Feature image credit: @blackgirlthatreads

Diverse Spines, founded by Jamise Harper, highlights books by Black Women and Women of Color. Their mission is to amplify marginalized voices. As we’ve been expanding our #TBR pile with more and more diverse book picks, their book lists have been an incredible resource. In addition to a monthly book pick, Diverse Spines also curates important reading lists on their Bookshop page including anti-racism reading lists, monthly new releases and reading challenges. Be sure to check out their book recommendations when you’re ready to add to your #TBR pile. We’re highlighting some of their summer and fall picks below to get you started, and you can see their full list here.

Weird But Normal: Essays by Mia Mercado

Mia Mercado shares the wildly funny, real and gross parts of being a human being in her series of essays about everyday life.

Fairest: A Memoir by Meredith Taulsan

This powerful and beautifully written memoir by Meredith Taulsan combats the simplicity of categorization. In Fairest, Taulsan shares her journey with her complex identity and shows her coincidental whiteness did not always play to her advantage.

Banned Book Club

Hyun Sook resorted to books during South Korea’s Fifth Republic, the period in which the military regime established its power through censorship and persecution. The editor of the school newspaper invited her to his reading group. She thought they were going to be talking about classic western literature but instead, joined an underground banned book club.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vignes sisters will always be identical twins, even though their lives and racial identities are different. No matter what, their fates will be intertwined in this timeless and brilliant novel that showcases America’s racist past and present.

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

A Song Below Water is a fascinating contemporary novel that delves into racism and injustice while two Black sisters are on the path to self-discovery.

The Book of Rosy by Rosayra Pablo Cruz

This profound and inspiring memoir by Rosayra Pablo Cruz gives readers a deep-seated look at crossing the border. The Book of Rosy shows the atrocious policies in place but shows that some still have authentic human compassion.

The Dragons, The Giants, The Women: A Memoir by Wayétu Moore

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women shows the trials and tribulations of immigrating. Wayétu Moore’s memoir is a heart-rending book that displays migration in a different way for readers. 

Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West

Ruby King’s mother is found dead in their home in Chicago. The police’s inefficiency to help leaves Ruby with her violent father but not many understand that Ruby is in danger, except for her best friend. Saving Ruby King examines faith, friendship, and family. This tender novel tells readers that history doesn’t control the present and that friendship can configure the future.

A Burning by Megha Majumar

Megha Majumdar’s remarkable debut novel, A Burning is about the reactions of our choices. The book follows Jivan who is under scrutiny after a reckless Facebook comment is posted. 

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

Party of Two is the fifth book in the acclaimed Wedding Date Book Series. Olivia Monroe moves to star-studded Los Angeles to start her law firm and isn’t looking to fall in love. By chance, she meets a striking stranger and passionate fling ensues.

Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh

After coming across an eerie note pinned to the ground, a woman becomes obsessed with investigating its mysterious origins while reflecting on her own dark past.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Liz Lighty has big plans to get out of her small midwestern town, but everything changes once the new girl comes to town. You Should See Me in a Crown is the perfect own voices romance read.

A Song of Wraiths and Ruins by Roseanne A. Brown

A gripping epic novel, Malik’s younger sister is abducted by an evil spirit, and in order to save her he must kill the Crown Princess of Ziran, Karina. Karina, on the other hand, is trying to bring her mother back to life and must find a way to kill a king to do so. The two are placed at each other’s necks under a facet of evil and a looming mutual attraction.

Running by Natalia Sylvester

Mariana Ruiz’s father is running for president. The once sheltered Mariana becomes aware of the unjust and corrupt system and has to figure out how to find her voice when the public is watching.

The New American by Micheline Aharonian Marcom

The New American follows the journey of Emilio, an undocumented student who gets sent back to Guatemala. His journey to return to the only home he has ever known is met with crooked law enforcement and thieves.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Isabel Wilkerson refines history with great anecdotal power in Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. She shows America’s deep-rooted history with the caste system and how it is still prevalent today.

A House Is a Body: Stories by Shruti Swamy

Shruti Swamy’s short-story collection, A House Is A Body, features stories from India and America where actuality meets head-on with myth and desire.

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee

We Are Not Free showcases the firsthand effects of mass incarceration of Japanese-Americans in World War II. This historical fiction book will educate readers about America’s shameful past.

Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America by Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami shares her journey from coming to America as a Moroccan immigrant to becoming a U.S. Citizen. She dissects Americans’ so-called inalienable rights and how white supremacy has continued through legislation.

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Transcendent Kingdom is an impeccably written novel that showcases the life of Ghanaian immigrants in Alabama whose lives are seized with desperation, obsession and mourning. 

After the Rain: Gentle Reminders for Healing, Courage and Self-Love by Alexandra Elle

Not only a memoir, but an inspirational guide through the process of healing and self-acceptance as well, Alexandra Elle compiles stories that discuss loss and trauma and caring for one’s self after the fact.