For my students–current and past–who are searching for terrific writers and powerful books to read (for synopses & my recently read books and reviews go to Goodreads).


Susan Abulhawa’s Mornings in Jenin

Chinua Achebe’s When Things Fall Apart

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus

Rabih Alameddine’s Koolaids

Etel Adnan’s Sitt Marie Rose

Sinan Antoon’s I’jaam: An Iraqi Rapsody

Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born

Hoda Barakat’s The Stone of Laughter

Anouar Benmalek’s  The Lovers of Algeria

John Berger’s From A to X

Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower

Lan Cao’s Monkey Bridge

Teju Cole’s Open City

Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions

Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of the Bones

Kiran Desai’s Hullaballoo and the Guava Orchard

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

Fadia Faqir’s Pillars of Salt

Nuruddin Farah’s Secrets

Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide

Moshin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

Githa Hariharan’s Ghosts of Vasu Master

Sonallah Ibrahim’s The Committee

Ghassan Kanafani’s Men in the Sun

Elias Khoury’s Gate of the Sun

Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible

Maxine Hong Kingston’s Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book

Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake

K.R. Meera’s Yellow is the Colour of Longing

Toni Morrison’s Beloved

Mbuelo Viz Mzmane’s Children of Soweto

Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o’s Wizard of the Crow

Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meat

Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children

Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy

Bapsi Sidwa’s Ice Candy Man

A. Sivanandan’s When Memory Dies

Leslie Marmon Silko’s An Almanac for the Dead

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer

Helena María Viramontes’ Under the Feet of Jesus

Mizra Waheed’s The Collaborator

Zoë Wicomb’s You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town


Meena Alexander’s Birthplace with Buried Stones

Agha Shahid Ali’s The Country without a Post Office

Taha Mohammad Ali’s So What?

Sujata Bhatt’s Point No Point

Mahmoud Darwish’s The Butterfly’s Burden

Nissim Ezekiel’s Collected Poems

Carolyn Forché’s The Country Between Us

Marilyn Hacker’s Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons

Suheir Hammad’s breaking poems

Nathalie Handal’s Poet in Andalusia

Seamus Heaney’s District and Circle

Mohja Kahf’s E-mails from Scheherazad

June Jordan’s Living Room

Yusef Komunyakaa’s Neon Vernacular

Audre Lorde’s The Marvelous Arithmetic of Distance

Lisa Suhair Majaj’s Geographies of Light

Lee Maracle’s Bent Box

Naomi Shihab Nye’s 19 Varieties of Gazelle

Simon Ortiz’s From Sand Creek

Minnie Bruce Pratt’s Walking Back Up Depot Street

Adrienne Rich’s An Atlas of the Difficult World

Sridala Swami’s Escape Artist

Cathy Wagner’s My New Job


Ali Abunimah’s One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

Claribel Alegria’s They Won’t Take Me Alive

Bill Ayers’ To Teach

Steve Biko’s I Write What I Like

Max Blumenthal’s Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism

Mahmoud Darwish’s Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982

Santosh Desai’s Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense of Everyday India

Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun

Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America

Jordan Flaherty’s Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena 6

Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Eduardo Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Jane Goodall’s Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe

Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

Christopher Hitchens’ The Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in Theory and Practice

Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal

Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place

Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine

Joel Kovel’s Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine

Jiddu Krishnamurti’s On Education

Beth Loffreda’s Losing Matt Shepard

Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals

Madhusree Mukerjee’s Churchill’s Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II

Mahmood Mamdani’s Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics and the War on Terror

Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

Sarah Schulman’s The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination

Edward W. Said’s The Question of Palestine

Rosemary Sayigh’s The Palestinians: From Peasants to Revolutionaries

Vandana Shiva’s Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply

Sandra Steingraber’s Living Downstream

Malcom X’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s