2020 Reading List

Whatever grand plans I originally had about the books I was going to read in 2020 went entirely out the window about halfway through March, along with many other plans. I still tried to focus on authors who were Black, indigenous, immigrant, queer or part of other marginalized groups, but when the libraries unexpectedly closed, my reading options was suddenly limited to whatever I bought from my local bookstore or was already in the house. These 42 books span 81 years, from 1939 to 2020. Several of the books link to comparisons of the original texts and film adaptations.

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Comparisons: The Color Purple

The Color Purple is a 1982 novel by American author Alice Walker. The book was adapted into a 1985 movie directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. The book has also been made into a Broadway musical that was nominated for 11 Tony Awards in 2006, as well as a radio serial adaptation for BBC Radio 4. It was recently announced that a film adaptation of the musical is in development that will be produced by Spielberg, Winfrey, Quincy Jones and Scott Sanders.

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Comparisons: Native Son

“Native Son,” written by American author Richard Wright, was published in 1940. Wright’s published works of revolutionary poetry, novels and short stories have elevated him alongside other African American icons of literature such as James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Langston Hughes. “Native Son” has been adapted for the screen several times, most recently the 2019 version for HBO that is a directorial debut from Rashid Johnson.

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