Roxane Gay Recommends 10 Books to Bring You Out of the Dark



So We Can Glow: Stories

Leesa Cross-Smith

$27.00 $24.84

One of the most charming short story collections I’ve ever read. The stories are warm and sexy and romantic. Some of the stories have a little edge. Reading this book is like being able to carefully dissect the secrets of a woman’s heart.

Run Me to Earth

Paul Yoon

$26.00 $23.92

A novel about how people maintain their humanity even when they are treated like animals. I admire the structural elegance and exquisite details—a tender father-son moment, a girl remembering the weight of a doctor's coat around her shoulders. Haunting, memorable.

Slave Play

Jeremy O. Harris

$15.95 $14.67

I saw Slave Play on Broadway and it staggered me, so I had to read the script, try to make sense of the experience. It's irreverent, blasphemous really, and deeply intelligent. It “goes there,” over and over again, boldly and slyly.

The Last Emperox

John Scalzi

$26.99 $24.83

Sometimes, you want a fun escapist read. This novel, the third in a trilogy including The Collapsing Empire and The Consuming Fire, is an irreverent, soapy space opera with intrigue, high drama, humor and swashbuckling that absolutely hits that sweet spot.

Finna: Poems

Nate Marshall

$17.00 $15.64

Readers might say these poems are raw but they aren’t. They are elegantly and precisely crafted, frank, and full of realness about blackness, masculinity, family, Chicago. Powerful poetry you won’t soon forget.

These Women

Ivy Pochoda

$27.99 $25.75

This is a gritty crime novel told in an unexpected way. You never quite get the whole story, but the offered pieces tell an evocative, painful story about the ways women are forgotten when their lives are stolen.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

Deesha Philyaw

$18.99 $17.47

These intricately crafted short stories open up exactly what the title suggests— the secret lives of church ladies. It is all too rare to see black women as the center of gravity in a collection, but this book does exactly that.


Hafizah Geter

$15.95 $14.67

Another poetry collection, a book of testimony. Incisive, devastating poems about what it means to be American, and who gets to be American and who doesn’t.

The New Wilderness

Diane Cook

$27.99 $25.75

Fleeing drastically diminished air quality, a family and others become a tribe, traversing their new wilderness according to the whims of elusive rangers. A gripping, fierce, terrifying examination of what people are capable of when they want to survive.

The Bride Test

Helen Hoang

$16.00 $14.72

A romance novel that happens to be about neuroatypical people. This shouldn’t be remarkable but it is. Helen Hoang is a great storyteller. She creates characters with depth. This is such a satisfying read and I love going back to it.