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The ReadDown

33 Books by Contemporary Black Authors

Read some of the best fiction and nonfiction by contemporary Black authors, including books in every genre from literary fiction to personal memoirs.

And discover more books by Black authors for 2021 here.

  1. 1
    The Vanishing Half Book Cover Picture
    The Vanishing Half Book Cover Picture

    The Vanishing Half

    by Brit Bennett

    From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.
    The Vanishing Half Book Cover Picture
    The Vanishing Half Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $27.00

    Also available from:

  2. 2
    The Prophets Book Cover Picture
    The Prophets Book Cover Picture

    The Prophets

    by Robert Jones, Jr.

    A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.
    The Prophets Book Cover Picture
    The Prophets Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $27.00

    Also available from:

  3. 3
    Such a Fun Age Book Cover Picture
    Such a Fun Age Book Cover Picture

    Such a Fun Age

    by Kiley Reid

    A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
    Such a Fun Age Book Cover Picture
    Such a Fun Age Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $26.00

    Also available from:

  4. 4
    The Girl with the Louding Voice Book Cover Picture
    The Girl with the Louding Voice Book Cover Picture

    The Girl with the Louding Voice

    by Abi Daré

    The Girl with the Louding Voice Book Cover Picture
    The Girl with the Louding Voice Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  5. 5
    It's Not All Downhill From Here Book Cover Picture
    It's Not All Downhill From Here Book Cover Picture

    It’s Not All Downhill From Here

    by Terry McMillan

    After a sudden change of plans, a remarkable woman and her loyal group of friends try to figure out what she’s going to do with the rest of her life.
    It's Not All Downhill From Here Book Cover Picture
    It's Not All Downhill From Here Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  6. 6
    Red at the Bone Book Cover Picture
    Red at the Bone Book Cover Picture

    Red at the Bone

    by Jacqueline Woodson

    An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.
    Red at the Bone Book Cover Picture
    Red at the Bone Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  7. 7
    Real Life Book Cover Picture
    Real Life Book Cover Picture

    Real Life

    by Brandon Taylor

    A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and mercy among friends in a Midwestern university town, from an electric new voice, featuring an introverted young man from Alabama. Black and queer, he has left behind his family without escaping the long shadows of his childhood.
    Real Life Book Cover Picture
    Real Life Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  8. 8
    The Travelers Book Cover Picture
    The Travelers Book Cover Picture

    The Travelers

    by Regina Porter

    With piercing humor, exacting dialogue, and a beautiful sense of place, Regina Porter’s debut is both an intimate family portrait and a sweeping exploration of what it means to be American today.
    The Travelers Book Cover Picture
    The Travelers Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  9. 9
    Transcendent Kingdom Book Cover Picture
    Transcendent Kingdom Book Cover Picture

    Transcendent Kingdom

    by Yaa Gyasi

    Transcendent Kingdom Book Cover Picture
    Transcendent Kingdom Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $27.95

    Also available from:

  10. 10
    Memorial Book Cover Picture
    Memorial Book Cover Picture

    Memorial

    by Bryan Washington

    A funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you’re supposed to be, and the limits of love.
    Memorial Book Cover Picture
    Memorial Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $27.00

    Also available from:

  11. 11
    The Death of Vivek Oji Book Cover Picture
    The Death of Vivek Oji Book Cover Picture

    The Death of Vivek Oji

    by Akwaeke Emezi

    Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.
    The Death of Vivek Oji Book Cover Picture
    The Death of Vivek Oji Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $27.00

    Also available from:

  12. 12
    The Office of Historical Corrections Book Cover Picture
    The Office of Historical Corrections Book Cover Picture

    The Office of Historical Corrections

    by Danielle Evans

    The award-winning author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self brings her signature voice and insight to the subjects of race, grief, apology, and American history.
    The Office of Historical Corrections Book Cover Picture
    The Office of Historical Corrections Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $27.00

    Also available from:

  13. 13
    Deacon King Kong Book Cover Picture
    Deacon King Kong Book Cover Picture

    Deacon King Kong

    by James McBride

    From James McBride, author of the National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird and the bestselling modern classic The Color of Water, one of the most anticipated novels of the year: a wise and witty tale about what happens to the witnesses of a shooting.
    Deacon King Kong Book Cover Picture
    Deacon King Kong Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  14. 14
    Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Book Cover Picture
    Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Book Cover Picture

    Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

    by ZZ Packer

    Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Book Cover Picture
    Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  15. 15
    Here for It Book Cover Picture
    Here for It Book Cover Picture

    Here for It

    by R. Eric Thomas

    In essays by turns hysterical and heartfelt, Thomas reexamines what it means to be an “other” through the lens of his own life experience. Here for It will resonate deeply and joyfully with everyone who has ever felt pushed to the margins, struggled with self-acceptance, or wished to shine more brightly in a dark world.
    Here for It Book Cover Picture
    Here for It Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $26.00

    Also available from:

  16. 16
    Black Girl, Call Home Book Cover Picture
    Black Girl, Call Home Book Cover Picture

    Black Girl, Call Home

    by Jasmine Mans

    From spoken word poet Jasmine Mans comes an unforgettable poetry collection about race, feminism, and queer identity.
    Black Girl, Call Home Book Cover Picture
    Black Girl, Call Home Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $15.00

    Also available from:

  17. 17
    How Beautiful We Were Book Cover Picture
    How Beautiful We Were Book Cover Picture

    How Beautiful We Were

    by Imbolo Mbue

    From the celebrated author of the New York Times bestseller Behold the Dreamers comes a sweeping, wrenching story about the collision of a small African village and an American oil company.
    How Beautiful We Were Book Cover Picture
    How Beautiful We Were Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $28.00

    Also available from:

  18. 18
    More Than Enough Book Cover Picture
    More Than Enough Book Cover Picture

    More Than Enough

    by Elaine Welteroth

    Part-manifesto, part-memoir, from the revolutionary editor who infused social consciousness into the pages of Teen Vogue, an exploration of what it means to come into your own—on your own terms.
    More Than Enough Book Cover Picture
    More Than Enough Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  19. 19
    Black Leopard, Red Wolf Book Cover Picture
    Black Leopard, Red Wolf Book Cover Picture

    Black Leopard, Red Wolf

    by Marlon James

    In the stunning first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.
    Black Leopard, Red Wolf Book Cover Picture
    Black Leopard, Red Wolf Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

    Also available from:

  20. 20
    Fifty Words for Rain Book Cover Picture
    Fifty Words for Rain Book Cover Picture

    Fifty Words for Rain

    by Asha Lemmie

    Spanning decades and continents, Fifty Words for Rain is a dazzling epic about the ties that bind, the ties that give you strength, and what it means to be free.
    Fifty Words for Rain Book Cover Picture
    Fifty Words for Rain Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $26.00

    Also available from:

  21. 21
    The Business of Lovers Book Cover Picture
    The Business of Lovers Book Cover Picture

    The Business of Lovers

    by Eric Jerome Dickey

    All is fair in love and lust in New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey’s tale of two brothers, four women, and the business of desire.
    The Business of Lovers Book Cover Picture
    The Business of Lovers Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $27.00

    Also available from:

  22. 22
    The Nickel Boys Book Cover Picture
    The Nickel Boys Book Cover Picture

    The Nickel Boys

    by Colson Whitehead

    The Nickel Boys Book Cover Picture
    The Nickel Boys Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $15.95

    Also available from:

  23. 23
    Born a Crime Book Cover Picture
    Born a Crime Book Cover Picture

    Born a Crime

    by Trevor Noah

    The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of Trevor Noah’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.
    Born a Crime Book Cover Picture
    Born a Crime Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

    Also available from:

  24. 24
    Caste (Oprah's Book Club) Book Cover Picture
    Caste (Oprah's Book Club) Book Cover Picture

    Caste (Oprah’s Book Club)

    by Isabel Wilkerson

    The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.
    Caste (Oprah's Book Club) Book Cover Picture
    Caste (Oprah's Book Club) Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $32.00

    Also available from:

  25. 25
    Intimations Book Cover Picture
    Intimations Book Cover Picture

    Intimations

    by Zadie Smith

    Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of reflective essays by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time.
    Intimations Book Cover Picture
    Intimations Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $10.95

    Also available from:

  26. 26
    The Water Dancer Book Cover Picture
    The Water Dancer Book Cover Picture

    The Water Dancer

    by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children—the violent and capricious separation of families—and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today’s most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen.
    The Water Dancer Book Cover Picture
    The Water Dancer Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

    Also available from:

  27. 27
    Ordinary Light Book Cover Picture
    Ordinary Light Book Cover Picture

    Ordinary Light

    by Tracy K. Smith

    In Ordinary Light, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Tracy K. Smith tells her remarkable story, giving us a quietly potent memoir that explores her coming-of-age and the meaning of home against a complex backdrop of race, faith, and the unbreakable bond between a mother and daughter.
    Ordinary Light Book Cover Picture
    Ordinary Light Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.95

    Also available from:

  28. 28
    What We Lose Book Cover Picture
    What We Lose Book Cover Picture

    What We Lose

    by Zinzi Clemmons

    From an author of rare, haunting power, a stunning novel about a young African-American woman coming of age—a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, family, and country.
    What We Lose Book Cover Picture
    What We Lose Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  29. 29
    Wow, No Thank You. Book Cover Picture
    Wow, No Thank You. Book Cover Picture

    Wow, No Thank You.

    by Samantha Irby

    Wow, No Thank You. Book Cover Picture
    Wow, No Thank You. Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $15.95

    Also available from:

  30. 30
    The Girl Who Smiled Beads Book Cover Picture
    The Girl Who Smiled Beads Book Cover Picture

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads

    by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil

    In 1994, Clemantine Wamariya and her sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries. Later, she seemed to live the American dream yet the years of being treated as less than human could not be erased. In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine recognizes the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks.
    The Girl Who Smiled Beads Book Cover Picture
    The Girl Who Smiled Beads Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  31. 31
    Washington Black Book Cover Picture
    Washington Black Book Cover Picture

    Washington Black

    by Esi Edugyan

    Spanning the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, London to Morocco, Washington Black is a story of self-invention and betrayal, of love and redemption, and of a world destroyed and made whole again.
    Washington Black Book Cover Picture
    Washington Black Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.95

    Also available from:

  32. 32
    The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls Book Cover Picture
    The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls Book Cover Picture

    The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

    by Anissa Gray

    The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.
    The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls Book Cover Picture
    The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  33. 33
    Americanah Book Cover Picture
    Americanah Book Cover Picture

    Americanah

    by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    The bestselling novel from the award-winning author of We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele.
    Americanah Book Cover Picture
    Americanah Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.95

    Also available from:

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