The 8 Best Books Of 2015 (So Far!), Dammit

TIME plopped out a quick microaggression of a list of the 10 best books of the year thus far, and while it consists of some reads that are quite good, it is completely lacking in diversity. That they felt it was okay to publish a list of books that completely ignores the truly excellent work by authors of color published in the first of this year is a shame. We’re lucky enough these days to see the publishing landscape changing, with many people publishing books that reflect a multitude of experiences. I’m not suggesting that TIME add a few writers of color to their blindingly white list as an afterthought — at this point, that would be more like tokenism.

Taste is purely personal, but if you consider yourself an avid reader — one who truly loves books — you would think that part of your love for the art would be discovering new authors and reading about different experiences. The best thing about books is that you can very easily slip into a world that you know nothing about and learn. That’s why people read in the first place, right? It’s escapism, pure and simple. You’re transported somewhere else, and along the way, you pick up something that you didn’t know before. Broadening your horizons through the culture you consume is a vital part of being an engaged, active and intelligent reader.

I’ve read and enjoyed some of the books on TIME’s list. But there are other books that have been published this year that are just as good. Read the books on TIME’s list if you want to — I’d suggest starting with H Is For Hawk, which was really, really good — but consider the fact that as a reader, you can choose to read books that both entertain and expand your understanding of the world. Here are some good options to consider, all published this year, all excellent, all well worth your time.

1. The Turner House by Angela Fluornoy: One big family, a bunch of problems, and a haint that just won’t quit. You’ll recognize your kin in the Turner family, because no matter where you’re from, siblings can be terrible. Also, Fluornoy is a damn good writer.

2. The Star Side Of Bird Hill by Naomi JacksonAn elegy for childhood summers and the fierce bonds of family, whether you like them or not, this debut is beautifully written and deserves your attention.

3. Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: Yeah, it’s on our second must-read book list this week. Just read it, don’t make us repeat why.

4. Re Jane by Patricia Park: A loose interpretation of Jane Eyre, featuring a plucky heroine, a stopover in Korea and the quintessential brownstone-co-op-Brooklyn family.

5. Mislaid by Nell Zink: Use this book as further context for that whole Rachel Dolezal situation, if you dare. Or just read it because it perfectly skewers academia and covers race and sexuality with a clear, fresh perspective.

6. Loving Day by Mat Johnson: We have the ghosts of the first interracial couple haunting a comic book artist and a multi-racial utopia gone wrong, all handled by Mat Johnson, a master of the absurd.

7. The Sellout by Paul Beatty: An acerbic look at the meaning of blackness in “post-racial” America that hits hard and sometimes a little below the belt, but that’s what makes it good.

8. God Help The Child by Toni Morrison: Yet another classic from the queen herself. Read this excellent profile of Morrison first, then go scurry off to a bookstore and get your hands on her latest ASAP.

[h/t Alex Covington]