Darryl Pinckney’s Resistance Reading

Authors pick books that bring solace and understanding in an age of rancor.


We asked a range of authors and creative types to name books that bring solace or understanding in this age of rancor. More than two dozen responded. Here are the recommendations of the acclaimed novelist and literary critic Darryl Pinckney, whose work has included theatrical collaborations with Robert Wilson and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Latest book: Black Deutschland
Also known for: His columns in The New York Review of Books
Reading recommendations: These days I turn to the consolations of poetry. James Fenton, his Yellow Tulips: Poems. (He’s my partner, my life.) I open the Donald Allen edition of The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara that I have had for decades. His poetry is a past I share with several friends. And then for the small hours there is Thomas Wyatt: “These bloody days have broken my heart.”

Illustration by Allegra Lockstadt
Master photo by Dominique Nabakov

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The complete series: Daniel Alarcón, Kwame Alexander, Margaret Atwood, W. Kamau Bell, Ana Castillo, Jeff Chang, T Cooper, Michael Eric Dyson, Dave Eggers, Reza Farazmand, William Gibson, Mohsin Hamid, Piper Kerman, Phil Klay, Alex Kotlowitz, Bill McKibbenRabbi Jack Moline, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Peggy Orenstein, Wendy C. Ortiz, Darryl Pinckney, Joe Romm, Karen Russell, George Saunders, Tracy K. Smith, Ayelet WaldmanJesmyn Ward, and Gene Luen Yang.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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