Share 14 Books by Diverse Authors You Need to Read Right Now

14 Books by Diverse Authors You Need to Read Right Now

Taylor Noel is a corporate marketing manager at Simon and Schuster. She loves literary fiction and memoirs, but will read any book put in her hands. Taylor shares her book obsessions on Instagram @books_with_taylor.

Part of the magic of books is discovering new places, new cultures, new perspectives, and new characters that change the way we think about and interact with the world. These 14 remarkable contemporary novels by a diverse group of authors will introduce you to a plethora of eye-opening experiences and will greatly enrich your literary diet.


Behold the Dreamers
by Imbolo Mbue
BEHOLD THE DREAMERS is the compassionate and illuminating story of a Cameroonian immigrant hungry for the American Dream but struggling to make ends meet in Harlem with his wife at the start of the Great Recession. When the financial world crashes, their lives are dramatically upended, and Jende and Neni must choose between their dreams, each other, and survival.
Behold the Dreamers
Imbolo Mbue

There have been dozens of novels recently published about the financial crisis of 2008, but few have focused on those most profoundly affected: the working families left to pick up the pieces. Jende Jonga is a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem with his wife, Neni, and child when he lands a job as a chauffeur for a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. As the story alternates between Jende and Neni and speeds perilously close to economic disaster, they learn about privilege, pride, and impossible choices.

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Orhan's Inheritance
by Aline Ohanesian

Moving between the Armenian Genocide during the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, ORHAN’S INHERITANCE is a lyrical and passionate novel about a young man who sets out to understand why his grandfather left his inheritance to a stranger thousands of miles away.

Orhan's Inheritance
Aline Ohanesian

Moving between the Armenian Genocide during the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the 1990s, ORHAN’S INHERITANCE is a lyrical and passionate novel about a young man who sets out to understand why his grandfather left his inheritance to a stranger thousands of miles away.

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The Turner House
by Angela Flournoy
A major new contribution to the American family narrative, THE TURNER HOUSE is the story of one abandoned house on Detroit’s East Side and the 13 siblings who have to decide what to do with it when their matriarch falls ill.
The Turner House
Angela Flournoy

In this masterful debut novel, 13 siblings must decide the fate of their mother’s Detroit home, which housed the family for 50 years before mirroring the disarray and crisis of the city around them by falling into debt and misfortune. Secrets, addiction, and even a malevolent spirit all work against the siblings, but in the end Angela Flournoy shows how it takes more than walls to keep a family together.

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Girl at War
by Sara Nović
Sara Nović is a deaf writer whose beautiful and unflinching novel, GIRL AT WAR, tells the story of a ten-year-old girl trying to make sense of the world when war breaks out in Croatia in early 1990, and ethnic lines begin to divide families and friendships.
Girl at War
Sara Nović

One young woman’s journey through the savageness and ruin of the Balkans in the 1990s, something that the West tried so hard for too long to ignore.

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Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

Inspired by Nigeria’s folktales as well as its war, UNDER THE UDALA TREES is a powerful novel about a girl who is sent away to safety and falls in love with another displaced girl. Neither of their ethnic communities accepts their love and they are forced to learn the price of living a lie.

Under the Udala Trees
Chinelo Okparanta

Inspired by Nigeria’s folktales as well as its war, UNDER THE UDALA TREES is a powerful novel about a girl who is sent away to safety and falls in love with another displaced girl. Neither of their ethnic communities accepts their love and they are forced to learn the price of living a lie.

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The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing
by Mira Jacob

In this sprawling and engrossing journey, Amina reluctantly returns home when she discovers that her father is facing a terminal illness. But when she arrives, she is forced to confront her family’s painful past. Moving forward and backward in time and from India to New Mexico to Seattle, THE SLEEPWALKER’S GUIDE TO DANCING is refreshingly witty and is told with a nuanced touch.

The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing
Mira Jacob

In this sprawling and engrossing journey, Amina reluctantly returns home when she discovers that her father is facing a terminal illness. But when she arrives, she is forced to confront her family’s painful past. Moving forward and backward in time and from India to New Mexico to Seattle, THE SLEEPWALKER’S GUIDE TO DANCING is refreshingly witty and is told with a nuanced touch.

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The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
by Nadia Hashimi

Afghan-American Nadia Hashimi’s powerful novel is about a young woman in 2007 Kabul who takes advantage of an ancient custom in order to dress and be treated like a boy until she is of marriageable age—a custom her grandmother invoked a century earlier to save her own life. A testament to the disparity of gender roles, THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL is a perplexing look at the ongoing struggles of Afghan women.

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
Nadia Hashimi

Afghan-American Nadia Hashimi’s powerful novel is about a young woman in 2007 Kabul who takes advantage of an ancient custom in order to dress and be treated like a boy until she is of marriageable age—a custom her grandmother invoked a century earlier to save her own life. A testament to the disparity of gender roles, THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL is a perplexing look at the ongoing struggles of Afghan women.

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The Residue Years
by Mitchell S. Jackson

This story of a mother trying to stay clean and her son, who begins selling crack to support his mom and siblings, is in part based on Mitchell S. Jackson’s experience growing up black in Portland, Oregon (also known as America’s whitest city). A commanding meditation on social judgment, THE RESIDUE YEARS is utterly commanding and a force to be reckoned with.

The Residue Years
Mitchell S. Jackson

This story of a mother trying to stay clean and her son, who begins selling crack to support his mom and siblings, is in part based on Mitchell S. Jackson’s experience growing up black in Portland, Oregon (also known as America’s whitest city). A commanding meditation on social judgment, THE RESIDUE YEARS is utterly commanding and a force to be reckoned with.

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist
by Mohsin Hamid
In a café in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man tells an uneasy American stranger his life story—from immigrating to America to attend Princeton to working an elite valuation job in New York to his romance with a gorgeous high-society woman to his inability to cope with the aftermath of 9/11 to his exile back to Pakistan. THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST is fierce and all-consuming.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Mohsin Hamid

Changez is living an immigrant’s dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by an elite valuation firm. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his budding romance with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore. But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned and his relationship with Erica shifting. And Changez’s own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.

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Next Year, for Sure
by Zoey Leigh Peterson

NEXT YEAR FOR SURE chronicles the tumultuous and often funny year in which a longtime couple experiments with a nontraditional relationship when loneliness persists in the unlit corners of their lives. This fresh novel by Zoey Leigh Peterson, a transgender woman, is imbued with deep humanity.

Next Year, for Sure
Zoey Leigh Peterson

NEXT YEAR FOR SURE chronicles the tumultuous and often funny year in which a longtime couple experiments with a nontraditional relationship when loneliness persists in the unlit corners of their lives. This fresh novel by Zoey Leigh Peterson, a transgender woman, is imbued with deep humanity.

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Forgotten Country
by Catherine Chung

Weaving Korean myth and modern love, FORGOTTEN COUNTRY is a lush and elegant story of identity, immigration, and familial obligation framed by a family that loses a daughter in every generation.

Forgotten Country
Catherine Chung

Weaving Korean myth and modern love, FORGOTTEN COUNTRY is a lush and elegant story of identity, immigration, and familial obligation framed by a family that loses a daughter in every generation.

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We Love You, Charlie Freeman
by Kaitlyn Greenidge

When the Freeman family moves into a campus apartment at the Toneybee Institute, they are assigned to teach their housemate, a chimp named Charlie, sign language (which they all know). But as an African American family, they find themselves isolated in the all-white community of the Institute. WE LOVE YOU, CHARLIE FREEMAN is a provocative and compelling exploration of America’s failure to find a way to talk about race.

We Love You, Charlie Freeman
Kaitlyn Greenidge

When the Freeman family moves into a campus apartment at the Toneybee Institute, they are assigned to teach their housemate, a chimp named Charlie, sign language (which they all know). But as an African American family, they find themselves isolated in the all-white community of the Institute. WE LOVE YOU, CHARLIE FREEMAN is a provocative and compelling exploration of America’s failure to find a way to talk about race.

MENTIONED IN:

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Umami
by Laia Jufresa

Deep in the heart of Mexico City, Ana copes with the mysterious death of her younger sister and plants a “milpa” (a corn crop) in her backyard—an act that dredges up the grief, secrets, and haunting questions of her neighbors’ pasts as well as her own. UMAMI is a dazzlingly inventive and immersive portrayal of life in contemporary Mexico.

Umami
Laia Jufresa

Deep in the heart of Mexico City, Ana copes with the mysterious death of her younger sister and plants a “milpa” (a corn crop) in her backyard—an act that dredges up the grief, secrets, and haunting questions of her neighbors’ pasts as well as her own. UMAMI is a dazzlingly inventive and immersive portrayal of life in contemporary Mexico.

MENTIONED IN:

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Here Comes the Sun
by Nicole Dennis-Benn
A lyrical and tender hymn to the Jamaican life, HERE COMES THE SUN follows Margot as she works as both a maid and a prostitute at an extravagant resort so she can shield her younger sister from the same fate and send her to school. When the development of a new hotel threatens the community and Margot’s job, everyone is forced to reconsider their choices and confront long-hidden scars.
Here Comes the Sun
Nicole Dennis-Benn

Capturing the distinct rhythms of Jamaican life and dialect, Nicole Dennis-Benn pens a tender hymn to a world hidden among pristine beaches. In HERE COMES THE SUN, Margot works as a prostitute to send her little sister to school while shielding her from the same fate. When she catches a glimpse of opportunity for financial independence, Margot must fight to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves.

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