Bookseller One Grand Bookshas 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.
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.
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.”