one grand books

Quiara Alegría Hudes’s 10 Favorite Books

Photo: Courtesy of the Publishers

Bookseller One Grand Books has asked celebrities to name the ten titles they’d take to a desert island, and they’ve shared the results with Vulture. Below is In the Heights playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes’s list.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf: A Choreopoem by Ntozake Shange
This book is an elixir, spirit medicine, and feminine life force. A series of brown girls’ step into the spotlight and testify to central moments in their girlhood. The final pages make me feel reborn each and every time.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
I’d bring James Baldwin’s evergreen The Fire Next Time to my island to remember how elegantly language can portray ferocity, honesty, and uncompromising social criticism.

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
For a playful mood, I’d turn to Murkami’s sexual coming-of-age novel. Bizarre and erotic, sensual and dreamy, this surrealistic page-turner includes bibliophile and jazz subplots custom tailored to my nerd-dom.

The Known World by Edward P. Jones
For complete submersion in a novelistic world I’d choose Edward P. Jones’s epic masterpiece, The Known World. A universe unto itself, there are terrible moments and beautiful revelations about a black slave owner and the many lives around him.

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
Ceremony is about contemporary Native American characters who need to reconnect with deep past, with ancestral memory.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Stevenson’s book on his death-penalty exoneration work would help me remember that grace is still possible in the darkest times. There are courtroom and jailhouse scenes that are very moving.

Sonnets for a New Century by José Rivera
A splendid series of vulgar, exuberant, and holy monologues about everyday contemporary life.

Collected Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I’d need poems. I love far too many, and favorites change daily. I’d bring Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Collected Poems for curiosity and a wanderlust heart.

3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri
Poems for contemporary conundrums and shimmering solutions.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Cloud Atlas combines dystopian sci-fi, spy novel, seafaring tales and more in a good puzzle structure. I especially love the outrageous young wannabe composer and the creepy futuristic use of “soap.”

Quiara Alegría Hudes’s 10 Favorite Books