly built, duitful, unassuming chemist set out systematically to remember the German hell on earth, steadfastly to think it through, and then to render it comprehensible in lucid, unpretentious prose. He was profoundly in touch with the minutest workings of the most endearing human events and with the most contempible. What has survived in Levi's writing isn't just his memory of the unbearable, but also, in THE PERIODIC TABLE and THE WRENCH, his delight in what made the world exquisite to him. He was himself a "magically endearing…

Book cover of The Ballad of Black Tom

Barbara Cottrell Author Of Darkness Below

From my list on character-driven horror with a heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been attracted to strange things. When I was a kid, I loved to picnic in graveyards and make up stories about the people buried there. I think I gravitate toward the strange because it’s an escape from the gray every day. The best horror writing fills readers with wonder, opens the door to that magical question, ‘what if?’ But being truly engaged depends on caring about what happens to the characters in a book. That’s why I chose Horror with A Heart as my theme. I like horror with well-developed characters, people that matter to me. People who I could imagine as my friends.

Barbara's book list on character-driven horror with a heart

Barbara Cottrell Why did Barbara love this book?

The Ballad of Black Tom rocked my world.

I was already writing stories inspired by H.P. Lovecraft but I wasn’t sure I had a place in the genre. Then Victor LaValle took one of Lovecraft’s most racist works, The Horror At Red Hook, and produced an alternate version.

Black Tom touches on the events of Lovecraft’s original story but tells the tale from the point of view of a black musician named Tommy Tester. LaValle’s reimagining of Lovecraft is a revelation.

He showed me that I didn’t have to be like Lovecraft to write in his world. And LaValle perfectly captures the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, a world that Lovecraft’s racism prevented him from seeing, even though he lived in New York City at the time.

By Victor LaValle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn't there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father's head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic…

Book cover of Waiting to Exhale

Sheri Langer Author Of Love-Lines

From my list on novels about romance, rejection, and betrayal that pair well with tubs of ice cream.

Why am I passionate about this?

My parents split up when I was six. I escaped from my sadness by reading stories about love and relationships and exploring how others went about the business of living and coping. I married young for security and to have a big family of my own. I succeeded. I have four amazing kids, but after years of wedded chaos, I too was divorced. As a single mom, I set out in search of my own identity and went back to novels to help me find myself. Though I’ve since been fortunate to find my happily ever after, I still enjoy characters that feel like friends who offer warmth, hope, and comfort. 

Sheri's book list on novels about romance, rejection, and betrayal that pair well with tubs of ice cream

Sheri Langer Why did Sheri love this book?

As a white Jewish woman, I know I’m not the authority on the systemic issues inherent in romantic relationships in Black culture, but the good news is, this novel doesn’t require me to be. Bernadine, Savannah, Gloria, and Robin, four Black, thirty-something women navigating their way through love in the nineties, is a story that transcends race. 

As I read about their hopes and dreams, their disappointments and pain, I recognized myself. Through McMillan’s clear voice, I was able to step into each character’s shoes and feel my way through their experiences. I also learned that a cheating guy’s car is an easy target- memorable!

Flavor Pick: Cookies and Cream

By Terry McMillan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Waiting to Exhale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of four vibrant black women in their thirties. They draw on each other for support as they struggle with careers, divorce, motherhood and their relationships with men.

Book cover of Invisible Man

Chris Harding Thornton Author Of Little Underworld

From my list on hilarious books that rip your heart from your chest.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of my favorite writers, Ralph Ellison, said art could "transform dismal sociological facts" through "tragi-comic transcendence." For me, finding humor in the horrific is a means of survival. It's a way of embracing life's tragedy and finding beauty. My two novels, Pickard County Atlas and Little Underworld, try to do that.

Chris' book list on hilarious books that rip your heart from your chest

Chris Harding Thornton Why did Chris love this book?

I’m pretty certain Invisible Man is The Great American Novel. Some lines make me laugh aloud: “I would remain and become a well-disciplined optimist and help them to go merrily to hell.” But the moments that really sing for me are those that ring with humor, horror, tragedy, and beauty all at once.

Near the end, during a moment when the nameless narrator hides and listens to some men telling a story, he aches with the urge to laugh while realizing what’s been said isn’t only funny: “It was funny and dangerous and sad.” The book reminds me that all of those things can be held in my head at once. 

By Ralph Ellison,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Invisible Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • In this deeply compelling novel and epic milestone of American literature, a nameless narrator tells his story from the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. 

He describes growing up in a Black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood," before retreating amid violence and confusion.

Originally published in 1952 as the first novel by a then unknown author, it remained on the bestseller list for…

Book cover of Blood Grove

Michael R. Lane Author Of The Gem Connection

From my list on African American mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an avid reader, I read a wide variety of books. Of the fiction genre mystery and suspense remain my favorite. From the classics to the gritty, a well-told mystery is a literary gem. As my mystery palette has aged—like my taste in wine—so are my demands of what makes a good mystery novel. The best mysteries for me contain more than a serpentine journey toward the hidden truth. They have intriguing characters, crisp dialogue, interesting settings, formidable foes, and of course indispensable heroes or anti-heroes. My writing goal is aimed at achieving the same level of literary penmanship of the mysteries I enjoy reading so much.

Michael's book list on African American mysteries

Michael R. Lane Why did Michael love this book?

Easy Rawlins is an African American private detective in 1960s Los Angeles. Easy gets a visit from a troubled Vietnam veteran at his office. The vet tells an implausible story of him and his lover being attacked in a citrus grove outside the city. He may have killed the man. The woman and his dog are missing. Rawlins’ gut tells him the case is nothing but trouble. He takes the case anyway. The bond between veterans overriding all other concerns. Blood Grove is an exhilarating, mystery soup involving moguls, sociopaths, cops, hippies, extremists, and swindlers. Requiring Easy to call upon help from his friends. Friends who range from genius to lethal. I loved going along with Easy on this case. Admiring his resolve and intelligence in solving the mystery.

By Walter Mosley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ezekiel "Easy" Porterhouse Rawlins is an unlicensed private investigator turned hard-boiled detective always willing to do what it takes to get things done in the racially charged, dark underbelly of Los Angeles.

But when Easy is approached by a shell-shocked Vietnam War veteran- a young white man who claims to have gotten into a fight protecting a white woman from a black man- he knows he shouldn't take the case.

Though he sees nothing but trouble in the brooding ex-soldier's eyes, Easy, a vet himself, feels a kinship form between them. Easy embarks on an investigation that takes him from…

Book cover of Erasure

LaTonya M. Summers Author Of Black Again: Losing and Reclaiming My Racial Identity

From my list on restoring black women’s mental wellness.

Why am I passionate about this?

Black women's mental wellness is important to me because my racial identity was interrupted by racial assimilation. There was a period of time where I thought passing for white would lead me to the success I sought. I learned that adopting white norms and values as my own was psychologically harmful, and these books led to racial restoration and mental well-being. I am an associate professor of clinical mental health, and I teach my students to assess, identify, and promote healthy racial identity development. I hope readers who are on their journeys will find these books helpful. 

LaTonya's book list on restoring black women’s mental wellness

LaTonya M. Summers Why did LaTonya love this book?

I loved this book most because my late father recommended that we read it together when it first came out in the early 2000s. To me, it demonstrates Everett’s brilliance with a pen, and he captures the Black experience in America well, especially identity negotiation.

He was speaking about racial assimilation before I even knew the word for it. I love how he narrows the gap between the Black and the Black who prescribes to white norms. The voice actor who read the book was so entertaining that I have listened to it almost daily for the past five months!

By Percival L. Everett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Percival Everett's Erasure is a blistering satire about race and writing

Thelonious "Monk" Ellison's writing career has bottomed out: his latest manuscript has been rejected by seventeen publishers, which stings all the more because his previous novels have been "critically acclaimed." He seethes on the sidelines of the literary establishment as he watches the meteoric success of We's Lives in Da Ghetto, a first novel by a woman who once visited "some relatives in Harlem for a couple of days." Meanwhile, Monk struggles with real family tragedies—his aged mother is fast succumbing to Alzheimer's, and he still grapples with the…

Book cover of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Robert L. Tsai Author Of Demand the Impossible: One Lawyer's Pursuit of Equal Justice for All

From my list on the role of race and poverty in the criminal justice system.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a law professor at Boston University who has studied and written about constitutional law, democracy, and inequality for over 20 years. I’m troubled by America’s rise to become the world’s leader in imprisoning its own citizens and the continued use of inhumane policing and punishment practices. These trends must be better understood before we can come up with a form of politics that can overcome our slide into a darker version of ourselves. 

Robert's book list on the role of race and poverty in the criminal justice system

Robert L. Tsai Why did Robert love this book?

I found Michelle Alexander’s book a potent reminder that the past is never really past, and that older practices of racial subjugation and use of the criminal law against minorities can be repurposed in later eras to serve the same or related ends.

The book raises the question of whether Jim Crow has really ended in all institutions in American society.

By Michelle Alexander,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The New Jim Crow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists motivated by Michelle Alexander's unforgettable argument that 'we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.'

5 book lists we think you will like!

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