Colson Whitehead’s 5 Favorite Books

Colson Whitehead is the New York Times bestselling author of The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and one collection of essays, The Colossus of New York. His most recent book The Underground Railroad is making waves, and was released a month early to appear on Oprah’s Book Club. A Pulitzer Prize finalist and a recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City. To see all 50 of Colson’s favorite books, check out his full Author’s Bookshelf.


Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick & 
Casanova by Matt Fraction
“Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction are a crazy super-couple who are putting out some of the best comics around. ‘Casanova’ is a mind-bending, dimension-trotting masterpiece and ‘Bitch Planet’ is the women-in-prison epic you didn’t realize was missing from your life.”

Going Into the City by Robert Christgau
“I’ve been reading Christgau ever since junior high and he, along with his Village Voice cronies, inspired me to write criticism back in the day. Here’s his New York.”

They Live by Jonathan Lethem & Zona by Geoff Dyer
“I love ‘Stalker’ and I love ‘They Live.’ Dyer and Lethem offer two wild takes on two classic movies. Watch ’em and then read these and watch ’em again.”

Love Goes to Buildings On Fire by Will Hermes
“How do you fuck up a series about the music scene in 70s New York? Somehow ‘Vinyl’ did. For the real deal, check out Hermes’s book. He’s also a nice guy!”

Samuel Beckett by Deirdre Baer
“I love biographies of depressed writers. I feel so bad reading about Samuel Beckett holed up in the mountains during World War II, helping out the French Resistance & and writing stuff he was sure no one would ever see…But it worked out!”


For all of Colson Whitehead’s favorite reads, check out his Author’s Bookshelf.

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Photo Credit: Michael Lionstar

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