Confession time: I have never read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. What’s more, I’ve never tried to. Some books tend to get away from me like that…books I’ve heard about forever, books that my friends quote frequently, and books that have made a huge impact on writers I admire and read. Every year, I place Autobiography on my list of to-reads, and it never gets done.
I thought about Malcolm X’s book again because my writing teacher (I’m taking a class, yay!) advised us to read books in the genre you would like to write. I’m very interested in narrative memoir and creative nonfiction essays, so I have been collecting books that echo the stories I want to tell.
So, here are two lists. One is a list of books from my field (Af-Am lit) that I “should have” read by now, and the other is a list of memoirs I have read by people in my genre.
Dara’s Mirror Picks
The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Losing My Cool by Thomas Chatterton Williams
*itch is the New Black by Helena Andrews
The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin
The Color of Water by James McBride
Makes Me Wanna Holler by Nathan McCall
Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Dara’s “Missed It!” Picks
(of course) The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Native Son or Black Boy by Richard Wright
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
Of course, the list of books I haven’t read greatly exceeds the list of books I have read. What are your “mirror” and “missed it” book picks? Do you have any recommendations to add to my lists?