Nonfiction November: A list of books on a topic I’d like to read

For the past two weeks, I have been joining in with other book bloggers for an event called Nonfiction November. The first week, Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, I looked back at my year in nonfiction. Last week, I paired a nonfiction book with a fiction book. This week, I am sharing a list of books on a topic that I’d like to read or “become the expert,” as host for the week Katie from the blog Doing Dewey explains the prompt.

However, I’d like to start with a caveat because the topic that I’d like to read more of than I have is race in America. As a white male, who admittedly lives in a county that is 97 percent white, and without being in a dialogue with a person of another race, I don’t believe I can become an expert. I do hope to gain knowledge of other races, specifically African American and/or black, depending on the preference of wording or to what group is being referred, and maybe through this knowledge, learn how not only to not be a racist, but also to be, as author Ibram X. Kendi puts it, an “antriracist.”

With that caveat, the first book on my list is Kendi’s book, How To Be An Antiracist, which I recently checked out of our local library, where I work. I have two others on hold on ebook from the Free Library of Philadelphia: So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper.

The other nine I already have on my Kindle, two through Prime Reading, and seven that I own are pictured below.

The two from Prime are:

  1. Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northrup
  2. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois.

The other seven are:

  1. The Defender: How The Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America by Ethan Michaels
  2. Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dysom
  3. What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America, also by Dyson
  4. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  5. When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matters Memoir by Patrice Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandela
  6. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
  7. The Sun Does Shine Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton.

In keeping with the theme for this week’s Nonfiction November, and Katie’s prompt: What topic based on what you have read do you consider yourself an expert? If so, share the books we must read on the topic. What would you like to be an expert on? Maybe some of the other commenters here will have ideas for you too.

Author’s Note: I already have read Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. In fact, that is somewhat what prompted my interest in the subject.

26 thoughts on “Nonfiction November: A list of books on a topic I’d like to read

  1. I really love that you’re recognizing your (our) privilege and want to do the work! I’d also recommend Between the World and Me and Just Mercy, but you’ve got a great list.


  2. I have White Trash and The Souls of Black Folk as well – I should try reading them soon!

    I agree that it’s impossible for a white person to become an expert on minorities – especially here in America where there is so much racism. The best you can do is keep yourself as educated as possible!


  3. If you’d like to explore the Australian perspective, can I recommend Maxine Beneba Clark’s The Hate Race –
    and Stan Grant’s Talking to my Country –
    And this one has had a lot of interest in Australia as well as the UK –
    Good luck with your reading.


  4. You have chosen a worthy theme, I think. I have two fiction books that I took home from the last two author events that would probably be good to add to a fiction list: The Nickel Boys and The Water Dancer. I also read two good nonfiction books on race in the last couple of years: Citizen: An American Lyric (which I think I got from you, and gave to a friend after I read it) and Between the World and Me. And I read a magnificent children’s picture book that you should find at your library and read: The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander.


  5. Wow, you have some heavy reading to do there. It’s such a worthwhile dive though. If I may, there were two books that helped me along the journey you’re outlining here. Have you read ‘Between the world and me’ by Ta-Nehisi Coates? It’s a small book where Coates shares a letter he’s written to his son about the what and why of growing up as an African-American man in America today. It exposes all the kinds of privilege some of us enjoy. It certainly put me in more of a ‘listening frame of mind’. Also, ‘The History of White People’ by Nell Irvin Painter is very well done, if you like analytic thinking when looking at historical events. This one was eye-opening for me. It really shows how so many things like (the GI Bill, drivers’ licenses, etc.) have so many systemic issues even today. Things I never would have considered or thought about (there’s my white privilege again) that seem innocent but were put in place to keep things and people separate. Good luck with all the books you’ve laid out for your self! The country would be better off if folks took the time to learn about and become more empathetic to others around them.


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