Diverse Summer Reading: A Round-Up of Responses to the NY Times List

 The Unrelenting Whiteness of The New York Times Summer Reading List

When The New York Times’ Janet Maslin released her Summer reading list for 2015, the fact that it contained 17 books by 17 white authors did not go unnoticed. In a year when national events have made race, diversity and embracing difference a topic of national discussion, many were stunned that Times’ Summer reading list of 2015 is so homogeneous. Jason Parham, writing for Gawker congratulated Maslin and The Times for achieving “peak caucasity,” and Slate.com’s Katy Waldman wondered if Maslin “believed she had compelling reason to confine her search for worthy books to a single racial group”. NY Times All White Summer Reading List

Proof That People of Color Write Books

The silver lining: in response to Maslin’s inexplicably uniform reading list,  a diverse group authors, publications and commentators have created alternative summer reading lists that are more inclusive. Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC’s The Melissa-Harris Perry Show wrote an open letter to her audience, with her own surprising suggestions for re-connecting with books and with reading itself. As Harris-Perry puts it, “Reading is about finding something new in ourselves and expanding and sharing this extraordinary world of ideas with one another:”

Other alternative lists include:

Quartz India’s Desi Summer Reading List for 2015

Madame Noir’s Alternative Summer Reads

Book Riot’s Summer Reading List by Liberty Hardy

Clutch Magazine’s List

Our Recommendations from the Alternative Summer Reading Lists:

Summer Reading LIst French Concession

A literary noir about espionage and international intrigue, set in Shanghai in 1931.

Flood of Fire Ghosh Summer Reading

 Flood of Fire completes Ghosh’s unprecedented re-envisioning of the nineteenth-century war on drugs.

Toni Morrison weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult.

A compelling portrait of urban life in the wake of the last major civil-rights bill. Massive change is afoot in America, and these characters have front-row seats.

Lawyer Jay Porter, hero of Attica Locke’s bestseller Black Water Rising, returns to fight one last case, only to become embroiled once again in a dangerous game of shadowy politics and a witness to how far those in power are willing to go to win.


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