newsCO Authors | 47 Books You Should Add To Your Shelf, According To Poet Rupi Kaur

September 4, 2017


2017-04-05 16:43:20

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Rupi Kaur has vision beyond her years.

At 24, the Indian-Canadian artist and poet decided to create a menstruation-themed photo series for a college project. She posted one now-famous photograph to Instagram, showing herself lying on a bed facing the wall, period blood staining her sweatpants and the bedsheet. Instagram repeatedly took down the photo from Kaur’s account, but the image went viral, attracting international attention. Though still a college student, she was something of an Instagram star already, thanks to her luminous and striking poetry, which she posted on the account.

She told news at the time that she was galvanized in part by the stigma attached to menstruation ― an aspect of her project unwittingly reinforced by Instagram’s removal of the photo. “I always see women complaining — I’m one of them — about how much our periods suck,” she said. “But they’re also so beautiful. They give rise to life.”

Less than two years later, a publishing house put out Kaur’s book of prose and poetry, Milk and Honey (originally self-published in 2014), and it began dominating best-seller charts. The text and illustrations ― both by Kaur ― examine the emotional states of a modern young woman. Her work is simply but powerfully expressed, and viscerally captures both universal human experience and the particular struggles of a young woman today.

Kaur’s art has meant opening a window into her mind and bodily experiences for audiences, whether through candid poetry or realistic (though staged, with fake blood) period portraits. Another intimate revelation ― what’s on her bookshelf. The brilliant artist and writer shared her 47 picks with The Strand, where she curated a bookshelf. For those who aren’t in New York City, here’s an alternative to browsing her hand-picked display.

Check out Kaur’s bookshelf below.

1. 1984 by George Orwell

2. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

3. A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf

4. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

5. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

6. Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

7. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

8. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

9. Feminist Theory by bell hooks

10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

11. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

12. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

13. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

14. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

15. Matilda by Roald Dahl

16. Maus by Art Spiegelman

17. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

18. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

19. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

20. No Logo by Naomi Klein

21. Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik

22. Odes by Sharon Olds

23. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

24. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

25. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X (as told to Alex Haley)

26. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

27. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

28. The Butterfly’s Burden by Mahmoud Darwish

29. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

30. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

31. The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton

32. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

33. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

34. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

35. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

36. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

37. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

38. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

39. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

40. The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

41. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

42. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

43. This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz

44. Wayside School Is Falling Down by Louis Sachar

45. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

46. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

47. Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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