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    Updated on 7 Oct 2019. Posted on 3 Oct 2019

    Just 21 Books By Women Of Colour That You Should Know About

    Because representation matters.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.

    @bibliophilly / Via instagram.com

    It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all.

    Little Fires Everywhere is the second-bestselling book in Asian American Literature on Amazon — and with good reason. It's about the secret lives of very different families, all living in an idyllic suburb. It's the perfect book if you're looking for an intrigue fix. My book club loved this book.

    Buy the paperback edition for $15.03 or the Kindle edition for $11.99 from Amazon Australia.

    2. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

    @musingsofk / Via Instagram: @musingsofk

    Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.

    I will never stop recommending this essay. First delivered as a much-watched TED talk, this essay is a rallying cry for all people to change the culture that inhibits both men and women from being their most authentic selves.

    Buy the paperback edition for $7.99 or the Kindle edition for $0.99 from Amazon Australia.

    3. Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay.

    BuzzFeed / Mariela Summerhays

    I openly embrace the label of bad feminist. I do because I am flawed and human.

    I'm so glad I found this book. The title essay discusses the reality of being a 'bad feminist' — that is, a woman who loves pink and reads Vogue, and has a host of other behaviours and personality traits that do not always fall in line with 'mainstream feminism'. It made me feel comfortable with the fact that being an imperfect feminist doesn't mean anything other than I'm human.

    Buy the paperback edition for $23.75 or the Kindle edition for $11.99 from Amazon Australia.

    4. Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino.

    @martalozano / Via instagram.com

    A woman is unruly if anyone has incorrectly decided that she's too much of something, and if she, in turn, has chosen to believe that she's just fine.

    A writer and daughter of Filipino migrants myself, I was so excited to learn about this book. The New Yorker staff writer, Jia Tolentino, writes about the culture of today, one that revolves around the self. Feminism, politics, the internet — it's all covered here, in a bloody brilliant and witty way that makes my pen jealous.

    Buy the hardcover edition for $27.65 or the Kindle edition for $9.99 from Amazon Australia.

    5. A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo.

    BuzzFeed / Mariela Summerhays

    In China we say, "You can't expect both ends of a sugar cane are as sweet." Sometimes love can be ugly. But one still has to take it and swallow it.

    I've recommended this book on BuzzFeed before, and will continue to find reasons to do so until my editor tells me to stop (but actually). Written in the words of a Chinese woman gradually learning to speak English, the writing changes as she gets a better grasp on the language and her relationship with an older Englishman.

    Buy the paperback edition for $17.14 or the Kindle edition for $12.99 from Amazon Australia.

    6. Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.

    @ab_reads / Via instagram.com

    Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can't strike them all by ourselves.

    I took a World Literature class in uni, and this book has stayed with me ever since. Beautiful and rich language, unlike anything in the Western tradition of writing, Like Water For Chocolate is in part a story of a Mexican woman not free to fall in love and marry because of familial obligation — but for me, is mostly about the way our longings and hope colour our lives, or in the case of the lead character, her cooking.

    Buy the paperback edition for $14.90 or the Kindle edition for $12.99 from Amazon Australia.

    7. Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

    @romy_books / Via instagram.com

    We don't live in a meritocracy and to pretend that simple hard work will elevate all to success is an exercise of willful ignorance.

    Just to clarify, Eddo-Lodge is not excluding white people from discussions relating to race — she just doesn't have the time of day for those unwilling to see that structural privilege exists. A Sunday Times bestseller (no doubt you recognise that excellent cover), this book points to the way British history and social structures continue to disadvantage people of colour.

    Buy the paperback edition for $13.76 or the Kindle edition for $12.79 from Amazon Australia.

    8. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

    BuzzFeed / Mariela Summerhays

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

    Ugh, this book. Many daughters of Asian immigrants have used this to guide their complicated relationships with their mothers. Following the lives of four immigrant families who regularly gather to play mahjong, this book is bittersweet and painfully accurate.

    Buy the paperback edition for $16.80 or the Kindle edition for $12.99 from Amazon Australia.

    9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

    BuzzFeed / Mariela Summerhays

    The world had taken a deep breath and was having doubts about continuing to revolve.

    I'd rather write nothing here and just put quote upon quote of Angelou's writing. Goddamnit, it's so beautiful. This is the first in her seven-volume series of autobiographies and it is immaculate. Race, feminism, trauma after rape and the significance of literacy are at the centre, and just...please, just read this if you've not already.

    Buy the paperback edition for $10.46 or the Kindle edition for $12.99 from Amazon Australia.

    10. Paula by Isabel Allende.

    BuzzFeed / Mariela Summerhays

    If I write something, I fear it will happen, and if I love too much, I fear I will lose that person; nevertheless, I cannot stop writing or loving.

    Paula is a memoir by beloved Chilean writer, Isabel Allende. At first, a letter explaining to her daughter about all that she was missing while lying a coma; and then, a record of Allende's grief and acceptance at her daughter's passing. Keep the tissues close for this one.

    Buy the paperback edition for $9.92 or the Kindle edition for $9.99 from Amazon Australia.

    11. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

    @thewomanmachine / Via instagram.com

    No hour is ever eternity, but it has its right to weep.

    This book is about an African-American woman, Janie Crawford, recounting the story of her life in three distinct periods — when she was married to three very different men. This book has become a well-loved classic for its female protagonist, who seizes her destiny in the early 1900s, a time when there was still so far to go for women of colour.

    Buy the paperback edition for $16.80 or the Kindle edition for $0.99 from Amazon Australia.

    12. Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay In Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli.

    @thestackspod / Via instagram.com

    And perhaps the only way to grant any justice — were that even possible — is by hearing and recording those stories over and over again so that they come back, always, to haunt and shame us.

    The forty questions referred to in this title are directed and translated by Luiselli to undocumented Latin-American children facing deportation. An important read, this book humanises and makes more tangible a human issue that is often hidden behind red tape and, let's be honest, a lot of bullshit.

    Buy the paperback edition for $13.71 or the Kindle edition for $7.99 from Amazon Australia.

    13. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.

    @aseriesofunreadbooks / Via instagram.com

    Then the voice in your head silently tells you to take your foot off your throat because just getting along shouldn't be an ambition.

    Essay, poetry and art all co-exist in this experimental book about the micro-aggressions victims of racism feel in everyday life and in the media. The compelling essay discussing the treatment of Serena Williams — on court, in the media — is worth the cost of the book alone.

    Buy the paperback edition for $16.25 or the Kindle edition for $14.99 from Amazon Australia.

    14. Know My Name by Chanel Miller.

    @gabbinks / Via instagram.com

    I survived because I remained soft, because I listened, because I wrote. Because I huddled close to my truth, protected it like a tiny flame in a terrible storm.

    You probably know her better as Emily Doe, the woman Brock Turner raped on Stanford's campus years ago. Her story might've never been known globally, had the judge who resided over her case not given Turner a mere six months sentence — of which he only served half. Here, Miller reclaims the narrative, and I for one, am in awe.

    Buy the paperback edition for $27.35 or the Kindle edition for $16.99 from Amazon Australia.

    15. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

    @unicorn_susma / Via instagram.com

    Sunk in the grass of an empty lot on a spring Saturday, I split the stems of milkweed and thought about ants and peach pits and death and where the world went when I closed my eyes.

    Another product of my World Literature class in uni, The Bluest Eye should be essential reading for every person. The title is taken from the black child protagonist's desire to have blues eyes — so like other children in her native United States, she can be beautiful too. This powerful book is about the self-loathing that racism can bring out in their victims.

    Buy the paperback edition for $16.08 or the Kindle edition for $12.99 from Amazon Australia.

    16. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston.

    @alicelippart / Via instagram.com

    I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.

    Recommended by former US president, Barack Obama, The Woman Warrior is a work of autobiographical fiction, blending the author's experiences as a Chinese-American woman with that of legendary warrior women from her childhood. It is lyrical, and poignant, and altogether worth the read.

    Buy the paperback edition for $18.66 or the Kindle edition for $12.99 from Amazon Australia.

    17. My Wicked Wicked Ways by Sandra Cisneros.

    Amazon

    One day you forget his bitter smell
    and one day you forget your shame.
    You remember how your small cry
    rose like a blackbird from the corn,
    when you picked yourself up from the earth
    how the clouds moved on.

    NGL, picked up this book for its title — stayed for the beautiful words. Love and heartbreak, loneliness and redemption are all here. For both the poetry lover or novice.

    Buy the paperback edition for $20.92 from Amazon Australia.

    18. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

    @babblingbooks / Via instagram.com

    We cannot help but be interested in the stories of people that history pushes aside so thoughtlessly.

    The number one best-selling book in Asian American Literature on Amazon, this epic novel follows the story of a Korean family who moves to Japan, and the racism and struggles they face.

    Buy the paperback edition for $16.37 or the Kindle edition for $8.20 from Amazon Australia.

    19. The Body Papers: A Memoir by Grace Talusan.

    @read_tmc / Via instagram.com

    I realised how dangerous it was to protect the wrong people by telling only the happy stories. Lies of omission created the conditions that allowed someone more powerful than me to hurt and exploit me.

    This powerful memoir details Talusan's experiences with sexual abuse, depression, cancer and life as a Filipino immigrant. It is vulnerable and hopeful, and so very worth getting your eyeballs on.

    Buy the hardcover edition for $30.91 or the Kindle edition for $11.99 from Amazon Australia.

    20. Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee.

    @crazybooklady_ / Via instagram.com

    Our mother might've said this: that immigrants are the strongest, that we leave our homes behind and rebuild. Everywhere we go, we rebuild.

    This is a story about immigrants, about mental illness, about duty to family and ultimately, about loyalty to oneself. Chinese-American sisters, Miranda and Lucia, navigate these themes in a story that is sure to break your heart before the end.

    Buy the paperback edition for $22.34 or the Kindle edition for $13.99 from Amazon Australia.

    21. And finally, The White Book by Han Kang.

    BuzzFeed / Mariela Summerhays

    A single handkerchief drifted down, slowest of all, finally to the ground. Like a bird with its wings half furled. Like a soul tentatively sounding out a place it might alight.

    I was browsing my local bookstore when I encountered this book, and yes, picked it up for its cover. If the outside is beautiful — minimalist and elegant — the words inside are that much more lovely. About life and death and grief, it coneys its themes in poetic vignettes, and is unlike anything else I've ever read.

    Buy the hardcover edition for $14.81 or the Kindle edition for $8.57 from Amazon Australia.

    Oh, and if you're one of those people that prefers to ~listen~ to your books, you can grab them from Audible Australia! Plus the first one's free (and who doesn't love a freebie?).