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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 »

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Hunger

A Memoir of (My) Body

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

Hunger

“Man oh man. Roxane Gay never fails to disappoint, even if she might disagree. This is a powerful, raw memoir, narrated by the author. Her truth is so relatable, and even when it’s not, Gay’s writing is empathetic. This audiobook was so engrossing, I actively looked for excuses to step away from what I was doing and listen to it. I highly recommend listening to or reading this book—for EVERYONE. This will challenge how you look at fat people, and women especially, and if you’re like me, how you look at yourself. Do yourself a favor and read this book.”

Belmont Books image Tildy, Belmont Books
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The Poet X

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

The Poet X

“The Poet X is written and narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo. It is a novel made up of poems by a teenager, Xiomara Batista, growing up in Harlem. Acevedo's narration is wonderful and brings the story to life. Xiomara's dad is MIA even though he lives at home; her mother is extremely religious and pushes her faith onto her daughter; her twin brother is quiet and also working through his own feelings; she starts her first relationship with a guy; and all the time Xiomara is told what she can and cannot do, gets accosted by men, has to defend herself because no one else will, is questioning God and has no one to open up to. She releases her pent of feelings in a notebook. It isn't until her new English teacher introduces her to spoken poetry that she realizes that is what she is meant to be: a poet. This is a lovely story of a young, misunderstood girl, coming of age and showing the world that she is worth it. Great for adults who enjoyed Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson and extremely relevant literature for the #metoo movement.”

M. Judson Booksellers image Kelly, M. Judson Booksellers
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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 & 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
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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 by Brit Bennett definitely lives up to the glowing reviews it has been receiving. The story reveals an interesting perspective on this history of race in the United States, while also telling a universal story of difficult decisions that change the course of life forever. Bennett doesn't offer pretty bows to tie up her narrative, but a realistic portrait of what we will sacrifice on behalf of our futures.”

Leaves Book and Tea Shop image Tina, Leaves Book and Tea Shop
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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

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

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 • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST • “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 system that... 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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