100 books like I Hotel

By Karen Tei Yamashita,

Here are 100 books that I Hotel fans have personally recommended if you like I Hotel. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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By Toni Morrison,

Book cover of Beloved

Jodi Lynn Anderson Author Of Tiger Lily

From the list on walking the line between real and imaginary.

Who am I?

As a kid I felt the unseen magic in the things around me: it seemed as obvious as breathing, particularly when I was out in nature. These are books that brought me back to that… reminding me that being ‘realistic’ doesn’t mean ignoring what’s unseen. These stories have inspired me so deeply and driven my passion as a writer: which is basically to try to reach out to readers and say, hey, we are surrounded. There is more. This is not all there is. 

Jodi's book list on walking the line between real and imaginary

Why did Jodi love this book?

It feels presumptuous to even try to describe this novel…I can only say that to me, it is a story about a truth so painful that it can only be viewed indirectly and magically, from all the many vantage points its characters (and ghosts) offer.

A spiraling, heartbreaking explosion of a book, brilliantly structured, beautifully written, with a secret at its center. 

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

30 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…

The Quiet American

By Graham Greene,

Book cover of The Quiet American

David Hagerty Author Of They Tell Me You Are Wicked

From the list on political crime fiction.

Who am I?

I grew up in Chicago in the waning days of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s machine, which politicized everything from schools to loading zones. Everyone—whether they were civil servants or small business owners—had to pledge loyalty to Da Boss, Hizzoner, or suffer the consequences. As a result, I’ve always gravitated to crime stories with a political element, one showing the effects of big conflicts on regular people. And I’ve written about the same. 

David's book list on political crime fiction

Why did David love this book?

Before the U.S. entered the war in Vietnam, Graham Greene forecast its disastrous consequences. His love triangle, set amid the escalating conflict, perfectly captures the naiveté of American interventionism overseas. I love the subtext of the tale, which is narrated by an embittered British journalist. Although it’s never spoken, we intuit that he is addicted to opium and living the life of a dissolute expatriate. Fowler watches in horror as a U.S. diplomat tries to steal both the woman and the country he has adopted. He claims impartiality and indifference until he cannot any longer.

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Quiet American as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Graham Greene's classic exploration of love, innocence, and morality in Vietnam

"I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas.

As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But…

The Book of Daniel

By E.L. Doctorow,

Book cover of The Book of Daniel

Andrew Altschul Author Of The Gringa

From the list on to make you rethink America.

Who am I?

Growing up in a comfortable suburb, I was never encouraged to examine my privilege or to ask questions about our country’s social and economic arrangements. I knew shockingly little about U.S. history beyond the triumphalist narratives of great men and military victories; the dark side of that history usually came in footnotes, and always with the implication that our country’s sins are mere aberrations from its good intentions. I had to learn the most important truths about our history from literature, which shows us the impact that events have on individuals, painting a fuller picture of how America became the country it is, and the terrible price so many people have had to pay.

Andrew's book list on to make you rethink America

Why did Andrew love this book?

In 1953, a working-class Jewish couple from Brooklyn was executed for allegedly selling nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. Their two young children were orphaned. E. L. Doctorow’s novel about the Rosenbergs is an excruciating examination of these events from the fictionalized perspective of one of those children. Daniel’s point of view—naïve, angry, traumatizedbrilliantly illustrates the absurdity and cruelty of American culture when it turns against those who, for reasons of class, race, or religion, have never been fully included in it. I’ve read it a dozen times and still find myself sobbing at the realization of how all the country’s history, all its dreams and delusions about itself and its destiny, were stacked up against this poor pair of nobodies. Their real crime lay in demanding that the United States live up to its ideals, something it has never been able to do.

By E.L. Doctorow,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Book of Daniel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on the trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, convicted of delivering information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union E.L. Doctorow's The Book of Daniel includes a new introduction by Jonathan Freedland in Penguin Modern Classics.

As Cold War hysteria inflames America, FBI agents pay a surprise visit to a Communist man and his wife in their New York apartment. After a trial that divides the country, the couple are sent to the electric chair for treason. Decades later, in 1967, their son Daniel struggles to understand the tragedy of their lives. But while he is…

Absalom, Absalom!

By William Faulkner,

Book cover of Absalom, Absalom!

Ed Protzel Author Of The Lies That Bind

From the list on defying stereotypes to reveal powerful themes.

Who am I?

Being a member of two historically oppressed minority groups, Jewish and Cherokee, I like to explore themes of prejudice and injustice in all my writing, even using humor, irony, or satire to tell the tale. I love guiding the reader along on a character’s journey, the joys and pains inflicted by an often unjust world. There’s nothing more satisfying than to hear a reader say: “I learned something new.” No wonder I chose to study English literature and creative writing as my undergraduate and graduate school majors. I live in St. Louis, Missouri, and am working on my fifth novel.

Ed's book list on defying stereotypes to reveal powerful themes

Why did Ed love this book?

This is about as powerful a novel as 20th Century America produced, and hit me like a ton of bricks. The book may be tough sledding at first—I was so enamored with Faulkner's brilliant language, I had to read Chapter One twice to understand it. But when you are finished with the novel's heavy drama and profound themes, you are satisfied. In this novel, each chapter has its own distinctive first-person narrator, each with his/her own unique, often-conflicting point of view. The book's gorgeous language thrilled me, while carving out each narrator's personality and character. The story's tension built until it exploded, leaving me with deep understanding of the human condition. I've read Absalom, Absalom! many times and always gain something fresh. 

By William Faulkner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This postbellum Greek tragedy is the perfect introduction to Faulkner's elaborate descriptive syntax.

Quentin Compson and Shreve, his Harvard roommate, are obsessed with the tragic rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen. As a poor white boy, Sutpen was turned away from a plantation owner's mansion by a black butler. From then on, he was determined to force his way into the upper echelons of Southern society. His relentless will ensures his ambitions are soon realised; land, marriage, children, his own troop to fight in the Civil War... but Sutpen returns from the conflict to find his estate in ruins and…


By Brenna Wynn Greer,

Book cover of Represented: The Black Imagemakers Who Reimagined African American Citizenship

Marcia Chatelain Author Of Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America

From the list on racial capitalism.

Who am I?

Anytime we imagine ourselves to be smarter or more clever than Madison Avenue or sponsored content on your social media feeds or a well-designed advertisement a nostalgia unlocking tweet will prove you wrong. We are all vulnerable to their manipulations, and it is from this belief that I explore the histories, the conflicts, and the techniques that strengthen capitalism’s hold on our imaginations. And yet, despite the lures of the marketplace, I believe that people can come together and outmaneuver corporations and their enablers. Whether it’s a fast-food restaurant that crashed and burned in the 1980s or the most popular toy of 1973 or failed TV spinoffs, I see these cultural contributions as rich texts to understand race, gender, and American identities.

Marcia's book list on racial capitalism

Why did Marcia love this book?

By looking at the role of influential Black marketing researchers and advertisers, Represented delves into the murky relationship between activist politics and the marketplace through the ads for cars and colas that featured African-Americans. By looking at the dissonance between segregated lunch counters and photographs representing happy, Black consumers, Greer links the ways that advertising fuels fantasies about individual and communal progress.

By Brenna Wynn Greer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1948, Moss Kendrix, a former New Deal public relations officer, founded a highly successful, Washington, D.C.-based public relations firm, the flagship client of which was the Coca-Cola Company. As the first black pitchman for Coca-Cola, Kendrix found his way into the rarefied world of white corporate America. His personal phone book also included the names of countless black celebrities, such as bandleader Duke Ellington, singer-actress Pearl Bailey, and boxer Joe Louis, with whom he had built relationships in the course of developing marketing campaigns for his numerous federal and corporate clients. Kendrix, along with Ebony publisher John H. Johnson…

If White Kids Die

By Dick J. Reavis,

Book cover of If White Kids Die: Memories of a Civil Rights Movement Volunteer

Steven L. Davis Author Of The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon, and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD

From the list on the sixties counterculture from Texans.

Who am I?

I’ve been reading, studying, and writing about Texas literature for over 25 years. I’m the longtime literary curator at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, which holds the archives of many leading writers from Texas and the Southwest. I have a personal passion for the 1960s and have written/co-written three nonfiction books set in the sixties.

Steven's book list on the sixties counterculture from Texans

Why did Steven love this book?

Dick J. Reavis was a white teenager from Texas when he joined the Civil Rights movement in 1965. If White Kids Die is his clear-eyed, unsentimental memoir of his experiences in Alabama for the Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee. It’s a fascinating, grassroots view from a foot soldier of the movement, someone far removed for the glamorous leadership positions.

Following his stint with SNCC, Reavis later joined SDS and became a prominent anti-war protester in Austin. During his time in the Movement, Reavis endured beatings, jailings, denunciations, and poverty. All of that, as it turned out, was good preparation for his eventual career: a life in journalism. He has since become a legendary journalist in Texas, famed for his tough and daring reporting. He once told me: “I knew Spanish, knew how to live poor, knew how to lie to bosses."

By Dick J. Reavis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If White Kids Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1965 Dick J. Reavis, a white middle-class Texan, decided to join a voter registration programme, and spent a summer on the wrong side of the tracks in Demopolis, Alabama. This work describes his gradual maturation as he encountered the other side of legally-enforced racism.

For Freedom's Sake

By Chana Kai Lee,

Book cover of For Freedom's Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer

Katherine Mellen Charron Author Of Freedom's Teacher: The Life of Septima Clark

From the list on women in the civil rights movement.

Who am I?

Having studied the civil rights movement for over twenty years, I can attest that it is infinitely more complex, more nuanced, and more inspiring than how it has come to be remembered and celebrated. Students in my civil rights seminar always ask “Why did we never learn this in high school?!” They do so because they discover what becomes possible when ordinary people united around the goals of freedom and justice undertake extraordinary challenges. For those concerned about our contemporary historical moment, both the movement’s successes and shortcomings help explain how we got here. Yet they also suggest how we might best adapt the lessons from that era to our own as the struggle continues.

Katherine's book list on women in the civil rights movement

Why did Katherine love this book?

Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) rose from obscurity as a sharecropper and plantation time-keeper to become a key player in the Mississippi movement. After joining the Student Non-Violent Committee in 1962, she helped with voter registration; arrested a year later, Hamer endured a horrible beating in a jail in Winona that left her with permanent injuries. In 1964, she helped organize Freedom Summer and co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which challenged the seating of the state’s all-white delegation at the Democratic National Convention that fall. Seeking to empower her rural African American neighbors, and drawing on long-standing traditions of self-determination, Hamer founded the Freedom Farm Cooperative in 1969. Lee’s biography of this one incredible activist underscores the everyday racial and sexual violence—including forced sterilization—that accompanied life as a Black woman in the segregated South. It also demonstrates how they overcame it.

By Chana Kai Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked For Freedom's Sake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The youngest of twenty children of sharecroppers in rural Mississippi, Fannie Lou Hamer witnessed throughout her childhood the white cruelty, political exclusion, and relentless economic exploitation that defined African American existence in the Delta.

In this intimate biography, Chana Kai Lee documents Hamer's lifelong crusade to empower the poor through collective action, her rise to national prominence as a civil rights activist, and the personal costs of her ongoing struggle to win a political voice and economic self-sufficiency for blacks in the segregated South. Lee looks at Hamer's early work as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee…

Separate Is Never Equal

By Duncan Tonatiuh,

Book cover of Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family's Fight for Desegregation

Mara Rockliff Author Of Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

From the list on civil rights heroes.

Who am I?

I am a children’s author best known for digging up fascinating stories about famous people—and forgotten people who deserve to be famous again. As a kid, I loved reading about the old days, but I wasn’t very interested in “history,” which seemed to be dull facts about a few Great Men. In college, though, I studied social movements and discovered that we all make history together, and that it takes the combined efforts of countless unsung heroes—just as brave, hardworking, and persistent as the big names everybody knows—to achieve real change. 

Mara's book list on civil rights heroes

Why did Mara love this book?

Civil rights have been denied to many groups in the United States at different times in different ways—and sometimes in very much the same way, as I learned from this book about a landmark school desegregation case in 1946 in California. Eight-year-old Sylvia Mendez didn’t understand why she had to go to the “Mexican school,” a rough shack without a playground or a cafeteria, when there was a much nicer public school close to her house. So her family decided to fight—not just for Sylvia and her brothers, but for all children in segregated schools in California. Ultimately, they won, with help (as Tonatiuh points out) from the American Jewish Congress, the Japanese American Citizens League, and the NAACP.

By Duncan Tonatiuh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Separate Is Never Equal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A 2015 Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor Book and a 2015 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a "Whites only" school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.Praise for Separate is Never EqualSTARRED REVIEWS"Tonatiuh masterfully combines text and…

We've Got a Job

By Cynthia Levinson,

Book cover of We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March

Anthony Grooms Author Of Bombingham

From the list on to teach about the civil rights movement.

Who am I?

I grew up in the American South during the Civil Rights Movement. The movement was nearly constant conversation, approached with cautious optimism, in my household. Years later, I met my wife, whose family lived in Birmingham, Alabama, and participated in various ways in the movement in that city. Soon after I began to study and write about the Civil Rights Movement, especially the Birmingham movement. I’ve published two books of fiction that reflect on the Movement and I’ve taught college courses and given many lectures in the States and abroad about literature and film set during the Civil Rights Movement.

Anthony's book list on to teach about the civil rights movement

Why did Anthony love this book?

I wanted a good middle-grade book to introduce my son to the Birmingham Children’s March.   Doing so was important to me since his mother grew up in Birmingham, a little girl in 1963.  Levinson’s book features the stories of four children, one who was my wife’s schoolmate, who marched and were fire-hosed. With historical photographs and interviews, the book is an inviting and moving introduction for middle-graders to the why and how of the Movement and the bravery of the youngest activists.

By Cynthia Levinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We've Got a Job as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiring story of the 1963 Birmingham Children's March as seen through the eyes of four young people at the center of the action.

The 1963 Birmingham Children's March was a turning point in American civil rights history. Black Americans had had enough of segregation and police brutality, but with their lives and jobs at stake, most adults were hesitant to protest the city's racist culture. So the fight for civil rights lay in the hands of children like Audrey Hendricks, Wash Booker, James Stewart, and Arnetta Streeter.

We've Got a Job tells the little-known story of the four thousand…

An Easy Burden

By Andrew Young,

Book cover of An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America

Paul Kendrick Author Of Nine Days: The Race to Save Martin Luther King Jr.'s Life and Win the 1960 Election

From the list on memoirs of the civil rights movement.

Who am I?

My father and I have written three books of narrative history. We tell stories from the American past that have a theme of interracial collaboration. Not sentimentally, but so that in a clear-eyed way, we can learn from moments in our history that may offer us hopeful ways forward. Growing up, I was shaped by narrative history techniques such as Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality by Richard Kluger and Taylor Branch’s America in the King Years trilogy. For this list, I wanted to share five favorite civil rights movement memoirs.

Paul's book list on memoirs of the civil rights movement

Why did Paul love this book?

Few reflect on Dr. King more insightfully than Young, from strategy sessions to reflective late-night talks with Dr. King. His memories from campaigns like Birmingham are invaluable. There is both humor and great depth in the tale of Young’s life, from theological school and parish ministry to being at the center of the civil rights movement. 

By Andrew Young,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Andrew Young is one of the most important figures of the U.S. civil rights movement and one of America's best-known African American leaders. Working closely with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he endured beatings and arrests while participating in seminal civil rights campaigns. In 1964, he became Executive Director of the SCLC, serving with King during a time of great accomplishment and turmoil. In describing his life through his election to Congress in 1972, this memoir provides revelatory, riveting reading. Young's analysis of the connection between racism, poverty, and a militarized economy will resonate with…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in 1970s, Asian Americans, and San Francisco?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about 1970s, Asian Americans, and San Francisco.

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Asian Americans Explore 25 books about Asian Americans
San Francisco Explore 184 books about San Francisco