2023 Reading List

Here we are sharing our 2023 Reading List. Our theme for 2023 is contemporary works by or about Black men in the diaspora.

We normally select books for the months of January, March, May, July, September and November. However, due to a schedule change in 2022, our 2023 list will only apply to March, May, July, September, and November 2023.

Here are our 2023 titles.

  • John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead (March 2023)
  • After the Lights Go Out by John Verner (May 2023)
  • After Lives by Abdulrazak Gurnah (July 2023)
  • The Violin Conspiracy by Brendon Slocumb (September 2023)
  • The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore (November 2023)

Notes about some of these works.

John Henry Days is written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys. It is a story many are familiar with – John Henry, the Black steel-driving man who pitted his strength against a machine. But in typical Colson Whitehead fashion, is told another way.

After the Lights Go Out takes an in-depth look into the world of athletes and the price often paid to put on a show for the fans. The protagonist is suffering from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease making headlines due to its impact on athletes in football, soccer, boxing and elsewhere.

After Lives is a novel conveying the story of the impact of colonialism in East Africa on one man’s family and home. President Barack Obama named this as one of his favorite books.

The Violin Conspiracy tells the story of a Black classical musician on the fast track facing prejudice and pressures of competing in the world of classical music — and his heirloom violin is stolen. He sets about to recover it. This title was selected by Good Morning America for its book club.

The Other Wes Moore indicates through its subtitle its subject matter One Name, Two Fates. Two children born and raised in the same city walk different paths. One a Rhodes Scholar, White House Fellow, and recently sworn in as Governor of Maryland; the other serving a life sentence in prison.

Titles Considered but not Selected

This is a list of the other titles we considered but did not select — too little time, so many good books.

  • A Quantum Life: My Unlikely Journey from the Street to the Stars by Hakeem Oluseyi
  • Horse by Geraldine Brooks
  • Unprotected by Billy Porter
  • The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead