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_shelflove_'s 2020 Shelf-Growth Playlist

Memoirs/non-fiction and #ownvoices fiction selections that will help me grow as a reader and as a person. This playlist includes new releases and backlist titles that pull on the heartstrings and evoke empathy by finding common ground between reader and narrator or by exploring social issues and epidemics in the U.S. and abroad.

Playlist Tags: influencer-created

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Hunger

A Memoir of (My) Body

By Roxane Gay
Narrated by: Roxane Gay
Length: 5 hours 57 minutes

Hunger

“This memoir is about trauma and privilege, self-loathing, and a silent fear kept secret for far too long. It's about our obsession with body weight and body image, what happens when we internalize our pain and become self-destructive, and how very, very large people are treated in humiliating ways. The descriptions of addictive behavior and the journey to want to heal make this book more universal than I expected. When you decide that this is the day you're going to change and you get out of bed and fail, that's pretty normal. You'll have another chance tomorrow - just remember to like yourself enough to overcome the fear of healing and try again. Highly recommend.”

Arcadia Books image Todd Miller, Arcadia Books
Audiobook details

The Hate U Give

By Angie Thomas
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 11 hours 40 minutes

The Hate U Give

“This bestselling, powerful young adult novel about social justice and one teen girl's effort to fight for what is right, will leave you breathless. The narration by Bahni Turpin is hands down the best I've ever heard. This is such an important book it should be required reading for life in general. Or listening. Definitely listening.”

Tattered Cover image Kristen, Tattered Cover
Audiobook details

The Affairs of the Falcóns

A Novel

By Melissa Rivero
Narrated by: Frankie Corzo
Length: 8 hours 34 minutes

A stunning debut novel about a young undocumented Peruvian woman fighting to keep her family afloat in New York City.

Ana Falcón, along with her husband Lucho and their two young children, has fled the economic and political strife of Peru for a chance at a new life in New York City in the 1990s. Being undocumented, however, has significantly... Read more »

Audiobook details

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick

Stories from the Harlem Renaissance

By Zora Neale Hurston
Narrated by: Aunjanue Ellis
Length: 8 hours 57 minutes

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick

“Zora Neale Hurston’s (Their Eyes Were Watching God, Barracoon) body of work continues to grow and impress. In Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick, 21 short stories, including several “lost” pieces depicting the Great Migration to northern cities and Harlem’s educated New Negro middle class, offer an updated perspective of Hurston’s Harlem Renaissance-era cultural commentary. These stories, written in the 1920s and 30s, explore toxic masculinity and women’s agency, urban vs. rural class representations, colorism/shadeism, identity politics, and the intersectionality of race, class, age, and gender in a way that remains relevant today. And, by using humor, folklore, and her unique combination of delicate prose and vernacular speech, Hurston also has written thoroughly engaging slices-of-life, always centering Black characters, from a very specific time period. To fully appreciate Hurston’s stories, Tayari Jones (An American Marriage) recommends in her foreword, “reading this work aloud, enjoying the feel of the words in your mouth, and the sound of English tightened and strummed like the strings of a banjo.””

River Dog Book Co. image BrocheAroe, River Dog Book Co.
Audiobook details

Children of the Land

By Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
Narrated by: Tim Andres Pabon
Length: 10 hours 6 minutes

An Entertainment Weekly Most Anticipated Book of 2020

This unforgettable memoir from a prize-winning poet about growing up undocumented in the United States recounts the sorrows and joys of a family torn apart by draconian policies and chronicles one young man’s attempt to build a future in a nation that denies his existence. 

“You were not a... Read more »

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Becoming

By Michelle Obama
Narrated by: Michelle Obama
Length: 19 hours 1 minutes

Becoming

“I adore our former president and I miss him. Yet I cannot help but be ecstatic that Michelle is coming out with a book about her own life so that I can learn more about this powerful, intelligent, and singularly awesome woman. Barack would be the first to say that his wife is a superstar, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Becoming to read about her in her own words.”

Bookshop Santa Cruz image Jax, Bookshop Santa Cruz
Audiobook details

Such a Fun Age

By Kiley Reid
Narrated by: Nicole Lewis
Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

Such a Fun Age

“When I attempted to write a review for Such a Fun Age, I was at a loss for words. How could I encapsulate how Kiley Reid’s startling debut perfectly captured what it means to be a woman? The societal pressure, the self-doubt, the perseverance, the constant comparison — all of it was perfectly represented through Reid’s two wonderfully flawed and captivating leads. Follow Emira and Alix, two women on seemingly incongruous paths who find themselves searching for purpose and an authentic sense of self. Such a Fun Age tackles complex issues — race, gender, economic status, and the intersection of them all — yet remains accessible. You will not want to put this book down; when you do, you’ll be itching to pick it back up again.”

Flyleaf Books image Gennifer Eccles, Flyleaf Books
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She Said

Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement

By Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey
Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman, Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey
Length: 9 hours 52 minutes

From the Pulitzer-prize winning reporters who broke the news of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment and abuse for the New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the thrilling untold story of their investigation and its consequences for the #MeToo movement

On October 5, 2017, the New York Times published an article by Jodi Kantor and Mega Read more »n...
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A Long Petal of the Sea

A Novel

By Isabel Allende
Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
Length: 9 hours 46 minutes

A Long Petal of the Sea

“In this quietly compelling novel, Isabel Allende deftly brings us into the world of the Spanish Civil War and Chilean Revolution, elegantly weaving characters' stories together to produce a stunning tapestry of love, heartbreak, loyalty, and politics. Follow war doctor Victor and accomplished pianist Roser as they struggle down a path that is constantly blocked with great challenges. Though many despair, there is always a way through, and you may find support in places you least expect.”

Rediscovered Books image Kalli, Rediscovered Books
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The Girl with the Louding Voice

A Novel

By Abi Daré
Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Length: 12 hours 6 minutes

The Girl with the Louding Voice

“This year is overflowing with phenomenal debuts — including this one from Abi Daré. It tells the story of Adunni, a young girl in Nigeria whose dreams and ambition focus in on one thing: education. In a city where girls like her are looked down upon and considered unworthy, she comes to find that change can begin with even the smallest of voices. This story is the kind that makes you itch: you’ll ache for Adunni, bristle at the people who treat her so unjustly, and yearn for her to succeed. This is a stunning, important, and fascinating first novel.”

Lindsay Howard image Lindsay Howard, Lark and Owl Booksellers
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White Fragility

Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

By Robin DiAngelo
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 6 hours 20 minutes

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of whit Read more »e...
Audiobook details

Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered

The Definitive How-To Guide

By Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark
Narrated by: Georgia Hardstark, Karen Kilgariff & Paul Giamatti
Length: 6 hours 30 minutes

Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered

“I discovered MFM immediately after the book was released. I listened to the first episode and knew right away that I needed to read the book. Karen & Georgia's easy, casual friendship and dark humor were right up my alley. I quickly finished the book (which I found both touching and hilarious) and kept working my way through old episodes of the podcast. While I enjoyed the book, I realized that I had become so accustomed to listening to the podcast, I actually wanted to re-read the book, this time in audio form (a format that I do not usually dabble in.) Getting to hear the book material straight from the authors' mouths was delightful and just felt right after becoming so familiar with their other audio work.”

A Likely Story image Leslie, A Likely Story
Audiobook details

Dominicana

A Novel

By Angie Cruz
Narrated by: Coral Peña
Length: 10 hours 12 minutes

Dominicana

“This is a book that will stay with you. It’s a story about a 15 Year old Dominican girl, who is married off to a man twice her age bc he can bring her to the United States. Ana, has no control over her situation, and comes to the US, speaking no English, knowing nothing about her new country. Isolated in their apartment, missing her siblings and pressured by her mother to send home money, Ana struggles to find her way. She’s torn between family loyalty and finding her own happiness. Ultimately, it’s Ana who has to determine her own agency. What makes this especially interesting is that it’s set in Washington Heights in the 1960s, with the civil rights movement in the background. Yet, that’s all the impact it has, momentous occasions are just background and Ana’s experience is front and center.”

Belmont Books image Audrey, Belmont Books
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The Sun Does Shine

How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row (Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 Selection)

By Anthony Ray Hinton & Lara Love Hardin
Narrated by: Bryan Stevenson & Kevin R. Free
Length: 9 hours 11 minutes

Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 Selection

A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit.

“An amazing and heartwarming story, it restores our faith in the inherent goodness of humanity.”
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu


In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was... Read more »

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The Glass Castle

A Memoir

By Jeannette Walls
Narrated by: Jeannette Walls
Length: 10 hours 25 minutes

Now a major motion picture from Lionsgate starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts.

MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST
The perennially bestselling, extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, “nothing short of spectacular” (Entertainment Weekly) memoir from one of the world’s most gifted storytellers.

The Glass Castle i Read more »s...
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Americanah

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Length: 17 hours 29 minutes

From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home. As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under militar Read more »y...
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Dopesick

Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America

By Beth Macy
Narrated by: Beth Macy
Length: 10 hours 16 minutes

Dopesick

“A heartfelt narrative filled personal anecdotes and horrifying statistics, Macy gives the reader an encompassing view of the opioid epidemic. Macy is a terrific writer and her reading of the book for audio conveys the sense of devastation for the addicts and their families.”

Bartleby's Books image Maria, Bartleby's Books
Audiobook details

Heavy

An American Memoir

By Kiese Laymon
Narrated by: Kiese Laymon
Length: 6 hours 17 minutes

Heavy

“Telling the truth has always been a radical and political act, but Kiese Laymon writes in Heavy with a rare, vulnerable unity of personal urgency and political clarity. This is a story about how our country’s lies and thefts weigh heavily on the hearts and souls of its black mothers and sons. About how dishonesty about white supremacy, money, sex, and violence threads through our most intimate relationships and causes us to become strangers to ourselves. If Heavy is about lies, it is also fundamentally about the redemptive power of truth, stories, language, and joy. If there’s a way out of the loneliness of being human in a country that does not value or support humanity, Laymon suggests, it is in the connection we find in the words we toss to one another, like lifelines, like laughter.”

Charis Books & More image E.R. Anderson, Charis Books & More
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From Scratch

A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home

By Tembi Locke
Narrated by: Tembi Locke
Length: 10 hours 17 minutes

From Scratch

“I just finished wiping away my last tear as I close the curtain on From Scratch, a brilliant, compelling memoir. Tembi Locke lost her larger-than-life Italian chef husband at an early age to cancer. The book is a love letter to him as well as to enchanting Sicily and its aromatic, tantalizing food. But more than anything, it is the most memorable and thoughtful gift that her daughter will ever receive. I highly recommend the audio version which is read by the author. From Scratch is one of the best memoirs that I have ever read and one of my top five best books that I read this Summer.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Melinda, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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The Underground Railroad (Television Tie-in)

A Novel

By Colson Whitehead
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 10 hours 43 minutes

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. Now an original Amazon Prime Video series directed by Barry Jenkins.

Cora is a slave on a cotto Read more »n...
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