As easily as a song can get stuck in your head, so can a story. Whether it’s a book, series, film, or something else, you’ll find yourself continuously thinking about it, mentally replaying your favorite parts, or the parts that challenged you, and wondering what comes next. The stories that stick with you can change how you see yourself or the world around you. This year, our summer reading program is themed “Reading Colors Your World” with that idea in mind. We’re celebrating diverse voices, stories, and formats through our curated book lists that reflect the traits associated with each color. We hope these stories will give you a change in perspective.
Because we can never get enough recommendations, here are a few more to help you reach your goals. There’s a short story and essay collection for each color, for those times when you want something bite-sized to have a big impact.
Red: passionate, powerful, important
- In the Land of Armadillos by Helen Maryles Shankman. In this powerful collection, fact and folklore blend together in a Jewish town facing Nazi invasion.
- There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love edited by Tracy K. Smith and John Freeman. Smith, a former U.S. Poet Laureate, edits a collection of essays on race, justice, and survival in the wake of the summer of 2020.
Orange: playful, energizing, youthful
- Are You Enjoying? By Mira Sethi. This collection, set in Pakistan, plays with traditions and the expectations of daily life.
- Yes, I’m Hot in This by Huda Fahmy. Written in comics, Fahmy’s collection offers a lighthearted look at the realities of life as a Muslim-American woman.
Yellow: friendly, cheerful, luminous
- Walking the Clouds edited by Grace L. Dillon. This anthology of Indigenous science fiction from both well-known and new voices shines with fresh takes on the genre.
- Disability Visibility edited by Alice Wong. Another illuminating collection from underrepresented voices, these essays come from writers from a variety of fields and experiences who have disabilities.
Green: natural, prosperous, fresh
- Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. Set against the landscape of Denver, Colorado, this collection features women navigating their place in the world.
- Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald. Noted nature writer Macdonald offers observations on birds, beasts, and more.
Blue: serene, dependable, cool
- The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw. The generations of women in Philyaw’s stories are expected to be serene and dependable but find themselves caught between these expectations and their own desires.
- Languages of Truth by Salman Rushdie. Renowned writer Rushdie explores the nature of storytelling in these essays collected over nearly 20 years.
Purple: luxurious, mysterious, romantic
- I’m Waiting for You by Kim Bo-Young. These stories, translated from the Korean, feature bookend stories about an engaged couple working to return to earth at the same time for their wedding.
- Unfinished Business by Vivian Gornick. Gornick luxuriates in literature in this collection of writing about the books that have shaped her life.
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