Tiffany B. Brown

Good Reads

Last updated 27 September 2012

I’m a pretty avid reader. I read at least one book a month, often two or three. Below are some of my favorites (with links to Amazon.com)

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  • A Day Late and a Dollar Short by Terry McMillan: Classical literature it ain’t. However, this novel tells the story about the pain that secrets cause and the healing that comes when those secrets are revealed.
  • A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe: Achebe’s novel takes place in colonial Nigeria, just before independence. Odili, a school teacher turns to politics to get revenge on the sleazy politician who stole his girlfriend. It’s quite funny in parts, although the dialogue — some of which is in Nigerian pidgin English — can be hard to understand.
  • Angels and Demons by Dan Brown (also in paperback): The book before the book that made Dan brown famous. It̵s a mystery with lots of conspiracy theories and church double-dealings. A fun read.
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison: This book is part of the American literary canon for a reason. Toni Morrison writes a circular, complex, and disturbing novel. Yet it is one of my favorites.
  • The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan: I forgot what this was about. It’s not of of Tan’s better books. This should probably be the first on you read. If you read it after some of her other works, you might feel let down. It’s not bad at all. It just reminded me too much of The Hundred Secret Senses, which is better.
  • Bump by Diana Wagman: Such a sad yet strangely fulfilling story about love, desire, cheating, suicide and death.
  • Cane River by Lalita Tademy: Fiction based on one-woman’s true family history. A compelling story about four generations of women who grew up in pre-Civil War Louisiana. An interesting look at race, class, gender, citizenship, nationality, self-identification and self-definition.
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker: An novel story about the transformation of Celie, a girl (and later, woman) who was battered, raped and mistreated. I think Walker meant for Celie to be a modern metaphor for *all* black women. The book was also turned into a movie, and a musical.
  • Company by Max Barry: An insightful, and at times hysterical satirical look at corporate culture.
  • The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown: A thoroughly engrossing, though often predictable, conspiracy-theory driven mystery. There’s a reason why it sold 800,000 hardcover copies.
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin: Probably one of the first examples of gay literature. An American in Paris, the lead character struggles with his sexual identity. Baldwin’s words are moving and lyrical.
  • The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan: Romance, magic and time travel. It’s not your typical cheesy romance novel. More like a romance novel with a heavy dose of Chinese mysticism thrown in. Simply wonderful.
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan: A moving multi-generational tale about four Chinese women friends and their Chinese-American daughters. The ending is a little bit of a let down, but overall, it’s good.
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: Beautiful language and a beautiful story about love, secrets and redemption. Hosseini gets a little bit trite in parts, but the flaws are minor in the book’s entirety.
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: A weird, yet haunting book about orphan children who are really clones. It moves slow in parts, but it’s a cool look at what it means to be human.
  • No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe: Obi Okwonko returns from study in Britain and joins the ruling elite. Only Obi is repulsed by their corruption. Througout the story, Obi struggles to pay his debts yet remain honest, and also struggles to resolve his progressive views with traditional expectations.
  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A coming of age story about a teenaged girl struggling to find herself amidst an abusive, strictly religious father who has internalized colonial racism.
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares: A fun and endearing look at the summer of four teenaged friends. (Teen novel)
  • The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares: It’s the sequel to ’Traveling Pants,’ and it’s also a more mature (though still a teen) read. The girls go through love, loss and reconnections while wearing those magic pants.
  • Speak Rwanda by Julian R. Pierce: A deeply moving novel about the Rwandan genocide. Unlike We Wish to Inform You …, which can get confusing at times, Pierce’s work illuminates the atrocity and clarifies the series of events through his characters. An incredible book.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: One of the interesting things about Hurston is that she was not exactly respected by her Harlem Renaissance contemporaries. They thought her work was frivolous because it did not address or critique white racism and black condition. Yet the fact that her novels were largely absent white characters (Seraph on the Suwanee is one exception) was radical in its own way.
  • The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Adichie’s third book is a collection of short stories about contemporary Nigerians and Nigerian immigrants to the United States. The stories ring true and feel true, even though they are fiction. They force the reader to think about the tensions between our conception of an “authentically African” identity versus a Nigerian one; about women and marriage; about immigration status; about sexuality versus tradition. One of the best compilations I have read.
  • Third Girl From the Left by Martha Southgate