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Welcome to our Reading List! Find new recommended reads here every month, find spotlights and recommendations for our book world friends, and shop with us!

A portion of the proceeds from all of your purchases at our store on Bookshop.org are donated back to us, helping us keep our fight for cultural equity going!

You can now also purchase gift cards through our Bookshop!

April 2024 Reading Recommendations
Bookshop List



Monthly reading lists curated by our phenomenal Communications Fellow, Carissa Villagomez!

*use the links to buy via The Word's Bookshop - proceeds from each sale will be donated to support our cultural equity programs!

See and purchase all the books HERE!

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All Things Seen and Unseen by Rj McDaniel

Genre: Thriller

Blurb: An incisive reflection on identity and wealth, and a refreshing racial queer story of survival. —Bookshop.org

I'll Give You a Reason: Stories by Annell López

Genre: Short story collection

Blurb: The vibrant stories in I'll Give You a Reason explore race, identity, connection, and belonging in the Ironbound, an immigrant neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey. —Bookshop.org

 

A Good Happy Girl by Marissa Higgins

Genre: Fiction

Blurb: A poignant, surprising, and immersive read about a young professional woman pursuing an emotionally intense relationship with a married lesbian couple. —Bookshop.org

 

The Stone Home by Crystal Hana Kim

Genre: Literary fiction

Blurb: A hauntingly poetic family drama and coming-of-age story that reveals a dark corner of South Korean history through the eyes of a small community living in a reformatory center. —Bookshop.org

Hearts Still Beating by Brooke Archer

Genre: YA paranormal romance 

Blurb: Gripping, romantic, and impossible to put down, this dark and immersive post-apocalyptic debut novel is about two teen girls who loved each other before the end of the world -- and before one of them became infected with the virus that turned her into a monster. —Bookshop.org

 

Canto Contigo by Jonny Garza Villa

Genre: YA romance

Blurb: Canto Contigo is a love letter to Mexican culture, family and legacy, the people who shape us, and allowing ourselves to forge our own path. —Bookshop.org

How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang

Genre: Romance

Blurb:A sexy and emotional enemies-to-lovers romance guaranteed to pull on your heartstrings and give you a book hangover from brilliant new voice Yulin Kuang. —Bookshop.org

 

Dragonfruit by Makiia Lucier

Genre: YA fantasy

Blurb: From acclaimed author Makiia Lucier, a dazzling, romantic fantasy inspired by Pacific Island mythology.—Bookshop.org

 

Women! In! Peril! by Jessie Ren Marshall

Genre: Short story collection

Blurb: Full of wry humor, sharp social commentary, and an irrepressible sense of hope, a ferociously feminist debut short story collection from award-winning playwright Jessie Ren Marshall. —Bookshop.org

 

Butter: A Novel of Food and Murder by Asako Yuzuki and Polly Barton

Genre: Literary fiction

Blurb: The cult Japanese bestseller about a female gourmet cook and serial killer, and the journalist intent on cracking her case, inspired by a true story. —Bookshop.org

 

While We Were Burning by Sara Koffi

Genre: Thriller

Blurb: Parasite meets Such a Fun Age in a scorching debut that is as heartbreaking as it is thrilling, examining the intersection of race, class, and female friendship, and the devastating consequences of everyday actions. —Bookshop.org

 

Real Americans by Rachel Khong

Genre: Literary fiction

Blurb: An exhilarating novel of American identity that spans three generations in one family and asks: What makes us who we are? And how inevitable are our futures? —Bookshop.org

LIZA'S HEALING

READS

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The Healing Reads List is a reading list that goes beyond anti-racism books. This list is all about healing and uplifting within and across communities. 

Liza Michelle Bevams is a writer and multimedia artist exploring life in the Rocky Mountains. She is currently working on her first novel.

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HoodWitch

by Faylita Hicks 

Poetry

"It's breathtaking. An absolute necessity."

—Liza Bevams

Grab a copy here

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Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems

by Sonia Sanchez 

Poetry

"[Sanchez] looks deeply into that most dangerous of places-the heart."

Quarterly Black Review

Grab a copy here

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I Can't Talk about the Trees Without the Blood

by Tiana Clark 

Poetry

"Clark bridges a Tennessee landscape's past and present in her stellar debut, evincing a potent mix of history, injury, and divided identity."

Publishers Weekly

Grab a copy here

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Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems

by Joy Harjo 

Poetry

"In these poems, the joys and struggles of the everyday are played against the grinding politics of being human."
Bookshop.org

Grab a copy here

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Directed by Desire
by June Jordan 

Poetry

"Directed by Desire . . . is a powerful addition to the entire canon of American poetry."
Booklist


“I must become the action of my fate”

June Jordan in “I Must Become a Menace to My Enemies”

Grab a copy here

Soft Science
by Franny Choi 

Poetry

"Choi creates an exhilarating matrix of poetry, science, and technology."

Publishers Weekly

Grab a copy here

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American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

by Terrance Hayes

Poetry

Overwhelming in every sense. Overwhelming in its brilliance, yes, but also overwhelming in its pacing, its style . . . The book, despite its breadth and clever turns, is a confrontation . . . His poems are like the slow and steady picking of a lock, until the door handle clicks."

Hanif Abdurraqib, Poets and Writers

Grab a copy here

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The New Testament

by Jericho Brown

Poetry

“To read Jericho Brown's poems is to encounter devastating genius."

—Claudia Rankine

Grab a copy here

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Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi 

Fiction

“An extraordinarily powerful and very different kind of physical and psychological migration story."

—Edwidge Danticat, The New Yorker

Grab a copy here

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 The Sentences That Create Us: Crafting a Writer’s Life in Prison

Edited by Caits Meissner, Pen America

Nonfiction

“This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read.” —Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Questions for Ada
by Ijeoma Umebinyuo 

Poetry

“These poems trace a path of healing full of power and vulnerability that resonates long after reading them."

—Liza

Grab a copy here

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Teahouse of the Almighty by Patricia Smith

Poetry

“This book took my breath away.” —Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams.

"I could not put this book down!"

—Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses

Nonfiction

"A real eye opener . . . It unpacks the seemingly 'universal' lessons we learn about what makes fiction good to reveal how whiteness and maleness have shaped those values." -Kumari Devarajan, Code Switch, NPR

Grab a copy here »

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The Book of Delights by Ross Gay

Nonfiction Essays

"The delights he extols here (music, laughter, generosity, poetry, lots of nature) are bulwarks against casual cruelties. As such they feel purposeful and imperative as well as contagious in their joy." -The New York Times Book Review

Grab a copy here »

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Wounds of Passions: A Writing Life by bell hooks

Nonfiction

“This book speaks to the heart.” -Liza Bevams

Grab a copy here »

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Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Sci-fi/Fantasy

“A prophetic and transformative novel.”

-Liza Bevams

Grab a copy here »

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Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

Autobiographical Novel

“This book is a gift of radical love that keeps unfolding and unfolding.” -Liza Bevams

Grab a copy here »

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The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor

Nonfiction

"This book took my breath away. It's an unexpected and urgent embrace of truth." --Brené Brown, Ph.D., author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, Dare to Lead

Grab a copy here »

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The Magic My Body Becomes: Poems by Jess Rizkallah

Poetry

"The Magic My Body Becomes is an extraordinary collection that captures the beauty and complexities of identity." —Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought- Briona Simone Jones (Editor)

Nonfiction

 "This collection of multi-generational writing is a demonstration of how radical and transformative love, self-love, can be." —Liza

Grab a copy here »

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George M. Johnson- All Boys Aren't Blue

YA Nonfiction

"An absolute necessity . . . the personal stories and the healing and reconciliation of self in this title are all undeniably honest and relatable--a reminder of our shared imperfection and humanity." -Booklist

Grab a copy here »

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Bernardine Evaristo- Girl, Woman, Other

Fiction

 "Girl, Woman, Other, the intermingling stories of generations of black British women told in a gloriously rich and readable free verse, will surely be seen as a landmark in British fiction."

-The Guardian

Grab a copy here »

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Natalie Diaz- Postcolonial Love Poem

Poetry

"Diaz's collection is no doubt one of the most important poetry releases in years, one to applaud for its considerable demonstration of skill, its resistance to dominant perspectives and its light wrought of desire."- The New York Times Book Review

Grab a copy here »

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Leslie Marmon Silko- Storyteller

Fiction and Poetry

"A source of healing, inspiration, and community." -Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Kiese Laymon- Heavy: An American Memoir

Nonfiction

"Reading this book gave me a new perspective on writing, love, forgiveness, and facing things that are difficult and uncomfortable to acknowledge. Kiese Laymon is a brilliant wordsmith." -Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Toi Derricotte- The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey

Nonfiction

"This is an insightful, courageous, and vibrant book. Derricotte's words linger and touch your soul." -Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Key Ballah- Preparing My Daughter For Rain

Poetry

"There is so much forgiveness and freedom in this book."- Liza

Grab a copy here »

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Toni Morrison- The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations

Nonfiction

"Morrison is more than the standard bearer of American literature. She is our greatest singer. And this book is perhaps her most important song" -The New York Times

Grab a copy here »

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Ibi Zoboi- My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich

Middle Grade

"Highlights the importance of imagination and learning to celebrate what it means to be different in a world that demands conformity."- Horn Book

Grab a copy here »

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Upile Chisala- Nectar

Poetry

These poems celebrate, encourage, and offer the reader a new perspective on hope and self-love. 

Grab a copy here »

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Black Imagination - Curated by Natasha Marin

Anthology

"(D)on't think for one minute that Black Imagination is easy. As you will read here, it is hard-earned and sometimes dangerous, but it's necessary, and radical, to claim and work towards. Listening to my people in this book gave me so much life, and I'm pretty sure, dear reader, you're in for the same."- from the Foreword by Steven Dunn

Grab a copy here »

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Yrsa Daley-Ward- bone

Poetry

Yrsa Daley-Ward's collection bone captures desire, vulnerability, and joy beautifully. This book is a place to find solace..

Grab a copy here »

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