100 books like The Coldest Winter Ever

By Sister Souljah,

Here are 100 books that The Coldest Winter Ever fans have personally recommended if you like The Coldest Winter Ever. 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 Their Eyes Were Watching God

Kai Storm Author Of That One Voice

From my list on fiction novels that will make you believe they’re real.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Kai Storm, author of reality-based urban fiction and erotica, erotica blogger, YouTuber, and Podcaster. I love reading books that feel real, that make you feel, and that teach you something as they entertain you.

Kai's book list on fiction novels that will make you believe they’re real

Kai Storm Why did Kai love this book?

This book scared the hell out of me when I was a teenager because its vivid descriptions stayed in my dreams yet it never stopped me from reading and loving the entire book.

It taught me a lot about following your intuition and/or gut feelings. Although it has been a long time since I read it, the main thing I remember is that your intuition is your protector, and listening to that inner voice helps a lot along the way.

By Zora Neale Hurston,

Why should I read it?

17 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…


Book cover of Coming of Age in Mississippi: The Classic Autobiography of Growing Up Poor and Black in the Rural South

Stephane Dunn Author Of Snitchers

From my list on Black girl coming of age everybody should read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a book-loving Black Girl and am now a Black woman, professor-writer, and lifelong books and popular culture junkie. As a young reader, I marveled at the storytelling in books that took us into the diverse lives and deep interior of teen girls - from Are You There God It’s Me Margaret to especially ones like the five books I name which place Black girls and women at the center of the narrative. In most of the films and writings that I teach and my own book Snitchers, there’s some tragedy and pain, some blues, and perspectives that add to the truth and richness of our human and American story. 

Stephane's book list on Black girl coming of age everybody should read

Stephane Dunn Why did Stephane love this book?

I almost chose a fifth book by an author more readers will likely have heard of (Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower), but I’m going with a second autobiography, Anne Moody’s, Coming of Age in Mississippi.

Between ages 13 and 16, I read my blue paperback cover of this book more times than I can remember. It’s about Anne Moody’s growing up amid poverty and Jim Crow, beset by sexism and danger from within and outside her community due to her gender and race.

It chronicles her childhood in Mississippi to her evolution into a Civil Rights Activist as a teen and college student. It’s so unforgivingly honest, detailed, and visually rich on the page - it humanizes the history like an Eyes on the Prize documentary but way more personalized.

I think it taught me further about the value of writing very visually,  the power of our individual…

By Anne Moody,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Coming of Age in Mississippi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The unforgettable memoir of a woman at the front lines of the civil rights movement—a harrowing account of black life in the rural South and a powerful affirmation of one person’s ability to affect change.
 
“Anne Moody’s autobiography is an eloquent, moving testimonial to her courage.”—Chicago Tribune
 
Born to a poor couple who were tenant farmers on a plantation in Mississippi, Anne Moody lived through some of the most dangerous days of the pre-civil rights era in the South. The week before she began high school came the news of Emmet Till’s lynching. Before then, she had “known the fear…


Book cover of The Bluest Eye

Stephane Dunn Author Of Snitchers

From my list on Black girl coming of age everybody should read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a book-loving Black Girl and am now a Black woman, professor-writer, and lifelong books and popular culture junkie. As a young reader, I marveled at the storytelling in books that took us into the diverse lives and deep interior of teen girls - from Are You There God It’s Me Margaret to especially ones like the five books I name which place Black girls and women at the center of the narrative. In most of the films and writings that I teach and my own book Snitchers, there’s some tragedy and pain, some blues, and perspectives that add to the truth and richness of our human and American story. 

Stephane's book list on Black girl coming of age everybody should read

Stephane Dunn Why did Stephane love this book?

Unfortunately, Toni Morrison’s first major novel The Bluest Eye has long been targeted on banned book lists, which is unfortunate.

Told through the narration of Claudia - a Black girl character after my own heart with the same on-point, justifiably defiant thinking I had as a young girl, we get the story of Pecola and a community that is shaped by both the history of white supremacy and it’s own cultural richness and texture.

Morrison’s writing is so visual and visceral, and the storytelling so honest it spoke to my own war against Black girl invisibility in my own world. I’ve read it many times, and it still emotionally shakes me as so much memorable writing and stories tend to do.

And like other books by this Nobel Prize winner author, The Bluest Eye should be required reading for advanced grade high school students rather than banned. 

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Bluest Eye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Read the searing first novel from the celebrated author of Beloved, which immerses us in the tragic, torn lives of a poor black family in post-Depression 1940s Ohio.

Unlovely and unloved, Pecola prays each night for blue eyes like those of her privileged white schoolfellows. At once intimate and expansive, unsparing in its truth-telling, The Bluest Eye shows how the past savagely defines the present. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison's virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterised her writing.

'She…


Book cover of The Story of O

Kai Storm Author Of That One Voice

From my list on fiction novels that will make you believe they’re real.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Kai Storm, author of reality-based urban fiction and erotica, erotica blogger, YouTuber, and Podcaster. I love reading books that feel real, that make you feel, and that teach you something as they entertain you.

Kai's book list on fiction novels that will make you believe they’re real

Kai Storm Why did Kai love this book?

This book was given to me as a gift, and the lessons it taught me as I read those ancient pages.

It had me clutching my pearls, and it disgusted me at other parts, but at the same time, I wanted/needed to read that book in order to write a book in that style. 

By Pauline Reage,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classic French erotic bestseller that preceded Fifty Shades of Grey

A beautiful young French woman, known only as 'O', is taken by her lover Rene to a splendid mansion near Paris. Here, she is initiated into an elite secret society, where she must learn to serve the sexual fantasies of Rene and his fellow members. But she must also explore the nature of her own darkest desires - and confront just how far she is willing to go for love...


Book cover of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Lynn Alsup Author Of Tinderbox: One Family's Story of Adoption, Neurodiversity, and Fierce Love

From my list on memoirs that crack open a brutal and beautiful world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young social worker, I left the world I knew and moved into violent urban centers and traveled the developing world. The suffering and beauty entranced me. Questions reverberated in me: What does it mean to be part of the vast human community? How can I live most fully? When I adopted children, violence and difference confronted me not “out there” but at home. I wrestled, shocked by my own judgment and narrowness—until I accepted in my bones the myriad ways to live a remarkable life. Curiosity became my superpower. Tinderbox, my unflinching memoir, invites readers into my family’s brutal and beautiful transformation through embracing neurodiversity. 

Lynn's book list on memoirs that crack open a brutal and beautiful world

Lynn Alsup Why did Lynn love this book?

Angelou’s words sat me in a comfy chair as if in a favorite movie theater as the lights dimmed.

The world unrolling before me enveloped me from the red dirt of Arkansas in the 1930s all the way to the California sun. Her prose read like poetry and led me into each space she inhabited, including the ones in her mind. She slowed down the moment and let me ponder—no sideways judgments or explanations.

Her experience of childhood sexual assault ripped through me as my own had. She didn’t shy away from the horrors or beauty of life as a young Black woman finding her place in the world but projected them onto the screen in my mind. They’ve lingered there a long time.

By Maya Angelou,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Maya Angelou's seven volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a Black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy,achievement and celebration. In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother's lover.


Book cover of Addicted

Joylynn M. Jossel Author Of The Root of All Evil

From my list on an urban spin on love, romance, and erotica.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only am I an avid reader of the urban love/romance/erotica genre, but I'm an award-winning, bestselling author in the genre, having written under multiple pen names. I've worked with enough traditional editors and freelance editors to know a well-crafted, entertaining, engaging read of this nature when I not only write one—ha!—but read one. As an author, I rarely offer book reviews—you'll only find one review from me on Amazon—but that's because I'm brutally honest and hard to win over, and I respect my relationship with my fellow literary artists too much to risk it on a not-so-favorable review. So, you know when I say it’s good, it’s good.

Joylynn's book list on an urban spin on love, romance, and erotica

Joylynn M. Jossel Why did Joylynn love this book?

Zane was one of the first to be so bold as to own the art of sex and mix it with the art of literature. Doing more than writing about sex just to be writing about sex, she provides you with a storyline so enthralling that even before all those 50 shades, Addicted was adapted to film and can be watched on national networks and streaming platforms worldwide, making it one of the first erotica novels of our time to have mainstream success.

By Zane,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Addictedis the story of Zoe, an African American arts dealer. It traces her life from the time she first meets her husband, Jason, in the fifth grade, falls in love with him over a game of Twister in the eighth grade, loses her virginity to him in high school and eventually marries him. Everything seems perfect in Zoe's life to her friends and family as she secretly deals with serious problems in her marriage.

After failing to get Jason to open up to her sexually, Zoe becomes involved in not one, not two, but three extramarital affairs. By the time…


Book cover of He Had It Coming

Omar Scott Author Of Loyal To A Fault

From my list on sexy, suspenseful urban inspired crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had a friend that I knew since junior high. He was a straight-A student. He had both parents in the home. His future was bright. He spent the last minutes of his life hiding under a car after being shot several times during a drug deal gone wrong. He made poor decisions that cost him his life. I wanted to write about people who took the wrong path and found their way out. Growing up in a single-parent household, I turned to the streets and gangs. After incarceration I decided to not only turn my life around but to write fiction inspired by criminal activity that I had engaged in during my youth. 

Omar's book list on sexy, suspenseful urban inspired crime

Omar Scott Why did Omar love this book?

This is one of the craziest, most imaginative stories I ever read. I truly enjoyed He Had it Coming. I would love to see it made into a movie. It’s about this an accomplished author name Marcus Brooks. He has got to be the most arrogant man alive. No respect for women at all. Well, a group of professional ladies who are part of a book club decided to teach him a lesson. They kidnap him, and hold him, hoping to change his ways. I promise if you pick this up you won’t be able to put it down.  

By Camika Spencer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked He Had It Coming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Five Women. A Man. And a Plan.

Meet Marcus Brooks. He's gorgeous. He's successful. He's the bestselling author of African American fiction. He's also the most obnoxious male alive....

Meet Raylene, Naomi, Thelma, Gwena, and Latice. They are five women who belong to a reading group, strong women with strong opinions. They don't take any grief from anyone (well, not if they can help it), and their friendships have stood the test of time. One night they meet up with bestselling author Marcus Brooks. At first they are in awe. Then they are puzzled. Next they're enraged. How can a…


Book cover of White Man's Justice, Black Man's Grief

Omar Scott Author Of Loyal To A Fault

From my list on sexy, suspenseful urban inspired crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had a friend that I knew since junior high. He was a straight-A student. He had both parents in the home. His future was bright. He spent the last minutes of his life hiding under a car after being shot several times during a drug deal gone wrong. He made poor decisions that cost him his life. I wanted to write about people who took the wrong path and found their way out. Growing up in a single-parent household, I turned to the streets and gangs. After incarceration I decided to not only turn my life around but to write fiction inspired by criminal activity that I had engaged in during my youth. 

Omar's book list on sexy, suspenseful urban inspired crime

Omar Scott Why did Omar love this book?

This was the first book I read about street culture. It was real. It was graphic. It was intense. I could relate. Goines is known for capturing the urban struggles and the challenges of young men and women growing up in the ghettos. The main character Chester Hines gets caught up in one bad decision after another until he ends up in jail trying to survive. It’s a fantastic story and Goines himself is a classic storyteller who paved the way for endless black authors to pen their street-life experiences. 

By Donald Goines,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White Man's Justice, Black Man's Grief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The godfather of urban lit, Donald Goines knows life on the streets is a one-way ticket to life behind bars, where suffering is the one and only daily bread. For the first time in over a decade, his classic White Man's Justice, Black Man's Grief is now repackaged and reissued with a whole new look to attract new listeners, as well as long-time fans of the legend himself.

Barely out of his 20s, Chester Hines knows the score. He's just another bug crawling through the streets of Detroit, waiting to be squashed under the heel of a system meant to…


Book cover of Sister, Sister

Omar Scott Author Of Loyal To A Fault

From my list on sexy, suspenseful urban inspired crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had a friend that I knew since junior high. He was a straight-A student. He had both parents in the home. His future was bright. He spent the last minutes of his life hiding under a car after being shot several times during a drug deal gone wrong. He made poor decisions that cost him his life. I wanted to write about people who took the wrong path and found their way out. Growing up in a single-parent household, I turned to the streets and gangs. After incarceration I decided to not only turn my life around but to write fiction inspired by criminal activity that I had engaged in during my youth. 

Omar's book list on sexy, suspenseful urban inspired crime

Omar Scott Why did Omar love this book?

This was Eric’s first book, a novel celebration of Black sisterhood. Sister, Sister was the first book I read that centered on a group of women and their relationships. Very different from what I was used to reading but it left an impression.  The sisters are all dealing with crumbling relationships at various stages. As a reader you will devour and turn the pages quickly as you uncover the ways in which these women handle their love woes. Dickey came on the scene with a true page-turner. I appreciate his decision to give first-person narratives for each of the main characters so we can truly experience their emotional highs and lows.  

By Eric Jerome Dickey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Here is New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey's debut novel, a celebration of Black sisterhood hailed by Essence as one of the “50 Most Impactful Black Books Of The Last 50 Years”.

Valerie, Inda, and Chiquita are three women looking for love in Los Angeles.

Valerie became the perfect wife to please her husband, Walter, whose football career has gone nowhere—along with their marriage. Then she meets Daniel. Valerie's divorced sister, Inda, has Raymond, who has a hot body, smooth moves—and another girlfriend on the side. Now Inda's scheming to get even. After telling her last boyfriend to…


Book cover of Push

Stephane Dunn Author Of Snitchers

From my list on Black girl coming of age everybody should read.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a book-loving Black Girl and am now a Black woman, professor-writer, and lifelong books and popular culture junkie. As a young reader, I marveled at the storytelling in books that took us into the diverse lives and deep interior of teen girls - from Are You There God It’s Me Margaret to especially ones like the five books I name which place Black girls and women at the center of the narrative. In most of the films and writings that I teach and my own book Snitchers, there’s some tragedy and pain, some blues, and perspectives that add to the truth and richness of our human and American story. 

Stephane's book list on Black girl coming of age everybody should read

Stephane Dunn Why did Stephane love this book?

Yes, the film adaptation of Push by Lee Daniels garnered Oscar attention, including a best supporting actress win for actress - comedian Monique but Sapphire’s contemporary Harlem set coming-of-age story about the difficult life of teen protagonist Precious is best told in Sapphire’s novel Push.

It is a devastating, exhilarating read that I couldn’t put down until the last page so shocked was I about the level of challenges Precious endures from her home life to social services and school experiences.

However, then there’s this amazing grace present that doesn’t seem likely, which just makes the name Precious and the title word “push” that much more revelatory. It’s another story that reminded me why I should keep writing and why books and the words we write can be important beyond our expectations. 

By Sapphire,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'I'm alive inside. A bird is my heart. Mama and Daddy is not win. I'm winning.'

This is the story of Precious, a sixteen-year-old illiterate Black girl who has never been out of Harlem. Pregnant by her own father for the second time, she is kicked out of school and placed in an alternative teaching programme. Through learning to read and write, Precious begins to find her voice, and fight back.

Push is the unflinching diary of a girl whose strength and kindness shines amidst extraordinary adversity.

Meet ten of literature's most iconic heroines, featuring bold portraits by female photographers…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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