“My idea of a delicious time is to read a book that is wonderful. But the ruling passion of my life is being a seeker after truth and the divine.” The preeminent and often provocative black feminist scholar bell hooks has dedicated her life to challenging the social structures and cultural norms of our society. Her many books on race relations, women’s oppression and class domination are often required reading in feminist theory and intersectionality courses around the world, and her teachings have inspired generations of activists.

hooks has served as a scholar-in-residence at New York’s The New School four times, and for her final residency, was asked to share the books she recommends to help readers of all walks think more critically. Just as Maya Angelou encouraged everybody to read everyone, hooks wanted her students to expose themselves to all voices: “I’m so disturbed when my women students behave as though they can only read women, or black students behave as though they can only read blacks, or white students behave as though they can only identify with a white writer.”

Read on for the books bell hooks’ finds most inspiring, and complement with the reading lists of Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem and Maya Angelou.


Emotional Longevity by Norman Anderson

The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Baptist

Everyday Sacred by Sue Bender

The Mermaid and the Minotaur by Dorothy Dinnerstein (also rec’d by Gloria Steinem)

Body of the World by Eve Ensler

Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

The Reinvention of Work by Matthew Fox

Ethics for a New Millennium by Dalai Lama

Unhooked: How to Quit Anything by Susan Shapiro

Dancing in the Flames by Marion Woodman

(via The New School)

Categories: Activists Writers

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