George Takei is best known for his portrayal of Mr. Sulu in the acclaimed television and film series Star Trek.He’s an actor, social justice activist, social media mega-power, star of the upcoming Broadway musical Allegiance, and subject of To Be Takei, a documentary on his life and career.See more at
  1. Giovanni's Room by James Balwin
    Giovannis room
    Set in the 1950s Paris of expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young American man begins an affair with an Italian. Baldwin explores social alienation in this early novel.
  2. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
    Go tell it on the mountain
    Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin's first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. This semi-autobiographical novel follows the life of a preacher's son growing up in 1930's Harlem, and his relationship to his family and the Church.
  3. Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin
    Going to meet the man
    Baldwin's first short story collection brings together eight of the classic author's stories. Together, they detail the ingenious and often desperate ways in which people try to keep their heads above water.
  4. Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
    Notes of a native son
    The first published writing of James Baldwin collects ten essays. Notes of a Native Son inaugurated Baldwin as one of the leading interpreters of the dramatic social changes erupting in the United States in the twentieth century, and many of his essays are, sadly, as poignant and relevant today as when they were first written.
  5. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
    The fire next time
    First published in 1963, The Fire Next Time gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. The book is written in the form of two "letters" in which Baldwin details the legacy and lingering effects of racial injustice on Black Americans.
  6. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
    Midnight in the garden
    This true crime classic centers on the murder of a local male prostitute in Savannah, Georgia but is much more than simply reportage. Berendt supplies vivid images of the inhabitants of 1980s Savannah, written in true Southern Gothic style.
  7. A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski
    Queer history of us
    Written in the tradition of Harold Zinn's A People's History of the United States, Michael Bronski writes a new vision of American history that demonstrates that LGBTQ communities and individuals have long been a part of the country.
  8. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Between the world
    Frequently compared to James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time and called "required reading" by author Toni Morrison, Ta-Nahesi Coates' book lays bare the conditions of Black life in the United States today with unflinching, emotional honesty.
  9. The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
    Oscar wao
    This novel chronicles the life of Oscar Wao, a nerdy Dominican growing up in Jersey City, alongside the lives of his family, haunted by a generations-old curse.
  10. An Indigenous People's History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
    Indigenous peoples history
    Dunbar-Ortiz offers the first history of the United States told from a Native American point of view, chronicling the struggle of indigenous peoples for decades to retain their culture and autonomy, often in the face of genocidal violence.
  11. The Fiery Trial by Eric Foner
    Fiery trial
    This New York Times Notable Book of the Year gives a definitive account of Abraham Lincoln's lifelong struggle with the defining issue of his time: slavery. Foner's account focuses on Lincoln's capacity for growth and evolution throughout his life.
  12. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
    Corner of bitter and sweet
    This bestselling novel follows the blossoming romance between Henry, a Chinese-American boy, and Keiko, a Japanese-American girl. Beginning in the 1940s, the novel bridges the years of internment while dealing with the interplay between race and family.
  13. O'Neill: Life with Monte Cristo by Arthur Gelb
    Life with monte cristo
    The first volume of the full biography of Eugene O'Neill, the famous playwright, is an authoritative and comprehensive account of O'Neill's youth and eventual triumph.
  14. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
    Memoirs of a geisha
    Narrator Nitta Sayuri looks back on her life as a geisha in early 20th century Japan in this lyrical and evocative debut novel.
  15. Twice Heroes: America's Nisei Veterans of WWII and Korea by Tom Graves
    Twice heroes
    Tom Graves tells the little known story of the Nisei (second generation Japanese) who joined the US Army in a segregated regiment and became the most highly decorated unit in United States history.
  16. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
    Snow falling on cedars
    Set on an island in the Puget Sound of Washington State, Guterson weaves a story around a murder case that has roots in decades-old resentment and racial tensions.
  17. Listening to Stone: The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi by Hayden Herrera
    Listneing to stone
    This biography of modern artist Isamu Noguchi, known for his "sculpturing of space", details the importance of the natural world to Noguchi's art and inspiration, and is a moving portrait of an artist compulsively driven to reinvent himself.
  18. Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Houston
    Farewell to manzanar
    Following the experiences of author Jeanne Houston, imprisoned with her family in the Manzanar internment camp during World War 2, this poignant memoir tells an extraordinary story of endurance and bravery, while bringing to life the misery endured by thousands of Japanese American citizens.
  19. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
    Remains of the day
    Kazuo Ishiguro's Man Booker Prize winning third novel narrates the memories of Stevens, a butler in an English household. The novel focuses on the overpowering importance of dignity to its narrator, even at cost to his personal life.
  20. Inventology by Pagan Kennedy
    Inventology uses stories of inventors and surprising research to reveal the steps that produce innovation. Kennedy proposes that invention occurs when people imagine a solution to a problem - and in the modern world we increasingly have the ability to realize those imaginings.
  21. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    Life changing magic
    A runaway bestseller, Marie Kondo's book on decluttering your life and your space focuses on finding those items which "spark joy". Your new, tidy home, she promises, will cultivate a calm and focused mind.
  22. The Normal Heart and The Destiny of Me by Larry Kramer
    The normal heart
    These two plays by playwright and LGBTQ activist Larry Kramer both grapple with the AIDs epidemic. The Normal Heart confronts the society that let the disease become a plague through ignorance and fear. Its companion play The Destiny of Me forces an AIDS activist to put his life in the hands of the doctor he lately denounced.
  23. Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh by John Lahr
    Tennessee williams
    The definitive biography of America's greatest playwright from the celebrated drama critic of The New Yorker. This astute, deeply researched biography sheds a light on Tennessee Williams' life with new intimacy.
  24. Floating City by Eric Van Lustbader
    Floating city
    This fifth entry in the suspenseful Nicholas Linnear series sends sends the honor-bound Ninja on a death-defying mission deep in the Vietnamese jungle.
  25. The Kaisho by Eric Van Lustbader
    The kaisho
    Years ago, Nicholas Linnear, a.k.a. “the Ninja,” made a promise to his father: If a man named Mikio Okami ever sought his help, he would respond without question, no matter the cost. Now the time has come to fulfill his pledge. This fourth book in the Nicholas Linnear series takes the hero deep into the Yakuza, the Japanese organized crime syndicate.
  26. The Miko by Eric Van Lustbader
    The miko
    The sequel to The Ninja follows Nicholas Kinnear to Japan, seeking revenge for his murdered friend. But in Tokyo, Linnear finds far more to worry about than the intricacies of Japanese business. He is being pursued by a miko: a female assassin, part ninja and part sorceress, whose beauty is matched only by her skill in combat.
  27. The Ninja by Eric Van Lustbader
    The ninja
    The Ninja opens Lustbader's Nicholas Kinnear series. Nicholas Linnear, raised in Japan by his British father and Chinese mother, spent his childhood training himself in the ancient art of the ninja. Even though he has since removed himself from that world, he finds it pursuing him in the form of a murder close to home.
  28. The White Ninja by Eric Van Lustbader
    White ninja
    The third entry in the Nicholas Kinnear series follows the titular character as he pursues a murderer targeting women in Tokyo.
  29. A Little Yellow Dog by Walter Mosley
    A little yellow dog
    Easy Rawlins once again finds himself tangled in a murder mystery after a brief affair with a schoolteacher that is followed by her murder. Despite all his intentions, it looks like Rawlins isn't out of the murder business yet.
  30. A Red Death by Walter Mosley
    A red death
    It's 1953 in Red-baiting, blacklisting Los Angeles and Easy Rawlins finds himself targeted by a racist IRS agent. He can get out of it by infiltrating the First American Baptist Church in search of communists, but it might not be so simple - or so safe.
  31. Black Betty by Walter Mosley
    Black betty
    Detective Easy Rawlins takes a case investigating the disappearance of the notorious Black Betty, a black singer risen from the wards to Beverly Hills.
  32. Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
    Devil in a blue dress
    Set in the late 1940s in an African American community in Los Angeles, following Easy Rawlins, a day laborer as he transforms himself into a private detective.
  33. Colors of Confinement by Eric L. Muller
    Colors of confinement
    Collecting sixty-five Kodachrome photographs of Japanese internment taken by Bill Manbo along with three interpretive essays by scholars and one personal recollection, Colors of Confinement captures community celebrations records the struggle to maintain a normal life under the harsh conditions of racial imprisonment.
  34. I Am Spock by Leonard Nimoy
    I am spock
    The second volume of Nimoy's autobiography takes as its particular focus his relationship with his most famous role. The actor behind the beloved Mr. Spock shares the true story behind his perceived reticence to re-create the role and writes frankly about how his portrayal defined an icon.
  35. One by Kathryn Otoshi
    As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other's differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.
  36. Infamy by Richard Reeves
    A powerful and authoritative history of Japanese internment, Reeves' account draws on interviews with survivors, archival material, and personal letters and diaries.
  37. Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein
    Wabi sabi
    Written in haiku about a cat in Kyoto seeking the meaning behind her name, this picture book is illustrated in collage by Caldecott Award winner Ed Young.
  38. Allegiance by Kermit Roosevelt
    Kermit Roosevelt combines the momentum of a top-notch legal thriller with a thoughtful examination of one of the worst civil rights violations in US history. The novel follows Cash Harrison as he stumbles onto a conspiracy in the United States Supreme Court.
  39. The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell
    Train to crystal city
    Russell's history reveals a little known internment camp in Texas during World War 2 that held a wide variety of Japanese, Italian, and German citizens and their American-born children. These prisoners were traded for "more valuable" hostages behind enemy lines.
  40. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks
    Ma nwho mistook his wife
    The late neurologist Oliver Sacks chronicles the neurological disorders of some of his patients. While the stories might be strange and even bizarre, in Dr. Sacks’s splendid and sympathetic telling they are still deeply human.
  41. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
    Midsummer nights dream
    Four lovers wander into a wood, along with two quarreling fairy lovers and a bumbling troupe of players - and one devious trickster. The rest is famous Shakespearean comedy and one of the most delightful of the Bard's plays.
  42. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
    The classic revenge story still retains all of its psychological depth and moving emotional power, centuries later. Young prince Hamlet is exhorted by his murdered father to avenge his murder, and thus begins a downward spiral of truly epic proportions.
  43. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
    Julius caesar
    Shakespeare's classic play of the death of a tyrant explores power and corruption against the backdrop of Classical Rome.
  44. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
    Shakespeare's classic tragedy of the Scottish lord who makes himself a king - only to precipitate his own downfall through paranoia and cruelty - is one of the Bard's most memorable tragedies.
  45. Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
    Romeo and juliet
    The original star-crossed lovers. Shakespeare's classic play illuminates the costs of feuding and the ability of love to cross borders.
  46. The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
    Taming of the shrew
    The plot of this comedy depicts the courtship of Petruchio, a fortune seeker hoping to marry a wealthy woman, and Katherine, the headstrong, independent "shrew" of the title.
  47. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
    Twelfth night
    A wildly funny play of cross-dressing, mistaken identities, and misplaced love (not to mention the comically pathetic Malvolio), Twelfth Night is a sparkling comedy that ranks high in Shakespeare's works.
  48. Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph Stieglitz
    Globalization and discontents
    After working within the World Bank and other international economic institutions for years, Joseph Stiglitz became disillusioned with their policies and doubtful of their motives. His critique of global economic agencies remains a powerful indictment of Western capitalist globalization.
  49. To the Stars by George Takei
    To the stars
    George Takei's autobiography follows the Star Trek actor from his childhood through his experiences on the set of Star Trek.
  50. Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Death by black hole
    This anthology of astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson's articles showcases the clarity and vibrancy that characterizes his writing. Tyson is a natural teacher who simplifies the complexities of astrophysics while sharing his infectious fascination for our universe.
  51. Years of Infamy by Michi Weglyn
    Years of infamy
    Michi Weglyn, a teenager at the time of the Japanese internment during World War II, recounts the experience, drawing on government documents and on her own memories of one of the camps. Published in 1976, Years of Infamy was the first book on the internment to be written by a Japanese American and helped fuel the reparations movement.