10 books like Song of Solomon

By Toni Morrison,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Song of Solomon. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Three Mothers

By Anna Malaika Tubbs,

Book cover of The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation

A fascinating exploration into the lives of three women ignored by history, the mothers of Martin Luther King Jr, James Baldwin, and Malcolm X. By tracing the intellectual, political, and emotional strands of each woman’s life, Anna Malaika Tubbs uncovers hidden complexities within black motherhood that illuminate our understanding of the past while also shedding light on the overlooked contributions of black women today.

The Three Mothers

By Anna Malaika Tubbs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

'A fascinating exploration into the lives of three women ignored by history ... Eye-opening, engrossing'
Brit Bennett, bestselling author of The Vanishing Half

In her groundbreaking debut, Anna Malaika Tubbs tells the incredible storIES of three women who raised three world-changing men.

Much has been written about Berdis Baldwin's son James, about Alberta King's son Martin Luther and Louise Little's son Malcolm. But virtually nothing has been said about the extraordinary women who raised them, each fighting their own battles, born into the beginning of the twentieth century and a deadly landscape of racial prejudice,…


Passing

By Nella Larsen,

Book cover of Passing

Although Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield are only old childhood friends, their relationship has intense sister vibes. Each woman’s mix of jealousy and curiosity about the other’s life, the latent homoerotic desire that serves as an undercurrent for so much of the rising action, a suspected affair, and the explosive ending to Clare’s ruse all illustrate the kind of sibling rivalry I love to explore in my critical as well as my creative work. Not to mention, one of my favorite literary flexes of all time occurs near the end when Irene’s plucky friend Felise has to check a white man who has the audacity to yell the word “nigger” at a house party filled with Black people. It is a moment, as is the entire book. 

Passing

By Nella Larsen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A classic, brilliant and layered novel that has been at the heart of racial identity discourse in America for almost a century.

Clare Kendry leads a dangerous life. Fair, elegant, and ambitious, she is married to a white man unaware of her African American heritage and has severed all ties to her past. Clare's childhood friend, Irene Redfield, just as light-skinned, has chosen to remain within the African American community, but refuses to acknowledge the racism that continues to constrict her family's happiness. A chance encounter forces both women to confront the lies they have told others - and the…


Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston,

Book cover of Their Eyes Were Watching God

This is the book that, after three years of a long and often turgid English degree, made me fall back in love with reading. Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on boardis there a better opening line in the English language? The novel tells the story of Janey, an African American woman in Florida in the 1920s, and her three husbands. A candidate for shaming and marginalisation if ever there was one. But Janey resists every constraint that society seeks to impose on her. I read this book whenever I need a good weep. 

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Their Eyes Were Watching God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cover design by Harlem renaissance artist Lois Mailou Jones

When Janie, at sixteen, is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before meeting the man of her dreams, who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds ...

'For me, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece…


Salvage the Bones

By Jesmyn Ward,

Book cover of Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones is a deeply personal, heartbreaking story of Esch and her siblings navigating life as Hurricane Katrina approaches. But more than the chaos of nature’s fury, it is their interior lives—their day-to-day struggles absent any meaningful help from outsiders—that bring Ward’s pages to vivid life. She shows us just how complex growing up can be, especially for a child faced with bringing a new life into the world. And, yes, I’ll leave it there, exhorting you to read Salvage the Bones for more.

Salvage the Bones

By Jesmyn Ward,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Salvage the Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_______________ 'A brilliantly pacy adventure story ... Ward writes like a dream' - The Times 'Fresh and urgent' - New York Times 'There's something of Faulkner to Ward's grand diction' - Guardian _______________ WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD Hurricane Katrina is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. He's a hard drinker, largely absent, and it isn't often he worries about the family. Esch and her three brothers are stockpiling food, but there isn't much to save. Lately, Esch can't keep down what food she gets;…


Kindred

By Octavia E. Butler,

Book cover of Kindred

My list would not be complete without Octavia Butler’s Kindred. Ms. Butler trailblazing the way and being the first woman of color to write in science fiction and urban fantasy is the reason I am a writer today. Time traveling Dana was my first exposure to not just urban fantasy before the genre bore the name, but to seeing myself in fiction that I enjoyed reading, and writing fiction that I enjoyed reading. I became immersed in her story, in her world, in her life. For the time while I read, Kindred, I became Dana. That to me is the mark of a truly gifted writer. 

Kindred

By Octavia E. Butler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Parable of the Sower and MacArthur “Genius” Grant, Nebula, and Hugo award winner

The visionary time-travel classic whose Black female hero is pulled through time to face the horrors of American slavery and explores the impacts of racism, sexism, and white supremacy then and now.

“I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm.”

Dana’s torment begins when she suddenly vanishes on her 26th birthday from California, 1976, and is dragged through time to antebellum Maryland to rescue a boy named Rufus, heir to a slaveowner’s plantation. She soon…


Wake

By Lisa McMann,

Book cover of Wake

One of my all-time favorite books. I recommend the whole trilogy. This YA book focuses on a young girl named Janie who has grown up with the annoying (sometimes dangerous) power of constantly getting sucked into people’s dreams when they sleep near her. It’s dark and realistic. There’s a mystery and it turns into a Veronica Mars-esque detective story, especially as the books progress. The romance is also amazingly developed. Chef’s kiss.   

Wake

By Lisa McMann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams at any given moment is getting tired. Especially the falling dreams, and the standing-in-front-of-the-class-naked ones. But then there are the nightmares, the ones that chill her to the bone... like the one where she is in a strange house...in a dirty kitchen...and a sinister monster that edges ever closer. This is the nightmare that she keeps falling into, the one where, for the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant...


Distant Waves

By Suzanne Weyn,

Book cover of Distant Waves: A Novel of the Titanic: A Novel of the Titanic

I love a historical fiction novel. Give me every iteration of Pride and Prejudice, give me old time-y things, give me Great Gatsby flapper dancers. I love it. Distant Waves is a really fun YA novel focused on five sisters who meet as they find their way onto the Titanic and befriend famous inventor, Nicola Tesla. The sisters come from a mother who is in the spiritualist community and they have a feeling the ship will sink, but they hop aboard anyways with a very sweet boy named Thad. There’s paranormal stuff and kooky inventions. Gotta love a sprinkle of magic. 

Distant Waves

By Suzanne Weyn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Science, spiritualism, history and romance intertwine in Suzanne Weyn's newest novel. Four sisters and their mother make their way from a spiritualist town in New York to London, becoming acquainted with journalist W. T. Stead, scientist Nikola Tesla, and industrialist John Jacob Astor. When they all find themselves on the Titanic, one of Tesla's inventions dooms them . . . and one could save them.


One Last Stop

By Casey McQuiston,

Book cover of One Last Stop

One Last Stop is an example of why I rarely read blurbs, because I’m allergic to spoilers, but it’s impossible to talk about this book without spoiling the premise (which is on the blurb), so here it is: a floundering Southern plus-sized bi white girl meets a Chinese butch on the train in New York, and said butch turns out to be displaced in time from the 1970s.

It’s a new adult sapphic rom-com, with fated love, grumpy x sunshine, and found family tropes, plus the whole “teaching a time traveler about the internet” thing. It was cute and heartfelt, like everything from McQuiston, with a side dose of queer history lessons.

One Last Stop

By Casey McQuiston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don't exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can't imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there's certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there's this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges…


The End of Vandalism

By Tom Drury,

Book cover of The End of Vandalism

Tom Drury has been called “the greatest writer you’ve never heard of” and when you discover his work, you’ll feel a thrill similar to the joy of knowing the gems hiding in plain sight throughout the Midwest (Get it? Plain sight?). The End of Vandalism, Drury’s first novel (you could read any of them- they’re all great, but start with this one as the same characters reappear in future books), takes place in a fictional Iowa town and follows the lives of three of its residents, who are involved in a love triangle. Drury writes real, beautiful, complicated, and thoroughly Midwestern characters. Although Grouse County is fictional, it could just as easily be a real place. And if you find you need more Iowa, read Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella (this is my sneaky way of recommending more than 5 books).

The End of Vandalism

By Tom Drury,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in rural Iowa, this “breathtaking . . . remarkable achievement” of a debut novel by the author of Pacific is “at once funny, sad, and touching” (New York Newsday).
 
A New York Magazine and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
 
With extensive excerpts appearing in the New Yorker before its release, Tom Drury’s groundbreaking debut, The End of Vandalism, drew widespread acclaim and comparison to the works of Sherwood Anderson and William Faulkner.
 
With his fictional Grouse County, Tom Drury conjures a Midwest that is at once familiar and amusingly eccentric—where a thief vacuums the church before stealing…


Chevy in the Hole

By Kelsey Ronan,

Book cover of Chevy in the Hole

It seems society wants either to willfully ignore Flint, Michigan or hold it up as an example of how wrong things can go. Ronan’s novel, set in Flint and Detroit, before and during the Flint water crisis, tells a fully realized story of this city that has so often been mistreated and misrepresented. The novel tells the love story of August, a man brought back to life from an opioid overdose and Monae, a young urban farmer. Both lovers have ties to Flint and Detroit that go back generations and Ronan expertly weaves stories of these family lines and the impact their history has on August and Monae. When I finished Chevy in the Hole, I found myself thinking of my own family stories in a different light. It’s a book that stays with you long after you put it down.

Chevy in the Hole

By Kelsey Ronan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chevy in the Hole as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Finalist for the 2022 Heartland Booksellers Award

A gorgeous, unflinching love letter to Flint, Michigan, and the resilience of its people, Kelsey Ronan's Chevy in the Hole follows multiple generations of two families making their homes there, with a stunning contemporary love story at its center.

In the opening pages of Chevy in the Hole, August “Gus” Molloy has just overdosed in a bathroom stall of the Detroit farm-to-table restaurant where he works. Shortly after, he packs it in and returns home to his family in Flint. This latest slip and recommitment…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Michigan, African Americans, and magical realism?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Michigan, African Americans, and magical realism.

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