January 17, 2010

Diversity Role Call: Best of 2009

Ali says:

I've enjoyed reading the many "best of" lists and reading summaries that have been posted lately, especially the Top 10 Lists that Doret's been posting all week at the Happy Nappy Bookseller. So, for this Roll Call, over the next two weeks or so I invite you to select your favorite read of the year by a non-white author. (Doesn't have to be a 2009 book, as long as you read it in 2009).
Can't pick just one? No problem. Do a top 10, or do one from each genre that you read--whatever works. If you've already written a Best Of 2009 post and authors of color are featured on it, feel free to link to that post.
This could also be a good opportunity to post recommendations by authors of color for one or more of the many Reading Challenges for which people are creating their reading lists right now.

I did read some good books by authors of color this year. Here is my list:

Khaled Hosseini- A Thousand Splendid Suns
June Cross- Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away
Pearl Cleage- What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day
Lori Arviso Alvord- The Scalpel & the Silver Bear
Toni Morrison- Beloved
Haruki Murakami- Norwegian Wood
Ishmael Beah- A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
Ru Freeman- A Disobedient Girl
Alice Walker- The Color Purple
Shaila Abdullah- Saffron Dreams

I had the most trouble leaving any out, but I managed to whittle it down a little. But, as you can see, so many could not be left off my list!

What were your favorite reads by non-white authors last year?

Click here to read Ali's post and to visit other blogger's Best Of 2009 lists.


  1. I honestly pay very little attention to the author of books but more attention to the characters, so I had to think a moment about this question. In the end, I can say the following are on my 2009 list:

    -all four of the books I read by Marjane Satrapi
    -Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye
    -Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
    -The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
    -Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquival
    -The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
    -Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin
    -Skim by Mariko Tamaki
    -A Step from Heaven by An Na

  2. Last year I read and posted on 50 works by non-white authors-

    Ten Best Japanese Novels I read in 2009

  3. Children of Dust by Ali Eteraz
    Shanghai Girls by Lisa See.
    I did not read very many last year though I can't remember some of my reads from before I started blogging.

  4. Thanks for the great list--I need to get mine up! Several of yours were on my to-read list last year and didn't get read. I'd better get cracking.

  5. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali was an excellent read!

    reviewed here:

  6. A few that I really enjoyed last year are...

    "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe - The story of a stubborn, prideful man in Africa.

    "The Good Women of China" by Xinran - Fascinating true stories about what women have survived in China.

    "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe - This book is truly amazing when you think about when it was written and the fact that a black woman wrote it. She was unbelievably brave.

    "Locomotion" by Jacqueline Woodson - A book written in poems. It was such an interesting way to tell the story.

    "On Beauty" by Zadie Smith - a modern retelling of Howard's End. So good!

    I just finished "The Color Purple" and it was wonderful too!

  7. Well, one of my top 10 books was by Jhumpa Lahiri ... "Unaccustomed Earth."

  8. Love Thousand Splendid Suns, but I read that one in 2008. I will have to go through my list again to determine my 2009 faves.

  9. I'll be reading The Color Purple soon :) Last year one of my favorite books was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

  10. Colson Whitehead’s "Sag Harbor" was one of my favorites in 2009. (http://booksslicedanddiced.wordpress.com/2009/04/29/sag-harbor-tells-every-teens-story/) I also read Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies” and "Unaccustomed Earth" - both were terrific.

  11. My top 10 2009 read by AoC are:

    The Wasted Vigil - Nadeem Aslam
    The Book of Night Women - Marlon James
    Before I Forget - Leonard Pitts
    The Vagrants - Yiyun Li
    Burnt Shadows - Kamila Shamsie
    I Am Not Sidney Poiter - Percival Everett
    An Elegy for Easterly - Petinna Gappah
    The Calligrapher's Daughter - Eugenia Kim
    Ruined - Lynn Nottage
    The Other Lands - David Anthony Durham


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