Books to read while you wait for Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad

Oprah Book Club pick The Underground Railroad got released a month early due to the rave reviews. But we have other books you can try on the topic of slavery and racism while you wait for your hold to come in!
  1. Kindred, by Octavia Butler
    This ground-breaking novel, about a modern-day woman who time travels to the antebellum American South repeatedly to save the life of a young white boy, is honest and brutal in its portrayal of slavery and the inhumane treatment of masters towards their slaves. It was also one of the first science fiction novels published by a woman of color!
  2. The House Girl, by Tara Conklin
    This novel goes back and forth between a modern-day young lawyer working on a reparations case, and an 1850s Virginia plantation with a white mistress who paints and her black "house girl" slave. An intriguing storyline in the art world adds another twist.
  3. Underground Airlines, by Ben H. Winters
    Imagine if the outcome of the Civil War was different, and slavery was not fully abolished. In an alternate reality, slavery is still in force in four southern states. U.S. Marshals are tasked with hunting down and returning "persons bound to labor" to their owners before they can reach Canada and freedom. We follow a black bounty hunter on the trail for a runaway, who knows that something with his latest case is not what it seems.
  4. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
    Two sisters in 18th century West Africa lead completely different lives - one is married to a white man and privilege, the other is sold into slavery and ends up in Alabama. Both stories have different hardships and heartbreak as we trace the sisters' descendants to the modern day.