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Spines & Vines Favorite Spines

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...

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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
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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
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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
Narrated by: Danielle Deadwyler
Length: 13 hours 25 minutes

With a new introduction from New York Times best-selling author Tayari Jones, The Street was Ann Petry's first novel, originally published in 1946 and hailed by critics as a masterwork.
The Street tells the poignant, often heartbreaking story of Lutie Johnson, a young black woman, and her spirited struggle to raise her son amid the violence,...

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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
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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
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The Vanishing Half

A Novel

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

The Vanishing Half

“The Vanishing Half may go down as one of my favorite books of all time. Brit Bennett's narrative style is engrossing, the constant shift in timeline beyond compelling. But more than that, this is a book that deals with so much - racism, colorism & passing, sexism & domestic abuse, trans rights, family dynamics... the list goes on - with unbelievable nuance and empathy. A timely, complex, mysterious (and romantic) epic, The Vanishing Half is a force to be reckoned with. A must read for all - but especially worth consideration for book clubs and classroom reading lists.”

Second Star to the Right image Britt, Second Star to the Right
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Hood Feminism

Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot

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

Hood Feminism

Hood Feminism touches on many subjects that mainstream feminists may not think of as feminist issues. Issues like food and housing insecurity, parenting, and disability rights, among others. Mikki Kendall calls out mainstream feminism as existing only for the advancement of white women, to the detriment of women of color. Some of my biggest takeaways were that white women are reliant on upholding the patriarchy for their protection—although this is counterintuitive—and that the "strong," "powerful" Black woman is a harmful stereotype that denies such women the care and rest that they deserve. White liberal allies, beware of performative activism. Take notes while you listen to this book, step up to become angry accomplice intersectional feminists, and step aside to allow the voices of marginalized women to be heard.”

Raven Book Store image Mary, Raven Book Store
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This Is My America

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

If you enjoyed The Hate U Give, then you’ll love This Is My America.

“I can’t believe this is Kim Johnson’s debut novel! It has easily cemented a spot in the social justice YA canon, alongside The Hate U Give, Monster, and co. Written with an expert hand, This Is My America follows Tracy Beaumont as she fights to get her innocent father off of death row, while also trying to keep her community safe from police violence by teaching Know Your Rights workshops. But she’s soon forced to divert her attention to a murder case in which her brother is the main suspect. A compelling story of injustice and resistance—with a bit of a love triangle—This Is My America is required reading.”

Raven Book Store image Mary, Raven Book Store
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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

If you enjoyed The Warmth of Other Suns, then you’ll love Caste (Oprah's Book Club).

“This is an important and beautifully written book examining the links and common elements between the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany. Highly recommended.”

A Great Good Place for Books image Mike, A Great Good Place for Books
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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

From the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner: Two girls who grow up to become women. Two friends who become something worse than enemies. This brilliantly imagined novel brings us the story of Nel Wright and Sula Peace, who meet as children in the small town of Medallion, Ohio.

Nel and Sula's devotion is fierce enough to withstand bullies and the... 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

Honorable Mention for the 2021 Organization of American Historians Darlene Clark Hine Award

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... 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....

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Special offer

Free audiobook with membership

For a limited time, when you sign up for a new monthly membership with code CHOOSEINDIE, we’ll give you a bonus audiobook! That means you’ll have 2 audiobook credits to redeem from the start.

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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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