15 Reads By Minority Authors

88% of books reviewed by The New York Times are written by white authors.

15. Octavio Paz’s The Collected Poems

“Yes, to you women in a world of pain
To you, bright star in this ever-spending universe
To you, fighter of a thousand-and-one fights
To you, friend of my heart.

From now on, my head won’t look down to a magazine
Rather, it will contemplate the night
And its bright stars,
And so, no more clichés.”

14. Isabel Allende’s The House of Spirits

“They were things for which it was impossible to prepare but which one spent a lifetime looking back at, trying to accept, interpret, comprehend. Things that should never have happened, that seemed out of place and wrong, these were what prevailed, what endured, in the end.”

13. Joe Sacco’s Palestine

“Make no mistake, everywhere you go, not just in Marvel Comics, there’s parallel universes…Here? On the surface streets: traffic, couples in love, falafel-to-go, tourists in jogging suits licking stamps for postcards… And over the wall behind closed doors: other things-people strapped to chairs, sleep deprivation, the smell of piss…other things happening for “reasons of national security.”

12. Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club

“Then you must teach my daughter this same lesson. How to lose your innocence but not your hope. How to laugh forever.”

11. Richard Wright’s Native Son

“Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I can not live without my life! I can not live without my soul!”

10. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

“In life you’ll meet a lot of jerks. If they hurt you, tell yourself that it’s because they’re stupid. That will help keep you from reacting to their cruelty. Because there is nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance… Always keep your dignity and be true to yourself.”

9. The Toughest Indian in The World by Sherman Alexie

“He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing.”

8. Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow

“As the United States celebrates the nation’s “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status - much like their grandparents before them.”

7. Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses

“What kind of idea are you? Are you the kind that compromises, does deals, accomodates itself to society, aims to find a niche, to survive; or are you the cussed, bloody-minded, ramrod-backed type of damnfool notion that would rather break than sway with the breeze? – The kind that will almost certainly, ninety-nine times out of hundred, be smashed to bits; but, the hundredth time, will change the world.”

6. The Autobiography of Malcom X

“And because I had been a hustler, I knew better than all whites knew, and better than nearly all of the black ‘leaders’ knew, that actually the most dangerous black man in America was the ghetto hustler. Why do I say this? The hustler, out there in the ghetto jungles, has less respect for the white power structure than any other Negro in North America. The ghetto hustler is internally restrained by nothing. He has no religion, no concept of morality, no civic responsibility, no fear—nothing. To survive, he is out there constantly preying upon others, probing for any human weakness like a ferret. The ghetto hustler is forever frustrated, restless, and anxious for some ‘action’. Whatever he undertakes, he commits himself to it fully, absolutely. What makes the ghetto hustler yet more dangerous is his ‘glamour’ image to the school-dropout youth in the ghetto.These ghetto teen-agers see the hell caught by their parents struggling to get somewhere, or see that they have given up struggling in the prejudiced, intolerant white man’s world.”

5. Natsuo Kirino’s Out

“For a girl, appearance can be a powerful form of oppression. No matter how intelligent a girl may be, no matter her many talents, these attributes are not easily discerned. Brains and talent will never stand up against a girl who is clearly physically attractive.”

“A woman who does not know herself has no choice other than to live with other people’s evaluations. But no one can adapt perfectly to public opinion. And herein lies the source of their destruction.”

4. Toni Morrison’s Jazz

“Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.”

“Pain. I seem to have an affection, a kind of sweettooth for it. Bolts of lightning, little rivulets of thunder. And I the eye of the storm.”

3. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Fredrick Douglass

2. Roots by Alex Haley

“Is this how you repay my goodness—with badness?” cried the boy. “Of course,” said the crocodile out of the corner of his mouth. “That is the way of the world.”

1. Maya Angelou’s The Complete Collected Poems

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.”

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