Reading more books by Indigenous authors – a sort of TBR

November is Native American Heritage Month in the US – and one of the things I planned on doing this year was to read more books by Indigenous authors. Both because they are underrepresented in publishing and also because so far I have not read one book by a Native author I did not like. So this seems like the perfect opportunity to get to a few more books before the year’s end.

I sat with the idea to do something for Native American Heritage Menth for quite some time and thought long and hard whether I really wanted to do a proper TBR post for this vague idea I have. On the one hand, TBR posts are fun! I like putting them together and this seems like a good way to shine some light on what I am planning. On the other hand, I seriously suck at following TBRs – and if I don’t have some follow through here, this will look (and honestly be) performative and also fairly problematic. So finally I decided on this: here is a list of books on my radar written by Indigenous authors and I hope to get to at least three of those over the month of November.

I already own two of the three books I want to read in November.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
This is one of my most anticipated books of the year and I am glad I finally have a copy in my hands. I need to finish one of the other physical books I am currently reading and then will dive into this. I am very excited for Roanhorse’s take on epic fantasy; her post-apocalyptic series is a favourite of mine. I have heard incredible things so far.

As You Were by David Tromblay (published February 21st, 2021)
I was contacted by the publisher (Dzanc Books) if I was interested in reviewing this. This is a memoir and sounds absolutely harrowing but also really interesting. Tromblay writes about his difficult childhood, intergenerational trauma, and identity; all things I am interested in. Tromblay names Lidia Yuknavitch as an influence which is always a plus for me.

I also want to get to one of these three non-fiction titles (I mean, it is also Non-Fiction November), probably on audiobook.

Abandon Me: Memoirs by Melissa Febos
I have wanted to read this book since it came out in 2017 – everything about this sounds like my kind of book. It apparently focusses identity and love, Febos was partly raised by a sea captain, the language is described as visceral, and the blurb promises thatg she mixes the personal with the theoretical which is my favourite kind of non-fiction writing.

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo
This has also been on my TBR for what feels like forever. I found this on one of those “best memoirs”-type lists and the audiobook especially sounds really good as it features poetry and music.


A Mind Spread Out On The Ground by Alicia Elliott
I have heard nothing but brilliant things about this memoir dealing with intergenerational trauma, legacy, and addiction. The reviews I have seen are overwhelmingly positive and especially the audiobook has gotten a lot of praise.

Finally there are two books that sounds super intriguing but might be too scary for me.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones and Empire of the Wild by Cherie Dimaline both sound INCREDIBLE. But I scare easily and I recently gravitate more towards books that do not stress me out too badly.

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts? Are there other books you think should be on my radar? I am particularly interested in speculative works written by Indigenous authors.

PS: There is also a Readathon that takes place in November focussing on Indigenous authors. I am never good at actually participating but thought I should shout it out for others anyways. You can find information and reading prompts on their twitter account.

15 thoughts on “Reading more books by Indigenous authors – a sort of TBR

  1. Great list! One possible addition: I picked up Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse after enjoying a short story by him in the anthology The People’s Future of the United States. Robopocalypse looks quite trashy, but I really liked it (Wilson has a PhD in Robotics, so knows what he’s talking about).

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  2. A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is so good!! Alicia Elliott narrates the audiobook herself too, which i listened and loved ☺ i hope you enjoy it! also super interested in As You Were it sounds amazing

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  3. Great picks! I was blown away by A Mind Spread Out on the Ground. It really unsettled me and challenged some thinking, in the best way possible. I also recently read Empire of Wild – I though it was a little creepy, but not toooo scary. I set a small goal of reading 10 books by Indigenous authors this year. One book I’m planning to read is The Shoe Boy by Duncan McCue. If you ever need more recs, I recommend everything by David A. Robertson! 🙂

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    1. I keep hearing such brilliant things about A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, I am very excited to hopefully get to this.
      That is also good to know about Empire of Wild – I really am not good with scary. And thank you for the recommendation!

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  4. Ooh good list! Several of these are on my TBR. I just finished Winter Counts and next up is Elatsoe! It feels like Indigenous fiction (and speculative in particular) is finally getting noticed by publishers? Or maybe I’m just looking for it now! I hope we get a lot more!

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    1. Thank you! How was Winter Counts? I also have that on my TBR but haven’t quite felt like prioritizing it. I heard goods things about Elatsoe but struggle a lot with YA. I really do hope we’ll be getting loads more!

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