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Spines & Vines Favorite Spines

Discover your next diverse read with this curated list by Jamise Harper, founder of Spines & Vines and Diverse Spines.

Playlist Tags: influencer-created

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston
Narrated by: Ruby Dee
Length: 6 hours 44 minutes

“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love... Read more »

Audiobook details

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 Poet X

By Elizabeth Acevedo
Narrated by: Elizabeth Acevedo
Length: 3 hours 30 minutes

The Poet X

“Getting to listen to the author herself read her poetry, which are clearly a testament to the spoken word and the art of slam, is absolutely the best way to devour this novel-in-verse. Acevedo puts everything into her words, and no one else could do them justice the way she does herself. Despite possible age/cultural/religious differences, any listener will immediately relate to this teenage girl desperately trying to both find herself and her voice, and live up to her family's expectations.”

Quail Ridge Books image Amber, Quail Ridge Books
Audiobook details

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

By Maya Angelou
Narrated by: Maya Angelou
Length: 10 hours 10 minutes

Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS’s American Masters.

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute... Read more »

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The Street

By Ann Petry & Tayari Jones
Narrated by: Danielle Deadwyler
Length: 13 hours 25 minutes

The classic urban tale of a young black woman's struggle to raise her son alone amid the violence, poverty, and racial dissonance of 1940s Harlem. Read more »

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Homegoing

A novel

By Yaa Gyasi
Narrated by: Dominic Hoffman
Length: 13 hours 10 minutes

Homegoing

“Homegoing is an epic narrative that is sure to become a treasured staple. Two sisters in Ghana are marked by fiery tragedy: one is married off to an English slave trader, and the other is sold to be a slave in America. The story follows their descendants generation by generation. Homegoing will break your heart over and over, impress you with the resilience of the human spirit and the amazing power of forgiveness, and leave you optimistic and in awe.”

Bookshop Santa Cruz image Nichole McCown, Bookshop Santa Cruz
Audiobook details

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
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The Vanishing Half

A Novel

By Brit Bennett
Narrated by: Shayna Small
Length: 11 hours 33 minutes

The Vanishing Half

“Within the first few pages of The Vanishing Half, I knew I was reading something special. In this slow-burn novel, twins Desiree and Stella grow up in Mallard, a small black community in segregated Louisiana that prides itself on the lightness of its people’s skin. At sixteen, the twins flee from Mallard after their mother pulls them out of school to work cleaning white people’s houses, sacrificing the familiarity of home, the safety of their community, and the predictable trajectory of their lives. In New Orleans, the twins begin their new lives together, but eventually Stella takes off on her own, choosing to live the rest of her life “passing” as white; Desiree marries a dark-skinned man, has a child who looks like him, and ends up living back in Mallard. The consequences of the twins’ life choices unfold throughout the book, from the 1950s to the 1990s, and include the lives (and perspectives) of their daughters, Kennedy and Jude. The Vanishing Half is a fascinating story about family relationships, identity, and belonging, and I savored every page.”

Phinney Books image Anika, Phinney Books
Audiobook details

Social Purpose Annual Report

Social Purpose Annual Report

As we look to the future as a Social Purpose Corporation, we’re committed to serving readers and independent bookstores. Read our 2020 Annual Report to see an overview of the year.

Read the Report

Hood Feminism

Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot

By Mikki Kendall
Narrated by: Mikki Kendall
Length: 6 hours 57 minutes

Hood Feminism

“Powerful. Important. Compulsively readable. Kendall’s narrative style is top notch - riveting and un-put-down-able. Not only is this a must read, it's a must pay attention. It's a must revisit and keep learning kind of book. Kendall dives deep and doesn't pull punches, but she doesn't seek to shame either. This is necessary reading for anyone who considers themselves a feminist. Because solidarity needs to be for ALL.”

Second Star to the Right image Britt, Second Star to the Right
Audiobook details

This Is My America

By Kim Johnson
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 9 hours 34 minutes

This Is My America

“Strong and compelling storytelling, in addition to insightful perspective of racial injustice, bias, and the complexity of adolescence. Both the plot and the characters were engaging and complex on multiple levels, which kept me wishing I could listen faster to know what happens next.”

Leaves Book and Tea Shop image Tina, Leaves Book and Tea Shop
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Caste (Oprah's Book Club)

The Origins of Our Discontents

By Isabel Wilkerson
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 14 hours 25 minutes

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • “An instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste... Read more »

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Brown Girl Dreaming

By Jacqueline Woodson
Narrated by: Jacqueline Woodson
Length: 3 hours 54 minutes

New York Times bestseller and National Book Award winner

Jacqueline Woodson, the acclaimed author of Another Brooklyn, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. 
 
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African... Read more »

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Sula

By Toni Morrison
Narrated by: Toni Morrison
Length: 5 hours 46 minutes

Two girls who grow up to become women. Two friends who become something worse than enemies. In this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison tells the story of Nel Wright and Sula Peace, who meet as children in the small town of Medallion, Ohio.

“Extravagantly beautiful. . . .  A howl of love and rage, playful and funny as well as hard and... Read more »

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A Black Women's History of the United States

REVISIONING HISTORY: Book #5

By Daina Ramey Berry & Kali Nicole Gross
Narrated by: Janina Edwards
Length: 10 hours 2 minutes

2021 NAACP Image Award Nominee: Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction

A vibrant and empowering history that emphasizes the perspectives and stories of African American women to show how they are—and have always been—instrumental in shaping our country

In centering Black women’s stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African... Read more »

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Eloquent Rage

A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower

By Brittney Cooper
Narrated by: Brittney Cooper
Length: 6 hours 57 minutes

"...Cooper delivers a frank, conversational-style examination of the importance of black female friendships, respectability politics, and harmful stereotypes, among other topics. She blends candor and humor as she roots out toxic behaviors and beliefs we use in America to tear ourselves and each other down, while also offering paths forward.... Read more »

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Kindred

By Octavia E. Butler
Narrated by: Kim Staunton
Length: 10 hours 54 minutes

The first science fiction written by a Black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of Black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably... Read more »

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 22 hours 40 minutes

The Warmth of Other Suns

“I'm sorry I hadn't gotten to this sooner. Wilkerson pulls together so much of what I already knew about the US but not necessarily why... a great audiobook, too.”

Flyleaf Books image Jamie, Flyleaf Books
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Citizen

An American Lyric

By Claudia Rankine
Narrated by: Allyson Johnson
Length: 1 hours 37 minutes

Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the... Read more »

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The Fire This Time

A New Generation Speaks about Race

By Jesmyn Ward
Narrated by: Cherise Boothe, Michael Early, Kevin R. Free, Korey Jackson & Susan Spain
Length: 5 hours 36 minutes

National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward takes James Baldwin's 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time, as a jumping off point for this groundbreaking collection of essays and poems about race from the most important voices of her generation and our time. In light of recent tragedies and widespread protests across the nation, The... Read more »

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Sugar

By Bernice L. McFadden
Narrated by: Myra Lucretia Taylor
Length: 8 hours 44 minutes

Blackboard best-seller Sugar is the superb first novel by Bernice L. McFadden. An emotional journey from grief and suffering to understanding and forgiveness, Sugar will keep you turning pages until its graceful conclusion. Sugar arrives in the small town of Bigelow, Arkansas like an ominous storm. She saunters down the street in a blonde wig... Read more »

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