Renae Recommends: Books by Authors of Color

Posted August 20, 2015 by Renae // 11 Comments

authors of color

As we know, this month (August 2015) I’m reading only books by authors of color. It’s a pretty exciting project and I’m looking forward to talking more about it as soon as the month’s over. Until then, you can take a peek at what’s on my to-read list for the month.

But, in the meantime, I thought I’d recommend some books, all by Authors of Color!


authors of color 1

At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón
— Literary fiction; 31 October 2013 by Riverhead

  • In an unnamed South American country, a young actor gets into a lot of trouble while on tour

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
— Literary fiction; 14 April 2015 by Coach House Books

  • In which the reader finds out what happens if dogs had human intelligence

Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani
— Historical fiction; 5 June 2012 by Scribner

  • In 16th century Persia, a princess wields unheard-of political influence

She Weeps Each Time You’re Born by Quan Barry
— Magical realism; 10 February 2015 by Pantheon

  • A family struggles to find home after the end of the Vietnam War

Ruby by Cynthia Bond
— Literary fiction; 10 February 2014 by Hogarth

  • A look at what happens when society abandons one of their own (aka HEARTBREAK AND PAIN EVERYWHERE OHMAHGAWD.)


Three Souls by Janie Chang
— Historical fiction; 20 August 2013 by William Morrow

  • After her death, young woman watches her past actions and learns what she must atone for.

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
— Historical/paranormal fiction; 6 August 2013 by William Morrow

  • An young woman travels to the underworld in order to save herself and her (dead) future husband.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich
— Literary fiction; 2 October 2012 by Harper

  • A boy deals with the aftermath of his mother’s rape on Reservation land.

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
— Literary fiction; 6 May 2014 by Grove Atlantic

  • Visiting her parents in Haiti, a woman is kidnapped and fights for her sanity in the aftermath.

Torn by Stephanie Guerra
— YA contemporary; 15 May 2012 by Marshall Cavendish

  • A teen deals with friendship and racism and boyfriends and her messy-but loving family

authors of color

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
— Fantasy; 25 February 2010 by Orbit

  • A woman becomes part of imprisoned gods’ plans to take back their birthright

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
— YA contemporary; 11 June 2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin

  • A split narrative about two boys who’ve been dealing with an unnamed trauma

Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee
— Literary fiction; 1995 by Riverhead

  • A Korean-American man works as a spy and also struggles with feelings of displacement

A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri
— Literary fiction; 31 January 2013 by Riverhead

  • A girl comes of age in post-revolutionary Iran and imagines the life her twin sister in America lives without her

Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen
— Contemporary fiction; 6 February 2014 by Penguin

  • A Vietnamese-American grad student sets out to find the connection between her family and Laura Ingalls Wilder

authors of color

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
– Magical realism; 29 September 2011 by Riverhead

  • An author and his muse have a series of arguments about his treatment of female characters

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
— YA Post-apocalyptic; 7 March 2013 by Putnam Juvenile

  • In a city under quarantine, a girl struggles to get a newborn baby to safety before she becomes infected with a deadly disease

The Makioka Sisters by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
— Translated literary fiction; serialized 1943 to 1948

  • Four middle-class sisters seek marriage in the years prior to World War Two

Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique
— Magical realism; 20 July 2014 by Riverhead

  • A family saga set in the US Virgin islands, dealing with post-colonization, magic, and secrets

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
— YA contemporary; 9 September 2014 by Greenwillow Books

  • An unnamed narrators tells the readers about an “unlikable” teen girl who’s just crashed her car

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Renae has written book reviews and other miscellany for Respiring Thoughts since 2012. She loves dogs, Mexican food, mountains, Shakespeare, and procrastinating. She's currently working on an undergrad degree in English/Spanish lit in the Midwest. Connect with Renae on Twitter, Goodreads, and Tumblr.

Categories: Renae Recommends


11 responses to “Renae Recommends: Books by Authors of Color

    • Renae

      Orleans was super good! Also one of the rare YA novels with 0 romance, if that’s any motivation.

      Aw yay, though—I hope your friend found something good to read! Tell her if she ever wants to email or tweet or whatever, I’d love to chat. 😀