100 books like The Warmth of Other Suns

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Here are 100 books that The Warmth of Other Suns fans have personally recommended if you like The Warmth of Other Suns. 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

Ginger Pinholster Author Of Snakes of St. Augustine

From my list on featuring Florida in a big way.

Who am I?

My second novel, Snakes of St. Augustine, describes an unconventional love story served up with a large side of Florida weirdness. My first novel, City in a Forest, received a Gold Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association in 2020. My short fiction and essays have appeared in Pangyrus, Eckerd Review, Northern Virginia Review, Atticus Review, and elsewhere. I earned my bachelor’s degree in English from Eckerd College and the M.F.A. in Fiction from Queens University of Charlotte. Currently, I’m a writer for a university in Daytona Beach, Florida. A resident of Ponce Inlet, I began volunteering with the Volusia-Flagler Sea Turtle Patrol in 2018.

Ginger's book list on featuring Florida in a big way

Ginger Pinholster Why did Ginger love this book?

Anyone interested in literature featuring Florida must read Hurston’s enduring master work.

The novel describes Janie Crawford’s coming-of-age journey, especially in Eatonville, Florida, which became one of the nation’s first all-black cities, incorporated in 1887. Janie, a child of slavery and rape, flees an oppressive arranged marriage, and later, she survives abusive lovers. Originally published in 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God challenged gender stereotypes and presented a strong black female protagonist.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the novel is Hurston’s use of the Florida setting to both set the mood and drive plot choices. When protagonist Janie escapes violence, she flees the Panhandle for the more secluded, dense wilderness of Central Florida. There, complex waterways follow the characters’ various movements.

By Zora Neale Hurston,

Why should I read it?

16 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 Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Avalyn Hunter Author Of Dream Derby: The Myth and Legend of Black Gold

From my list on thoroughbred horses and horse racing.

Who am I?

An old photograph shows a little blonde girl trying to climb a fence separating her from a pasture full of broodmares near Louisville, Kentucky. That was me, and I have never lost my fascination with these creatures of beauty, courage, and magic. Combine that with an equal passion for books, research, and writing, and you have the path leading to four books and hundreds of magazine articles on Thoroughbred horses over the last twenty years, with a fifth book due out next spring. The five books I’ve recommended are just a few of those that have provided touchstones and inspiration for my journey as a writer.

Avalyn's book list on thoroughbred horses and horse racing

Avalyn Hunter Why did Avalyn love this book?

When I first picked up Seabiscuit, I was dubious; I had already read too many stories of champion racehorses that were either dry histories or overblown hero-worship.

A hundred pages later (where did the time go?) I was completely engrossed and headed for an all-night read. In Hillenbrand’s hands, carefully researched history became the foundation for a sweeping story of a great horse, the incredible cast of people who gave him what he needed to become a legend, and the world of horses, horse racing, and American life in the 1930s.

If I ever write anything half as good, I will be well content.

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of the runaway phenomenon Unbroken comes a universal underdog story about the horse who came out of nowhere to become a legend.

Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes:

Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to…


Book cover of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

Steven Rogers Author Of A Letter to My White Friends and Colleagues: What You Can Do Right Now to Help the Black Community

From my list on reasons behind the enormous racial wealth gap.

Who am I?

Steven Rogers is a retired professor from Harvard Business School (HBS) where he created a new course titled, “Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship.” He has written more HBS case studies with Black protagonists than anyone in the world. He is an HBS and Williams College alum. He majored in Black history. He has taught at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and West Point U.S. Military Academy. He has published 3 books including Entrepreneurial Finance (4 editions), Successful Black Entrepreneurs, and A Letter to my White Friends and Colleagues: What You Can Do Now to Help the Black Community.

Steven's book list on reasons behind the enormous racial wealth gap

Steven Rogers Why did Steven love this book?

The wealth gap between Blacks and Whites in the U.S. is enormous! Whites have 10 times the wealth as Blacks. The disparity is not because Whites are smarter or have worked harder. This book does a masterful job of clearly explaining one of the reasons behind the wide wealth gap. 

Most people are aware of the fact that 246 years of slavery was a successful government policy that intentionally enriched Whites while simultaneously impoverishing Blacks. But most people are not aware that a new system with the same dual objectives, followed the abolition of slavery in 1865. This book tells the story of Black Codes, Vagrancy Laws, and convict leasing that occurred for 60 years after the passage of the 13th Amendment, emancipating Black enslaved people. These government supported policies replaced slavery as the new program to subsidize White wealth creation at the expense of millions of Blacks. 

Douglas Blackman…

By Douglas A. Blackmon,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Slavery by Another Name as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This groundbreaking historical expose unearths the lost stories of enslaved persons and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter in “The Age of Neoslavery.”

By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented Pulitzer Prize-winning account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

Following the Emancipation Proclamation, convicts—mostly black men—were “leased” through forced labor camps operated by state and federal governments. Using a…


Book cover of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Kimberly Nixon Author Of Rock Bottom, Tennessee

From my list on books based on a true story.

Who am I?

I have a passion for the family story, and I have been blessed with a plethora of them. My mother grew up in Appalachia during the Great Depression and faced shame because her mother left the family to commit a felony. Her accounts of a childhood without and sleeping in an abandoned log cabin have been seared into my soul. My father, one of fourteen children during the Great Depression, worked on neighboring farms from the age of seven. History has two parts, the facts and details, but the telling of the story wrangles the purpose and sacrifice of those involved.

Kimberly's book list on books based on a true story

Kimberly Nixon Why did Kimberly love this book?

I sat on my mother’s lap as a child to hear stories of her childhood in Appalachia—no running water or electricity, and the shame brought on by her mother’s escape from that hard life. The setting and the characterizations in Book Woman of Troublesome Creek brought back some of the memories of my mother’s stories.

I came to love the character’s adaptation to the harsh environment, their want for a better life, and the difference one person’s influence can make in a community. The spirit of survival, even with the hardest of circumstances, forced me to cherish this story. It was as if my mother had written this book or perhaps read it to me.

By Kim Michele Richardson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A USA TODAY BESTSELLER
A LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER
AN OKRA PICK
The bestselling historical fiction from Kim Michele Richardson, this is a novel following Cussy Mary, a packhorse librarian and her quest to bring books to the Appalachian community she loves, perfect for readers of Lee Smith and Lisa Wingate. The perfect addition to your next book club!
The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything-everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.
Cussy's not only…


Book cover of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals

Jo Scott-Coe Author Of Unheard Witness: The Life and Death of Kathy Leissner Whitman

From my list on nonfiction that reclaim lost history or silenced voices.

Who am I?

As a book lover and as a nonfiction writer and researcher, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that a book is truly a portal that can connect people across time and space. I’m a Catholic (stray) by education and tradition, and for me this interconnectivity resonates with the familiar theology of the communion of saints. Whether you are religious or not, if you love words, there is something rather miraculous about how language, past and present, from authors living and dead, can connect and surprise us and spark new conversations even with those yet to be born. You never know who may need to hear what you are putting on the page. 

Jo's book list on nonfiction that reclaim lost history or silenced voices

Jo Scott-Coe Why did Jo love this book?

This book made me reflect deeply on whom we praise as trailblazing “rebels” and who we ignore, erase, or brand with criminal status in the stories we inherit and then repeat thoughtlessly.

Hartman reimagines “transgression” through the lenses of race, gender, sexuality, and class in early 20th-century New York and Philadelphia. She immerses us in up-close and poignant stories of women’s nonconformity, showing how their choices were flexes not only for survival but for thriving, a refusal to be defined by the ugliest social denigrations of their time (as well as our own).

Wayward Lives is richly sourced, including recovered photographs with the evocative literary portraits. It is a moving, haunting, unforgettable book.

By Saidiya V. Hartman,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beautifully written and deeply researched, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments examines the revolution of black intimate life that unfolded in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. In wrestling with the question of what a free life is, many young black women created forms of intimacy and kinship indifferent to the dictates of respectability and outside the bounds of law. They cleaved to and cast off lovers, exchanged sex to subsist, and revised the meaning of marriage. Longing and desire fueled their experiments in how to live. They refused to labor like slaves or to accept degrading…


Book cover of The Making of the English Working Class

Stuart Carroll Author Of Enmity and Violence in Early Modern Europe

From my list on getting started with early modern history.

Who am I?

I’m a historian of early modern Europe. I have a particular interest in the history of violence and social relations and how and why ordinary people came into conflict with each other and how they made peace, that’s the subject of my most recent book Enmity and Violence in Early Modern Europe, which compares the entanglement of everyday animosities and how these were resolved in Italy, Germany, France and England. I’m also passionate about understanding Europe’s contribution to world history. As editor of The Cambridge World History of Violence, I explored the dark side of this. But my next book, The Invention of Civil Society, will demonstrate Europe’s more positive achievements.

Stuart's book list on getting started with early modern history

Stuart Carroll Why did Stuart love this book?

I love this book because, as someone from a working-class background, this book really spoke to me as young person – I was born two years after it was published in 1965. It is profoundly wrong and romanticizes its subject, but it remains a classic, because Thompson was a brilliant writer and because henceforth no one could ignore those previously excluded from the historical narrative.

By E.P. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Making of the English Working Class as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fifty years since first publication, E. P. Thompson's revolutionary account of working-class culture and ideals is published in Penguin Modern Classics, with a new introduction by historian Michael Kenny

This classic and imaginative account of working-class society in its formative years, 1780 to 1832, revolutionized our understanding of English social history. E. P. Thompson shows how the working class took part in its own making and re-creates the whole-life experience of people who suffered loss of status and freedom, who underwent degradation, and who yet created a cultured and political consciousness of great vitality.

Reviews:

'A dazzling vindication of the…


Book cover of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Melinda Lewis Author Of Social Policy for Effective Practice: A Strengths Approach

From my list on igniting students’ passions about policy change.

Who am I?

I am a policy advocate, grassroots activist, university professor, and author committed to social change—at scale—to advance social work values of racial, economic, environmental, and social justice. Recognizing that most social workers are drawn to our profession because they want to make a difference in the lives of their clients, one by one, I invest my energies and skills to making policy study and practice accessible, relevant, and urgent. My students quickly get used to noting the book recommendations I sprinkle throughout class discussions and in assignment feedback, because when you see the world through a social policy frame, everything has a policy implication! 

Melinda's book list on igniting students’ passions about policy change

Melinda Lewis Why did Melinda love this book?

Wilkerson’s scholarship on race and injustice is certainly not a secret, but I still find some colleagues who have not yet read this book.

To convince people to pick it up, I promise that its language is poetic and imminently accessible, and I share the two pieces that have remained top of mind for years: first, Wilkerson’s research about the lessons Nazi Germany took from the racial caste system of Jim Crow United States, and second, the way she crafts an analogy of a crumbling house to make the case for reparations for racist harm, which—like cracks in the foundation of a house you just bought—may not be your fault but are still your problem.

I am forever grateful to Wilkerson for gifting us her insights and rhetorical tools, conveyed so skillfully in this tremendous contribution.

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE TIME NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR | #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Powerful and timely ... I cannot recommend it strongly enough" - Barack Obama

From one of America's most celebrated and insightful writers, the moving, eye-opening bestseller about what lies hidden under the surface of ordinary lives

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human…


Book cover of A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South

Diane Fanning Author Of Written in Blood

From my list on racism in the USA.

Who am I?

I don’t know when I became aware of and bothered by racial inequality but looking back, I see touchstones that lighted my path even before Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech stiffened my spine in middle school. I participated in sit-ins at lunch counters and sat in the back of buses. Even though I was a white kid in a predominately white school, it became personal to me. The injustice and unfairness of prejudice and discrimination was the antithesis of what I believed was the promise of America. In recent years, the quiet background noise of racial inequity has amplified to an ugly level. I recommend these books as a start to understanding and rectifying the current unacceptable situation.

Diane's book list on racism in the USA

Diane Fanning Why did Diane love this book?

A riveting true story about a freed slave and a confederate soldier who fought for justice in the Jim Crow South. The freed slave became the first man to beat a lynch mob in court. His small blow to racism made him a hero but one few know. I cried at his setbacks and cheered for every small victory along the way. Once I started reading, I could not put it down.

By Ben Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After moonrise on the cold night of January 21, 1897, a mob of twenty five white men gathered in a patch of woods near Big Road in southwestern Simpson County, Kentucky. Half carried rifles and shotguns, and a few tucked pistols in their pants. Their target? George Dinning, a freed slave who'd farmed peacefully in the area for 14 years, and had been wrongfully accused of stealing livestock from a neighboring farm. When the mob began firing through the doors and windows of Dinning's house, he fired back in self-defense, shooting and killing the son of a wealthy Kentucky family.…


Book cover of His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

Diane Fanning Author Of Written in Blood

From my list on racism in the USA.

Who am I?

I don’t know when I became aware of and bothered by racial inequality but looking back, I see touchstones that lighted my path even before Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech stiffened my spine in middle school. I participated in sit-ins at lunch counters and sat in the back of buses. Even though I was a white kid in a predominately white school, it became personal to me. The injustice and unfairness of prejudice and discrimination was the antithesis of what I believed was the promise of America. In recent years, the quiet background noise of racial inequity has amplified to an ugly level. I recommend these books as a start to understanding and rectifying the current unacceptable situation.

Diane's book list on racism in the USA

Diane Fanning Why did Diane love this book?

An intimate and historically accurate portrait of an extraordinary civil rights icon. Meachem carefully recreates the struggles for equality in the life of John Lewis. The passing of Lewis to the close proximity of our loss of Elijah Cummings left a deep hole in my heart that was soothed by this masterful portrayal of a real American hero. An uplifting book that shines a bright light of hope for future improvement.

By John Meacham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked His Truth Is Marching on as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Soul of America 

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND COSMOPOLITAN 

John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis, Jon Meacham writes of…


Book cover of The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

Jonathan H. Rees Author Of The Fulton Fish Market: A History

From my list on the history of New York City.

Who am I?

I’m Professor of History at Colorado State University Pueblo and have published eight books, mostly about the history of food. After encountering Up in the Old Hotel for the first time during the early 1990s, I started reading New York City history in my spare time. The Fulton Fish Market: A History is my way to blend my expertise with my hobby. Each of these books are beautifully written, informative, and fun. If you’re interested in the history of New York City and you’re looking for something else to read, I hope you’ll find my book to be the same.

Jonathan's book list on the history of New York City

Jonathan H. Rees Why did Jonathan love this book?

Do you remember watching the news during the pandemic, when you could see everybody’s bookcases for the first time? 

There’s a reason that everyone kept noticing this book over and over and again. First, it’s really long, which means it’s thick and the spine is very recognizable. More importantly, most people read it because of what Caro has to say about the nature of political power.

It’s a biography of Robert Moses, who held multiple state and local positions that allowed him to build most of the infrastructure in and around New York City during the mid-twentieth century: highways, bridges, parks, etc.

I love it because it explains why New York City is the way it is. The chapter on the Cross Bronx Expressway may be the best piece of urban history ever written.

By Robert A. Caro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro is 'simply one of the best non-fiction books in English of the last forty years' (Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times): a riveting and timeless account of power, politics and the city of New York by 'the greatest political biographer of our times' (Sunday Times); chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time and by the Modern Library as one of the 100 Greatest Books of the Twentieth Century; Winner of the Pulitzer Prize; a Sunday Times Bestseller; 'An outright masterpiece' (Evening Standard)

The Power Broker tells the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Great Migration, human migration, and African Americans?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Great Migration, human migration, and African Americans.

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